Calgary restaurants with Latin flair

A wide variety of the national cuisines of Mexico and the countries of Central and South America can be enjoyed in Calgary. Serving dishes from tangy tacos to simply salted Brazilian steak and savoury Argentine-style pizza, diners will find a Latin American eatery to suit every taste. Here are a few to get you dreaming of locations (far, far) south of the border. [Image credit: iStock.com/rodrigoba]

Native Tongues Taqueria

AB

It features hipster decor and a fancy cocktail menu, but Native Tongues is a remarkably authentic taqueria specializing in the best of Mexican street food. Order up a plate of street-style tacos or a big platter of grilled meat for family-style tacos you can build right at the table, or try a tostada (or two) and a quick bite from the antojitos (snacks) menu.

Charbar

1
618 Confluence Way SE, Calgary, AB T2G 0G1

Charbar doesn’t bill itself as an authentic South American restaurant, but with the Argentinian parilla grill in the kitchen, there are a lot of Latin influences on the menu. And while Charbar does a great burger and fries, Argentine flavours shine in chef Jessica Pelland’s empanadas, grilled steak with chimichurri, ceviche and fugazza, which is a thick-crust Argentine pizza.

Tu Tierra Inc

2
8995 Bonaventure Dr SE, Calgary, AB T2H 2K5

This small and homey Southeast restaurant is as authentically Mexican as it gets. The menu features simple but delicious burritos, enchiladas and additional Mexican fare served with the option of real corn tortillas, which can sometimes be hard to come by in these parts. Also of note, its house-made mole sauce is easily the best in town.

Lotus Indian Cusine & Bar Ltd

3
3843 19 St NW, Calgary, AB T2L 2B3

A white tablecloth restaurant that specializes in a variety of Latin cuisine, The Blue House puts an emphasis on seafood and superior cuts of beef. Ceviche is the house specialty, with paila marina (seafood soup), Brazilian hot plates, seafood salad and crème caramel standing out as further menu highlights.

Pio Peruvian Rotissaire Chicken

4
104-2929 Sunridge Way NE, Calgary, AB T1Y 7K7

An unpretentious family-run joint, Pio specializes in Pollo a la Brasa, which is Peruvian rotisserie chicken, served with side choices that include sunshine rice, fried plantains, cassava fries and quinoa salad. The chicken is just the beginning, though – the hefty menu also features Peruvian pastas, trout and avocado salad, adobo pork and, of course, ceviche.

Empanada Queen

5
4-4412 Manilla Rd SE, Calgary, AB T2G 4B7

A casual takeout spot tucked away in Manchester Industrial, as its name suggests, Empanada Queen specializes in authentic Chilean empanadas. The traditional meat pies come in almost a dozen varieties, with beef, cheese, chicken, shrimp, spinach and other specialty fillings. Get some empanadas to go, or pick up a Chilean pork loin sandwich or a frozen pastel de choclo to bake at home.

Tropical

6
1424 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0C3

Formerly known as Tropical Latin Corner (and formerly located on Centre Street Northeast), this busy bar offers a taste of Latin food and, with regular live music performances and opportunities to dance, a taste of Latin culture. The food is all over the map, with tacos, empanadas, Latin barbecue platters and South American sandwiches all on deck.

Pampa Brazilian Steak House

7
521 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2R 0A8

Probably the most high-end of Calgary’s numerous Brazilian-style steakhouses, Pampa stands out because of its spectacular cuts of meat. Diners pay a fixed price, and servers roam around the room with huge skewers of steak, chicken, sausage and other meats, carving slices directly onto customers’ plates. While it’s tempting to go full-meat, don’t miss the innovative sides at the salad bar, and be sure to indulge in a caipirinha cocktail.

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