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Posted by Stefan / October 28, 2010

itacate.jpgAnyone hoping to find a good taqueria in Montreal Canada is likely to be disappointed. The phenomenon of lackluster Mexican food is so prevelant that someone made a board game premised on the idea that the only way to get carnitas into this country is to smuggle them past a hostile cadre of mounties.

The owners of Itacate do their part to fix the situation. Their traditional, tech-savvy, and self-aware ("We are aware that the taste could never be the same because the chilis, vegetables and meat come from here hence the taste will always be different but as close as it gets to the real thing") restaurant is worth many visits. itacate 2.jpgPozole: fantastic soup made from dried corn and pork

I had high hopes for this place that were stoked by buzz, location, and an unwavering optimism that someone could get Mexican food both right, and on the cheap. The menu should please both those looking for "real" Mexican food (e.g., sopes con pollo, pozole, tacos al pastor) and those more accustomed to Tex-Mex (e.g., nachos, fajitas). Itacate serves items commonly found in taco trucks, as well as those available at nicer Mexican restaurants. In the spirit of this duality we orderd sopes con con pollo, pozole, sopa de tortilla, enchiladas de mole, tacos al pastor, and desert (caramel flan and corn cake). Nothing let us down. In fact, I was genuinely sorry to be too full to order more tacos. When the bill came and I realized that taxes were included in the price, I almost ordered more to take home with me. itacate 3.jpg Enchiladas de mole

Authentic feels like a silly word to describe this or any other place, but that's what they're going for at Itacate. It's Mexican food prepared by people who understand what's wrong with most Mexican food in Montreal. That they acknowledge certain unavoidable constraints convinces me that they really know what they're doing. And while I would have liked to start the meal off with some homemade chips and salsa that put all others to shame, this minor omission didn't sour my experience. itacate 4.jpgTacos al pastor

Itacate is inviting and well-run, and the owners' enthusiasm for bringing good Mexican food to Montreal is evident. Beyond their rich menu, they can prepare custom meals for small groups, and have solid vegetarian options. One possible criticism: It's too well put together to be confused for a taco truck. Though it might sound odd, in the realm of Mexican food nothing beats sitting at a counter in a stripped down taqueria negotiating gentle passage for a daunting burrito with plenty of corn chips and fresh salsas on the side. I get it: it's hard to fault a restaurant for being too much like a restaurant, but there's something to be said for roadside carnitas. So a part of me still thinks that it'd be nice if Montreal were host to an escalating taco war, complete with passionate factions and lore. But until then I certainly won't let the idea of some elusive, Moby Dick burrito stop me from enjoying Itacate, because there's plenty there to enjoy. Itacate isn't good Mexican for Montreal, it's really just good Mexican in Montreal. itacate 5.jpgCaramel flan

67 Beaubien E.

Monday -: Closed
Tuesday -: Closed
Wednesday -: 17:00 - 22:00
Thursday -: 11:00 - 22:00
Friday -: 11:00 - 22:00
Saturday -: 11:00 - 22:00
Sunday -: 11:00 - 20:00

Photos by Mike "Lock 'em Up" Lockner.



Sheena / October 29, 2010 at 01:34 pm
Wow! This looks really great - I took a quick peek at the menu and I was surprised to see so many good authentic things - like tacos de carnitas, and micheladas, horchata by the pitcher. Even cafe de olla for the morning! This looks heavenly. It's now on a must-go list! This is the kind of place that they have in Mexico like Biscuits Obregon. But Montreal still needs more (a) taquerias with a pastor trompo, spinning on open flame with a pineapple on top. And everything served with frijoles charros and grilled knob onions. Alas!
Amie / October 30, 2010 at 06:08 pm
Wow, the mole looks amazing. Did it taste like there were a million spices in there? I'm always looking for a great mole. So far it has evaded me.
Benito / November 1, 2010 at 08:02 am
Thank you for reviewing our restaurant. We are starting out our third year and business is going very well. We always appreciate reviews and comments to help us make it even better.

@Sheena I agree with you about the pastor trompo. I especially like the way the cut the meat off then flip the pineapple in the air and catch it on the taco! Unfortunately the food laws here make having that type of trompo very difficult.

@Amie We make our mole from scratch and there is a lot of ingredients! If you try it out, let us know what you thought of it.;lang=en

Ronald / November 1, 2010 at 08:51 am
Very great to see you got a nice menu and me and my girl friend will visit this weekend.

Did you check out this site as they visit restaurant and get a huge discount like 50-90% on Group Deal and people love it.

Have your restaurant bean featured on these kind of site where we can get more discount?

Myriam / November 1, 2010 at 07:04 pm
It is my favorite mexican Restaurant in Mtl... An trust me I tried a bunch of them...
Don't hesitate, it's cheap and really good!
snoop grubby grub / December 1, 2011 at 05:44 am
taco del ray at the jean talon market isn't too shabby neither. probably cheaper, too.
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