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Tequila Imperial featured by BlogTO

Tequila Imperial is a restaurant known for serving up fresh, rich, Mexican cuisine in Corso Italia.


The restaurant is owned by married couple Jacqueline Cruz and Alejandro Jauregui. Jauregui, who was born and raised in Mexico and is familiar with the restaurant industry there, says that he noticed a lack of restaurants in Toronto that served authentic Mexican cuisine.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

That's when he —along with Cruz— decided to create Tequila Imperial, which serves its dishes using ingredients (like spices, peppers and cheese) directly imported from Mexico. Meanwhile the meat and fresh produce is purchased at local Toronto markets, Jauregui says.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

Alejandro Jauregui (left) and Jacqueline Cruz, owners of Tequila Imperial. Photo by Fareen Karim.


The restaurant is typically open from 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. daily, except for Fridays and Saturdays when it's open 24 hours, something that Jauregui wanted to do. As a mariachi singer, Jauregui says he understands what it's like singing at late hours and not finding a decent meal when he's done working.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

As you enter Tequila Imperial, you're immediately enticed by the warm and laid-back atmosphere, thanks to the staff's hospitality. It's so laid-back that people are even invited into the visibly-open kitchen to see how the food gets made (you just have to ask, staff say).


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

Co-owner Alejandro Jauregui preparing meals at Tequila Imperial. Photo by Fareen Karim.


You can tell a lot of love and dedication was put into making you feel like you were transported to Mexico when dining here. Not only are there wooden wall panels that Jauregui built himself, but there are paintings of the country, created by Cuban artist Yvonne.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

There's also a vibrant and colourful mural created by none other than Juan Pablo Picasso (Yes, that's his name. I even checked his ID to make sure the artist wasn't kidding).


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

You can start off your meal with some complimentary nachos, salsa verde and salsa rojo.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

If you’re looking for a hearty soup, the menundo is your best option ($15 for a small, $20 for a medium and $27 for a large). The slow-cooked soup is made with beef tripe, hominy corn and guajillo chilis. It's then garnished with lime, onions, cilantro and served with tortillas.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

There are a lot of filling dishes to choose from the menu's mains section. The beef tampiqueña ($35), for instance, is a dish that's made with skirt steak (you can choose to have it fried in pork lard or vegetable oil). It's topped with a bit of queso and then paired with sides, like refried beans, guacamole and a salad.


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The Tacos al Pastor ($18) is a trio of cooked, corn tortillas stuffed with grilled pork. The tacos are paired with pineapple, sliced onions and cilantro. It's crispy, savoury and a bit tangy.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

If you're looking for a thicker tortilla that's still crispy but a bit chewier than tacos, the gorditas ($18) are a great option. They're stuffed with beans, cheese and onions with your choice of beef, pork, chicken or vegetables.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

The sopes ($18) are also a great menu pick if you want a crispy, chewy and thick tortilla packed with cheese, beans and spices and slathered with salsa. You can also choose between adding beef, pork, chicken and vegetables.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

If the food and atmosphere wasn't enough, there's also entertainment. Jauregui puts his mariachi singing skill to use by decking out in his signature outfit and sombrero when wooing customers with his powerful ballads.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

It's beautiful to listen to and to watch, as you dine on scrumptious Mexican meals.

Jauregui says he wants to make you feel like you're in Mexico, a place that he considers warm, lively and extremely hospitable. Thanks to his staff, food, decor and music here, it's safe to say that he succeeded.


Best Mexican restaurant in Toronto

Tequila Imperial is located 1174 St Clair Ave W.


Photos by Fareen Karim


Credits: BlogTO

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