Best Mexican Restaurants in Calgary, Alberta
- July 10, 2017
- By Cody Battershill
The Best Mexican Restaurants in Calgary, Alberta
Looking for some of the best Mexican restaurants in Calgary? When it comes to an authentic Mexican dining experience, look no further than these six outstanding restaurants located almost entirely in the downtown and inner city areas.
Which ones top your list as the absolute best in YYC? Let us know below and we will add them to our list!
#1 – Native Tongues Taqueria
- Address – 235 12th Avenue SW
- Phone – 403-263-9444
If there ever was a restaurant in Calgary that lived up to the hype it had before opening its doors for business, Native Tongues Taqueria was it! It comes in as "numero uno" on our list of best Mexican restaurants in Calgary for good reasons.
First off, how about the chefs + owners’ dedication to making hand made tortilla shells in-house and acquiring the ingredients straight from Mexico to do so. They use a special process called nixtamalization which involves soaking corn in a basic solution to remove its outer shell.
Once dried, these “softened” kernels are then grounded into a dough called masa – a key ingredient in the handmade tortillas at Native Tongues. Every day the kitchen team turns approximately 20 kg (or 35 pounds) of fresh tortillas to wrap several different scrumptious concoctions of ingredients that will leave you watering at the mouth for more.
We recommend trying at least these four, $3.50 per taco:
- Suadero – beef brisket, white onion, cilantro
- Pollo adobo – roast organic chicken, adobo sauce, pickled red onion, cilantro
- Hongos – locally cultivated mushrooms, kale, crea, queso, fresco, cilantro
- Carnitas – confit pork, white onion, cilantro
- Nachos (above) - large variety of dipping sauces available
Don’t forget to try a bowl of their tortilla soup; it’s the best I’ve had in the city - if not ever - and I’ve been to several Mexican restaurants in different places all over the northern hemisphere.
- See our Native Tongues Taqueria Calgary Restaurant Review for more.
#2 – Añejo Restaurant
- Address - #2 2216 4th Street SW
- Phone – 587-353-2656
Listed as one of the top new restaurants in 2012, Añejo has since then made a solid name for itself as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Calgary – if not one of the best restaurants all around.
Inside you’ll find a multi-level sky-lit room with a vibrant and sociable atmosphere brought to fruition by an extensive drink menu that includes a list of over 200 tequilas’. Eating is just as enjoyable as drinking at Añejo with its inspired and interactive Mexican cuisine that includes everything from tacos to tostadas to salads to traditional entrees such as chili relleno (stuffed chili pepper) and molcajete de carne (grilled cactus).
Some of our favourite dishes at Añejo include:
- Tacos – beef and crispy tilapia
- Wild mushroom empanadas – masa dough, wild mushrooms, cilantro chimichurri
- Carne asada cobb – grilled hanger steak, avocado, tomato, corn, black beans, queso fresco
- Enchiladas de Puerco – slow braised pork, corn tortillas, potatoes, cheese, mixed green salad
- Yellowfin tuna – crusted rare tuna, bean succotash, crisp wontons, chipotle aioli
Make sure you look at the tequila menu and try one or two to go with your order for the full Mexican experience. Añejo’s servers are skilled at making recommendations on which tequilas go well with what you’ve ordered. A lot of people like to dress up for Añejo so keep that in mind if you’re looking to make it the event for the night.
- See our Añejo Calgary Restaurant Review for more.
#3 – Los Chilitos Taco & Tequila House
- Address – 1309 17th Avenue SW
- Phone – 403-228-5528
Located on the walkable and vibrant 17th Avenue SW, Los Chilitos has quickly become a go-to restaurant for all “Red Mile” visitors looking for an authentic Mexican dining experience. Not only is this place one of the best Mexican restaurants in Calgary, it’s also home to one of the best patios there is!
Los Chilitos patio is a huge drawing feature, one that’s reminiscent of a Latin-inspired streetside restaurant you would see on the Las Vegas strip. It has a spacious seating arrangement with umbrella-covered tables large enough for group of eight or more. There’s also pub-style benches to sit at right up against the street which are great for enjoying the sights and sounds of the eclectic Red Mile.
What dishes should you try? We recommend:
- Salsa borracha – morita pepper, beer, tomato served with nachos
- Meat enchiladas – three enchiladas topped with salsa, Monterrey jack cheese, sour cream, cilantro, onion, served with rice and beans.
- Quesadilla – flour tortilla grilled with Monterrey jack cheese served with fresh Mexican salsa, sour cream, guacamole and chips on the side
- Pastel Azteca (above) – shredded chicken breast, poblano pepper, corn and onion layered and baked between corn tortillas, cream and Monterrey jack cheese
Los Chilitos is open late on weekends (Fri - 12am, Sat - 1am), making it a good spot for a night out on weekends. Don't miss the patio in the spring and summer!
- See our Los Chilitos Calgary Restaurant Review for more.
#4 – El Charrito Taqueria
- Address – 808 Edmonton Trail NE
- Phone – 403-478-2924
Avenue Magazine nominated this family-run restaurant as one of the best in the city in 2016 and 2017. Today, also it’s made our list of best Mexican restaurants in Calgary. So, what’s all the hype about?
Until the coming of places like El Charrito, YYC has been bereft of good taquerias. Let’s just say that from a foodie standpoint, a much-needed void has been filled by this Mexican restaurant and its superb tacos that are packed to the max with meat – beef, steak, chicken, pork – and other ingredients which are then double wrapped in soft tortillas to ensure there’s little or no mess.
Our favourite El Charrito menu items include:
- Enchiladas - three corn tortillas filled with meat, cheese, cream, red and green salsa, served with rice and beans
- Burrito – large flour tortilla filled with meat, rice, beans, onion and cilantro, served with dipping sauces
- Tacos (above) – wrapped in two small corn tortillas filled with meat, onions and cilantro
- Menudo (stew) – strip beef, laves, onions and garlic in a tomato broth
All menu items filled with meat come with a choice of one of the following: steak, chicken, shredded beef, beef tongue. If you’re looking to not break the bank when dining out for Mexican, El Charrito has some of the most affordable prices in Calgary!
- Stay tuned for our El Charrito Calgary Restaurant Review!
#5 – Los Mariachis Mexican Restaurant
- Address - #1 7400 Macleod Trail SE
- Phone – 403-253-5692
Los Mariachis is another outstanding family-owned and operated Mexican restaurant in Calgary. Since 2003, Los Mariachis has been serving authentic and traditional Mexican cuisines, a length of time that is testament to its success as one of the best there is in the city.
Inside you’ll find a quaint interior that when paired with the fact that the owners of this restaurant are there serving you, it makes you feel like you’re walking into the living room of someone’s house in Mexico city. When combined, these two factors build an anticipation for the food to come and an expectation that it’s going to be a truly authentic experience - and it is!
Our favourite menu items at Los Mariachis include:
- Chimichangas – rolled soft flour tortillas with beef or chicken, tomato sauce, feta
- Chicken enchiladas – corn tortilla with mole, tomato, tomatillo sauce and mozza
- Steak ranchero – sirloin steak, two fried eggs, salsa Mexicana and guacamole
- Molcajete – strips of chicken, pork, steak nopalitos, shrimps on a tasty mild chipotle sauce
- Pozole – pork and hominy stew with huajillo chiles
One thing about Los Mariachis that makes it stands out from the rest on our list of best Mexican restaurants in Calgary is its selection of soups. Instead of just offering the traditional tortilla soup, it also has a bean soup, seafood soup and pork stew (the pozole above). If you’re a soup lover like I am, you’ll definitely want to give these a try.
- See more at our Los Mariachis Calgary Restaurant Review today.
#6 - Spicy Amigos
- Address – 821 4th Avenue SW
- Phone – 587-353-1484
Spicy Amigos is a fairly new Mexican restaurant located in the downtown west end. Its concept is straight-forward; it has an assembly line where you choose what you want on your order as you move to the left and pay. Its food is ridiculously well priced though compared to the other places on this list of best Mexican restaurants in Calgary.
The menu is simple with a few dozen different choices including vegetarian options plus they have more than 6 different kinds of meat to choose from. Expect to see more casual menu items like tostadas, soft tacos and tortilla soup, and not so much enchiladas and other larger plates. The food at Spicy Amigos is casual in other words, but it tastes great and is more than affordable.
Our last trip to Spicy Amigos we ordered 3 tostadas, 4 soft tacos, 1 bowl of tortilla soup and 2 jarritos soft drinks for $37.00! You cannot beat the price at Spicy Amigos when it comes to dining authentic Mexican in Calgary!!
- Learn more at our Spicy Amigos Mexican Restaurant Review
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Which places are on your list of best Mexican restaurants in Calgary? Let us know – we will add them to our list above!
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