Playa cabana - New local Mexican gem

This cute beach shack tucked away in a quaint Dupont/ Davenport neighbourhood peaked my curiosity.  I have driven by it a few times and it always looked busy so it was definitely on my hit list to try.  Finally I had an opportunity when my dear friend Sam came into town and so here is our story.

It was a Saturday night on one of our snow falls in Toronto.  It was awful outdoor weather for both driving and walking as people forget how to drive in snow and the flakes are blowing everywhere so it's hard to look up.  I finally stumble into the intimacy of Playa Cabana only to find a very busy and bustling restaurant with all tables full, a line up of folks crowding in the small entranceway and a waiting list that only has openings in about an hour and a half.  At this point, Sam has not arrived and I am not about to brave the weather outside again so I let the host know I will wait.
This shack is quite the popular neighbourhood joint where Toronto becomes another small world and of course I manage to bump into a few friends who are also waiting for tables.  They were smart though and had reservations so they were guaranteed a seat ... the jury was still out on whether or not Sam and I would get seats. A couple of minutes later, the big groups get seated and Sam and I are told that we have a table which is quite lucky for us and I am thrilled.
I am still cold from the weather so I promptly tell our server Casey to keep the liquor flowing to warm us up.   Margaritas are flowing!
We start with the house made guacamole which is delicious and freshly prepared.  It is reminiscent of my favourite guac in the city from Chimichangas (now closed) and the owner may know a thing or two as Dave was the former co-owner there.
I also want to try the cerviche which is pickerel.  It comes packed with a good kick and is a big appetizer meant for sharing!
Sam ordered the vegetarian burrito and it was a humungous portion.  She loved it and was able to polish it off as it was yummy.  I ordered the baja fish tacos on soft shells - Casey asked if i wanted the fish grilled or battered and was pleased to be given the option.  I opted for grilled fish and it was delicious.  They are one of the best fish tacos I've had and I ate at another trendy mexican resto earlier that week so it's a bold statement!  For more heat - we were given 2 house made hot sauces:  the habanero salsa- WOAH - this gives you a big kick of heat but it creeps up on you.   The other one was the roasted chile arboles salsa - which gives you some good heat and is just right for me.
To finish the evening - we tried Casey's signature shot called the "Creme de Cabana" -they were layered with hot coffee, baileys and kahlua .. delicious and creamy!  What a brilliant evening with great company,  an amazing dinner, lots of cocktails, some Tromba and then these shots!
Hasta luego!

**** 1/2 
Playa Cabana
11 Dupont St
Toronto, ON M5R 1V4
Neighbourhood: The Annex
(416) 929-3911
Playa Cabana on Urbanspoon

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