…que el mundo se va a acabar.
Vancouver has many outstaying restaurants from steakhouses to seafood chops and Italian or basically anything you can imagine. Some of my favourite food is Mexican. There are many taco shops and food trucks hanging around the city which are always enjoyable but having authentic Mexican is a different experience. There is something about going to an outstanding Mexican or Latin American restaurant, having a mezcal margarita and chowing down on some authentic cousins as the chefs and bartenders have heart and passion for what they are creating. Two of the best in Vancouver include La Mezcaleria and Orphelia.
Founded in 2013, La Mezcaleria serves food and drinks inspired by different regions in Mexico, using locally sourced, organic ingredients. Located at 1622 Commercial Drive, La Mezcaleria has a eccentric turquoise interior with low tables and a large bar with seats around.
Mezcaleria serves a large variety of tacos from meats including Al Pastor Asado, Carnitas, Polo Asado to seafood, Pescado Baja, Pulpo Al Ajillo as well as vegetarian tacos De Frijoles, Rajas and Hongos. With a large appetizer menu from Guac or Pico De Gallo and chips, Ceviche Fresco or on the larger side Enchiladas Clasicas or Burrito Del Norte. One of the items on the menu that they are known for is their Quest Fundidos, which is their signature molten cheese fondue served in a volcanic stone bowl with six hot corn tortillas. I highly recommend ordering this for
Mezcaleria also has one of Canada’s biggest Agave based spirits collection with a large cocktail list including Margaritas, Palomas, Ancho Old Fashioned among other tequila and mezcal drinks. I have indulged in their margaritas. I normally get mine with mezcal instead of tequila to give it a smoky favour and they are outstanding. There are some restaurants where they have a basic margarita with nothing special to them but Mezcaleria’s is one of the best I’ve had. I’m not going to give away their secrets as to how they make their margs so you will have to go in and try one for yourself. They also offer Mezcal flights which is a great way to sample a range of Agave spirit flavours.
Anytime is a good time for queso fundido, like today Monday; we will be open at 5pm in #commercialdrive (1622 Commercial Drive) #quesofundido #LabourDay #mexicanfood #cocktails delicious pic by: @teamchomp_ pic.twitter.com/bRamE8Zpcl
— La Mezcaleria (@LaMezcaleriaYVR) September 3, 2018
Winning Gold at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards for Best Latin American in 2017, “La Mezcaleria’s queso fundido and mezcal-based cocktails make for what one judge describes as ‘the best Friday night on the Drive’” – Vancouver Magazine, 2017 Restaurant Awards
They also serve a Mexican inspired brunch on the weekends from 10am to 2pm as well as Happy Hour served daily.
Coming from the Flying Pig family, Ophelia is a new member to the city as they last Summer in WildTales former location in Olympic Village. Named after Chef Fransisco Higareda’s mother, Orphelia, specializes in authentic Mexican cuisine prepared with a refined and elevated approach as well as serving hand crafted cocktails with premium tequila and mezcals, craft beer and wines from around the world.
Chef Francisco Higareda grew up with a family who loved food and ate with a passion, which is the reason for his love of it. He trained at Ambrosía Centro Culinario in Mexico City and earned a diploma in High Cuisine & Gastronomic Management at Mariano Moreno Instsitue in Buesnos Aires, Argentina. After working in Spain and France, he ran his own restaurant in Chihuahua before moving to Vancouver in 2017 to work at Flying Pig and it’s sister restaurant WildTale.
“Given my strong connection to Mexican cuisine, we saw an opportunity to take advantage of my knowledge and passion and do something truly unique here in Olympic Village,” Higareda explains. “My mother inspired my love of cooking and it will be a true honour to return to my roots and pay homage to her and my country at Ophelia this spring.”
From an array of tacos to enchiladas gratinadas to churros for dessert, you will be sure to enjoy what Orphelia has to offer. Margarita Monday is celebrated every Monday from 4 to closing offering four different types of margs or the featured margarita that changes weekly. Their classic Orphelia Margarita comes out bright pink with a half salted rim and a dehydrated lime. They are outstanding. Happy Hour is also served daily from 4 to 5:30 which includes Orphelia Margaritas, beer and wine, guac, ceviche and tacos.
There is artwork from Mexican muralist Saicker, that you can find throughout Orphelia. His work is based on “Mexican culture, the inner spirit of women, floral shapes encapsulated in geometric pieces and monochrome colours that can give life to endless stories.” Along with Saicker’s work, there are other items around that are representing influences of Latin culture.
Ophelia’s location is just steps away from False Creek and the other hot spots Olympic Village has to offer.