Despite the fact that this family-run taqueria has only been in business since 2007, which might feel downright precious compared to some of the older relics on this list, the story of Birrieria Zaragoza extends far deeper. Founded by patriarch Juan Zaragoza, the casual concept is an homage to the food he grew up eating in Jalisco—and the food he craved while raising a family in his adopted hometown of Chicago. Entirely self-taught in the kitchen, routinely traveling home to Jalisco to stock up on real-deal ingredients and learn the tricks of the taqueria trade, Zaragoza succeeded in bringing a deeply authentic, earnest taste of Jalisco to Chicago’s southwest side. Goat birria is the restaurant’s bread and butter, made with goat butchered in-house, steamed for hours until meltingly tender, marinated in earthy mole, and roasted to impart those flavors into the succulent meat. The go-to order is a bowl of birria in warm, heady consommé, a soothing balm for the most bracing of Chicago winters. Served with fresh tortillas and add-ons like raw onions, lime, and fresh cilantro, it’s one of the city’s simplest pleasures—and one of its greatest.
How to book: In addition to dining on-site, Birrieria Zaragoza offers pickup and delivery through UberEats.
Family-owned since its 2007 launch, this near-suburban institution recently picked up a Michelin Bib Gourmand nod thanks to its hyperfocus on one singular, unbeatable dish: birria. The fall-off-the-bone goat stew arrives in several different ways—bone-in or boneless, on a platter, in a bowl, or in a tortilla—each buttressed by a heaping helping of cilantro, onion, lime, hot sauce, consomé, and arbol chiles. Lean into the comfort food vibes and snag an extra cheesy Quesabirria or two for the table—you won’t regret it.
How to book: Reserve via Google or order takeout online.