Meet the owner

If Tex-Mex cooking, complemented by tequila and cervezas make your mouth water, Blanco on the 17th Avenue Southwest shopping and dining strip is the place to visit. Inspired by the Tex-Mex food from cities in Texas, Southern California and Western Mexico, co-owner Cliff Harvey and his partners wanted to translate the essence of their cuisine-travel experiences to Calgary. The owners of Añejo Restaurant, they had dreamed of opening a laid-back, "younger brother" of the successful contemporary Mexican restaurant.

“Our Mexico is more like Sayulita, Guadalajara or Tlaquepaque, not resort Mexico,” says Cliff. “We wanted our food to reflect that.  We do street-style tacos – sourcing locally made tortilla shells and chips, and preparing all the meats and marinades in house.” Blanco’s tacos are indeed like those found in Mexico. Soft corn tortillas, they're served with pork, chicken or beef. And, the spacious, rustic cantina is appropriately decked out with wood-plank walls, neon signs and sugar skulls.

The menu’s “big ass burritos” are one-pound behemoths modelled after the southern Mexican-American variety. The quesadillas and fajitas, as well, follow authentic formulas rather than popularized versions.

So determined were they to get it right, the Blanco chefs were put on reconnaissance duty in Texas and Mexico. “We sent our guys to Jalisco Mexico and Houston Texas to talk to the chefs, find out what they were doing, and get the authenticity of the place,” says Cliff.

On the establishment's outdoor patio, which overlooks the avenue, people sun themselves as they dig into big ass burritos and plates of housemade nachos con mucho gusto.

Read the story of Blanco Cantina

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Appears in 3 local lists

New restaurants in Calgary: Winter 2016

New restaurants in Calgary: Winter 2016

Sister Mexican restaurant to Añejo, Blanco Cantina exudes Mexican rec-room chic with a garage door wall that opens to the sun in summer, turning the whole place into an indoor patio. For snacking or starters, begin with spicy wings, house-made guacamole and quesadillas. The tacos are tops, but the burritos are big: the beef brisket-filled El Demonio weighs a pound. Pair with any of 50 tequilas, Latin cocktails and beach-party-apropos beer cocktails.

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$15 burgers in Calgary as part of Alberta Burger Fest

$15 burgers in Calgary as part of Alberta Burger Fest

Located in the old Brava Bistro spot on 17th Avenue Southwest, Blanco Cantina rides the warm and wonderful wave of contemporary Mexican cuisine that’s engulfing this town. A delightful Mexi mix up, its Deep Fried Guacamole Burger features a guac-stuffed(!) patty breaded with spicy corn chips. Condiments include barbecue sauce, ketchup, crisped onions and salsa fresca.

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Positively perfect poutine places in Calgary

Positively perfect poutine places in Calgary

Another sophisticated take on the dish, Brava Bistro’s lobster poutine is as rich and tasty as its name suggests. Befitting its casual-upscale setting, the bistro serves pomme frites smothered in silky smooth butter sauce and tops the dish with lobster, mascarpone cheese and herbs. This may be the city’s most Champagne-compatible poutine.

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