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Mexican Italian Fusion: Il Toro Is Changing the Game in Las Vegas

Mexican Italian Fusion: Il Toro Is Changing the Game in Las Vegas

Cuisine was always meant to be shared – and I’m not just talking about two friends sharing a meal at their favorite restaurant. I’m talking about two cultures sharing ingredients, recipes, and cooking techniques. 

We’ve been doing it for thousands of years, and we’ll continue to do it for thousands more. 

Today, we’re going to discuss one of our favorite examples of two cultures coming together to create a one-of-a-kind menu you never thought was possible – and that’s the fusion of Mexican and Italian cuisine. Some call it Mexican-Italian fusion, while others call it Mexitalian – but you can call it whatever you want. 

What’s important is that we enjoy it.

And that’s exactly what we do here at Il Toro E La Capra

If you’re new to the idea of Mexican-Italian food, then you’ve come to the right place. In this post, you’ll learn some of the basics of Mexican and Italian cuisine, and how we’re combining Mexico’s vibrant, bold flavors with Italy’s rich, refined culinary traditions. The end result is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted!

Mexican Cuisine: Bold & Spicy Flavors With a Colorful Presentation

When you think of Mexican food, you probably think of tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas, salsa, and tortillas. Believe it or not, these foods are a culmination of more than 9,000 years of evolution. 

As far as we know, Mexican food dates back as far as 7,000 BCE – when hunters and gatherers primarily ate wild game (when available) and plants. Over time, Mexican cuisine became known for three things: 

  • Chile peppers are one of the most abundant plants in Mexico – in fact, more than 80% of all chile peppers are native to the country.
  • Beans were heavily relied on for protein, especially since earlier civilizations had limited access to meat, protein, and/or livestock.
  • Corn is one of Mexico’s greatest gifts to the world. Early civilizations stumbled upon it (and domesticated it) nearly 9,000 years ago.

It wasn’t until the 16th century (1500s) that Mexican cuisine started to truly take form – and it was a result of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec civilization. The Spanish introduced Mexico to three new foods: 

  • The Spanish brought livestock with them (pigs, chickens, sheep, cows, goats), giving Mexicans a reliable source of protein.
  • They also introduced Mexico to dairy (thanks to the cows, sheep, and goats), giving them access to milk, cheese, and more. 
  • The Spanish came across rice in Asia, but eventually brought it over to Mexico, where it became a staple in their cuisine. 

The Spanish also introduced Mexico to garlic, onions, wheat, and an array of spices – like cinnamon and cloves. Frying, baking, the use of cooking oils, and sauces were also a product of the Spanish conquest.

Italian Cuisine: Simplicity, Quality, & Fresh Ingredients

Italian food is known for its simplicity and use of as few ingredients as possible, but Italians care about one thing more than anything when it comes to cooking — the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients. 

While Italian cuisine can be traced back as far as the 1st century BC, authentic Italian food didn’t start to take form until the 5th century AD – when the Roman empire fell and Italy was divided into small regions.

Every region has its own gastronomy, but most Italian cuisine is rooted in six different ingredients: 

  • Olive oil, which can be used as a garnish, dressing (salad), dip, or to cook with. 
  • Garlic, which was primarily used as a way to make bad food taste better.
  • Pasta, which has been a staple in Italian cuisine since the 12th century BC. 
  • Tomatoes, which were introduced by the Spanish in the 16th century BC.
  • Basil, which is a cultural symbol in Italy, as well as a popular seasoning. 
  • Cheese, which has been a staple in Italy since the Roman Empire (2,000 years ago).

Italy was a divided country between the 6th and 19th centuries. During this time, different Italian regions were known for different foods. Milan was known for its risotto, Naples for its pizza, Bologna for its tortellini, Sicily for its spaghetti, and so on. When the country unified in the 1800s, so did their cuisine.

Javier Barajas: Bringing Mexican-Italian Fusion to Las Vegas

Javier Barajas, who migrated from Michoacan, Mexico, to Las Vegas, NV, in the 1970s, always dreamed of opening an Italian restaurant, but he didn’t want to distance himself too much from his cultural heritage. 

So, he decided to combine the two – and Il Toro E La Capra was born. 

Il Toro is the culmination of three of his favorite things: family, Italian food, and his love for Old Las Vegas. 

Family. Il Toro E La Capra pays homage to Barajas’ youngest son and daughter – Javier III, nicknamed “El Toro” (The Bull), and Jimena, nicknamed “La Cabra” (The Goat).

Italian Food. Barajas was always a believer in Italian cuisine, so he traveled to Italy to learn more about it. He started experimenting with Italian techniques and, eventually, mastered them.

Old Las Vegas. Barajas didn’t want just any Italian restaurant – he wanted it to capture the quintessential Vegas ambiance reminiscent of his favorite film, Martin Scorsese’s Casino.

Barajas’ vision became a reality in 2022. Now, two years later, Il Toro E La Capra stands as a testament to the harmonious blend of Italian and Mexican culinary traditions. And the Old Las Vegas feel – well, that’s just the extra little flare this place needed. What you get is a one-of-a-kind experience in Sin City.

Il Toro E La Capra: Book Your Reservation Today!

Do you love Italian food? Is there something about Mexican cuisine that gets you excited? Have you ever tried blending the two together? If not, then you’re missing out on one of the greatest fusions of all time!

Don’t worry – that’s what we’re here for. 

Il Toro E La Capra is located on the corner of Sunset and Decatur, just three miles from Allegiant Stadium and seven miles from the Harry Reid International Airport. Our menu offers a mix of classic Italian dishes, traditional Mexican dishes, and a hefty amount of Mexitalian dishes – a little something for everyone!

You can find us at 6435 S Decatur Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89118, and can book reservations by contacting us at 702-331-6090. Whether you live in the area or are here on vacation, we offer you great food, great service, and a memorable experience.