Following a long line of Chicago food trends – think cupcakes, bacon, donuts, even quinoa – the taco has officially become trendy.
From Taco Bell to taco Tuesday restaurant specials, the city certainly isn’t in a desert when it comes to the food that can be customized for breakfast, lunch, dinner – even dessert.
Tacos are so popular, they even have their own national day (mark Oct. 4 on your calendars, people.)
With so many taco joints in the city, you’ll need advice on where to satisfy your next craving. Here’s our guide.
Pilsen | 1758 W. 18th St.
The Pilsen neighborhood is known for Mexican food. But Chef Alfonso Sotelo (whose resume includes stints with celeb chef Rick Bayless at Xoco and Topolobampo,) is creating tasty tacos here that will set you back just $2.25 each.
Wicker Park | 1360 N. Milwaukee Ave.
If you’re in the mood for tacos in Wicker Park, but don’t want to deal with the big Star crowds (see below) try this nearby neighbor. With enough space to spread out, try one of its cabbage-topped fish tacos.
Big and Littles
Multiple Locations | River North, Lakeview, Wicker Park
Taco offerings at this quick-serve dive include fish, meat and poke. Run by one-time Hell’s Kitchen contestant Tony D’Alessandro, the restaurant’s dive status also earned it a spot on famous food guyGuy Fieri’s show.
Wicker Park | 1531 N. Damen Ave.
Even if you’ve not been there, you’ve likely seen the constant crowds packed around picnic tables on its Damen Avenue patio. The ever-popular taco joint paired with sister site Dove’s Luncheonette this summer to serve breakfast tacos at its to-go window from 9 to 11 a.m., Fridays through Sundays.
Andersonville | 5025 N. Clark St.
The Andersonville restaurant has been spotted on several critic’s “best of” lists in recent months by offering twists on taco classics.
Pilsen | 1510 W. 18th St., Chicago
After a half-century in Pilsen, a fire destroyed Mexican food favorite Nuevo Leon last year. The owners wasted no time opening a new eatery across the street. It has new menu items, but the popular tacos de sabinas remain with ribeye, grilled onions, tomatoes and jalapenos.
1725 W. 18th St.| Pilsen
Craving carnitas? At this Pilsen storefront, pork is ordered by the pound, served with a side of corn tortillas and a salsa verde. From there, simply build your own taco.
El Nuevo Mexicano
Lakeview | 2914 N Clark St.
You don’t need to travel to one of the city’s far-out neighborhoods to get good Mexican. Enjoy traditional recipes, as well as a varied selection of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free offerings.
Hyde Park Taco Station
Hyde Park | 5300 S. Dorchester Ave.
The spot that just opened in the spring boasts of offering legit Latin street fare made with local ingredients. The menu includes traditional taco options, as well as new twists such as tacos with vegan tofu and cumin lamb.
Wicker Park | 1341 N. Damen Ave.
Those looking for a quick lunch in the Loop may have tried tamales from this franchise’s food truck, Tamale Spaceship. There’s also a brick-and-mortar spot offering the same creative combinations stuffed inside homemade tortillas.