A complete guide to the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago from casual taco stands to fine dining restaurants.
Mexican food can be found throughout Chicago, but the highest concentration of Mexican eateries can be found in the Pilsen neighborhood.
Last updated: March 2022
The Best Mexican Restaurants in Chicago:
Table of Contents
We have organized this list of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago by neighborhood.
Mexican, Breakfast, Lunch
An exceptional restaurant solely specializing in slow roasted goat tacos. The tortillas are made right in front of you and the salsa are homemade with fire roasted tomatoes. This is a small casual counter service restaurant with a tiny menu, but it is without a doubt one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago. It is worth making a special trip to Archer Heights just to taste these tacos, we promise. Note: the restaurant is closed on Wednesdays and closes at 4 pm on Sundays and at 6 pm the other days.
Cafe Tola #2
Mexican, Latin American, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
Cafe Tola is a colorful lunch counter known for their empanadas but the menu also includes tacos, tortas, and burritos. The food at Cafe Tola is consistently great, which might be the reason why the restaurant has four locations in Chicago.
Mexican, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
A family-owned casual affordable taco joint serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. The menu has tacos, sopes, burritos, and larger Mexican platters like enchiladas, flautas, and chile rellenos. Taqueria Mazamitla is known for the carne asada which is served in tacos and as a platter.
Ravinia Brewing Co
This restaurant and taproom serves Ravinia Brewing Co’s local craft beer and Mexican cuisine. The menu features over a dozen classic and creative tacos (some have Nashville hot chicken, or hot dogs while others have chicken tinga or barbacoa beef). Burritos, tortas, tostadas, and salads are available too.
A sustainable farm-to-table small plates Mexican restaurant with lots of vegetarian menu options. This is sophisticated flavors with a rustic presentation. Think roasted cauliflower with red pipián and epazote ricotta topped with pomegranate molasses or grilled pork ribs with honey-pasilla sauce, radishes, crema and queso fresco.
This location beside Wrigley Field is an offshoot of the hugely popular Wicker Park taco joint. Big Star is known for serving incredible tacos – the Panza (pork belly) is a stand out – and strong margaritas. The taco menu is small, while the whiskey and bourbon menu spans four pages.
Tuco and Blondie
This family-friendly Mexican spot serves lunch, dinner, and brunch and has a menu that focuses on tacos, fajitas, and enchiladas. If you have children, check out their Kid’s Patio Class schedule which includes music classes. (The classes are offered in colder months but at a different location).
Mi Tocaya Antojeria
A James Beard nominated restaurant serving small plate regional Mexican dishes like fried oyster tacos, steak burritos, a DIY quesabirria, and morita glazed skate wing “ribs”. The food is beautifully composed, the flavors are bold, and the space is colorful and unpretentious.
Just named on of the best new restaurants in Chicago by Chicago Magazine, and certainly one of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago, Taqueria Chingon is known for serving up a mix of traditional tacos and unique tacos you won’t see elsewhere. The menu has the classic al pastor and asada plus specials like fried artichoke tacos and beef brisket tacos with horseradish crema.
Birreria Reyes de Ocotlan
This spot specializes in birria tacos that are made with a cheese quesadilla shell filled with two consumé soaked tortillas, chile de arbors, guajillo chile peppers, and meat (beef or chicken). Once assembled, the taco is dipped in the consumé and fried. This restaurant is cash-only and is open from 11 am until 7 pm on Tuesdays through Fridays and from 1 pm until 7 pm on weekends.
Taqueria el Milagro
A casual cafeteria style Mexican joint that is a perfect place for a quick bite. The menu has tacos, tamales, tortas, flautas, quesadillas, and burritos. It’s no frills but satisfying.
La Vaca Margarita Bar
La Vaca serves margaritas and tacos in a hip 21+ cantina. In addition to a dozen different tacos, the menu has sharable dips and snacks, fajitas, and large main dishes like carne asada and enchiladas. Dinner is served nightly, it’s open until at least 12:30 am every night, and brunch is available on weekends.
Mexican, Breakfast, Lunch
Los Comales serves authentic Mexican tacos, tortas, tostadas, and burritos plus a small breakfast menu in the mornings. It’s open from 8 am until 1 am daily. Lunchtime specials are just $11.50 and include your choice of three tacos, three quesadillas, two tostadas, a torta, or a burrito with rice, beans, and a drink.
Mexican, Kid-friendly, Vegetarian
A BYOB restaurant by XOCO alum Chef Alfonso Sotelo serving beautiful composed authentic Mexican cuisine. Choose from ceviches, tacos, tortas, and main courses like barbacoa beef, carne asada, chicken milanesa, and enchiladas de mole. An outdoor patio provides views of the Senkoe mural on the side of the restaurant’s exterior. The menu has several mouthwatering vegetarian options.
Mexican, Breakfast, Lunch, Vegan/Vegetarian, Kid-friendly
A traditional and affordable Mexican restaurant known for their mole. The menu is huge and even has an entire plant-based section offering plant-based meats. La Esperanza serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Fridays to Sundays, is closed Tuesdays, and serves breakfast and lunch the rest of the week.
A comfortable rustic restaurant serving craft cocktails and casual Mexican food. The menu has an even mix of starters like queso fundido, tetelas, and elote, tacos, and larger entrees including mole lamb chops, quesabirria, and chicken flautas.
This take-out only restaurant has been serving carnitas and chicharrones since 1975. The menu is small and pork-centric. The famed pork carnitas can be ordered by the taco or by the pound. Carnitas Uruapan does not serve dinner, they are open from 7 am until 5 pm on weekends and from 10 am until 4 pm on weekdays.
A diner-style cafe serving globally inspired Mexican food. The menu has tacos, tlacoyos, and burritos with a choice of meat, seafood, or vegetables. Other items include fried chicken, quesadilla, tortas, and burgers.
Del Toro serves casual Mexican food like tacos, burritos, and tortas along with tequilas and mezcal.
Chef Rick Bayless has four restaurants all next to each other in River North, they are considered to be some of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago.
Romantic, Fine Dining, Mexican, Lunch
James Beard Award Winner Rick Bayless helms a trio of restaurants on the same block of North Clark Street. Topolobampo is the most formal and serves a multi-course tasting menu for $145 per person.
Frontera Grill serves regional Mexican cuisine with a focus on locally sourced sustainable ingredients. The restaurant has a large menu with Mexican specialities like Oaxacan pork loin with yellow mole and Puebla-style enchiladas plus a variety of wood-grilled meats.
The entrance to this basement bar is hidden in the alley behind Xoco. The bar has a huge mezcal and tequila menu while the food menu has a seafood and raw bar, vegetable dishes, “deluxe” tacos, and a few larger plates. A five-course chef’s experience is available for $60 per person, with the option to add three cocktails for $25 more. The menu has a variety of vegetarian options.
Mexican, Lunch, Fast-casual
Xoco is a fast-casual sandwich spot and the perfect place for a quick meal. The menu includes sandwiches, tacos, salads, and sides plus a guacamole bar where guests can select their own guac toppings.
A sophisticated restaurant from Carlos Gaytán presenting Mexican cuisine infused with French culinary techniques. Appetizers include classics like guacamole plus items like state tartare and a French onion soup with poblano peppers. You can find lamb neck barbacoa, carne asada, and chile relenno on the list of mains. Tzuco received Michelin Big Gourmand recognition in 2021.
Semilla’s Latin Kitchen & Wine Bar
A casual restaurant serving a mix of Peruvian and Mexican specialities including ceviche, quesadillas, tacos, chicken with mole sauce, and skirt steak. Happy hour is offered from 4 pm until 5 pm daily.
El Sabor Poblano
An authentic Mexican BYOB restaurant known for serving picaditas (similar to sopes), pambazo (a type of sandwich with chorizo and potatoes), and barbacoa. The menu also has tacos, enchiladas, tamales, and quesadillas.
Mexican, Lunch, Vegetarian, Kid-friendly
A restaurants serving tacos, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, tortas, and margaritas in a casual environment. The menu includes a good number of vegetarian options.
Leña Brava serves wood-fired meals inspired by Baja, Mexico. Try fire roasted carnitas, carne asada, slow cooked short rib, or the signature striped bass. If you want to try mezcal and agave, that menu is nine pages long. Leña Brava’s Chef Rick Bayless is known for restaurants that honor traditional Mexican cuisine – it isn’t the Tex-Mex style that is typical of Mexican restaurants in America.
Mexican, Lunch, Vegetarian
A Mexican cantina inspired by Midwest ingredients, Chikatana has a sophisticated menu with items like chorizo gnocchi, barbacoa short ribs, cabbage in mole blanco, and crispy pork belly. The lunch menu offers tacos, the dinner menu does not. On weekends, the brunch menu has brisket hash, churro French toast, and chilaquiles. All menus have plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Mexican, Gastropub, Lunch
A family owned Mexican restaurant on Restaurant Row serving classic dishes from Jalisco. You can find favorites like guacamole, chips and salsa, quest fundido, ceviche, tamales, tacos, taco salads, and enchiladas on the menu plus some larger entrees. La Josie was a 2021 Michelin Bib Gourmand Award winner.
The Tamale Guy at Bangers and Lace
You can’t call yourself a Chicagoan until you have tried Claudio Velez’s tamales. The earned the nickname “The Tamale Guy” many years ago when he would slip into late night bars carrying a cooler and selling tamales. These days, he has a long term pop up at Bangers & Lace on Division Street.
Tex-Mex, Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch
A Tex-Mex diner with a menu that includes items like masa pancakes, fried chicken, pozole rojo, and burnt ends hash. The seats of this diner don’t move, and seating is limited, so it’s best to go as a two-some. Currently, Dove’s focuses on breakfast/brunch and lunch but are open on Mondays for dinner.
A casual taco joint known for its large sunlit patio and strong margaritas. The Panza (pork belly) taco is exceptional and has been on the menu since the start. Big Star is serves lunch and dinner every day. In addition to the restaurant, there is a takeout window next door with picnic tables.
A fast casual taco joint with patio seating and a menu that blends Mexican with Midwest. Find guacamole, queso, chili cheese curds, pork carnitas tacos, and more on the menu.