El Maizal
By YP Contributor

Authentic Mexican Cuisine In Liberty Village

Open since June 2012, Maizal brings a refreshing and simple approach to Toronto's Mexican food scene. "Authentic Mexican cuisine has to be very simple, and dishes prepared from the freshest ingredients available. That's how our mothers and grandmothers prepared dinners, and it's definitely something they inculcated in us," says Ivan Wadgymar, who owns Maizal with partner and friend Gabriela Leuarte.

The duo focuses on serving simple yet tasty dishes, a refreshing approach when considering the staggering efforts restaurants put into reinventing dishes or giving classics a more aesthetic look. None of that here: Maizal is all about handmade, fresh Mexican dishes.

"We strive to cook with as much locally sourced produce and ingredients as possible," Ivan says. "Since I've worked with many organizations in agriculture, it's very important to me that our suppliers are located as close as possible. We care greatly about food production and provenance; through the table, we want to make people aware that their food is the product of someone's hard work. Nothing is processed, and we prepare everything from raw ingredients." Maizal even operates its own molino, a corn grinder used in the preparation of tortillas.

We always try to bring as much locally grown produce to the table as we can, whether it's snowing or blazing hot out. In the winter, we use the tomatoes we can at the end of summer, so there's always something local on the plate. - Ivan Wadgymar, co-owner
El Maizal

Two Friends, Two Backgrounds, One Passion

Ivan and Gabriela have been friends for years. One day, Gabriela came up with the idea to open her own restaurant, a project that immediately resonated with Ivan. Soon, the duo started their collaboration, working on dishes in their free time. "We did a lot of research, both on the culinary and business sides of things," recalls Ivan. "That led us to visit some spaces in Liberty Village, and eventually we found the one, which housed a place that had just closed; everything was in order and offered us the opportunity to start operating in close to no time, so we jumped at the occasion."

Gabriela's community-oriented background and Ivan's environment-focused academic training make for a socially and environmentally conscious business, something that's very important to the duo. "We always try to bring as much locally grown produce to the table as we can, whether it's snowing or blazing hot out," says Ivan. "In the winter, we use the tomatoes we can at the end of summer, so there's always something local on the plate."

All this is done without any formal cookery training. Ivan explains, "Maizal was born out of the passion we share for Mexican cuisine and its tasty, simple dishes."

El Maizal

Dining Options for All Tastes

Catering to everyone from carnivores to vegans has attracted a diverse crowd to Maizal, whether they're after the restaurant's delectable dishes or its friendly vibes. "I'm very proud of the people here," says Ivan. "We're all good friends and we interact a lot with our customers, whom we consider our friends. It's almost like family; we're close, the ambiance is fun and laid-back, and we enjoy a tight-knit community."

El Maizal
Close menu