Kates: Playa Cabana Cantina is bigger, bolder and better than the original

Playa Cabana 2.0 (Image: Playa Cabana Cantina)

Playa Cabana 2.0 is even more fun than its Dupont Street original. It’s bigger and bolder, a carefully curated American roadhouse with hot pink neon, highway signs and big metal sombreros doubling as lights over the bar. What a great taqueria — and they take reservations!

Octo-tacos are tender octopus tossed with super spicy slightly smoky salsa, coriander, roasted corn, red cabbage, guacamole and a load of chilis in a soft corn tortilla. Short rib brisket stars in a taco with crispy tortilla for crunch. Chilis rellenos are the classic — crisp batter-fried peppers stuffed with a river of melted cheese, black beans and Mexican crema.

Skip the tres leches cake. It’s gotten big and blah.

Playa Cabana Cantina, 2883 Dundas St. W., 647-352-7767

Joanne Kates trained at the Ecole Cordon Bleu de Cuisine in Paris. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Maclean’s and Chatelaine, and she was the Globe and Mail’s restaurant critic for 38 years.

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