The name “Antique Taco” is intriguingly appealing. You hear it and you might think to yourself, what on earth is an antique taco? Or, if you’re like me, you don’t think twice about it – you just like the sound of it. Antique Taco – cool.
But the name doesn’t just sound cool, it’s also very fitting for this quaint taco shop on North Milwaukee Avenue. Take a step inside, and it’s almost like you’ve traveled back in time. With aged wooden tables and old-timey signs, the restaurant exudes a strong dose of character.
Still confused about this whole antique taco thing? To put it simply, owners Rick and Ashely Ortiz are fans of old things. So their restaurant basically celebrates that: great food and antiques.
Names aside, let’s move on to the best part: The grub. These tacos aren’t for the fainthearted.
A lot of times when we think tacos, we think street tacos – two thin, corn tortillas with flavorful fillings that fit perfectly into the palm of your hand. Well, these tacos certainly have the flavorful thing down pat, but you’re going to need two hands for these babies. Not to mention, you get two tacos per order.
Funny story: The first time my friend and I went, we somehow misunderstood why there was a “dos” above the taco menu. Little did we know, that meant there were two tacos to each order. So, we each ordered two or three tacos, only to end up with about eight giant tacos. Plus cheese curds, sopa and a pitcher of margaritas. Am I complaining? Absolutely not. Saddest part though – we both speak Spanish. Best part? We got a hefty goodie bag to take home.
Speaking of cheese curds – get these to start. Cheese curds in general should get your whistle wet, but I’ll go ahead and describe them in detail so that we’re on the same page. Needless to say, these aren’t just any cheese curds. They’re chili cheese curds – meaning they take beer-battered cheese and layer it with chorizo chili. Then it’s all topped off with a crema and scallions. Cue drooling.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we can move onto the main star: Those giant tacos I was telling you about. Whether you’re feeling carnivorous or more veggie-friendly, you really can’t go wrong.
I’d definitely get an order of the fish tacos, though. The batter is not too heavy, and just perfectly crispy. Tempura battered, tossed in a tortilla with smoked cabbage, scallions and sesame then drizzled with a Sriracha tartar sauce. Yes, I said Sriracha tartar sauce.
If you’re trying to get your meat fix, go with the pork carnitas tacos. First of all, they season their carnitas with an adobo rub and tamarind glaze. In other words, I could just have the meat, and I’d be a happy camper. But then they add spinach, onion, avocado and queso. Best part – that’s right, we haven’t even reached it yet – they put crispy strips of bacon on top. Not bacon crumbles or pieces, full on strips. Basically this is a pork lover’s heaven.
As I mentioned, there are vegetarian options, too. Like the roasted sweet potato and pablano tacos, with green beans, chipotle cream, leeks and pumpkin seeds. So if you’re not feeling meat, you can still get your grub on, too!
And then there are your staples of course, like chips and gauc, taco salad, habanero popcorn. Wait. What? Habanero popcorn is not a staple – but it is a must have!
On the sweet side, Antique Taco features Bang Bang! Tequila key lime pie for dessert. If you’ve never had pie from Bang Bang, you’re in for an amazing treat. Especially something like tart, key lime pie. Mmmm. Not in the mood for pie, though? You could go with a traditional horcahta milkshake. Who doesn’t love horchata?
Last, but definitely not least – drinks. In fact, these probably should go first. That way you can sip on ‘em while you wait for your delciousness to arrive. Antique Taco has a selection of beer, wine and seasonal agua fesca (virgin or with vodka). But I think the star of the drink menu is their rosemary margaritas. Because rosemary. And margaritas. Two things separately that are delectable. So why not put them together? Great idea. You can grab them in a pint or a quart. I always say go big, or go home. But then again, I am known to be a little excessive. Either way, your taste buds will be happy!