Ritual Guides: Best Mexican Restaurants in Chicago December 2023

Get ready for a fiesta of flavors with Ritual's Top Mexican Eats in Chicago!
December 14, 2023

Get ready for a fiesta of flavors with Ritual's Top Mexican Eats in Chicago! From sizzling street-style tacos to delectable enchiladas, we're thrilled to unveil the city's most mouthwatering Mexican hotspots. Dive into the rich tapestry of Chicago's Mexican culinary scene with our curated guide. Read on as we spotlight our absolute favorites, making it easier than ever to bring the vibrant tastes of Mexico straight to your table. With Ritual, the best of Chicago's Mexican food scene is just a tap away – because we're all about introducing you to the most delicious local experiences!

Frontera Grill $$

Frontera Grill in Chicago's vibrant River North neighborhood is a true ode to Mexican culinary mastery. The restaurant offers a medley of traditional and inventive dishes that are a testament to Chef Rick Bayless's passion for Mexican cuisine. Patrons frequently rave about the Frontera Ceviche, along with the unforgettable Oaxacan Carne Asada. The restaurant does get busy, so take out is recommended if you don’t have a reservation. Those interested in brunch should consider sampling the vibrant Bajio style eggs.

Neighbourhood: River North

Address: 445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

View Menu: Clark/Illinois

Velvet Taco $$

Velvet Taco presents a one-of-a-kind taco journey, blending global flavors with Mexican staples. The Spicy Tikka Chicken Taco is a crowd-pleaser, offering a compelling mix of Indian spices, creamy raita, and tangy pickled onions—a testament to their innovative culinary approach. Meanwhile, the Slow-Roasted Angus Brisket Taco, with its tender meat and tangy barbecue, exemplifies Velvet Taco's dedication to quality and taste. The atmosphere is bustling, and Velvet Taco is a hit with late-night crowds. Overall, the fresh, house-made tortillas and the knack for nailing the perfect flavor profile make Velvet Taco a must-visit in Chicago's Near North Side.

Neighbourhood: Near North Side, Fulton Market

Addresses: 910 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60607, 1110 N. State Street, Chicago, IL 60610

View Menu: Near North Side, Fulton Market

Doña Naty's Taco $

Doña Naty's Taco in Chicago is a buzzworthy spot for those seeking genuine Mexican flavors at a fair price. The restaurant's marinated pork taco and shrimp taco have been lauded for their authentic seasoning and heartiness. It's a quaint, no-frills joint that commands repeat visits, especially given the tortillas' freshness and the salsas' zest. While the interior may be simple, they entice guests with their affordable and tasty burritos, praised for their perfect balance of flavors. Moreover, the tortas and burritos are not just treats for the palate but are generous in size and can often stretch to more than one meal. Nevertheless, for locals and visitors alike looking for a quick Mexican bite, Doña Naty's offers quality, value, and sizzling satisfaction.

Neighbourhood: West Town

Address: 1815 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

View Menu: West Town

Sabroso! Mexican Grill $

If you're craving genuine Mexican cuisine and find yourself in Chicago's West Town neighborhood, Sabroso! Mexican Grill is a must-visit. This cozy eatery has captivated locals and visitors alike with its extensive menu that promises satisfaction for every palate. Standouts include the carne asada and shrimp quesadilla, both of which earn praise for their freshness and rich flavors. Takeout customers will be pleased to know that portions are generously scaled, ensuring a truly rewarding feast at home. While the restaurant's vibrant atmosphere is a draw for dine-in experiences, the food translates seamlessly to takeout, especially with favorites like the hearty California burrito. Service is described as friendly and attentive, accentuating the already inviting casual dining experience. Despite its modest size, the impact of Sabroso! Mexican Grill's flavors are anything but small – a testament to the authentic culinary delights it serves.

Neighbourhood: West Town

Address: 13129 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92843

View Menu: West Town

Cocina Tarascas Mexican Restaurant $$

For those exploring Lincoln Park in Chicago and craving a vibrant ambience alongside a Mexican-Caribbean culinary adventure, Cocina Tarascas Mexican Restaurant is a sure bet. Guests rave about its impeccable service and extensive menu. Patrons particularly love the Puntas al Albañil—a flavorful dish featuring steak and rice—and the Skirt Steak with Chimichurri, known for its bold and authentic flavors. The Cuban Quesadilla has also won hearts for its unique twist on a classic. Prices might be slightly above average, but that's expected given its prime neighborhood. The tantalizing dishes, like the hearty steak fajitas, and the carefully crafted, robust margaritas make up for it. This festive corner locale is a prime pick, especially for those looking for a takeout treasure in the Windy City.

Neighbourhood: Lincoln Park

Address: 2585 North Clark Street,Chicago, IL 60614

View Menu: Lincoln Park

Jarabe - Taqueria $

Dive into the authentic Mexican street food scene at Jarabe, nestled in Chicago's vibrant Little Italy neighborhood. This unassuming taqueria has been pleasing locals with its modest yet flavorful menu for years. A standout favorite is the quesabirria taco, brimming with tender, spiced meat and perfect for dipping into the rich consommé. The restaurant is petite and boasts a cozy patio for an al fresco dining experience, complete with delightful drinks like refreshing coconut horchata.We recommend getting the Jarabe for those seeking a hearty meal with a dash of local charm. Remember to specify any vegetarian preferences ahead; the accommodating staff is known to ensure everyone leaves satisfied.

Neighbourhood: Little Italy

Address: 1104 W Taylor Street, Chicago, IL 60607

View Menu: Little Italy

La Mejikana $$

If you're craving Mexican cuisine with artistic flair in Pilsen, Chicago, look no further than La Mejikana. The Birria Tacos come highly praised for their rich flavors and tender meats, truly capturing the essence of traditional Mexican fare. The Tampiqueña is another standout, leaving diners yearning for more. Cocktails, especially the margaritas, are not just a beverage but a crafty experience, complimenting your meal with both beauty and taste.

Neighbourhood: Pilsen

Address: 1820 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60608

View Menu: Pilsen

Barrio $$$

Step into the vibrant energy of River North's Barrio, a Mexican eatery where the fiesta never stops, and the food consistently steals the show. This place has a reputation for crafting Mexican dishes with a creative twist. Noteworthy highlights include the quesadilla with its flavorful filling and perfectly crisped tortilla.The Tuna Ceviche Taco, garners attention for its freshness and flavor. Barrio remains a recommended destination for those who want a taste of Mexico in the heart of Chicago. Just remember to book ahead or order take out to enjoy the scenic outdoor seating for easier conversation and people-watching pleasure.

Neighbourhood: River North

Address: 65 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654

View Menu: River North

Cantón Regio $$

Cantón Regio stands as a beacon of authentic Mexican cuisine in the heart of Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. This quaint, cash-only, and BYOB gem offers a cozy, rustic dining experience that draws in a consistent crowd of food aficionados. The arrachera steals the show for its perfectly seasoned and tender quality, while the Tacos Sabinas have earned high praises, being lauded as some of the best in town. The Queso Fundido and Half Chicken are other delectable standouts that shouldn't be overlooked. Equipped with a warm ambiance and friendly staff, Cantón Regio promises not just a meal, but an immersive cultural experience. With its reasonable prices and the added bonus of being BYOB, this restaurant is the perfect spot for a festive gathering or a casual dinner, leaving patrons' palates delighted and wallets content.

Neighborhood: Pilsen

Address: 1510 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

View Menu: Pilsen

Estrella Negra $$

Nestled in Chicago's Logan Square, Estrella Negra is a gem that brings authentic Mexican flavors to the forefront. With vibrant Day of the Dead decor and a hip yet cozy ambiance, it's a perfect spot for a lively dining experience or a casual takeout meal. The Verde Vegan Pozole is a standout, captivating diners with its rich spices despite being meat-free. Carnivores and vegans alike rave about the freshness and taste. Another must-try is the Tamarindo Chicken Wings, praised for their crispy texture drenched in a sweet and tangy sauce. Regulars also highly recommend the Loaded fries. The attentive and friendly staff at Estrella Negra ensures every visit is memorable, prompting locals to keep coming back for more.

Neighbourhood: Logan Square

Address: 2346 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

View Menu: Logan Square

Buena Vista Restaurant $

Buena Vista Restaurant is a cherished gem tucked away in Chicago's vibrant Lakeview neighborhood, offering a genuine Mexican culinary experience in a cozy, family-owned setting. This casual dining spot boasts a BYOB policy and a diverse menu that includes standout options like the hearty Chiles Rellenos and the delectably steamed Tamales, which reflect the authentic flavors of Mexico. Regulars highly recommend the Mini Chimichangas and advise saving room for the homemade Tres Leches, a dessert made several times a week due to its popularity. Although it's a relatively small establishment, Buena Vista compensates with quick service, a friendly atmosphere, and a convenient ordering system via QR codes. The overall consensus is that Buena Vista delivers consistently satisfying Mexican fare, making it an excellent choice for takeout when you're in a hurry or looking for a delicious meal at home.

Neighbourhood: Lakeview

Address: 3147 North Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

View Menu: Lakeview

Uncle Julio's North Ave $$

In the bustling heart of Old Town Chicago, Uncle Julio's on North Avenue offers a Tex-Mex experience with mesquite-grilled flair. The restaurant's Chicken Fajitas have a reputation for being well-seasoned and delicious. The Honey Chipotle Salmon is another attention-grabber, celebrated for its unique blend of sweet and zesty flavors. Margaritas, particularly the frozen strawberry and mango variants, have been praised for providing refreshment on a hot day. Regulars reaffirm their love for Uncle Julio's long-standing quality and atmosphere. Do take note of the additional cost for traditionally complimentary items like guacamole and queso, and the valet parking fee.

Neighbourhood: Old Town

Address: 855 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

View Menu: Old Town


Venture into XOCO, Chef Rick Bayless's culinary haven nestled in Chicago's bustling River North neighborhood, and be swept away by the vibrant flavors of Mexican street food. With grand acclaim, XOCO's gastronomic prowess lies in their authentic creations, from the soul-warming Pozole to the Spicy Churro Chicken Sandwich. It's not just the savory that delights; their Bean-To-Cup Hot Chocolate is a testament to their dedication to the craft, with beans roasted and ground in-house for an exclusive XOCO experience. From their savoury Tlayuda to the crunchy yet melt-in-your-mouth chicharrones, each dish shines in its own right, making XOCO a go-to for an all-rounded Mexican feast. XOCO stands out as a Chicago essential - especially with their signature churros in hand.

Neighbourhood: River North

Address: 449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

View Menu: Clark/Illinois

La Cantina $$

La Cantina Grill in Chicago's bustling South Loop area offers a cozy cantina vibe with a variety of Mexican delicacies that keep locals and visitors coming back. Guests rave about the full vegan menu, with favorites like the vegan chorizo that even meat lovers can't resist. The Chicken tinga tacos and Al Pastor tacos also receive high praise for their authentic flavors and generous portions. The ambience is described as vibrant yet relaxed, ideal for enjoying their extensive selection of margaritas. Their effort to accommodate dietary restrictions and the great value for money are just the cherries on top of a satisfying Mexican culinary experience. It's advisable to avoid peak hours for a quieter dining experience, or perhaps to take out and enjoy the vibrant flavors from the comfort of your own home.

Neighbourhood: South Loop

Address: 1911 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

View Menu: South Loop

Pancho Pistolas Authentic Mexican Restaurant $$

Embrace the vibrant tastes of Mexico at Pancho Pistolas Authentic Mexican Restaurant nestled in Chicago's bustling Bridgeport neighborhood. Loved for its traditional Mexican fare served in a colorful, loft-like setting, this family-run cantina charms with its warm hospitality and robust menu. Frequent diners rave about the tender and perfectly seasoned Carne Asada, which compliments the spirited zest of their house margaritas. The Pancho Grande Burrito, another standout dish, wins hearts with its generous fillings and the extra cheesy option. For a fuss-free dining experience, consider phoning in your order as the parking can be a bit of a puzzle. Whether for a satiating weekday dinner or a celebratory Cinco de Mayo feast, Pancho Pistolas delivers on all fronts.

Neighbourhood: Bridgeport

Address: 700 W. 31st St.Chicago, IL 60616

View Menu: Bridgeport

Tzuco $$$$

Tzuco, tucked away in Chicago's vibrant River North neighborhood, is a treasure trove for Mexican cuisine enthusiasts. This chef-driven, upscale eatery dazzles with modern twists on regional Mexican dishes. Guests frequently rave about the visually stunning and palate-pleasing Black Ceviche and the rich, flavorful Lamb Neck Barbacoa. The Maiz, a charred corn ice cream dessert is not to be missed, providing a unique and surprising end to the dining experience. The ambiance of the place is undoubtedly inviting, offering a dark, moody, and stylish setting that's ideal for enjoying craft cocktails and fine dining. The immersive cultural and culinary journey at Tzuco is well worth any wait. Be sure to book a table in advance; this hotspot fills up quickly.

Neighbourhood: River North

Address: 720 N State Street, Chicago, IL 60654

View Menu: River North

Mas Alla del Sol $$

Nestled in Edgewater, Chicago, Mas Alla del Sol offers a sublime Mexican culinary experience that transcends the ordinary. Patrons rave about the Tampiqueña, hailed as the best in the city, and the fiery yet irresistible salsa that accompanies the tortilla chips is a hot favorite. The ambiance, with its hacienda-style charm, makes for excellent conversation over a well-crafted margarita – although some find them on the sweeter side. The menu may be minimal but is anything but basic, especially with stellar options like the succulent Lamb Shank and a noteworthy Guava Cheesecake. While prices may be a notch above the typical Mexican fare, the authentic flavors and quality ingredients assure diners it's money well spent. Potential customers should also note the vegetarian options could be more extensive, but the existing dishes are sure to delight.

Neighbourhood: Edgewater

Address: 5848 N Broadway Ave, Chicago, IL 60660

View Menu: Edgewater

Chilango Mexican Street Food     $

For those seeking a taste of Mexico's vibrant street food scene, Chilango Mexican Street Food in Chicago's Little Italy offers an authentic experience with a plethora of palatable delights. Renowned for its scrumptious fresh Empanadas and flavorful Fish Tacos, this modest establishment is a treasure for takeout enthusiasts. The Empanadas, particularly the Nutella and Banana variant, have captured the hearts of the locals. While it operates as a small dine-in setup, the true magic of Chilango is in its efficient to-go service, with many patrons praising the freshness and richness of the food packed for their convenience. For vegetarians, the Veggie Tacos brim with fresh ingredients and make a fulfilling meal. All in all, this is the place to hit when one's palate craves the unadulterated flavors of Mexico, conveniently packed for a quick bite on the go.

Neighbourhoods: Little Italy

Address: 1437 W Taylor St ste 1, Chicago, IL 60607

View Menus: Little Italy

5 Rabanitos Restaurante & Taqueria $$

5 Rabanitos Restaurante & Taqueria is a vibrant spot in the heart of Pilsen that locals and visitors alike rave about. Its cozy and colorful setting creates an inviting atmosphere perfect for enjoying authentic Mexican cuisine. Frequent diners at 5 Rabanitos often praise the Shortrid Barbacoa for its tenderness, and Camarones Gratinado for their mouthwatering flavor, both showcasing the restaurant's knack for combining traditional recipes with a touch of culinary creativity. And don't miss out on the Queso Fundido; despite a surprise in cheese choice for some, it's a fulfilling delight. As for takeout, order ahead to give them time to prepare your flavorful feast, especially during busy hours.

Neighbourhood: Pilsen

Address: 1758 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

View Menu: Pilsen

Los Milagros Taqueria $$

Savor the authentic flavors of Mexico at Los Milagros Taqueria, nestled in the heart of Chicago. Indulge in the tantalizing tacos, where each bite is a culinary revelation. The Carne Asada taco boasts perfectly grilled and seasoned beef, while the Carnitas delights with its succulent marinated pork. The vibrant atmosphere at Los Milagros creates a lively backdrop for enjoying their flavorful offerings. Don't miss the signature Salmon with tomatillo sauce, which adds an extra kick to the experience. Located in Chicago, this taqueria stands out as a haven for those craving genuine Mexican cuisine, offering a delightful escape to the streets of Mexico within the Windy City.

Neighbourhoods: South Loop

Address: 3050 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60623

View Menus: S Clark/W Adams