Tacos by the Bay
A La Taqueria Clone
Solid but not wow
This will be a short review. La Catrina is essentially a copy of La Taqueria. Former employees started the West End shop and the menu of tacos is very similar.
Depending on your perspective, this is either fantastic news as one can get good tacos and enjoy the beauty of English Bay, or disappointing if you were looking for something more unique.
I shade more to the disappointed side. The original La Taqueria is a one minute walk from my office. I enjoy their tacos and they are in my “places to lunch” roster.
I understand with some things, like taco fillings, expecting every new shop to re-invent the wheel may be too much to ask. One can only do so much with Al Pastor and Mole Chicken.
Although, I wonder why no one has done the Al Pastor on a rotating spit like Gyro shops in Vancouver and how it’s done in Mexico (I would love to try a place that did that).
However the flavours at La Catrina are just too eerily similar to La Taqueria. If you have read my blog for a while or know me, I tend to have an innovation bias. I prefer to reward eateries that try new things to enhance a diner’s eating experience, even if it doesn’t quite succeed or is popular with the masses (i.e. The Ramenman).
Over two visits I tried 7 tacos: the Rajas Con Crema, Lengua en Salsa Verde, Al Pastor, Tinga de Pollo, Mole (chicken), Carnitas (pork), and Cachete.
For the Cachete and Lengua I recommend adding one of the provided salsas to boost the otherwise plain beefy and onion-ish flavour of the tacos.
The Carnitas and Al Pastor were not greasy and had a nice sweet savoury flavour. This is an improvement over La Taqueria, which tends to serve a helping of oil with their versions of these tacos.
The Tinga de Pollo and Mole Chicken had the most complex flavours out of the fillings I tried. The Tinga de Pollo is tangy, creamy and savoury, while the Mole is sweet and nutty. However this is the same way I feel about La Taqueira two chicken options.
The Rajas Con Crema was creamy and sweet, solid just like the other tacos.
Overall, if you like La Taqueria, you will like La Catrina. However I think La Catrina does give you a bit more filling. I can eat La Taqueria’s tacos very neatly. I made a big mess with my tacos from the shop by the bay.
La Catrina is not out of the box eats, but rather solid food that’s conveniently located by a very touristy and scenic part of Vancouver. I wouldn’t purposely go out of the way to come here but it is a nice quick food option if you are in the area for the fireworks or showing out of town guests around.
La Catrina Tacos
1187 Denman St.
Vancouver, BC V6G 2N1
(604) 566 9503