If you’ve been following along with The Vic Life for awhile, you probably think we’re obsessed with tacos. Well, you’re not wrong. And that’s why we were so excited when we heard that Vancouver transplant La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop was opening its doors on Fort Street.
The first thing you’re likely to notice when you enter the shop are the colourful, hexagonal tiles adorning the floors and front counter.
They’re from a 150-year-old factory in Guadalajara, Mexico, Marcelo Ramirez Romero’s hometown.
Marcelo moved to Vancouver from Guadalajara 10 years ago, where he set up the first La Taqueira in Gastown in 2009.
Fast-forward seven years and now he owns three thriving taco shops (plus a very fun-sounding Mexican restaurant) in Vancouver and La Taqueira was just listed at No. 3 in a Yelp list of the Top 100 places to eat in Canada.
To top it off, last week Marcelo added a much-anticipated Victoria storefront to his empire.
“I love the island,” he told me, explaining how he’d considered Calgary for his next location, but ultimately opted for Victoria.
The new eatery at 766 Fort St. is in the former location of Real Taste of India and Pho Vy Vietnamese, which fell prey to a November 2013 kitchen fire. What’s risen in their place is a large, airy space with exposed beams.
I popped into La Taqueira twice in its first week and it was already bustling with taco fiends lining up for the shop’s traditional recipes, which use local, organic and sustainable products whenever possible.
“Simple, casual and authentic is what we’re going for,” Marcelo told me.
Fillings such as de cachete (beef cheeks), de lengua (braised beef tongue), carnitas (pork confit with pickled red onion) and hongos con kale (trio of mushrooms and kale stewed in salsa) can be served as a taco or as a quesadilla. A salsa station offers four different options, ranging from mild to spicy.
The tortillas are currently made in the company’s Vancouver kitchen, but will soon be handmade right in the Victoria shop.
The tacos are small, setting you up nicely to try out many different kinds — which you’ll be grateful for given the seven meat and four veggie choices. You can snag a single veggie taco for $2.50, a single meat taco for $3, two meat and two veggie tacos for $9.50 or a quesadilla for $6 (add any meat topping for $6 or any veggie topping for $4)
We consider ourselves to know Victoria’s taco scene pretty well, what with our Five Victoria Taco Spots You’ve Gotta Try post, as well as our blog on Victoria’s bicycle-powered taco tour. And suffice it to say that La Taqueria is definitely going to be in our regular rotation from now on.
Our faves so far are the braised beef cheeks, carnitas and atun (seared albacora tuna with wasabi mayo, chili ponzu, cabbage and pico de gallo salsa). Next time we visit we’ll be taking the quesadilla for a test drive. Yum.
Main photo via La Taqueira on Instagram