La Mezcaleria is a Mexican restaurant located on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. They specialize in mezcal, which is a type of alcoholic drink made from agave (tequila is a type of mezcal) and innovative Mexican cuisine. La Mezcaleria is run by the same people as La Taqueria so you can also find tacos on the menu.
I was recently invited to come here for a tasting of some of their signature dishes. The atmosphere here is lively and fun and some nights during the week they have live music playing.
Horchata looks like a milky drink, but it is actually made from rice. It is flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon.
I loved this drink. It always makes me happy when I can find creamy dairy free drinks and this one was so good. It was lightly sweet and the cinnamon gave it a lovely comforting flavour.
The gin basil smash is made with gin, cherry tomatoes, basil, lemon, soda, and cane sugar. I had a non-alcoholic version, which was made the same way just minus the gin.
The flavour of this drink is really unique and fresh. I enjoyed the earthy, herbaceous flavour that the basil added and the hints of cane sugar and lemon brightened it up.
Ceviche is like a salsa that is made with raw fish or seafood. The citrus acid that is used to make ceviche sort of “cooks” the fish so it doesn’t appear raw. They have four different types of ceviche on the menu and if you order the ceviche flight you can sample them all.
Starting from the left, there is the scallop and coconut milk ceviche. This was mixed with jicama, pineapple, and Thai chile. This ceviche had a really interesting texture because the coconut milk made it creamy and thick. This ceviche had some spice to it, but the pineapple balanced it out with a bit of sweetness. The scallops were very juicy and they made me never want to eat cooked scallops again.
Next up was the aguachile, which was made with lime and lemon marinated scallops and albacore tuna with green apple, cucumber, and chile water. This was my least favourite of the ceviches. I enjoy spicy things, but I found the chile flavour in this one to be a bit overwhelming and one-dimensional.
The third ceviche was made with albacore tuna, avocado, lime, and pork chicharron. With ingredients like that, this was obviously my favourite. I liked how meaty the albacore tuna was and it was still a bit pink on the inside so it was very moist. The bits of chicharron (deep-fried pork skin) was a nice surprise. I loved the crunchy texture and salty flavour it added to the dish. The buttery, creamy chunks of avocado also made this dish extra delicious.
The last ceviche was made with Pacific red snapper, tomato, lime, red onion, serrano, and cilantro. This ceviche was like a salsa fresca with pieces of fish added to it. I also really liked this ceviche. It was simple, but everything tasted so fresh and flavourful.
I tried a vegetarian friendly dish called vege parillada, which was made with a grilled portobello mushroom that is marinated in a home-made pasilla chile sauce.
I was really surprised by how good this dish was. The grilled portobello mushroom was so flavourful and it had a meaty texture to it, so I didn’t even notice a lack of meat in the dish. The sauce it was grilled in was slightly sweet and combined with the other creamy sauce it was so good.
The tostadas de pato are served on a hard little tortilla and topped with Fraser Valley duck confit, guava, fruit mole sauce, chayote squash, and radish.
These tostadas are unlike anything I have had before. I have never seen duck used in Mexican cuisine before, but it was very good. The meat was pulled and super tender and the rich mole sauce went nicely with the duck meat. The shaved veggies on top looked so pretty and they added a fresh, clean, flavour to help balance out the indulgent meat.
I would highly recommend trying these, but be warned they are super messy! I didn’t really know how to eat them, but I just squished everything down and went at it.
I really enjoyed my experience at La Mezcaleria and I would definitely return because there is no other place like this in Vancouver. The dishes here are modern and fun and everything is very flavourful and delicious. The food was also so pretty and visually appealing, which is not normally something you encounter at Mexican restaurants.
Disclosure: I did not pay for my meal.
Yes, for delicious and innovative Mexican cuisine.