Food & Drink

Chicago's 10 most under-the-radar taco joints

Published On 03/25/2014 Published On 03/25/2014
best tacos chicago
All photos by Titus Ruscitti
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1. Taqueria El Asadero 2213 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618 (Logan Square)

This classic, hole-in-the-wall (cash only!) Mexican joint has south-of-the-border food down pat, doling out go-tos like delicious (and cheap) tacos, burritos, and homemade guacamole and horchata. Our favorites include the steak and al pastor tacos and the carne asada burrito.

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2. L'Patron Tacos 3749 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 (Logan Square)

If you thought you could only get decent Mexican street food south of the border, think again – for Chicagoans, it’s as easy as a trip to Logan Square. The market-driven menu at L’Patron includes highlights like carne asada and the signature la gringa, a tortilla with al pastor, Chihuahua cheese, pineapple, and a side of rice and beans. While seating is available, this counter-service taqueria is a lunch hotspot, so get there early to snag a seat and chow down.

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3. Los Gamas Tortilleria Y Restaurante 3333 W Armitage, Chicago, 60647 (Logan Square)

This Mexican resto may not have frills, but their simple menu can't be beat when it comes to cost and taste. Your choices are pretty much limited to tacos, tamales, sopes, picadas, burritos, tortas, quesadillas, and enchiladas, but that's all you need here.

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4. El Taco Sabroso 8346 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60652 (South Chicago)

Designed mostly for takeout (there are only four or five seats inside), El Taco Sabroso is a great spot to fill up on quality, cheap tacos. Get the house special and prepare yourself for tacos with a combination of steak AND al pastor mixed together.

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5. La Chilangueada 5131 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60639

This authentic Mexican eatery has some of the best Tacos de Canasta outside of Mexico City (yes, seriously). Their extensive preparation is something most places don't bother with, but that family-run La Chilangueada has perfected. The small, hand-made tortillas are filled to order, and compliment any cold brew.

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6. El Taconazo 4124 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60639 (Humboldt Park)

El Taconazo is honing in on some serious tacos al pastor game. Made from fresh meat on a spinning trompo and cut-to-order, these tacos surely cannot be missed.

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7. Taqueria San Matias 3005 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (Near North Side)

Any place that's serving up different types of combined meats and cooking it all together with bacon, diced peppers, and lots of cheese (known as alambres), is the place you want to be. Luckily, Taqueria San Matias is doing the delicious deed, but in taco form; the Taco Alambres are delicious, unique, and a steady source of returning customers.

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8. Taco Mex 10658 S Torrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60617 (Calumet Heights)

Taco Mex is known for their crispy tacos -- ground beef wrapped in a tortilla that's dipped into a deep fryer. Lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese are added after it's done frying to give you the complete package.

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9. Restaurante Hidalgo CD 7104 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60626 (Rogers Park)

This itty-bitty tacqueria in Rogers Park is known for their tripas tacos, which're served up with pork rinds and fresh greens. Add-ons like fresh-off-the-grill salsa make this a can't-miss move for your Mex cravings.

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10. La Internacional 4556 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60609

A speciality grocery with one of the best tacquerias in Chicago nestled inside, La Internacional is your one-stop-shop for fresh veggies, meats, and of course delicious tacos like their Carne Asada.