Did you know that Chicago is the top tortilla producer in the United States? It’s kind of insane, but that helps to explain how we’ve got such amazing taquerias. We got our hands greasy and chowed down on the city’s finest Mexican food. Here are the 10 tastiest tacos in Chicago:
5925 S Pulaski Rd
4311 S Archer Ave
13050 W 26th St
700 W 31st St
325 W Huron, River North
Tallboy Taco is one of many delicious restaurants owned by restaurant group Lettuce Entertain You. Tallboy Tacos is located in one of the main business epicenters of Chicago—River North. The name simply but eloquently explains exactly what you can expect: tallboys of beer and delicious tacos.
Our recommendation: The fish taco. Their tortillas feature hand-ground masa.
1110 N State St, Near North Side
Velvet Taco has three locations in Texas, but the newest branch is situated along Chicago’s Gold Coast. They make everything from scratch including slow roasted chicken and corn. No meal is complete without a margarita, which features sorbet for the perfect texture and flavor.
Our recommendation: Backdoor chicken togo. It’s a $20 meal deal with a whole rotisserie chicken, elote style corn, tortillas, and pico de gallo.
158 W Ontario St, River North and 1969 N Halsted St, Lincoln Park
Taco Joint succeeds by having prime locations in both River North and Lincoln Park. If you’re claustrophobic, you may want to avoid the Lincoln Park location… it’s very cozy! They serve basic but delicious tacos and margaritas. This is the place you’d want to go for a sitdown dinner or event.
Our recommendation: Whatever’s on the “Taco del Dia” menu when you go to visit. You can’t normally get these specials!
1531 N Damen, Wicker Park
Big Star is a prime location across the street from the Damen Blue Line in Wicker Park, and it’s also adjacent to the famous cocktail lounge, Violet Hour. As such, you can go at any time, on any day of the week, and still have to wait at least 30 minutes to be seated. Never fear! Craving Big Star tacos but don’t have time to wait? They have a to-go order window that will get the job done.
Our recommendation: Taco de Pollo Pibil. Big Star’s tacos take classic flavors and mix in the unexpected. In this case, that means banana leaves!
1360 N Milwaukee Ave, West Town
Antique Taco is another Wicker Park taqueria that almost always has a line out the door. The good news is that the line moves fast. You place your order at the counter and share seating with other patrons. Their margaritas feature interesting infusions like rosemary. The decorations are reminiscent of DIY Pinterest projects, adding a homey element to the place.
Our recommendation: Can’t go wrong with any of them. Pair tacos with the rosemary margarita. First make sure to start with the chili cheese curds.
4603 N Lincoln Ave, Lincoln Square
Taco in a Bag is a fairly new establishment in Ravenswood. They take the “walking taco” concept popular at football games and high school lunches to another level. This place is perfect if you’re gluten-free, but still want an amazing “taco” experience.
Our recommendation: The Angry Bird, but the other options are equally tempting.
817 W Fulton Market, West Loop and 3129 W Armitage Ave, Logan Square
Cemitas Puebla is an interesting Mexican restaurant has two locations: West Loop and their newest restaurant in Logan Square. Though their tacos are amazing, what you really need to try is their “Cemitas,” or sandwiches featuring many of the same flavors as they put into their tacos.
Our recommendation: The taco arabe spit roasted pork and onions, OR the cemita with the same flavors.
Over a dozen locations across the Chicago area
Taco Burrito King is a chain of what’s been described as the best-drunk tacos (and Mexican food in general). They also have amazing sopes which are fried corn patties filled with delicious meats, spices, and veggies.
Our recommendation: Does it really matter? You’re drunk. Enjoy.
1034 W Belmont, Lakeview & 860 N Orleans, River North & 1310 N Milwaukee, Wicker Park
Big & Little’s is a CASH ONLY restaurant that’s been featured on Diners, DriveIn’s, and Dives. They have locations in Lincoln Park, River North, and now Wicker Park. They may be most famous for their po boy sandwiches, but you can’t go wrong with their delicious tacos. Here’s an idea—get both!
Our recommendation: One of their many seafood tacos. You can trust that they’ll do a great job.
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So there you have it…the best taco joints in Chicago. What would you add to this list?
Updated by Joshua Kristoff in 2017.
[Featured Image: Tallboy Taco via Flickr]