Spanish 101 for Taco Lovers
Carne Asada: marinated grilled and sliced beef
Al Pastor: marinated roasted pork with pineapple
Chicharron: pork rind
Discada: grilled seasoned sliced steak, bacon, sausage, green & red pepper, onion and jalapeno
Barbacoa: beef in huajillo (chilli) sauce
Taco dorado: deep-fried bean taco served with lettuce, tomato sauce and feta cheese
Suadero: lime-marinated beef
Lengua: beef tongue
Chorizo: pork sausage
Frijoles: refried beans
Gringas: marinated pork with melted mozzarella cheese
Choriqueso: melted mozzarella cheese and chorizo
Elotes: street corn
Chilaquile: fried tortilla strips simmered in red or green salsa, crema, queso, cilantro
TRES MARIAS: THE MEXICAN MARKET EXPERIENCE
Marda Loop: 3514 19th St. S.W.
Those seeking a true Mexican experience can order their tacos, grab a table and shop the market while they wait. This family-owned business offers Mexican ingredients like exotic salts, organic corn masa flour, moles, dried peppers and tamales. Carne asada and al pastor tacos are always on the menu and you can find special tacos like bison available on certain days.
TACOS MEXICO: AUTHENTIC STREET FOOD
3725 Memorial Dr. S.E.
This might be the hidden gem you’ve been looking for. It serves authentic Mexican street food in its little restaurant in a strip mall on Memorial Drive. The location has lots of parking, but few tables. Fortunately, take-out is always an option. The menu features 17 different Mexican street-style tacos including chicharron, discada, barbacoa and taco dorado. Beverages, desserts and all your Mexican favourites round out the offering.
THE MOOSE AND PONCHO: TACOS IN CHINATOWN – ONLY IN CANADA
Chinatown: 132 3rd Ave. S.E.
The newest kid on the taco block is The Moose and Poncho, one you could easily miss if you weren’t looking. You’ll find this tiny taco eatery in a shopping mall in Chinatown, of all places. Everything here is made in house including all the salsas in the selfserve salsa bar. The tacos are so good on their own, salsa is almost not needed, but it’s nice to have fresh options available. The menu features suadero, lengua, pollo, chorizo and frijoles tacos. It’s casual, cozy and insanely busy.
NATIVE TONGUES: COME FOR THE TACOS, STAY FOR THE TEQUILA
Central Memorial Park: 235 12th Ave. S.W.
This authentic, upscale Mexican restaurant has a small menu focused on tacos and small bites. The rustic, chic Mexican décor leaves you feeling right at home and mezcal-based cocktails make you want to stay awhile. Already a mainstay on the Calgary taco circuit, Native Tongues is known for its elotes, chilaquiles and hamburguesas, but the tacos are the real stars of the menu. Choose from the tacos de guisado (braised meats and vegetables wrapped in corn tortillas) or taco al carbon (meat grilled over charcoal and served market or family style.) Traditional and exotic fillings are available like lamb neck, organic chicken, slow roasted pork belly and hongos. Bonus: there’s a takeout window for those who need to take their tacos and run.
ANEJO MEXICAN RESTAURANT: THE TRENDY TACO
Mission: 2116 4th St S.W.
Located in the landmark 4th Street Rose building in Mission, Anejo takes its tacos seriously. Handcrafted recipes are cooked to perfection in Mexican traditions showcasing a flair for contemporary flavours.
Anejo keeps its menu simple offering six varieties of tacos available throughout the day, evening and late night. Tacos come with your choice of fillings, corn or flour tortilla, hot sauce and pico de gallo. The restaurant is vibrant and bold, and offerings include table-side guacamole, more than 200 tequilas and some muy tasty margaritas. The patio is perfect on hot summer days making you believe, just for a moment, you are actually in Mexico.
LOS CHILITOS TAQUERIA: STAMPEDE TACOS – IT’S A CALGARY THING.
17th Avenue: 1309 17th Ave. S.W.
The family-run Los Chilitos offers a wide selection of good Mexican eats including breakfast. The fish tacos get lots of local buzz as do the Stampede tacos (beef strips grilled with cheese, caramelized onions, mango-chipotle sauce and salsa). Summer in Calgary is always a good time to kick up your boots and check out these tacos. It’s busy on the weekends, so make a reservation.
GRINGO STREET: TACOS WITH ATTITUDE
17th Avenue: 524 17th Ave. S.W.
There’s so much to love about the tacos at Gringo Street. You won’t find authentic Mexican tacos here: instead, discover a gringo take on Latin street food serving up tacos with a twist. Be sure to come hungry as the creative offerings here are off the charts. Try the crispy duck, buffalo chicken wing, Thai coconut braised short rib, lamb shoulder guajillo braised, even lemon and yuzu tofu tacos.
MESTIZO MEXICAN STREET FOOD: A FLAVOUR JOURNEY
Avenida Food Hall & Market: 428, 12445 Lake Fraser Dr. S.E.
Mestizo prepares flavourful, simple cuisine intended to take you on a journey to Mexico while you enjoy your meal. Tacos here are served in corn tortillas with your choice of fillings, which include traditional and unique items like gringas and choriqueso. Place your order, grab a table in the market, pick up your order and dive in. Mestizo is open Thursday through Sunday and always busy.