Mis Trucos – Modern Mediterranean Tapas Bar

Sorry! Restaurant is now CLOSED. (Trust me, I’m as sad as you are)

Restaurant: Mis Trucos – Modern Mediterranean Tapas Bar
Cuisine: Mediterranean/Tapas (tad Portuguese)
Last visited: March 14, 2010
Area: Vancouver, BC (West End/Downtown)
1141 Davie Street
Price Range: $20-30

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5 (Updated post here)
Service: 4.5
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 4.5
Additional comments:

  • See updated post: Mis Trucos Review/Visit 2
  • Specializes in Mediterranean tapas
  • Seats 20-30
  • Lounge area, bar area, limited dining area
  • Only Spanish wines
  • Familiar to locals
  • Moderately priced (I think quite reasonable)
  • Much more worth it to go with 4
  • Menu designed for individual/group dining
  • Serves tapas for one
  • Great for drinks & tapas
  • Food made in small batches
  • Limited dining area
  • Large patio at the back
  • Only Spanish wines

Recommendations:: Crispy bread gulf prawn, braised octopus, wild venison tartar, lobster risotto

Mis Trucos is a little Mediterranean tapas restaurant on Davie Street. It’s tucked away in a vintage looking abandoned house. The location is mysterious and it’s a word of mouth place that’s familiar to locals living in the neighborhood. It reminds me Lupo Restaurant + Vinoteca, in terms of ambiance, but more casual. You feel like you’re going to a friend’s house although depending on where you sit the ambiance is completely different. I suggest sitting at the bar or lounge. The dining room feels cold and echo-y with the Ikea like furniture.

The food is contemporary and has West Coast flavours so everything in unique and crafted carefully in small batches. The flavours are quite simple but the execution and ingredients are creative. The menu is designed in a way where you can dine on your own or with a group and still be able to sample many items. However it’s much more worth it to go with a group of 4 and that’s what I strongly suggest. It’s a strong focus on tapas so you want to make a dent in those.

On this occasion I was joined with Richard of VancouverFoodster. I actually returned a few days later to try the venison tartar which is apparently a must try – matched with their boldest Spanish red wine (nice and spicy). I’m glad I did! I was able to try a couple more items, which I did not ask for, but appreciated and will specify in the review.

Overall it was a great experience both times and I’m looking forward to my next visit at Mis Trucos. I love variety when I dine out so that may be part of the reason to why I enjoyed it so much. It’s the only place I know that serves tapas for one.

On the table:

Gilda (marinated white anchovy, hot pepper + olive)2.5/6

    • Tapas – $1.90 each or $6 for 4 (complimentary)
    • This isn’t for everyone. It’s a bold flavour for such a small hors d’oeuvre.
    • It’s very salty and pickled tasting with quite a tang. It’s fishy tasting with a salty anchovy and olive. Very strong flavours that linger.
    • I couldn’t taste the hot pepper and it wasn’t spicy though.

**Crispy bread wrapped wild gulf prawn + aioli5/6

    • Tapas – $2.50 each or $8 for 4
    • This was like Ebi Mayo Mediterranean style. I loved these.

  • It was like a thin crispy and crunchy Melba toast wrapped around a prawn and baby shrimps. I thought it would be one large prawn but there were baby shrimps and I found the prawn a bit on the smaller side. It didn’t matter because it was delicious. It wasn’t creamy or saucy inside. It was just lightly marinated shrimp with ground fennel seeds.
  • At the bottom was a homemade aioli – it tasted like tangy lemon mayo with a little dill and ground fennel seed which brought a very mildly sweet licorice taste. Very thick and creamy and they give you lots for triple dipping!
  • The crunchy shrimp, crispy cracker and creamy mayo was a nice alternative to the typical deep fried and battered prawn.

House-made chorizo stuffed squid + tomato fondue3/6

  • Tapas – $2.90 each or $9 for 4
  • This is another one of their signature items.
  • 1 order comes with 2 mini squids
  • The chorizo was smoky and slightly spicy. It was made with lean meat so it was almost like a ground pork meatball or even meatloaf but drier.

  • The squid was good and tender and it was topped with a minty and herby sauce. Nice flavours, milder and less savoury than I expected, and nothing was overpowering.
  • I didn’t care for the white beans it was served on though. They weren’t very flavourful besides the basil oil that was drizzled on top of them.

Cocac (catalan flatbread) with chorizo + anchovy 3/6

  • Tapas – $4 each or $12 for 4
  • This was good, but also very regular and something I could get at another restaurant.
  • It was a very thin and crispy flatbread baked with tomato paste and chorizo topped with a anchovy.
  • The chorizo was very minced and it came off as fresh bacon bits – so they’re not crunchy but almost jerky like. I noticed a lot of things are very minced here actually.
  • It was savoury, slightly spicy and also a little tangy from the tomato paste with a salty bite of anchovy that wasn’t as predominant in flavour as I thought it would be.

**Braised octopus, potato foam + spicy guanciale 4/6

  • Tapas – $3 each or $9.50 for 4
  • I don’t remember it being spicy. Guanciale is unsmoked Italian bacon made from pork cheek. I couldn’t taste or even see much of it but it was sautéed with minced onions or shallots. The flavour was more like barbeque sauce and it came off as cous cous in barbeque sauce.

  • The octopus was a small piece of tentacle but it was very good. The texture was unlike any octopus I’ve had before. It was the texture of firm cheese. Like a firm mozzarella stick. It wasn’t chewy at all and I liked it.
  • My favourite part to this was the potato foam, which there was a lot of. It was almost like polenta – I’d call it s a potato mousse before I would foam.

Corned duck with horseradish potato salad 3.5/6

  • Tapas – $3.20 each of $10 for 4 (complimentary)
  • I wouldn’t be able to tell it was horseradish – it wasn’t spicy at all. It was tangy and tasted like a light sour cream dressing with lemon pepper and other fresh herbs – I think thyme and Italian flat leaf parsley.

  • The duck was good, but it also wasn’t the best duck I’ve had. It was salty and tender and the layer of fat wasn’t appetizing but it did keep the meat moist and juicy. I prefer duck skin crispy though. It just had a salty flavour.

**Wild venison tartar, brioche, truffle + quail’s egg6/6

  • Tapas – $3.70 each or $11 for 4
  • It’s not gamey; it’s very tender and the texture of salmon sashimi, but the flavour of beef. It’s not even as meaty tasting as rare steak.
  • I could smell the truffle oil and taste it on the tartar.
  • The brioche was warm and completely toasted until crispy. It was buttery too.

  • It was creamy, crunchy, salty, tangy and aromatic with celery salt, white pepper and rock salt. The spices on top were very strong and aromatic and almost came off as MSG in appearance and flavour. It really brought out the flavours of everything though. A delicious appetizer and house favourite!
  • The marinade for the tartar was what I think is the house made aioli (tangy lemon mayo w/ground fennel that’s very mildly sweet). They used it as the dip for the gulf prawn tapas…these 2 were also my favourite tapas.
  • 1 is a bit pricey, 4 is worth it. It’s a must try though.

Pine-nut, raisin, spinach + parmesan dip with crostini 3.5/6

  • Share plate – $7
  • It was basically spinach and artichoke dip – it was very good, but I could get something very similar at Cactus Club, Milestone’s etc.
  • It wasn’t very unique compared to everything else – although it was still good.
  • It was creamy, cheese, rich and there were pine nuts (size of rice) chopped throughout. The raisins were also coarsely chopped but it took the 3rd crostini to actually see and taste it. It added a very subtle sweetness and I wouldn’t have guessed they were in there if I wasn’t told.
  • The crostini was fresh, crispy and made in house drizzled with olive oil.

  • The server actually saw that there was half a spoonful of dip left and brought us another round of crostini! It was complimentary too. Talk about good service!

**White truffle + lobster risotto, herbed crème fraiche 6/6

  • Main – $16
  • This is one of the most popular things there and favourite to many. Add me to the list!
  • It was very delicious and it does stick out to me.
  • It’s very rich and creamy so it’s best to be shared because the whole thing would be heavy.
  • It’s one of the richest, creamiest and best risottos I’ve had especially with the additional crème fraiche. It was pretty much eating cream cheese, sour cream, butter and heavy whipping cream altogether. Top it with lobster + mushroom flavour (truffle oil) how can you go wrong?
  • I could smell the truffle oil and I tasted it in certain bites. I could have used some fresh portabella mushrooms in there as well to make it over the top.
  • There was a decent amount of lobster sautéed in butter and with the truffle oil it was amazing. The tanginess and cheesiness topped it all off and I thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
  • This is a dish that shouldn’t be missed.

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