La Venadita now serving upscale tacos in Oak Park

An upscale taqueria opened in Oak Park on Tuesday, in same two-block radius as other hip businesses like Vibe Health Bar, Old Soul and Oak Park Brewing.

The spacious La Venadita (3501 Third Avenue) features exposed brick walls, vibrant colors, plenty of seating, vintage light fixtures and a cocktail menu. Concept-wise, there isn’t anything in Sacramento quite like it. It feels trendy, but not fancy. Service is casual, counter-style. Prices fall below Mayahuel, Zocalo and Cielito Lindo Gastronomy, as does the ambition of the menu. There’s no steak dinner to be had here.

Instead, there are a few tacos ($3.50), including a carnitas, cheese and pico de gallo in a crispy shell; fried fish with arbol aioli, cabbage, jalapeno, cilantro and lime; and a veggie edition with whole pinto beans, crimini mushrooms, cheese and salsa verde. Another intriguing vegetarian option: a quesadilla ($7.50) with criminis, asparagus, goat cheese and poblano cream. Mole fans should take note of the dinner-only enchilada ($12) with chicken, mole coloradito, black beans and rice.

La Venadita comes from Tom Schnetz, a Sacramento native who owns a few popular restaurants in the Bay Area, including Tacubaya, a high-end taqueria in Berkeley. Last year, he helped open the Cinders, a bar on Auburn Boulevard with craft cocktails. He has a reputation for opening concepts in still-developing neighborhoods on the cusp of their explosion.

If his expansion through the Bay Area is an indication, expect more.

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