Best Restaurants: Best Latin
Craving authentic Latin flavours? These three restaurants hit the spot.
Tres Carnales uses local ingredients in tacos, quesadillas and tortas that could rival any authentic restaurant in Mexico.
Photography by Curtis Trent
First Place >> TRES CARNALES
When you walk through the doors of Tres Carnales, it’s like entering a party, thanks to the thump of Latin music, brightly painted walls and communal seating. The owners are three homeboys (carnales, in Mexican slang) whose goal is to bring authentic Mexican food to Edmonton — no Tex-Mex here, just plenty of house-made salsas, guacamole, tacos, quesadillas, carnitas and tortas. While the dishes might be closer in style to Mexico than Edmonton, there’s still a strong local connection. Much of the protein (think beef brisket, braised pork shoulder, chorizo sausage) comes from within 200 kilometres of the city and is always used fresh. And, like any good party, the three friends serve up plenty of pitchers of sangria — again, don’t expect any deviations from the real thing, just lots of wine, fruit juices, liqueur and even fresh fruit. (10119 100A St., 780-429-0911, trescarnales.com) —Caroline Barlott
Runner-Up >> PAMPA BRAZILIAN STEAKHOUSE
While Brazil is primarily known for its soccer, samba and the Amazon, it should also be known that no one does all-you-can-eat like the Brazilians — rodizio being the perfection of the form. Waiters saunter around the room with skewers of meat, stopping at diners’ requests for a cut of parmesan pork, bacon-wrapped chicken, or charcoal-grilled steak. Take off your jacket, get a hearty helping of salad at the cold buffet, and get nestled at your table. Because once a server stops for the first time at your table, it will be a while before the festival stops. (9929 109 St., 780-756-7030, pampasteakhouse.com) —Caleb Caswell
Honourable Mention >> CAFE DEL SOL
Café Del Sol is a hole in the wall in a Belvedere strip mall. But don’t judge The book by its cover. This is a family-run establishment that offers authentic Mexican food. And, expect to wait in line on the weekends, as word-of-mouth has made this a go-to destination for Mexican dishes. This might be the only place in Edmonton that reminds me of the great family-run taco shops you’ll find throughout the American southwest. And Café Del Sol is your best choice for ceviche (a weekend special) in the city — a strong blend of tomato flavours and fresh seafood. (6502 132 Ave., 780-802-5393, cafedelsol.ca) —Steven Sandor