May 8, 2024

Words by: Twyla Campbell

Photography by: Erin Walker

Something old is new in the Brewery District

If you’re a tequila fan, you’ll be pleased to know that Añejo, a new restaurant in the Brewery District, declares to have the largest inventory in the city. The 220 bottles beautifully displayed behind the bar lend credence to that claim. 

And while the prices run the gamut, General Manager, Nelvin Reyes, points to a special bottle, the Patron Grand Burdeos, a velvety smooth añejo (old) tequila, aged for more than 12 months and finished in Bordeaux wine barrels. At about $115 per ounce, it’s a tequila that you will want to enjoy one slow sip at a time.

This is the fifth Añejo in Canada—Calgary, Banff and Toronto (with two) are home to the others. Edmonton’s location opened in January, good timing as many of us northern dwellers dream of being in Mexico during winter, anyway. The restaurant has quickly become a hotspot for happy hour, date night, or any occasion to eat, drink and commune with friends. 

The venue is large and thoughtfully detailed with touches of Mexican artwork and religious iconography placed throughout the space. Two patios (one ground level and the soon-to-open rooftop) will be highly sought during warmer days. 

With Cinco de Mayo celebrations just around the corner, many of us have our eyes on the restaurant’s social media feed for the “rooftop patio is open” post. Fingers crossed, it happens soon. 

Diners can expect enticing and interesting food options from Mexico City-born chef, Ruben Morales. “I know these flavours well,” he says. “I am happy that I can bring something from Mexico to Canada. It brings me joy.”

If you can taste happiness in a dish, you’ll taste it here, with the queso fundido a good place to start. A generous amount of pico de gallo, chorizo, mushrooms, and cheese is mixed tableside in a molten hot molcajete. Experienced fundido fans will know that the best part is the crispy cheese that forms at the bottom after a few minutes have passed.  

A half dozen classic tacos can be ordered in singles allowing diners to have just one, or mix and match to try a few. The premium tacos are full dishes and generously portioned making them good to share. The shrimp tacos and the quesabirria are two delicious standouts—the prawns ginormous and sweet; the braised short rib flavourful and tender. 

If you’re stopping in for a quick snack and a drink, go for the guacamole, prepared tableside like the queso fundido, and great for sharing. 

Cocktails are hard to resist at Añejo and the biggest problem you might face on any given day is which margarita to order; classic tequila with coconut or cucumber, or a smoky mezcalarita with a grasshopper-salt rim. Offered at half the price during happy hour, the decision becomes a little easier to make. Good to know: alcohol-free options are easily accommodated and just as delicious. 

Añejo is a happy place for customers and employees, according to Reyes who says that staff love being on-site even when they’re not on shift. Understandable. It’s hard to be blue when tacos and tequila are involved. 

Grab friends, and go hungry. 

11954 – 104 Avenue, Edmonton


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