Whatever be your favorite Taco, all of us can unanimously assent to the fact that Tacos are everyone’s favorite. Taco might be your happy, comfortable, or hangover food, but there ain’t nothing that gives you the contentment a Taco does.
Trust me, and we understand that feeling! That’s why we have curated a list of the best tacos in Chicago to cover your Taco Tuesdays, as well as, Mexican-only- weekends.
Chicago has as many taquerias as you would expect to find pizzerias. From traditional tacos al pastor to contemporary hard-shell crispy tacos, from fine dining Mexican restaurants to truck-side taquerias, we have blanketed all the tacos in one tortilla- here’s our list of best tacos in Chicago for you!
[A] Best Tacos in Chicago: Cash-only
L’Patron is one restaurant where you can find arguably the best tacos in Chicago, all thanks to Momma Gonzalez’s recipes. The original place on Diversey & California, where the restaurant was opened in 2012, was shut down in 2016 after establishing the current place in Logan Square.
L’Patron in Logan Square has an outdoor patio dining with a menu stacked with all kinds of antojitos. All the tacos are worth a try, but if you’d have to narrow it down to a few must-try – carne asada, al pastor and the house special Gringa taco (al pastor with melting chihuahua cheese stuffed in thick handmade tortillas) should be in your list.
Their super-stuffed tacos are priced from around $3 to $4. They have got everything covered, from Fish tacos, Shrimp tacos, Lengua tacos, Ribeye tacos to Poblano Rajas with caramelized onions and Veggie tacos.
The only downside is that you can’t rely on them for your Taco Tuesdays because they are closed for the day.
In addition to delivery services, they also offer catering services for any time of the year, when a 48-hour prior order is placed. So keep them in mind for your next taco party.
Dine at: Logan Square, 3749 W. Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647.
Dial at: +1 773-799-8066
Timings: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Wednesday – Monday.
Look at: lpatrontacos.com
2) Taqueria El Asadero
If you are a sucker for Carne asada taco, then go nowhere else but to Taqueria El Asadero. First opened in 1993, this family-owned joint continues to serve authentic Mexican food in Chicago.
This cozy, cash-only taqueria in North Side is usually found bustling with the crowd. Still, people choose to dine in. Wonder why? You’ll be blessed with the best homemade chips and salsa while you wait for your tacos or burritos.
Their fully-packed, freshly-topped, flavorful tacos are as Mexican as you’d wish for. Priced at around $3 per Taco, they provide a range of tacos from Lengua (beef tongue) to Vegetariona (rice, beans, lettuce, and tomato), wrapped in corn tortillas. But remember, you can always request flour tortillas.
Dine at: 2213 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618.
Dial at: +1 773-583-5563
Timings: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; All days; Lunch, Dinner.
Look at: places.singleplatform.com
3) Taqueria 5 De Mayo
This is a tiny taqueria down the street from Taqueria El Asadero, and the very same people own it. Thus, like El Asadero, Taqueria 5 De Mayo also has varieties of tacos, burritos, nachos, and drinks like Jarritos, Sangria.
Hence, this taqueria is a perfect alternative to El Asadero.
Dine at: 2415 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618.
Dial at: +1 872-208-5949
Timings: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; All days.
Look at: facebook.com/Taqueria5DeMayo
[B] Best Tacos in Chicago: Tucked to Stores
1) La Chaparitta
This taco spot in front of a grocery store in Whipple St, Chicago, is where you can try as many tacos as you wish to because they have a wide array of the best tacos in Chicago.
But their distinctive Tripa Taco with chitlins (as in cow’s intestines) and handmade tortillas is extra-crispy and flavor-filled. Their al pastor tacos are best-sellers.
La Chaparitta is more than 30-years old and owned by three generations of ‘little women.’ “Chaparitta means a ‘little woman,'” the owner says.
At this family-owned dining, you must not miss their homemade tepache, a fermented beverage made out of pineapples.
Dine at: 2500 S Whipple St, Chicago, IL 60623.
Dial at: 773-254-0975
Timings: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday-Wednesday.
Look at: places.singleplatform.com.
2) Paco’s Tacos/La Internacional
South Side is known for the Mexican surplus options it has in store. This branch of Paco’s Tacos is hidden behind a supermarket, but its fame has spread far and beyond.
For the Paco’s Tacos, taco-lovers from North Side don’t mind the time and travel. They say the tasty tacos here are worth it!
This tiny taqueria which is comparatively cheaper ($2.60 except for Lengua [$4.00] and Chile Relleno [$4.50]) than the others in the city, nonetheless has fantastic tacos. The best of best is their carne asada taco, followed by carnitas tacos.
You can also check out their other branches at Pulaski Rd. and Archer Ave, Chicago, IL, because Paco’s Tacos has one of the best tacos in Chicago.
Dine at: 4556 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60609.
Dial at: (773) 523-9745
Timings: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; All days.
Look at: instagram.com/pacos_tacos_chicago
3) Carniceria Guanajuato
If you’re in the mood for traditional tacos, this is the go-to taqueria in the neighborhood, but it offers tacos to-go only.
Tucked behind a grocery store in Wicker Park, this place has left many customers wondering how they cook such delicious meat! No dine-in.
Of course, the classic carne asada is delicious, but if you want to try something new, you must try their cecina tacos.
Also, forget not to try their Horchata. Like the other store-attached taqueria, this one is on the cheaper side, too- tacos for $2.43, tortas for 4.59, and burritos for $5.0.
Dine at: 1438 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622.
Dial at: (773) 772-5266
Timings: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; All days.
Look at: facebook.com/guanajuatowickerpark
[C] Best Tacos in Chicago: Cuisine Fusion
1) Del Seoul
Del Seoul is a Korean Restaurant that has ventured into the Mexican land of tacos. Their menu offers a list of Korean BBQ Tacos priced around $3.50, but the best of them all is undoubtedly the Sesame-Chili Shrimp Taco.
This shrimp taco is panko-coated and fried, then topped with onions, cilantro, slaw, and sesame-chili aioli.
Dine at: 2568 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614.
Dial at: +1 773-248-4227
Timings: 12 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; All days.
Look at: delseoul.com
2) Rojo Gusano
This Mexican restaurant in Albany Park, accredited for its creativity, is a fusion taco spot with a bar. The population of Albany Park and its neighborhood is diverse and foreign. Chef Dudley Nieto’s restaurant matches that vibe.
It is best known for their $4-Korean BBQ taco, which has skirt steak bulgogi, cilantro and? Of course, Kimchi!
They also offer traditional tacos like carne asada, al pastor, and more like mixed mushroom tacos, fried shrimp tacos, chicken tinga, and the list (à la carte!) goes on.
Aside from the delicious tacos, churros, salads, and Asian-inspired rice bowls are also worth trying. They also have taco kits, so check them out. All in all, this casual dining is an excellent option for a date night.
Dine at: 3830 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625.
Dial at: +1 773-539-4398
Timings: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Wednesday-Sunday.
Look at: rojogusano.com/albany-park
3) BIG & little’s
Suppose you are craving seafood tacos. Head straight to BIG & little’s. BIG & little’s is a BYOB taco restaurant that offers a delicious blend of Mexican, Thai, Japanese, and Hawaiian cuisines. They have three different outlets in Chicago – N Orleans St, W Belmont Ave, and N Milwaukee Ave.
Samurai tacos are stuffed with fried crispy fish, lettuce, and jalapeno; topped with special samurai sauce is the best seller.
For all the Hawaiian poke fanatics out there, they offer delicious raw fish options to relish from. Apart from their tacos, their soft shell crab sandwich is note-worthy.
Dine at: 860 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60610.
Dial at: +1 312-943-0000
Timings: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; All days.
Look at: bigandlittleschicago.com
[D] Best Tacos in Chicago: Most-popular
1) Antique Taco
Antique Taco in Wicker Park, run by women of a family, since 2012, with indoor and outdoor dining, is undoubtedly one of the best taco spots in Chicago. Other than Wicker Park, you can find Antique Taco at Bridgeport and Revival Food Hall.
These people sure put on their creative caps when making fillings for their handmade tortillas. If there is one place where you can find all the best tacos like crispy fish tacos with smoked cabbage, garlic shrimp tacos, al pastor taco with fresh pineapple, skirt steak taco, and more, it is Antique Taco.
Their special ‘Taco 10 pack’ priced at $43 allows you to mix and match your favorites. Hey, they also provide catering services! Most days, they are packed, but their curbside pickups are always there to quench your taco cravings.
Dine at: 1360 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622.
Dial at: +1 773-687-8697
Timings: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesday-Saturday.
Look at: antiquetaco.com/wickerpark
2) Carnitas Uruapan
This taco restaurant, established in 1971, aims to bring Uruapan, Mexico, to Chicago. After the overwhelming success of the first establishment in Pilsen, they have opened another branch at the Gage Park location a few years back.
Carnitas Uruapan offers condiments that enhance the carnita-experience. A bite of golden-crisp Pork Carnitas surprises us with the tenderness of the two-hour slow-cooked pork. Pork is sold by Taco and by the pound as well.
Carnitas Uruapan uses every bit of the pork from skin (Chicharrones) to pork brain (Tacos Dorados de Sesos). ‘Carnitas Especial’ is a special combo offer available only on weekdays. So try them out on your next office-day lunch.
Dine at: 1725 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608.
Dial at: +1 312-226-2654
Timings: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; All days.
Look at: carnitasuruapanchi.com
3) 5 Rabanitos
5 Rabanitos is a mom-and-pop restaurant and taqueria located in the heart of Pilsen, a block away from the National Museum of Mexican Art. So you can grab a taco and feed your eyes and tummy in the genuine Mexican style.
With four different menus – Lunch/Dinner Menu, Vegetarian and Dessert Menu, Weekend Brunch Menu, and Drink Menu, they present to your an ocean of Mexican choices. They also provide a subset of delicious Mexican food for kids to explore.
Their tacos are simply the best in Pilsen, but if you could have only one, it ought to be the Pibil Tacos. Remember, during the rush hours, the curbside pickup is there for the rescue.
Dine at: 1758 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608.
Dial at: +1 312-285-2710
Timings: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; All days.
Look at: 5rabanitosdotcom.wordpress.com
4) Don Pedro Carnitas
Pedro Duarte opened Don Pedro Carnitas way back in 1981. This meat shop cum taco place in Pilsen has one of the best tacos in Chicago. It is not just a place that serves traditional Mexican dishes but a validation of the Latino community.
As you can guess from the name, carnitas are the show-stoppers. Over the years, they have mastered the art of deep-frying pork to fill this special Taco. You can also order meat by pound and make your tacos.
They receive a fresh supply of meat and chicken every day, so you don’t have to worry about meat quality.
Dine at: 1113 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608.
Dial at: +1 312-829-4757
Timings: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.; All days.
Look at: carnitasdonpedro.com
5) Birrieria Zaragoza
This goat-only, counter-serve Mexican restaurant is the best goat-tacos in Chicago’s hands down. John Zaragoza travelled to his hometown La Barca, Jalisco to learn the art of making birria. Then, in 2007 he sold his house to start this restaurant in Archer Heights.
A large plate of birria bone-in comes with 5 handmade tortillas and consommé, the rich broth for $16.25. At the same time, you get 3 tortillas with a small plate.
Taco de Birria with cilantro, onion, hot sauce, and arbol chiles wrapped in handmade tortillas has tender meat and just the right amount of seasoning.
Dine at: 4852 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60632.
Dial at: +1 773-523-3700
Timings: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; except Wednesdays & Sundays.
Look at: birrieriazaragoza.com
6) Rubi’s at the New Maxwell Street Market
Since 1997, this Sunday-only taco spot in Maxwell Street Market, has been serving one of the best tacos in change, with authentic Mexican flavor; well, they follow their family recipes!
Their corn tortillas are handmade in front of you and stuffed with flavorful meat, beef tongue, corn mushrooms, and more. Their al pastor tacos are killer!
Dine at: 800 S DesPlaines St, Chicago, IL 60607.
Dial at: (773) 318-9526
Timings: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Only on Sundays.
Look at: facebook.com/RubisMaxwellSt
7) Big Star
‘Big star’ is a big star in Chicago. This place offers the best tacos in Chicago for vegetarians. This restaurant with outdoor seating in Wicker Park offers good tacos, some meat-less.
They serve tacos al pastor (marinated pork shoulder topped with grilled pineapple, grilled onions, and cilantro) for $5, but what steals the show is their Taco de Papas con Rajas, handmade tortillas loaded with potatoes, rajas chipotle, lots of queso cotija cheese, and the usual, onion and cilantro.
Their famous ‘walking taco‘ made of corn chips, pinto bean dip, Cholula salsa is Chicagoans favorite to-go tacos.
Dine at: 1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622.
Dial at: +1 773-235-4039
Timings: 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; All days.
Look at: bigstarchicago.com
8) Taqueria Los Barrilitos
Taqueria Los Barrilitos in Little Village offers fantastic tacos at a price of $1.70! They make one of the perfect al pastors in Chicago, focusing solely on tacos and Mexican sodas. You can also try their carne asada and Cabeza, and they won’t disappoint you.
Dine at: 3518 W 25th St, Chicago, IL 60623.
Dial at: +1 773-648-3530
Timings: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday-Sundays.
Look at: places.singleplatform.com.
If you have not checked them out yet, add these taco spots to your bucket list for the upcoming Taco Tuesdays.
Given the Covid 19 pandemic, enquire with the restaurant for local outdoor restrictions.
Also, make sure you practice social distancing and wear a mask whenever you are not munching on those tasty tacos.
If you are looking for other restaurants in Chicago, check this article out!