Puerto Bravo – 1425 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4L 1Z7
Seating: Only indoor seating.
Dinner guests: Pornstar Sam & Suited Sebastien
Must-try dish: Camarones Bravos Taco
The high: The hot sauce made in-house is life-changing in a good way.
The low: They were out of the Papas con Chorizo Taco, which is vegan and would have allowed us to try all four taco options on the menu.
With new taco operations opening up all over the city at a dizzying rate, the debate for the best taco place is an incessant topic. There seems to be a consistent recipe deployed in many of these trendy taco joints, and it can be difficult to distinguish one from the next. Puerto Bravo does things a little differently, which is why we loved it, and likely the reason it was recognized in Toronto’s Michelin Guide last year.
Let’s get something straight – Puerto Bravo isn’t fancy nor expensive, it’s just excellent Mexican food specializing in dishes from the sea in a friendly and clean space. It’s the type of place that you visit to grab a couple of tacos or tostadas with an agua fresca or a beer, and then you’re on your way. It’s not the type of restaurant that you linger in or drop in to get that perfect Instagram shot, it’s literally here to serve you awesome food.
The menu is straightforward, so starting off with Guacamole is the play while you look at the options for the rest of the meal. It’s done in the classic way with thick corn chips and the homemade hot sauce on the side for those who want to spice things up. Dipping the chip in guacamole then topping it with the hot sauce is the recommended way to enjoy everything on the tabl;e.
As for the tacos, there are four to pick from and the portions are generous in each tortilla. Our decision was made easy because they were out of the Papas con Chorizo Taco, so the entire group opted for the other three. Each taco is served individually, allowing diners to taste multiple types if desired.
The uncontested favourite was the Camarones Bravos Taco – a grilled shrimp number topped with cheese, sour cream, and pickled onions. The mix of seafood and dairy actually enhances the flavours, and each shrimp is cooked to the point of being soft without being chewy.
The Carne Asada Taco was also well loved by our group. The grilled chunks of beef are tender and flavourful, they’re topped with cheese, an avocado sauce, sauteed onions, and crunchy cabbage creating exciting textures for each bite. This is the only meat option on the taco menu.
Not many places attempt the octopus taco because the art of getting the texture right is a challenge. Puerto Bravo offers the Pulpo al Carbon Taco that comes topped with avocado, peppers, and a couple sauces creating a dominant smokey flavour. The octopus itself is soft and moist, so for anyone looking to have something more exotic, this is the one for you.
To switch things up a little, there are four tostadas to pick from on the menu. A tostada is similar to a taco but has a crunchy base instead of a nimble one, at Puerto Bravo the tostadas heavy on the seafood and fish front. The Ceviche Tostada is made with fresh white fish, avocado, pickled onions, and a fragrant salsa. If you enjoy ceviche this is a must.
It goes without saying that dousing the homemade hot sauce on every dish is strongly recommended if you like heat. If you don’t, then it’s best to stay far away from this sauce, but you certainly are missing out!
To wash all this down, you can pick from numerous Mexican pops and juices, or if you’re looking for something harder, there are a couple Mexican beers to pick from and a classic margarita.
Eat with you soon,
(Mat & Andrea)