Antique Taco is not your average taqueria. With options like mushroom and kale tacos and chili cheese curds, it is a delicious, if pricier taco option for lunch or a casual dinner. Should you give it a try? Read on and see.
What’s in a Name?
At first Antique Taco posed a challenge for me; I had a little trouble getting past the name. Who wants to eat an antique taco? I’ll take a fresh one thank you. But the place has generated such a buzz that I had to give it a try. And let’s be honest, I can be a little too literal, or so I’ve been told. Who worries about eating an antique taco?
Antique Taco is located in Wicker Park on a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue filled with a wild assortment of businesses, from cheesy furniture stores that have been there for decades to relative newbies like the Copenhagen Cyclery, which sells bikes I pine for. The restaurant occupies a corner store front with two walls of windows and a welcoming, quaint, striped awning. Inside, the white muslin drapes and rough-around-the-edges farmhouse furniture give the place a vintage vibe, hence the name, Antique Taco.
Like I said, this is not your average taco shop. The menu puts food into categories they call tacos, baskets, mas, treats and beverages. From the taco section, my friend Michelle and I ordered the crispy fish and the rib eye tacos. Two tacos come in an order, so if you want to try more than one kind, bring a friend who likes to share. One of the best things about these tacos is the ample, toothsome tortilla. It’s got great rustic flavor and is substantial enough to handle the taco fillings without falling apart. Both the rib eye and the crispy fish taco were delicious, with multiple layers of flavor and texture. The crispy fish taco has a tempura breading and comes with smoked cabbage and Sriracha tartar sauce. The rib eye taco is served with the traditional salsa, cilantro, onions and queso enchilada.
The baskets come on one of those old school card board baskets berries used to come in when I was a kid. The corn off the cob salad is crunchy, salty and tangy. The guac and chips are exactly what you except, but don’t eat any of the baskets too slowly or your bowl becomes a soggy mess. The next time I visit I plan to order the chili cheese curds from the Mas category. What’s not to like about beer battered cheese curds, chorizo chili and crema fresco?
In the beverage category, Antique Taco serves agua fresco or fruit “waters” that are typically Mexican. I loved the Agua de Jamaica, which is a sweet hibiscus drink that comes with an old fashioned spiral striped paper straw that is so very vintage, but that is the tactile equivalent of fingers down a chalkboard for me. Since we were there for lunch, I was a good girl and ordered my agua de jamaica sans vodka but there’s no reason YOU should. The margaritas sound awfully nice and fresh as well.
If you’ve read my blogs, you know how I feel about counter service. It makes a meal seem casual, and I prefer to be waited on. But in some instances it is done well and at lunch or at BYOBs, I can overlook it. At Antique Taco the wait staff will bring your meal right to your table as it comes out of the kitchen, so there’s no real pacing your meal. This is an eat it and move on kind of place. The service at Antique Taco was friendly and fast, perfectly fine for lunch or a week night dinner.
Should I Stay (Home) or Should I Go?
As usual, as you read this paragraph the Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I go should be playing in your head. Definitely give Antique Taco a try for lunch or a casual dinner. The food, though a little pricey for tacos, is great. The menu offers some classic offerings served with a special Antique Taco twist. Go with a friend who likes to share so you can try out as many of the interesting things on the menu as possible. Or, go if you can’t wedge yourself into Big Star. Versus the Big Star walk up window, there’s no comparison. Antique Taco wins. Don’t agree with me? Let me know.
Antique Taco is located at 1360 N. Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park.