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A Critic Unearths Taco Gems on the North Side

Plus, Pacific Standard Time earns more acclaim, and more reviews

Tacos from Chicago Taco Authority
Chicago Taco Authority/Facebook

Mike Sula goes on the hunt for tacos at three North Side spots. Neighborhoods, like Albany Park, are becoming enclaves for Mexican food. At El Santo Taqueria, the tacos are loaded with “unconventional elements” but it’s the all-veggie offerings, like the hongos (mushrooms, huitlacoche, chihuahuan cheese, avocado sour cream), that Sula enjoys the most. Similarly, Chicago Taco Authority also delivers “avant-garde” options but once again traditional fillings, such as “pleasingly greasy” chorizo and “solidly executed” carne asada, are the more compelling. Last but not least, Tomatillo Taco-Ville serves a “reliable roster of classic tacos” as well as a fish taco with cabbage and pico de gallo which are “as unassuming and satisfying as anything you could ask for.” [Reader]

Pacific Standard Time has roots in California but the menu is “supremely American” and “anchored by soulful dishes straight from two wood-fired hearths,” writes Ariel Cheung. The “intimately casual” restaurant from Erling Wu-Bower and Joshua Tilden is a big hit, starting with “texturally flawless” baked pita that serves as a vehicle for beef tartare, eggplant, or ahi tuna. Mushroom pizza is “packed with flavor” while seasonal items, such as roasted black cod with fennel puree and jalapeno, also star. “Very satisfying desserts” round out the experience and include a burnt olive oil cake topped with creme fraiche ice cream and an optional caviar add-on. [Modern Luxury]

Sushi-San’s lunch “might not suit the Brooks Brothers crowd, but it has its chill place” according to Graham Meyer. An umami scallop hand roll “succeeds in the pristine goal of classic sushi, to spotlight the main seafood ingredient without upstaging it.” Just as successful is the charcoal-grilled miso salmon, cooked “translucent and delectable.” There are a few misses: The wasabi salmon roll contains “unpleasantly unexpected mayonnaise” and the “nigiri bombs” do not “resemble nigiri and neither plumet nor explode.” [Crain’s]

Pacific Standard Time

141 West Erie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 736-1778 Visit Website

Chicago Taco Authority

4219 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60641 (773) 282-8226

El Santo Taqueria

3352 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60625 (773) 649-3114 Visit Website


63 W. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60654 Visit Website


63 West Grand Avenue, , IL 60654 (312) 828-0575 Visit Website

Tomatillo Taco-Ville

2943 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618