Small plates, salsas, and tacos make up this Mexico City-style feast at La Vibra.

While living in Mexico City, a group of Houston natives fell in love with tacos. They were simple, but bold. They were unfussy and elegant. They were unlike any tacos they’d tasted before. Each visit to the taco shop was so much more than a dine and dash experience. Love became obsession, and soon, they were ready to share it with their hometown.

In January, the group opened La Vibra Tacos at the corner of Yale and 5th streets with a Mexico City approach to food. La Vibra—which translates to “the vibe” in Spanish—is not like your run-of-the-mill Houston taco shop. Here, the group takes their obsession for naturally sourced ingredients and an authentic Mexico City style approach to dining to create a one-of-a-kind neighborhood eatery.

The journey starts at the counter, where ordering is easy and on your time. Visitors choose from La Vibra’s three distinctive taco styles. A Clásico is the shop’s no-nonsense taco on a house-made corn tortilla comprised of naturally sourced ingredients straight from Oaxaca. The Costra boasts a blanket of crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside griddled cheese, served on a fresh flour tortilla. And while the Volcán is similar to a Clásico, it is toasted on a crisp corn tortilla base and topped with rich, melted Oaxaca cheese. Select your protein or filling—from flavor-packed pastor to hand-battered fried shrimp, angus sirloin to smoked poblano chiles. Start with a few options and sip aguas frescas and cervezas as the staff brings dishes out fresh off the line. Eat, relax, order more tacos, and repeat. Think of it as a never-ending, leisurely taco parade—Mexico City-style.

But don’t forget: the menu goes far beyond the tacos. In step with the restaurant’s international inspiration, the menu is designed to be paired with a selection of small plates that will get not only the meal, but also the conversation started. Think of them as side dishes, condiments, snacks, or all three. The Chicharrón de Queso is a must. Eat the giant roll of crispy, crunchy manchego cheese like chips, dip it in guac, crumble it over your tacos, share it with a friend. You really can’t go wrong with it. 

Step further out of the box with the Nopal: a tender cactus steak marinated in garlic, onion, and guajillo chile with a kick, not a prick. For a truly sumptuous starter, top the Nopal with a melted layer of Oaxaca cheese. It’s satisfying on a taco, or with a taco, or near a taco. Or forget the taco altogether and just eat the cactus straight up. You won’t be disappointed. The Cambray, sweet grilled spring onions sprinkled with sea salt, also come with a surprising, bold flavor. Chop ‘em up to add some sweet, sweet crunch to your tacos, or stab them with a fork and eat them whole.

And whatever dish you’re devouring or stage in the dining experience you’re in, the salsas add the final, essential element. La Vibra takes them seriously. So much so that they make four varieties in house: a barbecue-like tamarindo, a velvet-smooth creamy jalapeno, a deep and smoky mole, and an all-purpose asada. What salsas go with which tacos? Trick question: All of them. Get creative, experiment, layer them, switch it up mid-bite. You can’t throw off this perfect balance La Vibra has crafted between taco, small plates, and salsas. 

So grab a table and sample them all with a friends or find your favorites over a decadent meal with your someone special. Whatever you decide, we’re sure you’ll enjoy the vibe at La Vibra.

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