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Apr 30, 2008 06:20 PM

Mexican food in Calgary

I know this has been touched upon before, but where can you get good Mexican in Calgary?

I've been to El Sombrero (I swear by the combinatione de la casa) and Boca Loca (only once very quickly, I need to go back)... Where is is decent?

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  1. I'd head to YYC, then board a flight to any city in the US or, of course, Mexico. There is no "good" Mexican in Canada. There is passable Mexican here and there (and Calgary is as good, or as bad, as any other city in the country), but no "good." El Sombrero has its moments though it's absurdly overpriced and there are some tasty things on the menu at Salt and Pepper.

    I have to add that the experiments we've been doing in my kitchen (most recently with posole verde) have been better than anything we've had in restaurants here.

    2 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      Concurring with John Manzo on the state of Mexican cuisine in Canada. Here in Vancouver, I see a spate of "Modern Mexican" and "Nuevo Latino" restaurants opening up and missing the mark. The scene is running before it can walk. I wish someone would just open plain old authentic "Mexican" and "Latino" restaurants first.

      However, if you are looking for tacos, there are a few decent and authentic tasting places run by Mexican families that serve tacos that taste very much like the tacos I've had in Los Angeles and Mexico. It's still fast food though.

      Mexico City is an amazing place to eat. The regional Mexican cuisine there is quite something. Chicago and LA have excellent high-end Mexican too. We seem to be decades away from this if it ever arrives. The demographics just aren't working in our favour.

      1. re: fmed

        I third that. We generally just wait until we head to Mexico. Had amazing carnitas in Michoacan and shrimp tacos in Nayarit. Sadly, I think the best Mexican I've had in Calgary is from my own kitchen.

        We've only had terrible food at Salt and Pepper. Wouldn't go back if you paid me.

    2. There is a little Mexican restaurant on Macleod Trail just before Heritage Dr on the east side of street - can't remember the name - but I thought it was great. I haven't been that thrilled with Boca Loca at the 11 St location lately. Since it was sold, things are not the same. Prefer their location on Northmount. But even their cooking classes are blase. I'm having a group of friends on Saturday and we're making tamales, carnitas, ceviche, chile relleno, and mango margaritas - for Cinco de Mayo, of course.

      7 Replies
      1. re: sarah galvin

        Los Mariachis. The first time i went, it was pretty good. Subsequent times were very inconsistent. I heard rumour that the original owners bought it back from the people who were "running it" for them... or something to that effect. They are from Mexico city, so supposedly things have improved, but havent had a chance to test that out yet.

        1. re: yen

          I concur. I haven't been for a while though...

          In anyone happens to be in Washington State (of all places), check out La Tarassca in Centralia (on the I5 between Seattle & Portland). Some the best Mexican outside of Mexico at a hole-in-a wall.
          See my review from the PacNW board -->

          1. re: ybnormal

            TON of Mexicans in inner Washington- Yakima might be majority Mexican now- so actually it's not a surprise to find good Mex there!

            1. re: John Manzo

              Portland has very good Mexican too.

              1. re: John Manzo

                Some of the best and hottest Mexican I've had comes from the Tri-City area. Lots of Mexican labour there in the ag. (fruit and veg) industry.

          2. re: sarah galvin

            >> I'm having a group of friends on Saturday and we're making tamales, carnitas, ceviche, chile relleno, and mango margaritas - for Cinco de Mayo, of course.

            Going off topic...

            Here are some pics of my dry run (Dulce de Leche dessert tamales and chicken tamales with ancho )...Have fun!

          3. I like Juan's on 8th Ave. It's not spectacular, but it's decent.

            1. honestly, i don't really think anything's changed since the old threads, other than the fact that the mexican place at CFM is no longer around and the board doesn't seem as hot on mi tierra tu taqueria as when they first found out about it. in general, great mexican is still hard/impossible to come by in calgary, short of making it yourself. i find juan's, salt & pepper, & el sombrero pretty much interchangeable in terms of quality (well, s&p is perhaps half a notch down), but they're still decidedly average. maybe you can get yourself an invite to sarah_galvin' cinqo de mayo party...


              1. Thanks everyone! I had not heard of mi tierra tu taqueria, so it'll be a place to hit in the near future for sure!