3.8/5 on the Foodie Foursome Index
4.2/5 on the Mexican Food Scale
Jenna’s Review: 😊😆😁😺👌🏻
When it comes to Mexican food, I am really no expert. For a long time my knowledge and taste for Mexican food was limited to Taco Time and Mucho Burrito which, in their own rite, are pretty tasty. So when we went to Native Tongues, the authentic Mexican Cuisine, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It’s a bit of a hole in the wall and it has a neat sort of old time Mexico feel inside with the cement wall and catines floating around, but the atmosphere (burlap napkins included) were quite fun! They had authentic Mexican beer (Tecate) so we knew right off the bat that they were legit. The tuna ceviche appy was salty, soft and oh-so tender. I could have just eaten that for dinner! The guacamole was average, I can make a better one at home, and if you ever tasted my guacamole you would agree. Trust me on this one. The main dish of the taco’s with various fillings were delicious. After trying one of each (besides the terrifying beef tongue) my favourites were the pork and the re-fried bean. The taco’s were about the size of your hand give or take assuming you don’t have children’s hands. So my only advice would be that if you are hungry, more is less! We finished with the tres leeches cake which we could all agree was tres delicious. Overall I am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised and that while not mind blowing nuclear salsa good, I liked it and would eat there again!
Mike’s Review: 😐😐😐😶😝
While I was making my way downtown, walking fast, faces pass and we were Native Tongues bound… but unfortunately, with the exception of Vanessa Carlton I don’t think anyone would walk 1000 miles for this place. The name of this blog is accurate, I am rather tongue tied about Native Tongues… In a city such as Calgary with a booming food scene Native Tongues is good, and it is good Mexican, but it just doesn’t feel hugely different or memorable. We gave it a good rating, because it is a good restaurant. If you like Mexican you should go check it out, but if you are looking for a unique, different, experience I would suggest you save the money for a trip to Mexico… if oil continues this way you may be able to get one for the price of your meal. Overall, nacho much to taco’bout… except for the fact that their barley sack napkins left… possibly barley on my pants? (see below)… that other stain is a sub-par guacamole
Jonathan and Alyssa’s Experience/Review:
When we first met Jonathan and Alyssa, they were sitting there at Native Tongues with smiles on their face and beer in their hand, and we thought… these are our kind of people… and they can write one hell of a review!
We walked in on a Monday night to find the place pretty much packed, which is always a good sign. Sat down and were greeted right away and served our tall Tecates to get this authentic Mexican experience rolling. The décor was fairly close to what I’d expect of a small town Mexican cantina, but I definitely wasn’t like, “where am I”? Once Jenna and Mike arrived, we commenced the food ordering.
I have an El Salvadorian friend, who told me that they eat “Crazy Corn”, which is corn on the cob drenched in mayo, mustard, and spices. I wanted to see where she was coming from, so I went for the Elotes to start, which is a similar take on corn on the cob. Only this one was doused in crema, queso, chiles, and cilantro. DELISH. As much as I like my corn with butter, this may have to be in the rotation from now on. The cheese on it was that of a similar consistency and taste to feta, who knows, it probably was feta – which added a nice touch of saltiness to offset the sweetness of the corn. The corn was done well and a little charred, just the way I like it.
I tried two veggie tacos (hongos and frijoles) and a confit pork one as well. The tacos were nice and small, made on non-GMO corn tortillas all topped with that queso I was talking about before, yummmm. I’m a big mushroom fan, but the hongos just didn’t turn my crank, it didn’t capture that savoury flavour I was expecting, but if you like the earthiness of shrooms, this may be for you. The refried bean one, however, was real good – soft, flavourful, and totally satisfying. The carnivore in me, though, was all about the confit pork. That was a flavour punch right there. The right bit of jus spilling onto my palate as I chewed each bite was just magic, but the homerun was when I bit into it and experienced a bit of crispy crackling…ohhh yeah. We all shared the Tres Leches Cake, it was good, but I wouldn’t get it again.
I want to love it, and I hate to throw comparisons out there so hastily, but my heart is at Anejo. I give this cute little spot an 4/5, for its authenticity and ambience.
Walking into Native Tongues, I was really in the mood for a margarita, however the $14 price tag caused me to reconsider, and a Tecate priced at $6.50 proved to be a better idea.
My fiancé loves trendy/upscale restaurants, while I prefer places where I don’t require her help translating the menu. Mexican restaurants are often a great middle ground, and this was no exception. Several appetizers got the party started, including some great guacamole and chips. We ordered corn on the cob covered in a bunch of this and that, and the ‘this and that’ actually made corn even tastier than the old fashioned buttered version. Our new friends ordered some kind of thing with raw tuna on it, and this proved to be pretty damn good as well.
Tacos were available, either in family sized ‘do it yourself’ style, or individually. We chose the a la carte version, and I chowed down on three of them, each with tasty results. I am not going to pretend that I stopped to observe the nuances and special ingredients in each, but given a few different salsas, and a variety of tacos, I was a happy man.
The décor in the restaurant was cool and inviting, without being too fancy, much like Mexico itself. Our table was quite small, and for a six foot Gringo like myself, this created a challenge in spreading my legs out. Additionally, the simple metal stool and my poor ass spent over two hours together, but will not be exchanging Christmas cards.
Overall, the service was good, and the food was great, and I would not hesitate to return to Native Tongues in the future.