8 Great Tacos You Gotta Try From TacoCat
I started a taco blog about a year ago and it’s been such a blast trying so many new foods and meeting people along the way and I was so excited to be asked to provide my recommendations for Chicago Visitors Guide! Between my Instagram account (shameless plug @letstacoboutit_chi) and blog, I love sharing my foodie finds with my followers and blogging community! And since I have zero culinary background, color commentary is about the only other thing I can offer. That and political jokes, but I save those for Facebook.
So without further ado, TacoCat’s recommendation of eight great tacos you gotta try (in no particular order).
When the entire city is hyped up about a restaurant, I’m always a little skeptical. Can it really live up to my expectations? But trying Antique Taco has been one of the highlights of my year and if you haven’t been there yet, I promise it’s worth the hype. I’ve tried almost the entire menu and have yet to find something that isn’t wonderful. Make sure to try the garlic shrimp tacos and the chorizo chili cheese curds. Not even kidding.
Cafe El Tapatio
Not only are the tacos great, but so are the people. I’ve loved learning more about people’s visions for their restaurants and the foods that they create, and over the past few months, I’ve learned a lot about Cafe el Tapatio which has made me love them even more. Their original location is in Lakeview but they’ve recently opened a Glenview location that’s equally delicious. In addition to great tacos – their pollo taco has bacon in it and just thinking about their short rib taco makes me smile – their menu is pretty large and their appetizers are second to none. Definitely try the camarones juanita.
Mi Tocaya Antojeria
Lively, fun plates and great flavors. What more can you ask for? The staff is also super friendly and willing to walk through their menu with you, which is so helpful because there’s an abundance of choices and everything on the menu has a different spin on it. The smoked beer can chicken tacos are my absolute favorite, but with a variety of small plate menu items, Mi Tocaya is a great spot to try a little bit of everything. We love sitting in the outside section here, but it’s not super big so don’t be surprised if you have to wait a bit. It’s definitely worth it, though.
This taqueria is inside a grocery store and regardless of which location you visit, you’ll likely be waiting in line for a few minutes to place your order. The guys are constantly cooking different meats and while all have been delicious, I highly recommend coming on the weekends for a barbacoa taco. Carniceria Guanajuato has some of my absolute favorite tacos in the city. Each taco is topped with an overly generous portion of cilantro and onion, so if you’re not a fan of cilantro, (still not sure how such folks exist) beware.
Cochinita Taco Company
A cute, neighborhood spot in Portage Park. It’s a fun space – bright, simple, with a rustic-ish feel. I really like Cochinita Taco Company because I think it’s still sort of a hidden gem and it’s becoming one of my go-to’s when I’m looking for a weeknight date or want to meet up with a friend. They have a full restaurant menu but to be honest, I’ve only tried their tacos and a few appetizers, all of which have been great. Depending on which tacos you order, each is served with different toppings, sauces and cheeses. Oh, and their spicy pineapple margarita lives up to its name but goodness is it wonderful.
L’Patron is one of the my favorite Logan Square taquerias and in my opinion, home to the best steak tacos in the city. It’s a great lunch spot, BYOB dinner, or late-night taco stop. I also love ordering a side of rice and beans because not only are they delicious, they’re served next to each other in the same cup and I get such a kick out of it, (it’s the little things). Also, note that L’Patron is cash-only. I did not note that my first trip.
Another neighborhood favorite. There are so many different tacos to try and all are served with onion and cilantro, though you can add lettuce, tomato and cheese if you’d like. Their top tacos in my opinion are the carne asada, chorizo, and carne molida (ground beef). Traspasada also does a huge take-out and delivery business, but I recommend enjoying your food in the restaurant to enjoy homemade soup and their famous black salsa.
I love “Lettuce Entertain You” restaurants and Tallboy Taco is no exception. Tallboy Taco is cool because they do counter-service during lunch but have servers during dinnertime. The restaurant is super small, (it actually is within another restaurant, Nacional 27) but it’s so fun and a great place to enjoy a meal, happy hour, or grab some tacos to go. All the tacos are really different and full of fun flavors. My top recommendations are the beer battered fish (tilapia marinated in Lagunita’s – does it get better?!) and the spicy chicken (mole sauce on a taco that definitely has some kick – if you like spice, this is for you!). I always tend to order the beer queso when I go – it’s so good! Happy hour and drink/food specials vary daily – I never really know what I’m walking into, but it’s always been great.
Catherine is a Chicago-based food blogger living on the north side of the city. When she’s not eating tacos, you can typically find her cheering on the Cubs, drinking red wine or trying to figure out how to plan a wedding.
Instagram link: @letstacoboutit_chi