Food For Thought is a bi-weekly blog that Kendall Swift reviews restaurants in Pittsburgh.
Viva Los Tacos is a Mexican-inspired taco restaurant that recently opened on the corner of Bouquet Street and Forbes Avenue in Oakland. You may have seen workers renovate the building that was once the original hot dog shop.
The interior has two floors with seating. The interior is very bright and lively. The restaurant is decorated with bright lights, bright colors and pop art graffiti on the walls, creating a fun and welcoming atmosphere.
At the moment there is only food in the restaurant, but the waiting time was bearable. Even though the restaurant was full, I got a seat within 10 minutes of my visit on Saturday. The staff was friendly too, considering the restaurant is new. The menu is on the small side, but offers many promising options. Tacos come in orders of three for $ 12. They also offer selected starters and a drinks menu.
I ordered the Baja fish tacos, which come with “beer breaded cod, flour tortilla, pico, crema, napa slaw” [and] Roja sauce of your choice ”, according to the menu. Roja sauce is mild, fuego and diablo, depending on the degree of spiciness. I chose mild because I thought it would go best with fish.
The food didn’t take much time to even come out. Plus, all three tacos were large and made the portions ample. In my opinion, $ 12 is not a terrible price to pay for the food because it is very filling.
The fish was one of my favorite parts of the taco. The batter was very crispy and added a crunch considering it’s a soft shell taco. It was cooked well and wasn’t on the rest of the toppings.
Although the fish was excellent, the pico and napa coleslaw stole the show. The tomatoes in the pico were very fresh. The tomato cubes were small enough not to overshadow the fish, but big enough to give it a fresh taste. The Napa coleslaw helped achieve the same effect. There wasn’t a lot of coleslaw, however, and also not a lot of sauce on top of the coleslaw. It was more like plain slices of cabbage than a coleslaw. Personally, as someone who doesn’t like coleslaw, I found the lack of sauce pleasant.
Although the menu description claims to include roja sauce, the sauce appeared to be missing from this dish. Not sure if not using a lot of sauce is typical of Viva Los Tacos or if it was a mishap with my food, but I couldn’t taste the sauce at all. However, the lack of sauce didn’t harm the dish – it was still delicious. Next time I would love to try the Diablo sauce to see if it stands out better.
Overall the food was delicious. I enjoyed everything from the food to the atmosphere and the staff. However, I don’t think it would be a comprehensive review unless I mention the authenticity of the food.
Viva Los Tacos advertises on its website that it serves both “Mexican” and “MexiCali” dishes. Despite these proclamations, I don’t see any evidence that the food is authentic. Some of the options, like Korean BBQ Chicken Tacos, Buffalo Chicken Tacos, and Southern Fried Chicken Tacos, don’t seem like authentic Mexican food to me.
The restaurant is owned by the Pittsburgh-based company Mero restaurant groupwho also owns all CHiKN and Stack’d Locations. I couldn’t find any evidence of efforts to make the restaurant authentic, despite being marketed as such.
It’s important for me to note that I’m not the omniscient judge of authenticity, but I think it’s something clients should keep an eye on when they leave. If you want good food definitely go. Just be aware that if you are looking for authentic Mexican food, maybe you should try elsewhere.
Despite my concerns, I would recommend this option to anyone looking for a quick, filling meal in Oakland.
Kendall writes about food and restaurants. You can reach them at [email protected].