I love Mexican food with a passion. And like any good foodie, I’m always on the hunt for a restaurant that showcases not just the best ingredients, but it’s also innovative enough to keep me coming back.
Such a restaurant is El Santo in New Westminster. Named after the famous Mexican wrestler, this contemporary eatery is conveniently located off Columbia St, in the heart of the Waterfront District.
Let’s start with attention to detail: El Santo’s authentic Mexican flavours begin at the source – Like chilies and spices imported directly from Mexico. Fresh ingredients include locally sourced meats and vegetables and herbs grown in-house.
Some of the new flavours in the new summer menu include:
Risotto con Huitlacoche ($20) – a creamy mix of manchego cheese, microgreens and of course; huitlacoche. For those who don’t know, huitlacoche is a fungus that grows in organic corn, and it’s known as a delicacy in Mexico.
Panza con Mole ($26) – for the pork belly fans – this confit Fraser Valley pork belly is what dreams are made of. So crispy and yet tender. Served with ginger mole, roasted peppers and greens. If you’re friends with pork, definitely try this.
As far as appetizers go, you can’t go wrong with the Zanahorias con Cafe ($7) – rainbow carrots roasted in coffee, with chapulin aioli, cilantro, and toasted cumin meringue. Oh, and by the way – chapulin is grasshopper – so yay for extra protein!
If eating grasshoppers is too adventurous for you, you should try the Ensalada de Jicama ($7) – JIcama is a Mexican yam that’s refreshing and crunchy. This version is served with caramelized anchovy dressing, chicharron, and manchego cheese.
Although the El Santo’s new menu moves away from some of the usual Mexican restaurant fares, you will find some traditional favourites still, such as tacos, chevice, and one of their original dishes – the trio of salsas.
While you’re dining here, make sure to try a cocktail with your meal – I recommend El Hipster ($13) A blend of amaretto, lime, egg white, and grilled apricot infused mezcal. Not a mezcal fan? Ask their talented bartenders for a suggestion, they’re guaranteed to please.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of El Santo for this tasting. I was not paid for this review and my opinions are my own.