• Casual,

Languages Spoken

  • English,
631 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G 1K8
Useful Information

Opening Hours *Holiday hours



  • < $10,

Methods of Payment:

Meet the owner

While walking past the kimchi-filled restaurants and specialty grocery stores of Koreatown, one little cafe dares to stand out from the rest, representing cultures halfway across the globe. That cafe is Ave Maria, a Latin American-themed spot that introduces Torontonians to that region’s best food and drink, as well as offering a place for the Latin community to meet.

While husband-and-wife owners Maria-Jose Suarez and Aland Portillo are from Colombia, they’ve chosen to represent countries from across the region. “We have food here that is from Argentina, El Salvador, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico,” says Aland, a former executive chef and the mastermind behind Ave Maria’s unique Latin menu. “The basic diet of a Latin America is based in corn. There are a lot of items on the menu that are made from corn – for example, the bread that we call arepas.”

Aland fills these fluffy flatbreads with pulled pork, guacamole and caramelized onions. And along with their signature arepas, Ave Maria also serves up empanadas, tamales and cubanos, made with a variety of fillings that reflect Latin America’s unique cuisines. But don’t forget the hot sauce, which Aland makes in-house. “The homemade Colombian hot sauce that I prepare is called ají,” Aland explains. “In our country, an empanada without the hot sauce is not empanada!" adds Maria.

Read the story of Ave Maria Latin Cafe

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Appears in 2 Smart Lists

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Best Restaurants for Cheap Eats in Toronto

Best Restaurants for Cheap Eats in Toronto

This sweet little spot in Little Korea is filled with homemade Columbian food as well as grocery items. Delectable handmade fare by owners Maria and Alan include Tamales ($7), Arepas ($6-$7), Empanadas ($2) and a variety of sweets. The empanadas are so good, there’s no way you’re getting just one. And with all that money left over, you can indulge in homemade desserts and pick up a few groceries to take home.

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Best Restaurants for National Cake Day in Toronto

Best Restaurants for National Cake Day in Toronto

This little coffee shop and Latin American grocery in Koreatown also happens to have phenomenal homemade food (tamales, arepas and empanadas) and desserts. A must-have is their Mexican-style Homemade Tres Leches Cake ($4 slices/$48 for a whole cake for 20 ppl). Drenched in milk, yet not soggy, rich in taste but not soggy, you’ll wonder how you’ve lived this long without this cake in your life.

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