The nacho is one of the world’s most perfectly balanced foods. The salty crunch of the tortilla chips, the gooey richness of the cheese, the freshness of the veggies, and the spice of the meat all come together in one gorgeous pile of Mexican-inspired perfection.
While they may not be the ideal food to bring to a high tea and you probably won’t find too many weddings serving nachos at the reception, a plate of nachos is the perfect dish for more casual scenarios. Grabbing some drinks with your friends, out for dinner with your family, or even grab them to bring to the big game or an afternoon barbeque.
Thankfully, London has a great many restaurants where you can explore the joy that is nachos. From authentic Latin American kitchens to sports bars, nachos are a common appetizer. However, not all nachos are created equal, there are many pitfalls to avoid when crafting your platter: stale or soggy chips, poor topping ratio, or the dreaded processed, plasticky cheese can ruin an otherwise excellent plate of nachos.
The London establishments on this list have navigated those troubled waters and have come through the other side, serving up perfect platters again and again to their patrons. Read on to discover where you can find the glory that is nachos nearest you.
Squire Pub & Grill
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
109 Dundas St. (map)
Arguably one of the best ways to enjoy nachos is to share them with the table over a round of cold drinks. At the Squire, this dream can become a reality that will not disappoint.
The Squire’s nachos are absolutely loaded up with goodness. Their chips are fried in-house from fresh corn tortillas. Then they’re topped with olives, tomatoes, pickled jalapenos, red onion, scallions, sour cream, and homemade salsa. If that isn’t enough for you, they’ve got some extras you can add: For an additional $3, you’ve got guacamole, extra cheese, or beans and corn. For an extra $5, you can add taco beef, mojo/BBQ pork, pulled chicken, braised beef, or Montreal smoked meat.
While adding all of those would be a little ridiculous (and expensive), one or two additions will take these nachos from fantastic to mind boggling. A single order of Squire nachos could change your life.
If you go on Sunday, you can even get your nachos on the cheap! The Squire knocks the price of nachos down to $10 as their Sunday special, along with $5 Caesars, so it’s definitely worth heading downtown if you’ve got a hankering.
Being just across the street from Budweiser Gardens, the Squire is perfectly poised to be the destination for a drink and a plate of nachos before or after an event – whether it be a Knights game or a concert. The Squire even sometimes has giveaways for tickets to those events, so it’s even more worth going!
Casa Blanca Restaurant
Neighbourhood: Argyle Park
1487 Dundas St. (map)
Casa Blanca Restaurant may not be the most popular on this list, but it is the most authentic. The restaurant is owned by Marcelo and his family, who emigrated from Argentina to Miami in 2002 and have experience with working in Latin kitchens all over the United States and Canada. Now they’re serving London authentic cuisine from all over Latin America, Mexico included, from their restaurant on Dundas in the east end.
Your serving of nachos is reportedly huge, a mountain of chips, veggies, and cheese. This may be an appetizer, but you’ll need some serious space in your stomach if you intend to tackle this plate alone and still expect to experience an entrée.
House made corn chips make the base, so fresh they’re still warm from the fryer. The chips are covered in cheese, lettuce, tomato, peppers – both jalapeno and sweet bell – and fresh bean dip. For a small additional charge, you can opt in on either chicken or beef adorning the cheesy peaks of your nacho mountain.
It’s no surprise that a restaurant focused on Latin American cuisine would have great nachos, it’s almost inevitable. But Casa Blanca’s nachos will truly blow you away with theirs. Huge portions of authentic, fresh food at a fair price is impossible to turn down!
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
671 Richmond St. (map)
Barney’s is famous for their huge patio and exciting nightlife, but their food is often overlooked. While it may not be gourmet, you’ll be absolutely loving it after a drink or two on the patio. Their nachos are one of their best sellers.
The hefty portion makes it perfect for sharing around the table. It would take some serious guts to tackle this one alone. Grab some friends, head to the patio and share this huge platter over a round of drinks in the summer/fall sun.
The tortilla chips are smothered in onion, tomato, black beans, cheese that’s been melted to perfection, then topped with green onion. Get them vegetarian friendly or add beef.
The platter comes with a glorious pentagon of sides placed on top of your nachos: pickled jalapenos, salsa, sour cream, queso, and guacamole. You get to customize your experience by either scattering any combination your favourite condiments over the top of your nachos or reserve them for dipping. It’s up to you to tailor your nachos to your own liking with the ingredients you’ve been given.
Head to Barney’s on a Monday so you can catch the half price deal on your nachos! Because if there’s anything better than nachos, it’s nachos that you got a deal on.
You’re bound to have a good time when you head to Barney’s, whether you’re going for the nachos specifically. The one will supplement the other, making an experience that is somehow even greater than the sum of its parts.
Fireside Grill & Bar
Neighbourhood: Glen Cairn
1166 Commissioners Rd. E (map)
Fireside Grill & Bar is a south end eatery that puts emphasis on great food at a great place. You can find Fireside on Commissioners, just east of Pond Mills, often hosting live music nights to go along with your dinner.
Their Fireside Nachos can be found in the Appetizers section, though don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s a small portion. This is an appetizer meant for sharing or for the incredibly hungry, and for only $11.99!
Their nachos begin with tortilla chips, as so many do. They are hand cut and fried in-house, no store-bought chips in this kitchen! Cover those bad boys in the Fireside cheese blend, then melt it until it’ll stretch halfway across the table. Toss on some green peppers, jalapenos, onions, and tomatoes to cut through the richness of the cheese, and you’re set – that’s a great plate of nachos.
However, if you somehow aren’t satisfied with the looks of that, there are a few add-ons for an additional fee. Add ground beef or chicken for $2.99 or guacamole for $1.99.
While you’re chowing down on your nachos, enjoy some local live music. Fireside has musicians performing most Saturday evenings from 7 to 10. The shows are completely free, so even if you end up there on a show night by accident, you aren’t out of luck for getting some great nachos.
The Fireside Nachos accompanied by some great local musicians, absolutely lovely staff, and of course whatever company you brought to dine with you is a perfect experience. Grab a plate for the table, jam out, and enjoy your evening at the Fireside Grill and Bar.
Under the Volcano
Neighbourhood: Oxford Park
30 Wharncliffe Rd. N (map)
Winner of multiple “Best Mexican Restaurant” awards from the London Free Press, including 2018, Under the Volcano is one of London’s loudest and proudest when it comes to Mexican food. They haven’t let the praise go to their heads though, there’s still no slacking when it comes to putting out some of the best Mexican food in the Forest City.
They say their nachos are big enough to feed three to four as an appetizer or one as an entrée, which seems like a challenge, but is intended as a fair warning: you’re going to get a whole lot of nachos.
Under the Volcano’s nachos start as so many nachos do: with the chips. These aren’t just your regular old Tostitos though, the chips they use are made in-house and seasoned with a secret mix of spices. The menu even describes them as being famous.
Upon those famous chips, you will discover onion, green pepper, tomato, and shredded cheese. If you’re so inclined, you may add pulled pork, chicken, or taco beef to this heaping plate for an additional $2.99.
Accompanying the nachos, there is both sour cream and salsa for your dipping pleasure, or avoid them entirely if that’s not your style. They’re your nachos, have them in the way that suits you best.
Under the Volcano has won multiple awards for good reason. Their food is flavourful, their portions are huge, and their prices are fair. It’s always a good day when you eat nachos, but when you get them from Under the Volcano, it’s a great day.
225 King St. (map)
This Thorndale establishment opened in 2005 with Brad and Tracy Richardson as a sub and pizza joint. In the last 13 years, many changes have occurred: their children have joined the team, they have added fresh-baked breads and sweets, deli meats, and ice cream to their retail side, and their restaurant menu has exploded.
One of their menu additions is what has gotten them on this list at the recommendation of the head honcho himself. Santa moved to Thorndale a while back and upon his move, discovered Sassy’s. He had a glowing review of the restaurant as a whole, but the Loaded Nachos from Sassy’s are a top pick.
You can get your nachos in two sizes – large or small. Either way, you’ll get a pile of tortilla chips absolutely smothered in mozzarella and cheddar cheese. You also get green pepper, onion, and tomato so you can convince yourself you’re eating healthy. The seasoned beef adds some needed meatiness and spice to the whole affair. Finally, the platter is served with a side of chunky salsa for dipping so you don’t end up with soggy chips.
Sassy’s may not be reinventing the wheel with their nachos, but the wheel doesn’t need reinventing anyway! The classic combination of chips, cheese, beef, and salsa is absolutely undeniable.
Neighbourhood: Downtown London
595 Richmond St. (map)
Joe Kool’s has been on our Best Of lists time and time again, but it’s for good reason: they’re one of London’s best. Their nachos are no different. With three delicious varieties, Joe Kool’s is absolutely killing the nacho game.
Firstly, they have their take on classic nachos, which they have called Jose Nachos. Tortilla chips piled high with Monterey jack, cheddar, ground beef, green pepper, tomato, and onion. It’s similar to many others on this list, but as we’ve said, this ingredient combo is a classic for a reason.
Their second variety are known as Irish Nachos. They aren’t traditional in the least, but still a tempting option if you aren’t absolutely married to the idea of a typical nacho. The differences start with the base – no tortilla chips in sight, and in their place are homemade potato chips. Those are then topped with Monterey jack cheese, bacon, caramelized onion, tomato, and green onion. Now it may not be traditional, but it sounds pretty darn delicious.
Finally, Joe Kool’s offers cilantro lime chicken nachos. A mountain of tortilla chips topped with Monterey jack cheese, black beans, pico de gallo, cheddar, and of course the aforementioned cilantro lime chicken. This plate of nachos still offers a Mexican vibe while being a little off the beaten track, featuring chicken over beef, and different veggies. The cilantro lime chicken nachos are great for when you’re feeling adventurous but still within the safety bubble of Mexican food.
As we’ve said before, Joe Kool’s is so popular for a reason – it’s just quality stuff. From the vibe to their drinks to their food, everything is top notch and has us coming back over and over.