clockwise from top, enchiladas, shrimp taocs, guacamole and queso at alta calle photo by izaiah johnson

2019 Best New Restaurants // No. 7 Alta Calle

Sometimes a transcendent dining experience comes from waves of culinary force that span two or three hours; other times, its locus is a single moment, one or two bites that affect you totally. 

The first bite of South Grand Mexican eatery Alta Calle’s shrimp taco offers a beguiling introduction to its juicy, spicy shrimp with pineapple sauce and brilliant, seared cheese-laced tortilla, but the second, bringing in captivating pieces of pickled cucumber and refreshing dill, really lassos the flavors into one truly mind-blowing harmony of ideas. Dill! On a taco!

One of the best dishes in St. Louis this year, Alta Calle’s shrimp taco captures everything we love about this restaurant. It’s easy but complex, traditional but inventive, serious without being pretentious. 

from left, alta calle co-owner dulce morales, steve suarez and co-owner veronica morales // photo by izaiah johnson

This team, led by sisters Veronica and Dulce Morales (Veronica also owns Las Palmas in Maplewood with her son, Steve Suarez) do everything with care – from the delicate, tangy salsa verde atop the mushroom enchiladas to the savory blend of crispy tofu, beans and slaw that pad out the torta vegetariana. Guacamole is bolstered by the genius addition of pickled shallots, mint and pepitas. 

Alta Calle leaves no stone unturned when looking for smart ways to update traditional Mexican dishes, and we’re thrilled to be here for it. 

Adam Rothbarth is a staff writer at Sauce Magazine.