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The Early Word on Barrio Coreano on Bloor Street


It's only been open a few weeks, but Barrio Coreano, the newest addition to the Playa Cabana empire is already getting a lot of press. The menu is Mexican but with a definite influence from its Koreatown location: think yuzu tuna tacos and soju sangrias. The vibe of the restaurant is as hip as the fusion menu, with neon lights and distressed wooden tables. So far, diners are split on the food, the concept, and the space. Here's what they have to say:

The Great Vibe News: Over on Yelp the tacos and the lively atmosphere of Bario Coreano get some love: "The restaurant had great tacos ( some of the best in Toronto by far) and an amazing vibe. The one thing I will say is that it's very busy, lively and happening. People are everywhere and very social and friendly. If you're looking for a more low key, quiet, organized night, this probably isn't the best pick for you, but if you like a lively dinner with people milling about, talking, laughing and having a good time, then definitely give it a try!" [Yelp]

The Overpriced and Over-salted News: This review takes exception to the prices and the sodium content of the food: "Barrio Coreano does things averagely at a higher pricepoint. ...The Guac was good- but there was nothing Korean about it- and the chips are traditional maize-thick -corn but SOOOO OVERSALTED I had to wipe the chip down on my napkin.This is definitely a kitchen oversight on quality control- I don't expect this to be a consistent problem." [Yelp]

The Weird But Good News: Blog TO thinks the food is at times bewildering, but delicious: "K-Mex Slaw ($12) doesn't sound altogether appetizing and yet somehow, even with the improbable inclusion of cubed cheese... it works. It's a fresh and crunchy mix of rice wine-dressed corn, black beans, jalapeno slivers, crunchy tortilla sticks, pico de gallo, scallions, shredded cabbage, carrots, radish, daikon and cheese." [Blog TO]

The Preferential Treatment News: This Yelper couldn't appreciate his meal because of the poor service: "Upon entering we were told it'd be a 20-30 minute wait... After 30 minutes a server points to a table who's occupants are leaving, and tells us that it's ours. He'd just need a few moments to clear it up. Perfect! We're starving! Unfortunately another guy server, who was clearly enamoured with the two ladies that JUST walked in, decided to lead them directly to our table and seat them! This rubbed me the wrong way...naturally... I really wanted to like this place. I love the Playa Cabana Cantina location in the junction, and could eat there every day. But unfortunately the mix-up with our table threw a psychological wrench in our ability to relax and enjoy my meal." [Yelp]

The Great News: Blogger Jess files a glowing review of the hip space and the tacos. On the ambiance: "It just feels like a cool place to be. Loud music in a dark space with a red glow from all the neon signs in the room. With its grungy décor and long, narrow space, it kinda feels like you're in a back alley. Despite the narrowness of the space, there's plenty of seating which is a definite plus since they don't take reservations. On the food: "The taco highlights for me were the Chipotle Kampungki Chicken and Korean Beef. The large chunks of chicken were lightly battered and topped with shredded radish, green onions, onions and jalapenos. The Korean beef was equally delicious – tender pieces melt-in-your-mouth beef topped with refreshing pickled veg and cilantro. Watch out, this one is deceivingly spicy!" [Where Jess Ate]

The Mediocre News: This Chowhound review doesn't like the food or the concept : "I definitely thought Playa Cabana Hacienda was better. I found the guacamole over salted and let the staff know. They brought us a new batch which was just as salty. We tried 4 of the 5 tacos and thought they were mediocre. The yuzu tuna taco was just heavily battered tuna. I liked the spicy carnita taco the best. The chorizo spring rolls tasted like spring rolls from a fast food place. The chorizo made it very oily on top of the fried wrapper. Overall, I don't think the Korean ingredients enhanced the menu." [Chowhound]

The Fun News: This Urban Spoon review explains the scene and praises the food: "The atmosphere screams Las Vegas meets Cubana carnival in a factory. It's a fun vibe. The spicy carnita taco was awesome. Textures, flavours and presentation were great. The homemade chips were great and the guac was pretty solid. All around impressed and will be back." [Urban Spoon]

- Layla Khabiri

· All Coverage of Barrio Coreano [~ETOR~]

Barrio Coreano

642 Bloor St W, ,

Barrio Coreano

642 Bloor Street W Toronto, ON M6G 1K9