Tres Carnales isn’t an homage to the Mexico of old; when you enter the restaurant, the Mexican hip-hop is at a high volume and the colours on the walls are vivid. From luchadors to Day of the Dead imagery to Mexican pop culture, the restaurant exudes a streetwise vibe.
When the food is brought to the table, you’re taken by the sheer inventiveness of it all. The signature fish tacos are the must-have; they are crispy, but light – paired with salsa aguacatillo, diced cabbage slaw and salsa Mexicana, it’s hard to imagine a better taco anywhere in the city. But the house-made soups, sandwiches and the rest of the taco menu will have you wondering just how many ways you can enjoy pork, chicken or beef.
Mexican food has never been as popular as it is today, and Tres Carnales shows off both a reverence for the country’s traditional flavours and a tongue-in-cheek approach to the dining experience. –Steven Sandor
10119 100A St., 780-429-0911, trescarnales.com
There’s no shame in second place, and that’s particularly true when both of your restaurants are battling for the top spot. Rostizado by Tres Carnales fires its way into the best Latin category this year with a bullet, and with good reason. The establishment’s roasted family-style Mexican dinners are a welcome departure from the taco-stand delights of its elder sibling – if only by virtue of the fact that it has opened Edmonton’s eyes to the idea that not all Mexican grub is served taco style.
Where Tres Carnales is a fun feeding frenzy, Rostizado is the refined, laid-back brother, wise beyond its years. And the proof is in the food. With each bite of the impeccably roasted meats, you’ll be equally impressed with the salsa verde, the churros or the tequila-themed cocktails – just some of the many small but significant details that make Rostizado a powerhouse of Latin flavour. –Cory Haller
102, 10359 104 St., 780-761-0911, rostizado.com
THE THREE AMIGOS
Between the peppy mariachi music and the brightly coloured interior, you can’t help but smile when you enter The Three Amigos along Jasper Avenue. Of course, there’s also the food, which brings the fiesta to your tastebuds.
The menu is full of Mexican favourites, plus a few offerings from the rest of Latin America. If you can’t decide what you get, the fish tacos are a traditional dish done right, complete with rice, beans and guacamole on the side. Neither the beer batter nor any of the other toppings overpower the flavour of the flaky red snapper. Wash it all down with a tamarindo – a more tart version of iced tea – and you feel like you’re south of the border, even though you’re north of the 49th parallel. –Glenn Cook
10247 Jasper Ave., 780-705-5951, the3amigosedmonton.com