Toronto’s best tacos al pastor

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, chefs Mark McEwan and chef Elia Herrera of Los Colibris take on tacos al pastor, the most classic pork spit-roasted taco money can buy.

A) ELIA & MARK’S WINNER: GOOD HOMBRES
This small takeout taco steals the show and both their hearts. Elia loves the spicy kick and the pineapple, to help balance the heat. “It seems like it’s been cut the traditional way, shaved off the trompo, which I love.” Mark agrees: “Without question, [this one was] the most flavourful.”
374 Bathurst St., $3.75

B) EL NAHUAL
Elia’s runner-up, El Nahual in the new Annex Food Hall, served up an authentic al pastor with charred pineapple and salsa crudo. Both Elia and Mark note that they made their own tortillas in house. “Good aroma on the tortilla, and you know it’s a fresh tortilla,” says Mark.
384 Bloor St., $4.50

C) MARIACHI’S 
This one is Mark’s second pick. “It’s moist, it’s tender, it’s tasty, the spicing is right,” he says about this taco from Mariachi’s at Yonge and Eglinton. Elia agrees. “Nice and spicy,” she says. She also thinks the crunchy corn chips on top are a fun touch.
2084 Yonge St. $16.95/three tacos 

Elia Herrera’s top picks each had a strong pineapple presence to counter a spicy kick whereas Mark McEwan’s make or break factor was the tortilla — he preferred the corn-based variety.

D) EL TROMPO
These smaller tacos from the sole representative of the many taco shops in Kensington Market finds favour with neither of the judges. Elia says it needed more marinade, and Mark praises its filling. “The meat is good, but there was just no love in that tortilla,” he says.
277 Augusta Ave., $11.87/five tacos

E) CALI MEXICAN GRILL
This build-your-own taco and burrito place near Yorkdale loses points with Mark for its tortilla, but he praises its moist and tender filling. Elia likes its freshness. “This is more like a braise,” Elia notes. “I’m glad they put some tomatoes as well, to add more freshness.”
325O Dufferin St., $9.45/three tacos

F) EL BOCHO
A Richmond Hill stalwart, El Bocho wins points from Mark for its aroma. “The tacos have a really nice corn nose to them, so your first impression is very, very good,” he says. He finds it overall well balanced with a nice tortilla. Elia thinks that it needs seasoning.
10133 Yonge St., $12.50/three tacos