The Gilded Bellini at Toca Madera
Toca Madera – the all-organic Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood with a sexy twist on the traditional Mexican restaurant experience. It’s the number one go-to spot on West 3rd Street, dangerously close to the Beverly Center that is the destination for swanky farm-fresh cocktails and stellar Mexican cuisine.
Toca Madera is one of Hollywood’s hotspots, and Instagram socialites like Kaitlynn Carter of the famed Western Wild blog are avid TM brunchers. Gigi Hadid, Karrueche Tran and the Vanderpump Rules cast have also been seen here.
Walking into Toca Madera, you’re greeted into a bar area with gorgeous wooden hightop tables, lots of hanging bohemian-style hanging lamps, ornate candles amongst the dim lighting, and the restaurant’s gorgeous 100-foot crystal quartz bar that stacks over 100 tequilas. The sexy, WeHo scene type vibe is very apparent from the moment you walk into the space.
For my brunch at Toca Madera, we were lucky enough to be sat in the restaurant’s garden room, which is what it’s famous for! A stunning tree with flower petals (that actually light up when it’s nighttime) is the center of attention, with lots of hanging green plants sporadically placed around the room to create a very serene ambiance of natural beauty.
The walls are lined with gorgeous skull heads mounted on a purple backdrop, all carefully designed with intricate floral, leafy patterns for the ultimate “Dia De Los Muertos” vibe.
The cuisine at Toca Madera is a modern take on traditional Mexican food, and it’s the furthest thing from what’s expected. We first started with the fresh guacamole that’s made out of locally sourced avocados, pomegranate seeds, lime pepitas, jalepeno and cilantro, served with house-made crispy plantain chips on the side. This guacamole is EASILY the best I have ever had. With every bite, perfect blend of avocado and the burst of the pomegranate seeds were a tantalizing combination that worked so well together. The plantain chips are crisped to perfection, with an addictive taste and a very non-greasy texture.
I went with my favorite salad dish there: the Toca Salad. I ordered with Vegan version, which is the same as the non-vegan Toca Salad, but shaved vegan mozzarella is sprinkled on top included instead of the regular manchego cheese offered. The Toca Salad is another insanely fresh dish made of rocket arugula, tossed with tequila-soaked raisins (how cool is that?), and marcona almonds. It’s tossed with delicious chipotle honey-lime vinaigrette.
We also ordered Chicken and Waffle dish. But it’s not the typical chicken and waffles you’re probably thinking of. The waffle is a CHURRO WAFFLE.. What other restaurant on the planet do you know that serves a breakfast plate like this one? Toca Madera’s famous churro batter is pressed into a waffle and dipped in cinnamon sugar with mixed berries, tangy hot sauce, honey butter, and maple syrup. It’s nothing short of unbelievable, and has the same crunch and sweetness of the traditional churro, but is way better because of the yummy flavorings you can add on the side. The crispy chipotle chicken strips are served atop the waffle, and are the perfect savory item to balance out all that saccharinity from the sugar and cinnamon of the waffle. This dish is a combination like no other.
My cocktail was just as spectacular. A clever title of “Mexican 69,” it was made out of Avion silver, pomegranate, la pinta, prosecco and lime. If you know me, you know that my go-tos are champagne and tequila. The fact that this was a combo on the menu made my drink decision easy! It was sweet of course, but the bubbles offset the tequila and was the perfect balance. However, it was ridiculously strong (is that really a bad thing?) so if you order this, just know you’ll be okay with just one!
One other spot to check out during your Toca Madera visit: the restroom! I can’t speak for the men’s room, but the women’s is so cool. It’s decked with dozens of colorful, crazy portraits plastered up on the walls and ceiling of gorgeous women with sugar skull faces! It was so unexpected and a very creative concept to keep the theme of the restaurant going in the most unexpected places.
Before leaving Toca Madera, make sure to check out the photo booth, located next to the DJ booth and the bar. It’s a teeny room with a screen that takes your photo really quickly, and puts together a mini video of you! It’s super fun and there’s usually always a line outside the booth. If you go to Toca Madera, the photo booth is a MUST. Posting it on Instagram: also a must. Just be cautious because the room gets very hot pretty quickly, so try to take the best video you can in a few takes!
Toca Madera is one of the trendiest restaurants in West Hollywood, and for good reason. At Toca Madera, you’ll leave with an experience you can’t exactly get anywhere else and will be craving every all the creative, delectable dishes on the menu.
Next time I go, I’m totally getting the Churro Ice Cream Sandwich for dessert… Yes that’s right. Will report back once I try it!
8450 West 3rd Street
West Hollywood, CA 90048