New Restaurant: Destino

Find delicious Latin-influenced pub fare in a strip mall in Calgary’s deep southwest

Pozole at Destino restaurant

By Erin Brooke Burns

Step into a typical neighbourhood strip mall restaurant-lounge and you’ll likely find chicken wings and nachos and other pubbish grub. But drop into Destino in Braeside and you’ll find Latin-influenced lomo de cerdo (roast pork loin topped with tamarind sauce), estofado de carne mechada (shredded beef braised in a tomato-anato sauce) and a rich seafood paella. Even the chicken wings can be ordered with a guava-chili sauce.

Destino’s chef-owner Ramiro Najera hails from Guatemala, though he’s SAIT-trained and has worked at the likes of Teatro and Alloy. When he opened his own restaurant, he brought his heritage into play, so Latin American cuisine is layered generously onto the menu.

The pozole is great, a huge bowl of sparkling, chili-scented broth filled with hominy corn, shredded meats, sliced radishes and tortilla chips (and at $7, a bargain). The prawn appetizer sauted in a white wine, lemon, garlic sauce had us cleaning the plate, and even the plantain and pinto bean sides are worthy.

Destino is a large, open, simply decorated joint with a warm Latin heart and sincere service. Some nights, live Latin American music is served along with the food, making Destino a very different kind of neighbourhood hangout.

(11440 Braeside Dr. S.W., 403-454-3655)

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