Maiz Latin Food has been open a few months now on Yonge Street, near Lawrence. Husband and wife Iris and Fernando are bringing their Venezuelan roots to the midtown area with recipes handed down from their mothers and grandmothers- Fernando’s mother owned an arepa restaurant in their home country. Bound by these roots, they’ve created a menu that offers Torontonians an opportunity to get authentic eats, no passport required.
Fernando previously worked at The Mad Mexican, cranking out ready to go food like yes, guac and salsa, chips and dips. Knowing that he wanted more than that, for himself, his family, and for the city, he set out to find a location, and found a tidy spot, previously occupied by a veal sandwich restaurant, and with Iris, did a renovation and got to work on bringing his latin roots into the spotlight.
Creating plates that are healthy was important to them both. They want kids and families to come in and be able to enjoy and eat their food several times a week, with no regrets. Eating the rainbow never looked so good! Maiz offers Arepas ($11), a close replication to what Fernando’s mom made at her restaurant, here with loads of options- carnitas, carne, chorizo, chicken and veggie too. Bowls are a smart bet, with rice, beans, crema and your choice of protein.
Chips and guac are a natural starter, as is the warm and slightly spicy and salty Tortilla Soup ($9). Made with a chili broth and topped with shards of tortilla chips, the soup is a perfect meal to thaw out to. Maiz makes their own lemonade too, in ready to go bottles, in either regular or Papelon flavour ($4). Happily, they are licenced too, so crush a Michelada ($9), a Corona beer tipped out into a mug of lime juice, chipolte chili, sea salt and tajin, a zesty spice that is used to flavour fruits and veggies, think of it like Mexican seasoning salt.
Focusing on fresh ingredients, using organic and top notch local produce means Maiz really is going after the abuela (grandmother) angle. Their employees, most from Latin america as well, are at home here. Our one server’s own mother was delighted to learn that he was working somewhere where he was eating well, and getting taken care of. This connection has a trickle down effect- it’s not just the spicy food that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy.
Thanks Maiz for having us in!