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¡Viva Quetzal! Inside Partisans’ Riotous New Mexican Joint

Partisans has designed Quetzal, a new restaurant from Grant van Gameren, in the image – and decibel – of a Mexican market

By Bert Archer
Photography by Arash Moallemi

Grant van Gameren and partners’ new high-level pan-Mexican spot is defined by its ceiling, dropped as much as a metre in an undulating rhythm of panels reminiscent of the billowing cloth coverings of a Mexican market. Alex Josephson, co-founder of Partisans studio, which designed the space, talks about the “cleft” between the panels and the space that separates the bar from the cooking area. It’s a good description of the curvaceous details. (Co-founder Pooya Baktash’s favourite detail is the similarly curvilinear joinery on the bar, where Canadian maple meets concrete.)

Quetzal Toronto - Mexican Restaurant Partisans Architects

Co-chef and co-owner Kate Chomyshyn says the volume Partisans created translates directly into volume at meal times. “It gets really loud,” she says with a grin, “and a lot of fun.” Amid the happy noise, Chomyshyn and fellow co-chef and co-owner Julio Guajardo expand Toronto’s idea of what Mexican food can be, offering dishes inspired by not only Oaxaca and Guajardo’s native Mexico City, but also Puebla, Chiapas and Tabasco, and novelties like the Afro-Caribbean food of Veracruz and the pseudo-Mediterranean style of Baja California.

Originally published in The Reno Issue 2018 as Quetzal.

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