When the organic, upscale Mexican spot Toca Madera opened last summer, we gushed about everything from the pomegranate seed-studded guacamole to the super-sexy scene.
Now, Toca’s new fast-casual sister restaurant Tocaya Organica has arrived in Venice (coming also to West Hollywood soon)—and it’s a (plantain) chip off the old block.
Tocaya is considerably more laidback than Toca, with an order-at-the-counter format and a beach-shack vibe. The menu is much more informal, with customizable bowls, salads, tacos and burritos. But the conscientious sourcing, super-fresh Mexican flavors and abundant vegetarian and vegan options prove that this organic apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
With rare exceptions, Tocaya’s produce is certified organic and local; it’s the driving force of the menu. All of the dishes start off as vegan (and gluten-free, except for the flour tortilla-wrapped burritos), and then you add your protein and queso (cheese) of choice.
We especially loved the arugula salad ($12)—tossed with tequila-soaked raisins, crunchy marcona almonds and chipotle honey-lime vinaigrette—and the sweet potato-green lentil bowl ($12), packed with garbanzo beans, cilantro-infused brown rice and pickled onions. Taco-wise ($3), standouts include the fresh-tasting “Cali green,” a butter lettuce “shell” stuffed with jicama slaw, and the “barrio style” option, a corn tortilla filled with tomatillo salsa, avocado and red onion.
What goes on top? Vegans can opt for soyrizo (ground soy “sausage” with spices and chilies) or chipotle-dusted tofu (both non-GMO), along with a choice of surprisingly tasty vegan cheeses made from tapioca and arrowroot. Meat eaters can choose from wild-caught mahi mahi or free-range meats including organic chicken (grilled or stewed with chilies), organic chipotle ground turkey or that Toca favorite, grass-fed carne asada (+$1.95); add organic queso fresco or pepper jack cheese.
And, much to our delight, you can get Toca’s insanely good guacamole ($3) here, too—with plantain chips, naturally.
1715 Pacific Ave., Venice