Tocaya Organica proves that you don’t have to sacrifice flavor by eating healthy. When I first heard that Tocaya Organica was “modern organic Mexican,” I feared that it would be an Americanized version of Mexican cuisine with bland fare. To my surprise, I found that their food to be quite tasty and even a little spicy.
Tocaya Organica recently opened in the Westfield Century City. Another entry into the fast casual dining market where you order at the counter, Tocaya is pretty stunning, with a wide open bright dining area.
The kitchen is behind a glass window so you can see the cooks busy at work, adding to the openness of the room. Tocaya uses locally-sourced organic produce and hormone-free/antibiotic-free/steroid-free meats in their tacos, burritos, salads and grain bowls. For vegans, there are two different proteins, vegan pecadillo and adobo tofu, and two vegan cheeses, as well.
The Burrito Mexicana featured black beans, rice, red onion, cilantro and arbol salsa, in a flour tortilla. The local wild-caught fresh sea bass had been rubbed with chipotle and seared, making it more flavorful that the typical fish burrito with a bit of heat.
For the less adventuresome youngster who has an aversion to spice, there’s a kid’s cheese quesadilla and Spanish rice.
Tocaya Organica has several iced teas and aqua frescas to pair with your meal. If you order the two taco combo, you’ll get two tacos, two sides and one of these drinks – all for $9.95.
There are four different styles of tacos to choose from – with eight proteins and five cheeses which you can mix and match. Pair that with your choice of two sides from fourteen on offer. It’s best to check out the menu and figure out what to order before you get to the register. Otherwise, you might be like the one couple at the register struggling with indecision the entire time we were in line.
The menu has little chili peppers next to some items to indicate spiciness level. I had thought that maybe they were an exaggeration, but I was wrong. The al pastor taco with grilled pineapple and salsa arbol, filled with achiote chicken and queso fresco, may have only had one chili pepper, but I was constantly reaching for that water cup.
The barrio style taco with roasted tomato salsa, avocado, red onion and cilantro with chicken tinga and queso manchego was not quite as spicy. The tacos are street taco sized – so a few bites per taco. Both tacos were great, and even though the al pastor was spicy, I really enjoyed the sweetness of the grilled pineapple which contrasted nicely with the heat of the salsa arbol.
The vegan tortilla soup, which had one chili pepper, was an exception to the spicy notation. I didn’t even realize that it was suppose to be spicy until I looked at the menu later.
The sweet potato bravas, which also had one chili pepper, was the spiciest of the bunch. I think it probably could have warranted two peppers, the chipotle and poblano peppers adding a kick to the yams, bell peppers, onion and cotija cheese.
Should you wish to dine al fresco, there’s a large patio area to taking advantage of the wonderful Los Angeles weather.
Tocaya Organica is the perfect L.A. restaurant, with healthy organic Mexican food served in a fashionable setting. For a reasonable price, you can enjoy your food and feel good about what you’re eating. I’m sold.
Location – 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90067. Additional locations in West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Playa Vista and Venice.
Website – http://www.tocayaorganica.com
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes