It's been 13 months since the contemporary Mexican restaurant Milpa first teased itself to Calgarians with a pop-up at Shelter. Now, with its sights set on opening in late January, the slick-looking little spot from celebrity chef Elia Herrera is gearing up to be Calgary's first new restaurant of 2023.
The chef is well-known by Torontonians for her popular eatery Colibri as well as her hot sauce-focused company, Tecolote and Food Network Canada viewers will remember her from Top Chef Canada Season 6. Interestingly enough, prior to her appearance on TCC, Herrera competed on Top Chef Mexico Season 2. The combination makes her a decent competitor candidate for Top Chef World All-Stars, a.k.a. the 20th season of Bravo's Top Chef, which will likely be announcing its details in the next few months.
But, I digress!
Milpa is located just off the corner of 17th Avenue S.W. and 5th Street S.W. in the same strip of retail spaces that currently house casual spots like Cinnaholic and The Mash. While Herrera's restaurant promises to be approachable, it's still bringing its design A-game to the narrow (40-ish seat?) room with a plethora of archways in the dining area and hallway and a bold turquoise colour throughout.
Milpa's initial inspiration for its menu was a main focus on seasonal Canadian produce alongside house-made corn tortillas all brought together in innovative ways by chef Herrera and her team. It seems like Milpa is still very much on the vegetable-forward track and I think it's fair to expect a unique cocktail menu to go along with all of the contemporary Mexican dishes.
While it doesn't have an official opening date as of yet, sources tell me that Calgary's newest restaurant is hoping to open around January 20, 2023. Milpa is located at 1531 5th Street S.W. and for the most up-to-date information regarding its opening date, hours and menu, follow @milpayyc on Instagram.