By Karel (Charles Karel Bouley)
Local Taqueria Tacotarian Wins Big Plus Taverna Costera Gives Options
There’re only winners in the plant-based community of Las Vegas, as the city continues to lead the way in both exclusively plant-based eateries as well as ever expanding menu-options at mixed fare restaurants. Residents and tourists alike can always find something deliciously plant-based in the Las Vegas valley as businesses strive to save the health of the people, and the planet, one meal at a time.
Fans of Taco Tuesday have been flocking to Tacotarian since it opened in 2018 with the original location in the Arts District. Founded by Dan and Regina Simmons along with Carlos and Kristen Corral, they now boast three Las Vegas and one Henderson location as well as one in San Diego, CA. And it’s not just Las Vegas vegans paying attention, the nation’s leading plant-based lifestyle magazine VegNews just awarded Tacotarian best Taqueria in the United States in their reader’s poll of 2023.
It’s an award well deserved. Tacotarian is authentic flavors of Mexico, all plant based, with each experience better than the last. My favorite is on the secret menu, the Birria Crunchwrap bursting with flavor and a sauce you’ll want to drink. There are over 10 types of tacos with your favorite “meat” from Asada to Barbacoa, Chorizo to Al Pastor. You’ll be hard pressed to tell the difference from non-plant-based versions. Quesadillas, Enchiladas, Burritos, they’re all here, soups and salads and desserts (like my favorite, the coconut cake). There’s even a margarita flight to help wash it all down.
Tacotarian is about family, recipes, culture, and service. They treat you like a member of their family, and the food tastes like abuela is in the kitchen working magic. Service time can get a little long when crowded so be warned, but it’s well worth the wait. Locations, menus, and more are listed at tacotarianlv.com and congrats on being named best in the USA to them and their staff.
OPTIONS: Vegan and plant-based menu options are the number one growth area in the food industry, with the market expanding 600% over the last five years. General Manager and Executive Chef Chris Mahon knows this, and is leading the charge at another Arts District favorite, Taverna Costera (1031 S. Main St., Las Vegas, NV tavernacostera.com)
This is my go-to downtown spot when non-vegans are joining me because so far, I haven’t seen or had one dish that didn’t please. Taverna boasts almost 10 vegan options, each with a Hawaiian flare due to Mahon’s past experiences there. The Katsu (jackfruit) is a favorite, but the BBQ Jackfruit wrap is no slouch, either. Arancini (fried risotto balls) always are a great start and segues nicely into their vegan pizza. There’s a breakfast scramble, a hearty stew, and customizable bowls. Dinner entrees include a portabello mushroom scampi and a linguine arrabiata from the heart with just the right amount of spice. The space is eclectic, with Dragon Alley coffee on premises and a rooftop made for parties. The weekends can get loud inside, and often the patio has private parties, so be prepared for a festive environment of art, music and food. They have a full craft cocktail bar as well. Taverna gets it right by not treating vegans as an afterthought (oh, we have fries or salad) but by designing dishes with pride and flavor that rival the non-vegan counterparts.
To read more about these and other restaurants in and around Las Vegas that cater to or have options for plant-based eaters, be sure to visit veganinvegas.com and listen for reviews and recipes on The Karel Cast wherever you get your podcasts. Reviews are often featured at my youtube channel youtube.com/reallykarel as well as realvegasmagazine.com Send comments to email@example.com