1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The thing we miss most when abroad is Mexican food, so we feel lucky to have so many options practically in our backyard. We tend to enjoy hole-in-the wall spots so we decided to get out of our comfort zone and try one of the newer, more trendy taco places that were getting rave reviews. Fortunately, we found that Antique Taco lived up to the hype. When you first step into Antique Taco, you immediately understand where it gets its name – the entire restaurant is full of antique tchotchkes, baskets as light fixtures and reclaimed woods, which makes it immediately appealing.
The menu at Antique Taco is small and rotating. On the day we visited there were six varieties of taco, including one vegetarian option. We ordered the market mushroom taco, with pepitas, guajillo cream, arugula and radish; the pork carnitas with bacon, spinach and avocado; and the garlic shrimp with corn salsa, avocado and onion. The prices, at $7 and $8 per taco basket, which includes 2 tacos, are certainly higher than many other taco joints. But don’t let that put you off, you definitely get what you pay for.
There is indoor and outdoor seating, and since it was nice we decided to grab a picnic table. We also ordered a basket of chips and guacamole ($7) while we were waiting, which came out instantly, and was immediately gobbled up. The tacos came out fairly quickly after the guac. Everything that arrived at the table was fresh and clearly homemade. In all of the tacos, the ingredients really worked together, and none of the toppings were out of place. The pork carnitas had a hint of sweetness from the tamarind glaze and seemed more akin to BBQ than real carnitas, which was still delicious. The garlic shrimp were perfectly complemented by the corn salsa, and the mushroom taco was pleasingly meaty. Only one drawback, some of the filling portions were a little inconsistent, the shrimp was a little skimpy, while there was a ton of pork shoulder.
M also ordered the horchata milkshake ($4), a riff on the classic Mexican drink with rice, cinnamon and almond, which was delicious (and gave us a good idea for a paleta). Though it is not a fancy restaurant, Antique Taco stands out for doing little touches right: the combinations are unique, the drinks come with retro striped paper straws and each taco plate has a little wooden pick with the variety printed on it. We definitely appreciated this attention to detail. We will definitely be back, hopefully sitting at the picnic tables.