Viva Los Tacos Review – Themed Tacos and Margaritas in Oakland

Last updated on March 16, 2022 by Jeremy

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Many Pittsburghers were devastated when The Original Hot Dog Shop (also known as The O) closed in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh in early 2020. While many hoped someone would come and buy the restaurant to bring it back to life, unfortunately it was not in the cards.

Instead, the restaurant’s main space was renovated, thoroughly cleaned, and opened as a taco restaurant with a bar loaded with a name and style straight out of Las Vegas – Viva Los Tacos.

Naturally, I had to visit this one shortly after it opened to see what it looked like.

Viva Los Tacos is an accessible restaurant for students

While The O was often seen as a gritty hangout for college students looking for late-night meals, Viva Los Tacos stripped the sand and gave the building a nice shine and is now launching late-night tacos ( but maybe not as late as The O once was). Throw in moderately attractive prices for tacos and drinks, and you can see why this will still retain the college hangout.

I started my meal with an order of Queso Elote – a cheese dip combined with Mexican roasted corn (elote). The balance of corn and queso in this one gave a nice sweetness, but the extra toppings of cotija, cilantro and roja were so minimal that I don’t think they added much to the dish. Although the corn itself probably could have been roasted more to match what you’d expect from traditional Mexican elote, it definitely had a nice flavor at a price that was hard to beat.

Elote Dip from Viva Los Tacos Pittsburgh

Since Viva Los Tacos has a solid list of frozen and on the rock margaritas, again at attractive prices (especially for Oakland), I ended up opting for a habanero margarita with tequila blanco, lime, orange liqueur , a habanero simple syrup. Besides being a solid margarita for the price and being bigger than I originally expected, the heat didn’t disappoint. Could it have been spicier for habanero? True, but it balances really well with the flavors of the margarita all the same.

As far as drinking in Oakland goes, if I was a major college student, I’d easily see consuming many margaritas here – with or without tacos.

Korean BBQ Chicken Tacos

On the taco front, I had a hard time with my order here, if only because I wanted to try all the tacos. I asked if I could mix and match and was told no, which felt like a missed opportunity. For visitors to this one, you’ll also want to know that many of the tacos aren’t traditional Mexican, but Mexican fusion in nature, including things like fried chicken fillets, Korean-inspired chicken, and others. unconventional toppings (although a few options are more in line with traditional Mexican styles).

I ended up opting for a more unusual taco of Korean BBQ chicken with grilled chicken, Korean BBQ sauce, coleslaw, pickled onions, shredded carrots and cilantro. This one felt like it was going for a more traditional American style BBQ taco, as the Korean flavors were somewhat lacking and the toppings were almost the most prominent feature over the chicken. So even though it was a good barbecue chicken taco, I’m not sure I was still getting a lot of Korean elements.

In the end, while I enjoyed my lunch for what I got, my biggest regret from Viva Los Tacos wasn’t so much one particular dish, but rather that you’re not allowed to mix and match the tacos here. I really wanted to try more, but having to commit to a single order with three of the same tacos was a little disappointing in an otherwise affordable meal. Well, we’ll just have to go back and try more next time!

Long live the tacos is located at 3901 Forbes Avenue in Oakland.

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