Native Tongues Taqueria | Calgary’s 25 Best Restaurants 2018

Tacos and Mezcalgaritas pair perfectly with the lively vibe at this Mexican hot spot.

Lamb neck tacos at Native Tongues.
Lamb neck tacos at Native Tongues. Photograph by Jared Sych.

FOOD | Modern Mexican inspired by the street and market foods of Mexico.
VIBE | Loud ‘n’ lively.
DECOR | Rustic Mexicana.
DISH | Barbacoa de cordero (lamb neck) tacos.
TIP | Yes, Native Tongues does a burrito! (But only for takeout.)

 

When Native Tongues Taqueria opened in summer of 2015, it was an instant hit with the hipster set, with its realistically weathered Mexi-chic decor designed by Amanda Hamilton. But that is not to say it doesn’t take taco traditions seriously, as this taqueria is as much about substance as it is about style. The debut restaurant for Cody Willis of Thank You Hospitality group, Native Tongues puts an emphasis on authentic cuisine in a lively cocktail-friendly setting.

While Native Tongues makes an unexpectedly delicious burger and serves a nice ceviche plate, the restaurant’s calling card really is its tacos. Served de guisado (braised meats or veg plated individually with ingredients piled onto small corn tortillas) or al carbon (grilled ingredients presented family style with a packet of tortillas), chef Rodrigo Rodas has selections ranging from locally cultivated mushrooms with kale to slow-roasted lamb neck. All of the above demand to be washed down with one (or two) of Native Tongues’ signature Mezcalgaritas.

Consistently busy at both lunch and dinner (and with no reservations), Willis and company offer the user-friendly option of take-out antojitos (starters) and tacos de guisado during all open hours, including until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Because what’s better than ending a night out with a flavour-packed street taco in hand?

235 12 Ave. S.W., 403-263-9444, nativetongues.ca

 

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