For those who haven’t seen its colorful mural facing Cambie Street, or seen it featured on Food Network’s “You Gotta Eat Here”, this is La Taqueria. It is a fantastic taco shop that offers some of the most amazing Mexican cuisine available in Vancouver. The designation “Pinche Taco Shop” indicates the restaurant’s lineage – the street taco – easy to eat and cheap to boot. It’s worth noting that Vancouver’s other favorite cuisines, sushi, was also born out of street food being elevated to restaurant cuisine, even becoming a delicacy. From authentic dishes like braised beef tongue, to the local, organic and sustainable ingredients, to the fact that you can have a Mexican beer with your tacos, this taqueria never fails to leave an impression.
I was very excited when La Taqueria opened, but didn’t know where to start with their menu, so I just asked them to recommend any four tacos for me to try. This is a great way to get to know La Taqueria! They were very quick to decide on the four I would eat, the four most popular. When they were ready, I ventured to the condiment bar which includes pickled veggies like red onions, carrots and jalapenos, yum! One of their staff showed me all of their salsas, a wide array of flavours and levels of hotness. I like spicy, so I just asked if he would recommend a salsa “pairing” for all of my tacos. As a sommelier would do with wine, he obliged, and I was ready to dig in! I really appreciate when the staff is very knowledgeable about the food and is eager to share it with you.
So, how was it? The tacos were phenomenal. The four delicious flavours I had were: Carnitas, pork confit with pickled red onions; Al Pastor, pork marinated in achiote chilli and pineapple; Pollo con Mole, free range chicken with chocolate mole sauce; and Pescado, zarandeado fish with chipotle mayo, radish and pepitas. These were all amazing. My favorite was probably the Al Pastor because I’m a sucker for anything with pineapple in it.
Now I have been back quite a few times, and the veggie options are great too! My vegetarian recommendations are: Tinga de Hongos, sautéed fresh mushrooms in spicy chipotle sauce (and it’s vegan!); and Rajas con Crema, roasted poblano peppers with creamed corn, sour cream & mexican cheese (not vegan at all!). I point out that there are vegan options, in addition to vegetarian ones, because everyone can find something here that suits their lifestyle as well as dazzles their taste buds! Also consider trying the horchata, which I would describe to newcomers as cinnamon rice milk although that does not do it justice. The only other place I know to get horchata in Vancouver was at another restaurant on Cambie Street! (More on that another time.)
Here in Vancouver we have a lot of the Baja and California influenced Mexican flavours but, as someone who grew up in The States, I miss some of the more authentically Mexican flavours that La Taqueria brings to the table. Combine that with the colorful decor, some mexican beer, and you’ve got a fiesta anytime. They have special taco flavours that change daily and they offer specials all the time (keep track of them on Twitter @LaTaqueriaYVR) like Taco Wednesdays: buy 4 tacos and get 2 free. Also, if you follow them on Facebook, check out the Word of the Day to get your 5th taco free. I know I’m looking forward to more taco dates with La Taqueria this summer, hope to see you there.
Address: 2549 Cambie St, Vancouver BC V5Z 3V6
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:00am-8:30pm, Closed Sundays
*All photos courtesy of lataqueria.ca*