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New Mexican coming on Broadway and Cambie

As I was zooming by on the illustrious B-Line this evening I noticed a sign for what looks like a new taco place going in where Pho English was at 382 West Broadway. Instantly forgot the name and of course couldn't see any details, so if any Hounds are in the area, would love some better intel.

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    1. I will look for you on Monday!

      1. Excellent ! Don't need another pho joint in this area (although I was always intrigued by their name). But Mexican ...... ole !

        Wonder if it'll be casual tacos (a la La Taqueria, Dona Cata) or more formal and varied like Cobre and La Casita ?

        1. this has been on my radar for a few weeks. saw the name of chronic taco and had visions of the west coast pot stereotype gone even further off the deep end. looked it up online and was surprised to see that it's an established and by the looks of it, not entirely terrible chain from SoCal.


          Their menu looks ok, hopefully it will be something that will be worth walking over from Main for.

          29 Replies
          1. re: duster

            No wonder I forgot the name: I must have blanked it out on purpose. Thanks for the link, though, duster. A chain might do an okay job, but it likely won't be the Mexican I'm looking for with that southern Californian provenance. I'm certainly willing to give it a try, as there are no good places for tacos in Vancouver yet, IMNSHO.

            1. re: grayelf

              Newport Beach, eh? From the website, it's probably on par with chains like Rubio's. Chipotle's, or Baja Fresh.

              1. re: _js_

                Is that good or bad, js? I've never tried any of those...

                1. re: grayelf

                  I'm not a fan. Everything tastes too darn salty for me and I have a fairly medium-high salt tolerance; probably what bothers me most is the food tastes a little "industrial"/"commercial" too. But they're clean and good for a bathroom break on the road. :)

                  Haven't tried Chronic Tacos down in fancy-schmancy Newport Beach, so I'm still holding out hope that Chronic Tacos are a step up from those chains, kind of like In N Out burgers are a big step up from other fast food burgers.

                  1. re: _js_

                    I guess we'll find out how they do it in the OC :-).

                2. re: _js_


                  Interesting read. Now I'm curious. As long as they don't turn out to be the "Olive Garden" of Mexican food ........... doh !

                  I'm a-waitin' for a Rick Bayless chain of casual Frontera Grill express.

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    Drove by last night. Chronic Tacos appear to be in business. Anyone have TOFTT updates to share ?

                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      I'm waiting for the one on Fourth to open (lazy!)

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Do I have to do *all* the work ?!? [wink]

                        1. re: ck1234

                          Nice! I'm secretly hoping they have decent fish tacos. One of my (many) holy grails for comida mexicana, preferably Baja style but if it's good I won't be too picky :-).

                        2. re: LotusRapper

                          Sweet! I'll stop in before work and TOFTT.

                          1. re: peter.v

                            They aren't open yet. I just called and they're either going to be open this Friday or a week Tuesday...

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Yeah, I totally found that out in front of their shop.

                              1. re: peter.v

                                I posted back quickly in hopes of saving you the aggro peter, drat. Is there seating in the shop or could you tell? That may decide whether a chowdown chico is in order...

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  Definitely seating. 20-ish perhaps from my quick peek in?

                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                        Will try to check tomorrow, but some of the guys from the shop have been coming into the cafe for coffee and word on the street is Thursday. One of the American owners (not, I think of this franchise, but of many of them in the US) has a knuckle tattoo that says "taco life". Rad.

                      2. re: grayelf

                        Taquiera on Hastings / Don cata on Victoria = very good tacos IMHO

                        1. re: tangentdesign

                          I tried La Taqueria a couple times and thought it was good and closer to the mark than the other tacos of this kind in town but still lacking for me. Too many ingredients, too "fancy" and too wet. Dona Cata has a lot of potential but they fall down on the super wetness of all their meat preps with the exception of the longaniza which is tasty and dry enough but unfortunately too oily. I wish they would offer three outstanding salsas instead of half a dozen weak ones.

                          I don't really get the whole wet prep for taco fillings. What I'm looking for is al pastor done on a vertical rotisserie, kind of like what you see in gyros shops, with a whole pineapple spitted on the top. Serve it freshly shaved off the rotating lump of pork, with a bit of the pineapple on house made tortillas (2 small ones, natch) with a little diced sweet onion and a hit of fresh cilantro. Add the sauce of your choice, also housemade. Charge less than $3 a pop. Done and done.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            i was dissapointed with dona cata's when i was there a month or so ago. enough so that i doubt i would return. just waiting for newer arrivals that will eventually appear in the city.

                            la taqueria was better for me.

                            1. re: betterthanbourdain

                              I fully agree. Dona Cata's offerings start tasting the same after a short while.

                              La Taqueria's is better, but I don't care for its bite-and-run ambiance.

                              1. re: LotusRapper

                                La Taqueria is definitely the best taco in town. I worked in the area briefly and ate there every other day. Most of the tacos weren't served wet (you would add your own sauces and condiments. The meats were pretty dry for the most part...with a few exceptions - like the al pastor which is traditionally served with pineapple.)

                                Dona Cata and Tacos Mexico Rico aren't in the same league, IMO.

                                1. re: fmed

                                  Ate at taco shack for the first time in a long time this weekend, it was great, 100 steps up from the first time I tried it.

                                  1. re: fmed

                                    If only La Taqueria has DC's 10 salsas ...... then again I'm a salsa wimp and only got as far as "6" in their lineup :-)

                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                      LT salsa's are more limited but at least as fresh and better tasting imho...

                                      like that they try to use better ingredients

                                      dislike that taco's are still so pricey in this city...

                                      1. re: LotusRapper

                                        You're not really missing anything IMO LR, just sayin... I should go back to La Taqueria. It's been a while.

                        2. It opened today. I just went. I do have pictures too, but I'll have to wait til I get home later to post them. We were recommended by the staff to try the fish tacos (Baja style) on corn tortillas. We did, we had one of each fish taco. One grilled, one breaded. They were quite large. 2 tacos was really filling. We got the combo with chips & salsa & a drink for $3 more. I could barely eat the chips. The salsa was just ok. Tasted exactly like Safeway's fresh salsa from the deli. It didn't thrill me. The tacos were really good though. The grilled fish one was really wet. My friend preferred this one. I liked the breaded better, which was dry. The lime sauce was good. I was stuffed and could of just had one. One is $3.28. Two tacos with the combo upgrade came to $10.78. I'll post the pics later.

                          14 Replies
                          1. re: ck1234

                            Prices seem reasonable (or low even). I used to have high hopes for Taco del Mar, but gave up. Although stateside ones seem better for some reason.

                            Did the ingredients themselves look ok ? I can't stand wrap/burrito/taco places where the ingredients sit around all day.

                            PS: thanks for TOFTT and the report :-)

                            1. re: LotusRapper

                              itspretty bad when we have to resort to saying a 3 dollar taco is a good price ,bah down south (la)there a buck and they taste as good or better ,we(canadians )get the same ingredient to make them so there is really no reason they should be that much more.i guess we are just happy to pay the super high food prices that we do ,go figure makes no sense(cents).sorry ,just arant has nothing against you lr

                              1. re: howlin

                                Agree with you howlin. La Taqeuria downtown sells very good tacos at 4 for $9.50. Biggest bang for the buck in the Vancouver tacosphere.

                                1. re: fmed

                                  La Taqeuria's are smaller than Chronic's $3.28 ones. I have to admit when I looked at the prices before they opened, I wasn't thrilled. I don't know if it'll become a regular place, but I will be ok with buying one taco when I want to eat light(ish) and quick. There was a good portion of fish on them too. I was actually going to get a Tostada until a staff member said we should try the fish tacos and claimed they would be the best we ever ate. I liked the pescada taco at La Taqueria maybe better though.

                                  1. re: ck1234

                                    Looking at your 2nd pic, it looks like the fish is deep-fried (ie: battered & fried like fish & chips) ? Did it taste greasy, and how was the batter coating ?

                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                      haha, the 2nd one is the "grilled" one! The first one is battered, and no, it was not greasy and was delicious - IMHO. My friend, who is "Mr. Healthy", always eats chicken only, no deep fried stuff, etc...liked the grilled fish better. By a landslide, I liked the fried one better! :-) Though, he did polish off the whole bag of chips & salsa. I barely ate mine, so I'm sure he had way more calories than me yesterday!

                                      1. re: ck1234

                                        Thanks :-) Yes I got the pics backwards.

                                        Might check them out this weekend.

                            2. re: ck1234

                              Breaded taco, then the grilled...

                              1. re: ck1234

                                You give me hope, ck! The breaded looks like my cup of er, fish. If they are filling I'm okay with that price. Love that they are doing shredded cabbage but sad to hear the salsa is not good. Sounds like I'll save the $3 :-).

                                We drove by on our way home from Bo Laksa King tonight and it was still open for business just before 10 so that is good. Will have to try to get by this w'end.

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  They are open til 1 AM they said...I think they want a "bar clientele" too...they tell you about the cabbage and the "Baja" way when you order...and who knows, the salsa was just my opine - (just tasted like cut up tomatoes to me)....which is why I hate reviewing anything, I don't want to influence others! Let us know what you think!

                                  1. re: ck1234

                                    Not at all, I appreciate reading your thoughts. It's not about agreeing or disagreeing, it's about data points, right? I had the same reaction to the salsa they put on the huevos rancheros at Habit, totally tasted just like cut up tomatoes to me :-).

                                    1. re: grayelf

                                      Did you like the creme fraiche at Habit though? How were the Huevo's compared to Jethro's?

                                      1. re: ck1234

                                        Creme fraiche was a nice touch for sure. Preferred Jethro's despite the salsa mixup. Will post properly anon :-).

                                2. re: ck1234

                                  Walked by it last night and have a quick look inside. I just had dinner so I didn't eat.

                              2. Sept 12:

                                Popped in Chronic Tacos for rapido lunch today. Just happened a large raucous (read: young) crowd was there watching the Raiders vs. Titans game, so the ambiance wasn't my ideal.

                                But to the food ...... ordered a crispy beef, and the battered fish (as per CK1234). Staff seems to still be ironing out the wrinkles but at least they were working hard at it. All toppings are inclusive in the prices and only based on customer request. I kept things simple with only the medium (verde, not red) salsa, lime, shredded cheese, lots of cilantro, and lettuce (hate raw cabbage except in slaw).

                                The beef was ok tender but lacked any substantive flavours. But I liked the crisp (fried) taco which to my great relief wasn't like your typical "taco shell". Ditto the flavour-less salsa (I wouldn't have know there was any inside if one didn't tell me .... next time will ask for hot version).

                                The fried fish soft taco was surprisingly good, freshly fried with no "fishy" taste and the crispy batter was light and not dis-pleasingly greasy. In fact I inhaled the fish taco in less than 2 mins and could have easily eaten two more of the same.

                                Paid just over $3 each taco, plus a one-size $1.99 soda. With Hated Sales Tax, total was just over $9.

                                I'd go back for the fried fish taco, and maybe try the al pastor.

                                No pics, sorry.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: LotusRapper

                                  Got all excited 'cause I thought the beef itself was crispy :-). I like that you can pick your toppings. I wouldn't have cabbage on anything but the fish, myself. Thanks for the additional intell, LR.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    I'm dismayed they don't have an al pastor version with soft taco wrapped around a crispy taco, which itself is filled to the brim, then the whole shebang is deep-fried, then topped with salsa, more cheese, cilantro, sour cream, more cheese .........

                                    Oh wait, that was my dream after watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, LOL

                                    1. re: LotusRapper

                                      pollo- pieces were too big, was dried out, good flavour
                                      shrimp baja style-mushy

                                      oh yeah, 18 dollars for 4 tacos, chips and a pop, is ALOT of money

                                      1. re: bigeaterjustin

                                        $3 of your bill was for the chips + pop combo add-on, and 12% was HST. So yeah, it adds up :-(

                                        1. re: LotusRapper

                                          So I popped in to Chronic (or is that the Chronic?) last Friday after work for a taste. I had the deep-fried fish taco ($3.29), the potato taco ($1.99) and the chicken taquitos ($7.99 IIRC). The fish taco was very tasty, made with mahi mahi which worked just fine. I only wish I could find a place outside of Baja that did the fish lightly "battered" and grilled on a flattop. The potato taco was a lovely little find, a corn taco folded around roughly mashed spuds and then deep fried. It was nicely seasoned, crunchy and creamy and definitely more-ish.

                                          Except that I decided to try the taquitos instead, in the interests of research you understand. I would call these flautas because of their larger size (I note that they are advertising on the front page of their website that they are now making flautas. Will check this out next time). At any rate, they were crunchy and the chicken had a bit of flavour.

                                          What really makes the grade at Chronic for me is the ability to customize your toppings. I think cheese on Mexican dishes is an abomination. No cheese, no problem. I asked for lettuce with my taquitos as well as guacamole and sour cream (no crema, sadly). Again no problem. Extra lime? No problem.

                                          Service was very friendly and courteous, with a staffer even coming to my table to ask if I would care for a glass of water. When's the last time that happened to you in what is essentially a fast food environment. My only service quibble was the cook who took my supplementary order of taquitos calling me "honey" repeatedly. Lame.

                                          He did tell me that they get their very nice corn tortillas through Sysco (I was hoping to be able to buy some for home use).

                                          They have a nice little bar on one side of the resto so you could tomar una cerveza with your meal if desired. The room is quite large and airy, except at the back where you order. Now that's gonna be one toasty kitchen in the summer as it was uncomfortably warm on Friday which wasn't a hot day.

                                          If they keep up the quality, portioning and service, I will be spending some time at the 4th Avenue store when it opens in October.

                                          1. re: grayelf

                                            Quite the research there. I didn't quite do the Chronic Inquisition [groan] that you did, but I did notice the tortillas were above average.

                                            Mahi mahi, really ??? I was just relieved it didn't taste like differently-shaped Filet O' Fish. I must say, it was gooood.

                                            Cheddar cheese in Mex foods ..... will never understand that. These are Tex-Mex, after all. Or in their case, Newport Beach CA.

                                            No sour cream ..... but you did get some with the flautas in the pic (?).

                                            Weird to say this, but I was thinking about the fish taco this week.

                                          2. re: LotusRapper

                                            don't mind the dollars if the food is worthy, almost 4 dollars for these tacos is not worthy

                                  2. My two cents: went there for a late lunch today and had the carne asada, carnitas and fish tacos (without cheese of course!) All hit the spot but weren't really all that satisfying, compared to my memories of SoCal taco shacks. I guess its like the Indian restaurants here -- they do the trick if you're desperate for a taste of the cuisine but leave you uninspired. Bottom line: I'll most likely go back, since its in my 'hood and was good enough, but my search for the ultimate taco in Vancouver isn't over...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: À la carte

                                      I ended up going there again tonight before a class. Had the shrimp which were the size of regular shrimp (not prawns) and very juicy. I wasn't in love with the batter though it was very light but that is a personal thing as I am generally not a fan of beer batters.

                                      Also tried the carnitas (just a sample) which was tasty but a bit too connective tissue-ey, so I opted for an al pastor soft taco and a carne asada crispy taco. All much more to my taste than any other meat fillings I've had in town and thank goodness, not wet. The al pastor is a little too spicy without corresponding flavour balance. I was completely stuffed for $11 all in -- could have done with one less, actually.

                                    2. Hmmmnnn ... sounds like a pit stop soon for me.

                                      "The Chronic" ... LOL, visions of Dr. Dre eating tacos fill my head.

                                      1. To resuscitate the debate over who has the best tacos, let me put Bandidas Taqueria at Commercial and 12th on the table. Depending on your purity level, you might scoff at a place that purports to serve tacos but does it without any meat, substituting beans, nuts, yams and various other veggies. The result is interesting to look at (see pic) and palatable enough, although meatless tacos is like a dog without a bone. They get points for making their own corn tortillas and they artfully squirt their sauces Jackson Pollack style.