For all of Ottawa’s multiculturalism, we’re sadly lacking a single area of town devoted to Latin businesses and food culture. There are a few restaurants and food stores peppered throughout the city, but they remain distressingly few.
Mercado Latino on Montreal Road in Vanier (67 Montreal Road, just past Cummings Bridge) gives us two businesses in one convenient downtown(ish) location. Not only is it a great spot to pick up any ingredients you might need to attempt a home-cooked foray into Latin-American cuisine (okay, no fresh veggies, but they do have queso fresca!) – but on weekends, you can grab a bit of authentic Mexican street food: tacos.
Granted, they’re not gonna win any awards for choice – they only make one thing: pork tacos. But they make it well, and at $2.50 per taco, which includes fresh salsa verde along with some onion and cilantro, who’s gonna complain?!
We dropped in to their kitchen (at the back of the store) for the first time this past Saturday and were happily met by the man behind the stove – Leobardo. He owns the market with his wife, the friendly lady behind the cash.
Leobardo promptly cleared a spot for us at their only table (they mostly do carry-out orders) and set about whipping up our order of spicy tacos. And best of all, once we had our order, he picked up his guitar and set about serenading us with a couple of traditional Mexican songs. He’s got a great voice!
What a friendly place to grab a quick and delicious lunch.