Market Square Restaurant Viva Villa Taquería Offers Revolutionary Tacos
One of the first familias of Mexican food in San Antonio, the Cortez family, has opened their fourth restaurant in historic Market Square – Viva Villa Taquería. Along with several other media pros, I got the opportunity to visit the new eatery before its opening weekend, sample some of their dishes and meet Chef Cariño Cortez.
Before we were presented with our family style dishes to share among friends, we were able to review the menu and hear about the concept. Boasting what they like to call revolutionary tacos, Viva Villa is a modern fast casual dining spot with an old soul.
Located in a 110-year-old building, the eatery offers dishes that riff off traditions. Cochinita pibil, roasted pork carnitas, hongos en chipotle Mecco, and house made tortillas are just a few menu standouts. Diners who prefer time-honored plates may also enjoy the pollo en mole poblano or fideo. Before they go to work, diners can pass by for breakfast tacos or torreja, which is described as French toast with cajeta and toasted pecans. And, on the weekends, there’s also menudo and pozole rojo – Mexican restaurant answers to brunch.
Those seeking something a little different won’t be disappointed. Find contemporary street tacos, inventive salads and, for dessert, Big Red soft serve or pastel de elote.
The vision is largely that of Chef Cariño Cortez, who grew up in the family business. Owners of Mi Tierra Café y Panaderia, Mariachi Bar, La Margarita Resturant & Marisco Bar and Restaurante Pico de Gallo, the Cortez’ have helped develop the San Antonio palate and, by extension, contemporary Tex-Mex dining. Chef Cariño has come in and put her millennial stamp on that institution. Free wi-fi, craft beer, an elaborate and striking wall mural with light display, and a belief that quick food can and should be excellent, have updated the Mexican restaurant concept for the next generation.
It’s a feeling I couldn’t shake as I sat, happily sipping agave margaritas and passing dishes around the table of ambitious creative professionals. This is the place to go when you want familiar flavors presented in a fresh new way. It’s that idea of respecting tradition and adding a twist that’s so quintessentially San Antonio.
We’ll see you there!
Photos of dishes and Chef Cariño Cortez courtesy of Viva Villa.