Taco Takeover: Velvet Taco
Author: Andy Huff
Location: Near North Side
Price: $3.50-5.50 a taco
Overall Rating: 9.5/10
Growing up in Houston, Texas, there are some things you learn without anybody ever needing to tell you. Perhaps the most important of these unspoken lessons is that everything tastes better wrapped in a tortilla; this is, in my opinion, one of the great truths of the universe. Thankfully, cities around the country are realizing this, and thanks to the rapid spread of taco places around Chicago, I’m gonna try my best to prove it. I'm Andy, and welcome to my series: Taco Takeover.
For most of these posts, I plan to go to and review restaurants I have never been to before. But first, I wanted to visit an old favorite, Velvet Taco. I love everything about this restaurant. The restaurant is usually packed, and when you step inside, you are met with the dull roar of the taco loving crowd mixed in with a playlist your most obnoxious hipster friend would make. Try to elbow your way to the menu board, and take a look.
First-time visitors are often surprised that almost none of the food is Mexican or even Mexican-inspired. Do not let this daunt you. When I said everything tastes better in a tortilla, I meant everything.
The right order is usually two tacos a person. My favorite taco there is the fried paneer, which consists of a fried spongy Indian cheese with a rich spiced tomato chutney and thai basil. It’s full of grease and rich spices, and hits all the right notes for a taco. To pair with that, I usually order the Nashville hot tofu taco, which has tofu with a sweet and spicy sauce better than any sauce I’ve had in Tennessee. That taco is finished with homemade pickles and slaw that provides a nice freshness and pop of vinegar to contrast the sweetness emanating from the sauce.
Those may be my favorite tacos, but I’ve had many passionate arguments with friends over which is best. One friend swears by the shrimp and grits taco, which features a zesty blackened shrimp with a spiced Cajun mayo, and the beautifully creamy taste of cheese grits. My mom adores the chicken masala taco, which takes the classic British-Indian chicken with spicy sauce and adds thai basil and a tortilla, which may be the most flavorful and exciting dish on the menu. Lastly, I think my girlfriend would dump me if we ever failed to order the tater tots, which come topped with a fried egg, bacon, goat cheese, and herbs. Honestly, I think I’d dump me for her if I didn’t order it.
I don't have enough words to say how much I love this restaurant. They make amazing tacos, they stay open until 5 AM on weekends, and every time I go it tastes like home in the best way possible. Do yourself a favor, and go when you get the chance. You won’t regret it.
Thumbnail photo taken from https://velvettaco.com/