Authentic Oaxaca in Esquimalt

Monday's Allan Reid reviews Restaurante La Tortilla Mexicana in Esquimalt

Allan Reid

I have heard both extreme positions on Restaurante La Tortilla Mexicana. Some despise it; others love it. I fall in the love camp.

La Tortilla Mexicana is a quaint family run establishment that asserts to provide authentic Mexican food as served in the Oaxaca (pronounced wat-a-ka) province. I have been to Oaxaca, and I can affirm the authenticity of their claim. Folks who expect Mexican restaurants to provide large portions of heart destroying rich foods, heavy on ground beef, molten cheddar or jack cheese, all wrapped in tortillas and covered in guacamole, sour cream and salsa and accompanied by thick pasty refried beans will be surprised. On my recent visit, I ordered the Chicken Enchilada Molé. Molé is a spicy tomato-chocolate sauce. Yes, Chocolate. No, it is not sweet. La Tortilla Mexicana’s Molé is also not very spicy. For those of us who want to crank up the heat a little, order a condiment of house made hot sauce. My three enchiladas (chunks of chicken wrapped in soft tortillas) were each about five inches long and generously coated in Molé. The plate also included three sides: a saffron rice, refried beans, and a slaw salad. The saffron rice is good, but not outstanding. The refried beans are almost the antithesis of the typical slop sold in other Mexican restaurants. These beans, like everything else, are house-made. They are not so thick and pasty as most refried beans, with some of the beans remaining intact and identifiable. They have a nutty and earthy flavour that is lacking in the typical refried paste. The cabbage slaw is very simple and amazingly refreshing. The cabbage is shredded very thin, topped with a tomato slice and sprinkled with grated Cotija cheese. This is a mild fairly soft cheese that grates into quite fine curds.

On this visit, my dining companions ordered the Empañada Machaca. An empañada looks like a large Mexican pierogi that has been deep fried.

Machaca is one of the five fillings that are available for most of the dishes offered, including Huarache (pronounced war-aw-chae), Quesadilla, and Tacos.

Machaca is a white fish marinated in orange and accompanied with creamy Oaxaca cheese.

The fish and cheese are folded into a tortilla, which is then deep fried, crisping the tortilla and melting the cheese. It is served with the house slaw. At just $7.00, one empañada is an inexpensive but satisfying lunch. For an extra $5.00 refried beans and saffron rice can be added.

Folks who avoid Mexican food because of its spice, need not worry here. Spice is always under your control. It comes in little steel pots of red or green sauce:. Even the salsa is not hot, but it is exceptionally fresh.

Don’t like cilantro? Ask for a fresh batch of salsa to be made  just for you. Try to get that anywhere else. Which brings me to my last point. The service is very friendly and accommodating, but as everything is made to order, the food does not arrive quickly.

 

Restaurante

La Tortilla Mexicana

 

910 Esquimalt Road, Victoria, BC V9A 3M6

778-433-1331

 

latortillamexicana.com

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future

Royal BC Museum dives into the world of orcas with upcoming feature exhibition

Frank Ludwig in a forklift with his long hair during Trooper’s heyday. (Photo submitted)
Humble Island beginnings blossomed into storied career for Trooper keyboardist

Frank Ludwig got his start as a boy pumping the organ in a tiny downtown Chemainus church

Joan Miller with the Vancouver Island North Regional Film Commission says there’s much room for optimism in the region rebounding from COVID-19 and is excited about what the future holds for the region. Black Press File Photo
North Island film industry optimistic about post-COVID rebound

Interest in filming here is still high, according to film commission, once things open back up

The 10-part Netflix series Maid, which is being exclusively shot in Greater Victoria, has been filming in Langford and Colwood over the past two weeks. On April 7, filming will take place on the east side of the Esquimalt Lagoon. (Black Press Media file)
Netflix series ‘Maid’ filming in Colwood

10-episode Warner Bros. production filmed exclusively in Greater Victoria

Victoria mural artists Joshua Lundrigan (from left) and Paul Archer join Rob Chyzowski, co-owner of Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner in front of an Archer-designed mural that went up on Thursday at the Inner Harbour restaurant. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Positivity rules with new outdoor mural from Victoria artist

Paul Archer teams with Belleville’s Watering Hole and Diner for patio project

Thomas Kuecks, Bellamy Kuecks and Paula Foot have come together to create an album of stories for children. (Nina Foot photo)
Moments with Miss Paula creates musical stories for kids

Music and the spoken word from Island pair available on streaming

Author Eden Robinson poses for a portrait during an interview in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Trickster trilogy author Eden Robinson hosts online conversation and reading

Haisla and Heiltsuk will join fans in event hosted by Vancouver Island Regional Library

Nanaimo author Lawrence Winkler’s latest book is ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa.’ (Bulletin file photo/supplied)
Nanaimo author wraps up trilogy following ‘antihero’ Island doctor

Lawrence Winkler presents ‘The Last Casebook of Doctor Sababa’

‘Frank Ney’ by Patrick Flavin, ‘Millstone River Upper Falls’ by John Collison Baker, ‘Labyrinth of Dreams’ by MA Molcan, ‘On the Other Side’ by Liana Ravensbergen, ‘December Snow’ by Laurel Karjala and ‘Jacks Point’ by Dana Smiley (cropped, clockwise from top-left) are among the works in the Nanaimo Arts Council’s latest exhibition. (Photos courtesy Nanaimo Arts Council)
Nanaimo Arts Council presents its first online gallery show

Submissions now open for upcoming ‘Ekphrastic Celebration’ show

Dorothy Sevcov’s exhibition ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ is on display at Art 10 Gallery until the end of the month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Experimental paintings now on exhibit at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Dorothy Sevcov’s ‘Having Fun With Acrylics’ on display through April

Courtenay artist Christine Boyer presents Alongside My Path: Native Wildflowers of Canada at Gallery Merrick from April 9 to 23. (Photo courtesy Christine Boyer)
Island painter shows off the wildflowers of Western Canada in first solo show

Courtenay’s Christine Boyer presents floral exhibit at Nanaimo’s Gallery Merrick

Nanaimo Harbourfront Library librarian April Ripley led the effort to create a Vancouver Island poetry booklet in recognition of National Poetry Month. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Harbourfront Library publishes booklet for National Poetry Month

Collection features winners of ‘Poem in your Pocket’ contest

SENCOTEN language revitalizationist and filmmaker Renee Sampson’s short film, Bringing Our Language Back to LIfe, shows online during the Reel 2 Real International Youth Film Festival, April 14-23. (Photo courtesy Wapikoni)
SENCOTEN language featured in short film created on Saanich Peninsula

Renee Sampson film highlights importance of passing on traditional languages to youth

Most Read