The pair of us started exploring our city's dining scene in the mid-90s. Back then, in order to eat well, we had to splurge, as cheap eateries consisted of chains, casse-croûtes or noodle joints. Things have evolved since with the likes of Icehouse, Satay Brothers and Sumac to name a few. Earlier this year, La Capital entered this "affordable quality" space with the promise of genuine, street-inspired Mexican fare.
Set up on the busy stretch of Saint-Laurent boulevard in Chinatown just south of René-Lévesque West, this inviting taqueria counts a handful of large communal tables scattered across a laid-back, minimalistic space. With the warm, windy evening outside and the large entrance doors left wide open, there was a pleasant, almost tropical aura lacing the half-full dining room.
The concise, to-the-point menu lists six starters/sides followed by five tacos. The former are fairly small (although priced accordingly), so you might want to order a bunch. The tacos, on the other hand, are served in threes, providing good bang for the buck and a nice sharing option. As for cerveja, the only option is bottled Mythos; a Mexican joint in Chinatown serving Greek beer, go figure!
"avocado with tortilla chips, small". Chunky with a generous squirt of lime, just the way we like our guac. We quickly noticed the exotic Asian bowls similar to those at the aforementioned Satay Brothers, adding more to the spot's multiculturalism.
"jicama salad, chili powder sprinkle". The thickly cut jicama (a Mexican root vegetable) had a crunchy, watery texture reminiscent of watermelon, but not much taste. This "salad" could work as a bar snack, but we didn't think much of it.
"grilled cheese on corn tortilla, served with pico de gallo salsa". the wrap was too hard for our taste while the cheese was grilled to the point of tasting burned. Even a fresh pico de gallo couldn't save this minuscule blunder of a tortilla.
"grilled AAA rib-eye beef served with house sauce & cebollitas asadas". Great concept but it failed on execution. Although the meat had a nicely charred taste, it was tough and overcooked, making the whole thing quite difficult to bite into.
"deep-fried beer-battered shrimp, served on chipotle mayo, avocado sauce, garnished with pico de gallo & red cabbage". Sounds like a mess but it works. A fine balance of flavours, heat and textures makes this a contender for best taco in town.
Rounding up the laid-back, authentic experience at La Capital are young, informed, thick-Latino-accented waiters that were welcoming and accommodating; muy bien! Service was pretty quick, making this a good dinner option for anyone in a hurry.
tagged: IN & OUT
Our first encounter at La Capital was a predominantly positive one. We enjoyed the fun, casual feel and service, and were pretty impressed with the guacamole and shrimp tacos. We did, however, find fault with the rest of the food we sampled, which places us on the fence as far as a final verdict is concerned. That being said, this new taqueria is a welcome addition to the city's "low-cost" dining scene.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Price per person: $15.33
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.