Review: Tres Carnales Taqueria

Tres Carnales Taqueria at 10119 100 A Street

On Monday, Mike and I went to finally try Tres Carnales Taqueria at 10119 100A Street with our friends Brandi, Trish and Olivier. There has been soooo much hype surrounding Tres Carnales that it’s been on my list of restaurants to try for awhile.

Unfortunately my review won’t be adding to the positive hype.

Inside Tres Carnales Taqueria at 10119 100 A Street

The first and biggest problem I had with Tres Carnales is that they wouldn’t let me sit down and wait for my friends to arrive. I sat down and they told me I had to get up and order first before I can take a seat. What?? I don’t want to order before my friends arrive, that’s pretty typical dining etiquette. I suppose the reason is because the place is small and seating is at a premium so they want to keep spots free for people who are eating but technically we were planning on eating there, we just wanted to wait for our friends!

The Al Pastor Tacos (slow roasted, marinated pork) at Tres Carnales Taqueria

Our group ended up ordering variations of the Al Pastor (slow roasted, marinated pork) and the Arrarcha (marinated and grilled beef steak) (both taco and quesadilla versions) and the Guacamole Y Totopos House (house-made guacamole and chips).

The Arrachera Quesadilla (marinated and grilled beef steak) at Tres Carnales Taqueria

The food came out very fast so there’s a positive point for that but the portions are sure small.

If you’re a regular reader of my restaurant reviews, you will know that I love big portions. Not even that big of portions but just good enough quantity/size of food to fill me up. My Al Pastor did not fill me up.

Guacamole Y Totopos House (House-made Guacamole & chips) at Tres Carnales Taqueria

Also Mike felt very rushed the entire night. He felt bad taking up a table and then chatting even after we were done eating because it looked like people were lining up waiting for a spot. He was really uncomfortable staying there because he felt other customers and even the servers kept glancing over at our table.

Cool lights at Tres Carnales Taqueria

The place looks great. There’s great decor. It’s also got a cool vibe to it – I saw other people clinking soda glasses and having a great time. The food is good, but in my opinion there’s nothing really stand-out special about it, and it’s just not filling at all and that’s important to Mike and I.

We realize Tres Carnales is super trendy and all the stuff is made from scratch, it’s fresh, authentic, labour of love, etc., that’s got a lot to do with the hype but it’s just not cool when you go for dinner and are left feeling hungry still and uncomfortable about the whole seating situation.

To sum up, I wouldn’t recommend going to Tres Carnales unless you’re willing to drop a lot of money for multiple dishes to get full (or if you’re planning on eating again when you get home because I definitely had another meal when I got home, see below).

Leftover chicken and pasta I ate after Tres Carnales because I was still hungry, lol.

I can understand why there’s a lot of positive reviews and hype – in fact one of the friends I was with, Trish, absolutely loooves the place and has been there many, many times, just raving. But it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

The prices aren’t expensive really, which is great, but they are expensive if you consider the fact that you’re just not going to be full off of one order, which sucks. Seating wise – I suppose it’d have been a better experience if I had gone alone, or with just one other person and we were there at the same time, but for a group setting with people arriving at a few staggering times, I just found it extremely lame that I wasn’t allowed to take a seat before ordering.

I’m obviously in the minority here with my opinion – my Twitter feed has been nonstop complimenting Tres Carnales and online reviews are just glowing but I just can’t say it was an amazing place with amazing food and I’ll be back, because I definitely won’t be back. There’s definitely enough restaurants in the city I’d prefer to go to where I can sit down, have a great time with great food and get full. I’m still glad I went because I do love trying new restaurants. Again the food is good, it’s just not worth it. Obviously I prefer the outcome of my trying new restaurants (especially ones that are so positively talked about) to be more positive, but it’s a good experience either way. I’d recommend you go try it for yourself because really it is the “talk of the town” and the things you value in your restaurant outings may be different so the restaurant may end up being fantastic for you but my stance remains that I was unimpressed.

So have you been to Tres Carnales? What did you think?!

Linda :)

Tres Carnales Taqueria on Urbanspoon


  • akomuzikera says:

    that’s very unfortunate. i can’t believe their portions are small now. they’re still fairly new when i first went there. i remember, i could barely finish my food. they were generous with their portions. they probably made some changes. yes, i agree with the price issue. i’d say the reason behind the hype is the lack of taquerias in edmonton. and them being interactive on twitter.

  • WonderPho says:

    Good review, definitely a restaurant being trendy doesn’t mean that it’s all that and a bag of chips. For example, ‘La Poutine’ off of Whyte. Great concept, but $8 for what is considered a side dish and the portion also being side dish sized…gag me! I guess people eat with their eyes as well.

  • Adam Sndier says:

    Interesting. Unless their portions have shrunk since I was there a few weeks ago, I wouldn’t call them small. I was quite full from my single order of fish tacos.

    I agree about the seating being less-than-stellar, though.

  • Sarah says:

    I think what’s earning the boys at Tres Carnales the buzz is that they’re putting together some high quality dishes – which, I for one am willing to pony up a little more cash for. And I totally respect that they’re not loading up our plates with extraneous carbs and veg like most restaurants do.

    To curb the feeling of not being full enough – the guys at our office have started splitting a second plate of tacos. One plate leaves you wanting, and two leaves you too full.

    It’s a small space – no denying that. If you want to give it another shake, try heading there between lunch and dinner. 4:30pm is kind of the magic hour where it’s quiet enough you won’t feel rushed.

  • Linda Hoang says:

    Thanks Sarah! If I do go back yeah I’d probably need to try the splitting the second plate idea (if I get a seat that is, lol).

  • Linda Hoang says:

    I guess I have a big appetite ;)

  • Linda Hoang says:

    Absolutely! I have not tried La Poutine yet but have also heard similar things about the cost for the amount of food you’re getting, lol. Sigh!

  • Linda Hoang says:

    :( Not every restaurant can be a winner in the eyes of everyone I guess!

  • mike says:

    Thats unfortunate I know edgar and want him to do well……i know exactly what you are saying because recently my place has been compared to tres carnales quite a bit , i have a decent latino following that have switched over……all feeling that the value wasn’t there… place just opened about 7 weeks ago. CAFE DEL SOL, everything is from scratch, and i actually have my mexican mother in law in the back producing most of the marinades and family recipes……we are quiet and affordable and i try to encourage people to hang out….

  • Linda Hoang says:

    Thanks for the comment Mike! I’ll have to stop by Cafe Del Sol something. :)

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