Top 15 Best Mexican Restaurants in Chicago
According to Chef’s Pencil, Mexican cuisine is the second most popular cuisine among Americans. Mexican flavors and ingredients have invaded every aspect of American cuisine, injecting colorful and diverse flavors into the average American’s daily diet. Finding the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago might be difficult with so many options available. But don’t worry, we’ve compiled a list of the top 15 best Mexican restaurants in Chicago, detailing what makes each unique.
The Mexican community’s presence in the city is mirrored in the abundance of easily accessible quality restaurants in Chicago, owing to their size and uniqueness.
Chicago has it all, from traditional techniques, flavors, and ingredients to modern touches to famous dishes and brand-new creations. Chicago has it all.
Best Mexican Restaurants in Chicago
Are you looking for a more upscale restaurant or something casual? Whatever your craving is, the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago will leave you full and satisfied. That said, let’s dive in.
Barrio is a hotel located near the Westin Chicago River. If you want a more formal dining experience, then try Barrio, which, by the way, is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
The décor is described as industrial chic, with dark lighting, a massive circular bar, and service that goes above and beyond.
Barrio’s menu includes something for everyone. Tacos, salads, burgers & sandwiches, and appetizers to share are available.
Their adobo fried rice is one of the most interesting and wonderful dishes. Try their truffle mushroom taco if you want to try a taco recipe you’ve probably never tasted before. It features garlic Crema cheese and is delicious.
2. 5 Rabanitos Restaurante & Taqueria
Located a few minutes away from the National Museum of Mexican Art is 5 Rabanitos Restaurante & Taqueria, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago. 5 Rabanitos Restaurante & Taqueria delivers authentic Mexican cuisine in an artistic setting.
The restaurant buzzes with great artwork, lively colors, and a welcoming atmosphere. 5 Rabanitos has a large menu with all of your favorite Mexican foods. They have everything you might want, including burritos, tacos, and tamales.
3. Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant
If you wish to eat at Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant, you have two outlets to choose from. One is near the Gage Park area on West 55th Street, and the other one is close to the National Museum of Mexican Art on West 18th Street.
When all you want is typical Mexican food, both venues are ideal for informal eating. The menu of Carnitas Uruapan is largely centered on pork meat. As a result, there will be a lot of pork on the menu.
If you are looking for one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago that makes you feel like you are in Mexico, then you should try Carnitas Uruapan.
4. Frontera Grill
Frontera Grill, one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago, is located on North Clark Street, just a few minutes from the Navy Pier entrance. The restaurant is festively decorated with dark draperies, lime green walls, and one-of-a-kind artwork, such as a metal dragon statue.
This is Rick Bayless’ main restaurant, and while it appears sophisticated, it’s actually quite casual. The menu combines traditional Mexican meals with a modern touch. They serve brunch, lunch, and supper.
It’s a great location to eat before traveling to Navy Pier. Their legendary duck carnitas, tortilla soup, champagne margarita, and exquisite flan for dessert are among its standout dishes.
Topolobampo, another of Chef Rick Bayless’ Chicago restaurants, is located on North Clark Street. The restaurant is elegantly decorated, with subdued green and yellow furniture throughout.
It’s a little more upscale, but it’s still casual. At Topolobampo, you can order from the conventional menu, but for the whole experience, try to arrange a sampling session.
You’ll begin with appetizers and drinks in the main room before proceeding to the main dining room to sample some of the chef’s best dishes.
If you’re not doing the tasting, we recommend their crispy and smoked short rib, so you can get the full experience in one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
6. Mi Tocaya Antojeria
Mi Tocaya Antojeria, located in Palmer Square on West Logan Boulevard, is a little outside of the city’s frenzy, which can be good or bad, but it’s worth a visit.
This is a laid-back restaurant with colorful colors, gorgeous tiled floors, and dim illumination at night. When the weather is great, you will enjoy sitting on their patio.
Mi Tocaya Antojeria has many basic Mexican dishes you did expect from a Mexican restaurant. They serve delicious burritos, guacamole, and enchiladas, making it one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
We cannot recommend you begin your dinner with ceviche well enough. That, along with a house margarita, will tide you over until your entrée arrives.
7. Chilam Balam
Chilam Balam is located a few minutes from the Lincoln Park Conservatory. You’ll enter through the building’s basement to get to this fantastic eatery, which is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
The walls are stone worked, the flooring is tiled, and the lighting is relatively brilliant for being underground. It’s a fun and intimate setting.
Chilam Balam has a limited menu when compared to other Mexican restaurants in the region. All of their dishes are outstanding, though.
Pig ribs, empanadas, and thick guacamole are some of their most popular dishes. While margaritas are not served here, guests are welcome to bring their own.
8. Mas Alla del Sol
Mas Alla del Sol is located on North Broadway, less than a half mile from Lane Beach. The restaurant is housed in a lovely brick building with a small patio in front.
When you step inside, the walls are bright red and green, and the vibe is welcoming and laid-back. The owner was raised in Mexico and brought his family’s recipes to Chicago.
The menu of Mas Alla del Sol is wide, with classic Mexican cuisine, margaritas, and other drinks. If you enjoy appetizers, you should begin your dinner with their chorizo queso dip.
The steak tacos and chicken and shrimp platters are excellent choices for meals. So if you want to get a true taste of Mexico, head to Mas Alla del Sol, which is dubbed one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
9. Carnitas Don Pedro
Carnitas Don Pedro is located in the Pilsen district on West 18th Street and definitely one of the best restaurants in Chicago. The restaurant is housed in a brick structure that appears simple from the outside.
This bare-bones diner is relaxed and low-key when you go in. The seats are limited, and you can see the chefs hard at work cooking your food.
The menu is small, but everything on it is great. Their menu is divided into weekday and weekend entrees.
One of the most popular things on the menu is their chicken tacos. They’re classic street tacos with cilantro and onions. Make sure to order a side of their salsa verde.
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Tzuco, situated on North State Street, is less than a mile from the Museum of Contemporary Art. The restaurant is expensive and sophisticated, with muted earth tones all through, and of course one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
The brown tones make this a nice place to go on a date, dine with friends, or celebrate something good in your life. Tzuco’s menu is unusual in that it combines the finest of Mexican and French cuisine.
11. La Chaparrita Taqueria
La Chaparrita Taqueria has two outlets you can visit. One is near La Villita Park on South Whipple Street, and the other is near Gage Park on South Richmond Street. Visit any for a true taste of the south
Both eateries are Mexican grocery stores with limited seats and a warm dining atmosphere. La Chaparrita Taqueria serves burritos, tostadas, tacos, and other Mexican dishes. Their tacos come with a variety of protein selections, including beef, tripe, chicken, and more.
12. Big Star
Big Star, located on North Damen Avenue near Wicker Park, is a bustling, exciting restaurant and one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
When you notice plenty of patio seating with a massive brick building, hanging lights, and a wait at the takeout window, you’ve arrived.
The atmosphere is contemporary, and there is virtually always a throng. When you dine at Big Star, you can expect to see salads, appetizers, and a variety of tacos on the menu. Tacos are the main attraction here, and there are various recipes to pick from.
13. Birrieria Zaragoza
Birrieria Zaragoza is located on South Pulaski Road, 10 minutes from Midway Airport. From the exterior, the restaurant does not appear to be much, yet the food is out of this world.
When you go in, you feel as if you’re eating at a friend’s house because it’s intimate and welcoming. You place your order at the counter before taking a seat.
The menu at Birrieria Zaragoza (one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago) mostly comprises of huge Mexican platters. Birrieria can be ordered by the pound.
It’s a good idea to order plenty so you can share with friends. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, their goat head taco is the way to go.
14. Alegrias Seafood Chicago
Alegrias Seafood Chicago is situated eight minutes from Goose Island. This small but bright location on North Ashland Avenue is worth a visit while in the city as it is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
The inside is rather tiny, with bright teal walls, framed staff photos, and one of the most inviting atmospheres in town.
Alegrias Seafood, as the name suggests, serves wonderful Mexican seafood. To begin your meal, a couple of oysters or their fresh ceviche are great.
They plan their entrees to be shared. Crab legs, lobster, octopus, and shrimp can be ordered for you and a companion or buddies. Stuffed crab with seafood mixture is a popular dish.
Mercadito is located on West Kinzie Street, just a few blocks from the Chicago Riverwalk. With cozy lighting, vegetation wrapping the walls and parts of the ceilings, and wicker chandeliers everywhere, this lounge and restaurant is gorgeous.
It’s a semi-casual restaurant that’s ideal for cocktails and dinner with friends. People go to Mercadito for its handcrafted drinks as well as meals. The strawberry margarita was delicious. Salsas, tacos, and other Mexican favorites predominate on the menu.
If you want to try something new, their mac and cheese is perfect. They use Mexican cheese to make something delicious and distinctive. Besides this, their street quesadillas are delectable.
Chicago is a lively city with events to keep you occupied for days and eateries to keep your stomach filled 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Whatever your purpose for visiting the Windy City is, you will not be disappointed by any of these restaurants, as these best Mexican restaurants in Chicago will leave you wanting more.