Maria is a new restaurant Downtown. It occupies the space where Haweli used to be (take out and delivery orders for Haweli are still possible, as they share the kitchen). In terms of parking, there is street parking around, and a couple of parkades for paid parking. It was a beautiful day out, so we opted to walk. We were invited to check out the space and restaurant.
Maria is Edmonton’s only Northern Mexican restaurant. Many of its dishes and themes are adopted from Sonora, Mexico. They have a large and big dining room, with some private rooms available for booking. The restaurant owners/group have a couple of successful restaurants in Sonora, and wanted to bring the flavours of the city to Edmonton. Sonora is in the northwest of Mexico, close to the US border. Many of its dishes are protein-forward, lending itself to many grilled and barbecued dishes.
To start off, we had a couple of cocktails. They have a very beautiful and long bar, with some unique cocktails. We had the Kino Bay Mojito and La Mule. The Kino Bay Mojito was very light, and coconut forward. We really enjoyed the coconut shavings on the rim; It added some nice texture and sweetness to the drink. La mule is their take on a moscow mule, with tequila, ginger beer, and jalapenos. It had a very nice level of spice to it and very enjoyable to drink.
For food, we started off with their tortilla soup. Crispy tortillas, avocado, pork chicarron, cerma, fresco cheese, smoked chilli peppers, topped with a flavourful tomato broth. This really hit the spot! It has lots of contrasting textures, and a good level of spice. Very well seasoned and a nice way to start off our meal. It comes with the broth on the side, and poured table-side, to ensure that the tortillas stay crispy!
Our other appetizer was the Ahi Tuna Coqueta. This is fresh Ahi Tuna with avocado, chipotle mayo, crispy battered onions, and served with tortilla chips. This was our favourite dish of the night. It was very flavourful and fresh. It also had a nice level of spice which we enjoyed. Beautifully plated.
For our main, we had their specialty, the Parrilladas. Parrilladas means barbecue, or grill, and is a dish served on a sizzling skillet at Maria. They have three different kinds, varying by protein. Each is served with creamy avocado sauce, flour tortillas, two stufffed peppers, and garnishes. We got the pitic parrillada which comes with beef asada, chicken asada, and chorizo. They are priced for two and are very filling! We really enjoyed the interactive aspect of the meal. Sonoran tortillas are generally wheat-based, and thinner. They are a bit chewier and have more elasticity than their corn counterparts. This might actually be our favourite tortilla texture and we will definitely try to re-create these tortillas at home!
For dessert, we had their Northern Tres Leches cake. This is a moist sponge cake with berries. It had a very airy texture and wasn’t too sweet. We wished there was a bit more tartness from the berries but overall, it was a very tasty dessert (and huge! it was the size of 1/3 of an entire cake).
Overall, we really enjoyed our experience at Maria. We’ve been to Mexico a couple times, but never in the Northern region, so it was nice to try the different flavours from this region. They’ve only opened 3 weeks ago, and are in a great spot downtown. They hope to open up a patio this summer. They also have a beautiful mural painted by a local artist for all your instagram photo needs (lol). Best of luck to Maria! Definitely come check them out. We thought the food was very good and we will definitely be back to check out some of their other dishes.
Disclosure: The food from this post was gifted to us, however our opinion remains unbiased and based on our own experience.