Tres Carnales – Downtown Edmonton

Here we are, one of the most talked about restaurant in Edmonton: Tres Carnales. When you enter, you see the menu written up on the boards in colourful, graffiti-like chalk. Below the menu you see the kitchen and the cashier.


The rest of the restaurant feels very open, with only a few tables. The decor is very interesting to say the least. The star chandeliers are eye catching as well as the large monkey wall painting. Along the wall there are a variety of Mexican decorations and toys.Image

Famous for their tacos, we decide to try 3 of them. We order the Pescado – Red snapper, the Carne Con Chile – Beef brisket, and the Al Pastor – Marinated Pork. We also added a side of Guacamole and Chips. We ordered, paid, received a number, and found a seat to wait for our food. Unlike a fast food restaurant, the food is brought to your table. I thought it was a nice touch.

The Guac and Chips were good. The chips were thick and crispy, which were perfect for scooping up the guacamole. The guacamole had a conservative amount of onion and garlic. It was creamy and not too thick. All in all the guac was good, but definitely not worth the ~10 price tag.

GUACAMOLE Y TOTOPOS (House-made Guac & chips)

Now for the Tacos. Lets start with the tortilla itself. These are very likely mass produced tortillas and not freshly made in house. They used 2 tortillas for the meat tacos and a single one for the fish taco. The reason for this is because the meat tacos leak a lot of juices and a single tortilla would get soaked and the meat would probably fall through. Their tortillas are soft and not grilled. Personally, I prefer them a bit crispier so that they don’t get soggy as quickly, which was exactly what happened with all the tacos. Nobody likes a soggy taco.

The beef brisket in the Carne Con Chile was soft and tender. Beef brisket is a fattier beef and so there was a lot of beef flavour. The added kick from the chiles in the sauce was a nice touch. The raw onions and fresh cilantro helped balance the heartiness of the meat. The Al Pastor was very similar to the Carne Con Chile. The only difference is the lack of spiciness and more of a pork flavour instead of a beef flavour so I will not comment too much on it. Although this was my least favourite taco, it still tasted good and was enjoyable. Of the three tacos, the Pescado was the best. Although you only get 3, the taco’s are much bigger. Each taco consisted of a very large piece of battered pacific red snapper and topped with a salad of tomato, onion, cabbage, lettuce, and a slice of radish. The fish was cooked just right and the toppings made this taco taste very refreshing. My only suggestion for this taco would be to avoid battering and deep frying and just go for a pan-fried fish instead.

From left to right: CARNE CON CHILE (Beef brisket slow cooked with beer,
chocolate, chiles and tomatoes), AL PASTOR (Slow roasted, marinated pork), and PESCADO (Lightly battered and fried fresh Pacific Red Snapper)

Having been to Mexico, I can see where the inspiration from this restaurant is coming from. They make a very good attempt at serving real Mexican food with a modern North American twist. But, their tacos are far from being close to the real thing. Having said that, the food here is still very enjoyable. Even though this is one of those restaurants where you order, eat, and leave within 30-45 minutes on a lunch break, I did not feel rushed. If you are in the area, I would recommend that you give Tres Carnales a try.

Service: N/A
Food: 7.5/10
Atmosphere: Themed, Casual
Price: $10-20

Tres Carnales Taqueria on Urbanspoon


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