Bar Beat

Late Night: La Tapatia Taqueria

A magical land where crispy tacos and margaritas rule the night.
A magical land where crispy tacos and margaritas rule the night. Photo by Kate McLean
What do goth kids, drag queens, and cater-waiters have in common? Margaritas. Tacos. La Tapatia. Because this is Houston, and Tex-Mex fits the bill before or after just about anything.

Late night at La Tapatia there is never really a wait, though about every table appears taken. It’s the La Tapatia phenomenon. Thirty seconds upon settling into the table, guests get their chips and salsa carefully lowered down and depending on the crew, the welcome gift is finished just as fast. Less like sharks, more like velociraptors.

The service is excellent as most of the staff have clocked in year after year, game for another night of who even knows. Margaritas: as at most places, two does the trick, three and—well, it’s best you write your own history.  The margarita with a whole beer stuck down the side is quite nice during the afternoon. Positively spriteful.

La Tapatia has quietly been doing their thing since 1989, and in recent years the Richmond location has seen a face lift. A new marble U-shaped bar with a stained wooden backdrop, some decorative brick, a fresh coat of paint. That crispy taco though, there is really nothing to improve upon there.

A crispy beef taco is $2.25. Start out with one, see how the night goes. Pretty soon, you’re three tacos and two margaritas in contemplating why the hell front of house at your event was so disorganized. This taco has so much game it makes trendy “street tacos” look like pinches hijos.  That freshy-fresh crackle is the best late night shell in Houston, and in the words of Biggie, "If you don't know, now you know."

So, say you’re the meat and cheese only type, a classy type indeed. Be sure, as with everywhere, to give the look when asking for extra cheese in place of stupid lettuce and tomatoes. It’s an eye-lock and if you don’t use this wrestling move, be prepared to order a side of extra once the plate lands. Extra cheese people are always serious about the fact that. They. Need. Extra. Cheese.

Red salsa, green salsa, go dog go. The green tomatillo is tart and fresh.

Enchiladas are effectively swimming in sauce, and in fact, have a solid nine menu items dedicated to the cause. Stuffed with different items like cheese, chicken, beef, shrimp, and yep there is one with only spinach and tomatoes.  Blanketed by different sauces like Ranchera sauce, meat gravy, and mole. A dish of three enchiladas with Mexican rice and refried beans on the side is a Happy Meal minus the toy.

Botana Chilanga is a solid pu-pu platter consisting of chicken flautas, street taquitos, stuffed jalapeños and stuffed mushrooms for $26. But all in all, the La Tapatia menu covers most Tex-Mex favorites.

La Tapatia Taqueria

1749 Richmond, but there are five locations total.
La Tapatia is open until 3 a.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday
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