Considering that Chicago has a Hispanic population of almost 2 million, it’s no wonder you may get a little lost while deciding where to grab a taco in this city. Whether you’re up for something traditional like tacos al pastor, or you’re more of a modern eater who craves a taco stuffed with locally grown organic meat and vegetables or even seafood, Chicago has got you covered. The only thing that might cause a problem is choosing the place for your perfect taco meal. So why not choose them all – not in one day, of course. These are the best tacos in the city.
1. Don Pedro Carnitas
Authentic and fresh, Don Pedro Carnitas has all the fans line up in front of the joint so you may get discouraged as you pass by. But don’t miss out on the opportunity to try some of the best tacos in Chicago. The wait will be worthwhile because at the end of the line, there they are, perfectly crispy, perfectly fresh and incredibly cheap carnitas. Everything is made right there in front of you and you can make your own tacos. And you can even try their specialty – brain tacos – if you’re feeling adventurous.
2. Big Star
Big Star is one of the most popular taco joints in Chicago which also means it is almost always crowded. So if the weather is nice, be prepared for a long wait. For the best experience, try to snatch a table and enjoy the great vibe all the visitors talk about. Tacos taste even better in such a great atmosphere, plus, they have some of the greatest margaritas in the city. You can try some of the traditional kinds with meat such as Al Pastor, but Big Star also offers vegetarian tacos to die for, like Taco de Papas con Rajas.
3. Antique Taco
The biggest rival of Big Star, Antique Taco is another amazing place you should check out and decide for yourself which one you like better. Apart from outstanding tacos that practically melt in your mouth, you can also try their wonderful kale salad or inevitable cheese curds that every foodie would recommend. Even though they change the menu seasonally, you can always find something you will like. The ambiance is great, the staff is friendly and the food brilliant – so what’s not to like?
4. Buzz Bait Taqueria
Looking for fish tacos? No problem. With its plenty of options, finding a great fish taqueria is a piece of cake. This, relatively new, taco joint is becoming a serious competition to others in the city. And it’s not surprising since their motto is having a simple menu but bringing it to absolute perfection. Whether you choose their excellent tuna tacos or the delightful shrimp tacos, you can’t go wrong. Mahi Mahi and Poke are the options you can’t miss, and don’t forget to order the blueberry mint margarita for the ultimate dining enjoyment.
When it comes to street tacos, nothing compares to Rubi’s at the New Maxwell Street Market. It’s no wonder the joint has been proclaimed the Queen of Tacos. If you’ve heard stories about this joint feel free to believe them all since this is indeed the best street taqueria in Chicago. Just follow the biggest line at the market and you’ll find Rubi’s. Famous for their Al Pastor tacos, Rubi’s will lure you in and make you come back every week for a taste of that heavenly crispy meat, queso and their signature homemade tortillas and salsa – and all that for $3.
6. Birrieria Zaragoza
The best homemade tortillas in the city – check. Organic, farm-raised goat meat – check. Natural and healthy consomme with tomatoes – check. All this and much more makes Birrieria Zaragoza one of our favorite taco places in Chicago. It is no wonder that this joint that started as a small family business became one of the most popular taco restaurants in the city. Whether you want a quick bite and order tacos or you want to savor your meal and order a plate of birria, you will be blown away by the extraordinarily full flavor of their food.
Located in Pilsen’s Art district, DeColores delivers on both fronts – its food is amazing and the atmosphere is chic and artsy. This taco restaurant is part art gallery, part restaurant, so you can also expect the prices to go a bit higher. But their food isn’t far from the art pieces hanging on the walls, so if you enjoy the esthetics, you will love this joint. Make sure to try their colorful taquitos de papa if you’re fan of potato tacos because they are absolutely mindblowing, while their salsa has an incredibly unique taste.
8. Velvet Taco
Famous for their gourmet tacos, Velvet Taco may just make your head spin while trying to choose which one of their numerous different kinds you should try. Whether you’re a fan of beef, chicken, pork, chicken or vegetarian, you can find it all here. What makes Velvet Taco so amazing is their creativeness when it comes to food and the fact the make everything from scratch. Come in and try their buffalo chicken tacos, spicy tika tacos, Cuban pig taco or opt for shrimp and grits. All in all – spectacular tacos for any mood and time of day.