Cocktails at El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
Churros at El Camino
Tacos at El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
El Camino
Foods from El Camino
Comments

2013 Nov 22
I finally stopped by earlier this week on a whim while I was driving by. One person ahead of me, 5 minute wait for my order. I got the Ox tongue, lamb, and the pork tacos. All very good. The Ox was interesting in that they had grilled it to crunchy blackness which contrasted very well with the velvety texture of the meat. Nice punch with the ranchero sauce too. The lamb was very rich and lamby. Tasty but not really a taco meat for me. The pork was great , silky and tasty. More of what I am used to. I will return for fish tacos soon. Hopefully not tilapia.

2013 Oct 26
I went there a few days ago around later for a bite. Sat at a high top table by the door this time since the kitchen bar seats were taken.

Had Cod taco, daily special of fried pig ears which was far too salty with some beer and tequillime pie.

Cod taco is still good but I have noticed the fish size is a fair bit smaller than opening and last 2 times there were only slivers of avocado. Maybe I will ask next time if I can pay a little more for some extra decent size slices of avocado.

The pig ear was thinly sliced (but not as thin as the machine sliced ones at T&T), battered and deep fried and served with an aoili and a sauce. It was not bad but far too salty. I had been shaking them to get ride of some of the salt and this while interesting was on the verge of not being edible for me since I eat pretty low salt this days. There was a young woman at the fry station that night that I had not noticed before so maybe she is new or new in that station. I think I would ask next time to get it unsalted and get them to put a pinch of salt on the plate and I will salt it myself.

Crispy Cod taco with the beer was good and the tequilime pie (equivalent to key lime pie) was excellent. I got some tequilime pie for takeout too. I asked and the crust of the tart/pie was made with crushed pretzel. When I had it last time it had some crushed pretzel topping which I declined when I ordered.

Apparently Matthew Carmichael is not there as often since he is trying to open the other restaurant and someone he worked with before is now cooking far more often.

I made a plug for Tripa (tripe) taco to be put on the special sometime... Maybe we will see it on the menu.

2013 Oct 21
Came here for date night with wifey on Saturday. Arrived at 7:45, seated by 8:10 at a high two top near the entrance. Service was friendly and casual in that scruffy hipster style. Water came unasked, although top-ups were by request.

I enjoyed the seasonal Muskoka Harvest Ale, which I'd been eager to try. We also sampled the partly-Canadian-owned Tequila Tromba, which proved to be impossibly smooth. Too mild for mixing but great for sipping or shooting.

The Green Papaya Salad (center pic) was succulent and stellar. The Salt and Pepper Squid (top left) was tender, crispy, and spicy. The Crispy Betel Prawns (bottom left) were tasty and fun, with a juicy interior and crispy exoskeleton (ref: betel vs. beetle).

We had both been disappointed by the tacos at Sidedoor, so we approached the ones here with some trepidation. The Ox Tongue Taco (top right) was wonderful; beefy, toothsome, char-grilled tongue offset by the fresh jalapeno-radish-basil-avocado garnish. The Fish Taco (bottom right) was a gorgeous hunk of perfectly fried fish wrapped in a finger-friendly tortilla and shredded cabbage blanket. Huge thumbs up from both of us for both of these tacos! They definitely lived up to the hype.

We shared the diminutive Tequilime Pie (my spelling probably not 100% correct). This was a wonderful little thing, featuring a thin-crust key lime pie with a dollop of lime-infused whipped cream and grated lime zest. Fantastic!

Value is good. Every bite is a pleasure. Noise levels are high. Patrons are having a great time. This is a great addition to the Elgin strip.

2013 Oct 9
My spouse and I tried the tacos tonight and it was great just loved it. The food is very good and though we waited 20 minutes for our order it was well worth it. My spouse has been many times for lunch and it was my first, I loved it. This is top quality food and no wonder it is so busy, could not believe the crowd. Nice to find such a good quality for dollar value spent. Recommend this place for a good taco, beef, pork or ox tongue.

2013 Aug 28
The below post sent me back last night (Tues late Aug 2013) for round two.

The pork and lamb tacos were awesome. Ample meat, juicy, tasty and nicely marinated, with avocado, lettuce, radish and whatever that evilgood sauce they add is. I will go back for these in a heartbeat.

I have to amend one point from my earlier post... they're called prawn betel leaf thingies, not shrimp. Based on last night's portion, the name was the only thing i have to correct, because they were as good as i remembered.

Six people waiting for food ahead of me at the takeout window. ordered on arrival, wait was maybe 15min. Restaurant was hopping.

Will be back. Lots.

2013 Aug 27
My recent experience (thursnite, early Aug 2013) was different from drop'.

Arrived about 540 on a random thursday. The restaurant was open but the cashier told me that the takeout window opens at 6. No problem, i hung out. By the time 6 rolled around there were five people in line behind me.

Ordered two fish tacos, two tongue tacos, and an order of the betel leaf shrimp thingies.

Order took about another 15 min. Line grew to about ten people while i waited. Restaurant was mostly full.

Order came out, cashier foiled it for transport, all good. $4/taco, $9 for the betel leaf thingies.

The fish tacos were solid. The fish itself is crispy, fresh /fried. The real flavor comes from the slaw, veg and sauce. Overall I really enjoyed these and would order them again.

The tongue tacos... were.... tongue. I can't say anything bad about them really... I have no doubt that someone who enjoys tongue will enjoy these. For me they just reminded me that there's a reason i didn't like tongue decades ago and apprently that part of my palate hasn't evolved since i was ten years old.

The betel leaf shrimp paste thingies were like crack cocaine and rainbows lightly fried and placed inside my head. The betel leaves are slightly breaded, crispy and have a kind of kale-like taste. The shrimp paste is pure shrimp candy. The overall effect is i want more. Right now. Right. NOW. RIGHT NOW YOU HEAR ME? Sorry, sorry...

On the grand scale of tacodom in Ottown, i still put Corazon as first, Ahora in second, mostly because authentic edges out neo-tacos for me, but Camino is right there neck and neck with Sidedoor for third in my head and the betel crack shrimp thingies may give them an edge.

Will totally be back, will send others, will sell you this lovely shirt and pair of jeans for some cash to get my betel leaf shrimp thing fix man, make me an offer, how much you got...?


2013 Aug 26
Two tacos, eight dollars, 40 minute wait. Was it worth it? Unfortunately, no. My friend and I arrived at El Camino at 12:20PM on Thursday. About 6-8 people were in front of us waiting to order and another 6-8 people were milling about in the little alcove waiting to get their order. Depending on the time, the area around the take out window does not have much shade so it can get uncomfortable depending on the temperature.

Twenty minutes later and we've put in our orders. I notice that orders come out in batches. I'm unsure on the exact number of tacos but about 4-5 orders get their tacos at the same time. The person who hands out the tacos is also the cashier and puts the taco dough in the flattening machine. This is the process: she hands out 4-5 orders, writes down 4-5 orders, rings it up on the cash register, puts the dough in the machine and repeat. She may have helped dole out meat and veggies as well but I don't remember. Regardless, this is very inefficient and makes me wonder why they don't have a dedicated cashier.

It is now 1PM and we have our tacos. I've ordered one crispy fish taco and one pork taco whereas my friend ordered two crispy fish tacos. The size of the taco makes me wonder if I should have ordered another two tacos. The pork taco is underwhelming. There is a lump of cold pork in the middle of the taco so one half of my taco has no meat. There are no spices that I can discern in the pork. The veggies don't add anything to the taste. The taco shell is soft but cold. The crispy fish fares better but only by a little bit. The fish has been fried but it isn't crispy or warm. It's quite bland. In fact, that seems to be the theme of the meal. We hurry back to work as we've been gone for more than an hour at this point.

In the end, would I go back? No. Even if I was at the front of the line and I only had to wait 20 minutes, there is better food out there that actually has some form of taste and will fill me up for less money. I realize this is a negative review but I was excited to hear about a new taco place. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to the hype.

2013 Jul 14
Was lucky enough to go here for a quick lunch the other day. I was disappointed that the restaurant wasnít open at lunch (I guess I didnít read the website correctly!) so we settled for the takeout window. We arrived late-ish (~1:30) but there were still several people ordering so we got in line.

We tried four tacos - chicken, lamb, crispy fish and beef tongue (based on the reviews of this taco by others I had to try it). Actually the beef advertised for lunch is not normally beef tongue but they were happy to make the substitution.

I found the space a bit awkward being down at the bottom of the stairs (sort of triangular). There was a short wooden shelf that had a roll of papertowel and some bottles of hot sauce on it which one group was using as their table but there really wasnít enough room for us so we took our meal across the street to the park (much more enjoyable).

After about 10 minutes, we got our cardboard dishes - each containing 2 tacos. My two were tongue and chicken. Tongue was amazingly spicy and very delicious. Never having eaten this before I was surprised that it sort of had the texture of a sausage. The chicken was less interesting but still good. The comments from across the picnic table were that the crispy fish was rather bland (surprising since we loved the fish tacos at Carmichaelís pop up last summer). The lamb was more well rounded.

Overall, good but not mind-blowing as I had hoped. Hopefully I can return soon at night time to get the complete experience of the restaurant and sample more of the menu.


2013 Jul 8
I've had the pleasure of visiting El Camino twice now, and my mouth is watering just thinking of how delicious both visits were. First visit had the guac and chips, a bit pricey at $9 but the gracamole is amazing so totally worth it. My favourite part is that they don't skimp on the jalapenos so they were studded throughout the guac to give a nice amount of heat. The tacos were all fabulous. In two visits i've tried them all. I love the crispy fish, could use a little bit less aioli but the rest is perfection. The beef tongue was not completely my taste (sad to say I don't love intense 'beef' flavour) but I appreciated how melt in your mouth it was!

Honourable mentions should be given to the salt and pepper squid which were perhaps the most tender specimens I have ever eaten (served with a tangy sweet and sour sauce, as well as the tuna which was melt in your mouth delicious (and served with wild ramps, yum). The best part of the night? The surprisingly cheap bill. On our first visit, a total of $55 including tax and tip (only one beer): can't get much better than that.

2013 Jun 23
Went to the Ribfest for a late lunch sat after a very late but hearty breakfast. After 1/2 rack of beef rib, 1/3 rack of pork ribs, a little bit of pulled pork (rest went home in a container and a beer plus an small iced coffee supreme over 3+ hours, I vacated due to the rain and lack of rain gear.

While driving home on Gladstone, decided to stop at El Camino to see if I can find the beef tongue taco and the Mexican corn I did not have. Might not have been the smartest idea I have had since harder to truly enjoy food when you are 3/4 stuffed.

Arrived at 6:30. Tried to get my favourite seat by the kitchen but was told it was reserved for the parents of the manager so was placed at the bar. I found it very noisy since the acoustics amplifies sound in the huge concrete rooms. I would not want to be there when it is complete full later on a Saturday night. While busy, there were table(s) still when I left at 7:15 since it was only half to 2/3 full when I arrived and the turnover is fast.

Ordered a cod taco, a beef tongue taco (which we missed on the meetup and is now on the regular menu), Mexican corn that crossed my eyesight on previous visit and a pint of Beaus.

The cod taco was good but far too much aioli for my taste. I would have preferred some guac or avocado instead. Thinking about it the jalapeno was buried down close to the cod under some serious cabbage and that might have been an issue for someone who is not as big on spicy food to pick them out.

The beef tongue taco was tasty and nicely grilled. It was flavourful and I think I would like it better than lamb on a side to side comparison. The slices of perfectly ripe avacodo is great.

The corn came after I started digging into the tacos and I think I would prefer to have had it before the taco. That is when I discovered I prefer my corn simple, just grilled with a light brush of butter and some seasonings. The cheese on top of the corn after the ribs and the tacos did not sit well so end up scraping them off. They offered to split the cob in two but I prefer mine whole. It could be good when sharing.

I really ran into issue when I was half way through the beer and found it a bit heavy after all the food and drinks I have had that day. End up leaving it since images of the life of Brian and the mint scene flashed through my eyes.

Originally I thought I would be far more frequent visitor here and while I like the food, the limited selection of items would put it at most every 2 weeks for me so maybe once or twice a month.

Maybe if they started introducing more weekly special taco. I would go in a heart beat if they had tripa taco which I had had in San Antonio.

One comment about the bathroom. When I got in, one of the two stalls was in not so good shape so I used the other one which was okay but not pristine. It was a bit after 7pm so they had been open at most a couple of hours. Not sure how often they check it. Also the bathroom was tight so when I was trying to exit, an employee came in rather fast and almost hit me with the door.


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Tacos 8


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2014 Feb 11
Crispy fish, pork and ox tongue tacos. I strongly preferred the ox tongue. It was special. The texture was just amazing. It reminded me of foie gras. The pork was similar to pulled pork in a BBQ sauce. The crispy fish was probably the least satisfying of the three. It is drizzled in a spicy mayo type sauce. Without that drizzle, the fish was kind of bland (I know cos my daughter had the sauce less version and couldn't finish so I did). Overall, decent tacos in a funky setting. The cocktails are my favourite part. I think I slightly prefer going to a more traditional Mexican restaurant for tacos such as Ahora or Corazon de Mais.




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2015 Oct 10
The Bourbon Sour is perfectly made here, and it's an obvious first choice for newcomers. The cocktail flavour combinations and balance are extremely well done. This is one of Ottawa's best house cocktail lists. You really can't go wrong!


Churros 3


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2014 Feb 12
I enjoyed an order of churros here after a scrumptious late night snack of tacos and was impressed. $5 gets you 4 of these little sticks of fried dough. They are rolled in sugar and served with a salted caramel dip that you can use as little or as much as you like. Just spectacular!




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