The Top 10 Taco Spots In Chicago

Photo of Samantha Looney
28 October 2016

There are few things in life better than a delicious taco. Thankfully, Chicago is home to some of the best tacos in the country. From Mexican al pastor and carnitas street tacos at greasy, hole-in-the-wall restaurants to gourmet kale, grits and roasted beet tacos in shabby-chic, hip eateries, Chicago has every type of taco your stomach could ever hope for.

Rubi’s at Maxwell Street Market

Market, Mexican
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Tacos al Pastor
Tacos al Pastor | © William Neuheisel/Flickr
It might be a good thing that the Maxwell Street Market is only open from 7am – 3pm on Sundays, because otherwise there’s a good chance you’d eat here every single day. The line forms early, so be sure to get there in time to enjoy the mouth-watering al pastor taco with thickly sliced meat and chunks of juicy pineapple on top of a fresh house-made tortilla.

Don Pedro Carnitas

Be prepared for long lines, but the perfectly crispy carnitas are worth the wait. You can buy the pork by the pound, and then everything is brought to your table. From onions and cilantro to salsa and endless tortillas, Don Pedro’s makes sure you have everything you need to create your own tacos. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the deep-fried beef brain tacos.

Don Pedro Carnitas, 1113 W 18th St, Chicago, IL, USA +1 (312) 829-4757

Carnitas Tacos | © dave/Flickr

Carnitas Tacos | © dave/Flickr

Big Star

Restaurant, Cocktail Bar, Mexican, Beer, $$$
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This spot has one of the best patios in Chicago, so try to get there early enough to snag a table outside. The restaurant is almost always busy, but if you want to avoid the crowds, head over to the bar or take-out window. Enjoy the taco de pescado with a Big Star margarita while dancing to the music playing overhead. Remember before you head over that it’s cash only.

Del Seoul

Restaurant, Sandwich Shop, Korean, Mexican, BBQ, Fast Food
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Located in Lincoln Park, Del Seoul serves a mix of Korean and Mexican fare. The restaurant serves Mexican tacos with a Korean BBQ twist, and the kalbi and shrimp tacos are a must try. Add a side of kimchi fries to your order, and you’ll feel like you’re in your own Korean-Mexican paradise.

Carnitas Uruapan

Restaurant, Mexican
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Carnitas Uruapan is a staple in the Pilsen neighborhood. The menu reflects the authentic flavors of Uruapan, Mexico. With slow-cooked pork carnitas accompanied by chicharonnes and a cactus salad, you won’t be disappointed. On Saturdays and Sundays, spicy pork brain tacos are available as well.

Antique Taco

Restaurant, American, Mexican, $$$
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Sautéed Mushroom Tacos Topped with Kale
Sautéed Mushroom Tacos Topped with Kale | © T.Tseng/Flickr
In this Pinterest-inspired restaurant, the menu changes seasonally. With options like shrimp tacos topped with cauliflower elote, fried kale, and basil avocado salsa, these gourmet tacos are certainly one-of-a-kind. Top off your meal with one of their horchata milkshakes, and Antique Taco will surely fulfill all of your food connoisseur dreams.

Bullhead Cantina

Bar, American, Pub Grub, 0
Veggie Tacos
Veggie Tacos | © Siddhantsahni28/Wikicommons
Veggie taco lovers can rejoice, because this whisky and taco bar offers a variety of delicious and flavorful veggie tacos. With taco options like grilled sweet potato, Portobello mushroom, roasted beet, and grits and kale, all of your vegetarian taco dreams will come true. Meat lovers be sure to try the southern fried chicken and beer batter chicken tacos.

L’Patron

Restaurant, Mexican
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Carne Asada Tacos
Carne Asada Tacos | © Larry Miller/Flickr
Don’t miss out on the carne asada taco at this popular taco spot. The family-owned restaurant serves delicious tacos along with its famous gringa and gringo, which is a tortilla sandwich filled with pork or steak and Chihuahua cheese. It’s cash only, so don’t forget to stop by the ATM on your way.

Cookies & Carnitas

Restaurant, American, Fast Food, $$$
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Cookies & Carnitas, Chicago
Cookies & Carnitas, Chicago | © kurmanphotos/Flickr
There’s no better way to finish off a taco than with an ice cream stuffed cookie, and Cookies & Carnitas obviously agrees. From pork shoulder to Amish chicken and crispy Portobello, their tacos are topped with pineapple pico and are all absolutely delicious. All of their food comes from local purveyors and is made with organic ingredients. Don’t leave without at least trying a cookie, and if you’re feeling gluttonous, get the cowboy cookie sandwich rolled in chocolate chips. The restaurant is BYOB and cash only.

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