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Taqueria Chignon is a star.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

The 19 Essential Taco Spots in Chicago

Where to find the best carnitas, carne asada, and more

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Taqueria Chignon is a star.
| Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Chicago’s taco scene, just like its Mexican restaurant community, is strong. And lately the city has been seeing more regional cooking, which also spells diversity for Chicago’s taco offerings. This list avoids fusion creations, like Korean tacos. Instead readers will find more traditional offerings, with a few detours including goat and cheesy items. Take a look at Eater Chicago’s favorite taquerias on the map below and find places with homemade tortillas, fresh salsas, and beautiful pastor. Vegetarians might find one or two options as well.

For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Birrieria Zaragoza

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4852 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60632
(773) 523-3700
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Mouth-watering goat is basically the only thing on the menu here but that’s all diners really need. The Zaragoza clan serves birria, a barbacoa variant from Jalisco, Mexico that features roasted goat in flavorful consommé. Order a small or large plate and make some of the best tacos in town with corn tortillas and fire-roasted salsa.

Birrieria Zaragoza [Official Photo]

2. Solazo

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5600 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60629
(773) 627-5047
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This South Side family-owned restaurant has gone through a remodel and slight tweak of its name. Solazo is about more than tacos, but the restaurant has capitalized with Taco Tuesday specials and a solid assortment including a sweet and spicy chicken tinga.

3. La Chaparrita

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2500 S Whipple St
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 247-1402

Attached to a grocery store, La Chaparrita delivers one-of-a-kind tacos de fritangas. This Mexico City specialty features fried meats cooked in a circular metal pan called a charola. Cuts include suadero, longaniza, and the popular tripas — crispy, flavor-packed pieces of cow intestines that even the most picky eaters should try.

4. L' Patron

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3749 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-6335

Although the original location has shuttered, brothers Ernesto and Cesar Gonzales continue to dish out otherworldly tacos in Logan Square. Try the carne asada, al pastor, or fish tacos dressed with roasted serrano aioli, cabbage, and pico de gallo. Just don’t forget to bring some bills because it’s cash only.

5. La Casa de Samuel

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2834 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60623
(773) 376-7474
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The tortilla is sometimes an afterthought at taquerias but not here. Head to Samuel Linares’s restaurant for fresh corn tortillas made from scratch. Guests can watch the masa masters at work up front and then taste the difference by enveloping a variety of proteins that range from traditional — carne asada, shrimp — to gamier choices like alligator, rattlesnake, and bull’s testicles.

La Casa de Samuel [Official Photo]

6. Tío Luis Tacos

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3856 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60632
(773) 843-0098
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Jose Luis Gonzales’ tacos are a paragon of the form, seasoned just right and grilled to order. The carne asada and adobo-rubbed al pastor are always good decisions, but don’t skip the more offal-y cuts, such as beef tongue and tripe.

Tío Luis Tacos [Official Photo]

7. Taqueria Chingon

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2234 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 687-9408
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Near the Logan Square and Bucktown border, the owner of Le Bouchon, the beloved French bistro, has turned to some his most trusted cooks to open their own taqueria. The results have been stunning with street tacos that burst with flavor. Pastor is the house speciality, but everything is worth a try. And the ceviche and flan are also top notch.

Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

8. Taqueria El Asadero

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2213 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 583-5563
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Carne asada is the name of the game at this North Side spot. Perfectly seasoned, tender chunks of steak are thinly sliced and cooked to order. At just $3 per sizeable taco, it’s also a great bargain.

Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

9. Rojo Gusano

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4217 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 360-7687
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This contemporary Mexican spot, opened by beloved chef Dudley Nieto, has expanded to a few locations in Albany Park and Ravenswood. The fried fish and Korean BBQ are classics and go well with the mezcal selection.

10. Taqueria Jarabe (Dr. Murphy's Food Hall)

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1811 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60612
(773) 869-2248
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Chicago doesn’t have much for breakfast tacos. This isn’t Texas. But Taqueria Jarabe, which is currently operating a stall on the Near West Side in the Medical District, inside Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall, is an exception. The Numero Uno, with eggs, chorizo, and fried potatoes, is a perfect morning pick me up. For more heat, the Machaca with shredded beef and pickled jalapeños will do the trick.

11. Antique Taco

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1360 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 687-8697
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One of Wicker Park’s hippest and most creative taquerias changes its menu from time to time but folks can always expect to see crispy fish tacos with spicy tartar, smoked cabbage, scallions, and sesame. Grilled steak topped with morita salsa, arugula, onion, lime, queso, and cilantro is another favorite. The restaurant also has locations in Bridgeport.

Antique Taco [Official Photo]

12. Taqueria El Mezquite

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1756 W 18th
Chicago, IL
(312) 733-0402
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Located just down the street from Carnitas Uruapan, Taqueria El Mezquite goes in a different direction by utilizing every part of the cow. The Cruz family’s secret recipes yield top notch tongue, tripe, brain, and beef head tacos.

Taqueria El Mezquite [Official Photo]

13. Carnitas Uruapan

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1725 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 226-2654
Visit Website

Eaters will find only one type of meat at this Eater 38 spot. The tender pork carnitas — slow-cooked for more than two hours — reflect the street fare found in Uruapan, Mexico. It’s sold by the pound alongside other items like chicharonnes and cactus salad. Spicy pork brain tacos are available on the weekends for adventurous eaters. A second outpost recently opened in Gage Park.

Carnitas Uruapan [Official Photo]

14. La Lagartija Taqueria

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132 S Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-7772
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Shrimp tacos seldom get top billing. The ones from this West Side taqueria, though, are worth raving about. Each taco is built on housemade tortillas with plump, crispy, beer-battered crustaceans, slaw, spicy habanero ketchup, and creamy aioli. For diners who don’t do shellfish, the al pastor is also a solid bet and is shaved straight off a spit.

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HAPPY TUESDAY EAT A TACO.

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15. Paco's Tacos

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4556 S Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 523-9745

Spectacular tacos can come from anywhere. Case in point: Paco’s Tacos. The South Side taqueria, located inside a supermarket, is such a hit that it spawned several brick and mortar restaurants. Follow the scents to the back of the store, grab a seat at the counter, and get ready for high quality carne asada.

16. Rubi’s Tacos

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1316 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 318-9526

The legendary taco stall lasted 20 years at Maxwell Street Market before the city closed the weekly mainstay due to the pandemic. That accelerated Rubi’s search for restaurant space, one that they found on Pilsen’s main drag on 18th Street. The mole rojo (braised pork on a fresh corn tortilla) stars. The pastor is also worth ordering. But anything tastes better due to the delicate yellow corn wrappings. These are some of the best tortillas in the city.

17. Don Pedro Carnitas

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1113 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 829-4757

There’s usually a line at this Pilsen spot and for good reason. Carnitas are (predictably) the star of the show, cooked in rendered pork fat until crispy. Order the meat by the pound and build tacos with the complimentary condiments and tortillas, but make sure to get there early before it sells out.

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#Carnitas

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18. Takito Street Lincoln Park

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2423 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 697-3132
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The Takito brand has three locations, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and West Loop, but the Lincoln Park location offers a little bit more — especially in stark contrast to the taquerias clustered around DePaul and aimed at students. The Takito beef, named after the owner’s family, stars with fried potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and marinated steak. Shout out to the Green Farm. Brussel sprouts with sriracha honey proves meat doesn’t make a taco. The equites are also worth an order. 

19. Taco Sublime

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Taco Sublime was a wandering food truck that’s now been popping up all across the city from Royal Palms Shuffle Board to Marz Community Brewing. The concept is simple: fresh beef, shrimp, and chicken with zesty salsas tossed upon a modest bed of griddled cheese. The results are sensational. Check Instagram from their latest residency and visit ASAP or learn to live with regret.

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1. Birrieria Zaragoza

4852 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60632
Birrieria Zaragoza [Official Photo]

Mouth-watering goat is basically the only thing on the menu here but that’s all diners really need. The Zaragoza clan serves birria, a barbacoa variant from Jalisco, Mexico that features roasted goat in flavorful consommé. Order a small or large plate and make some of the best tacos in town with corn tortillas and fire-roasted salsa.

4852 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60632

2. Solazo

5600 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60629

This South Side family-owned restaurant has gone through a remodel and slight tweak of its name. Solazo is about more than tacos, but the restaurant has capitalized with Taco Tuesday specials and a solid assortment including a sweet and spicy chicken tinga.

5600 S Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60629

3. La Chaparrita

2500 S Whipple St, Chicago, IL 60623

Attached to a grocery store, La Chaparrita delivers one-of-a-kind tacos de fritangas. This Mexico City specialty features fried meats cooked in a circular metal pan called a charola. Cuts include suadero, longaniza, and the popular tripas — crispy, flavor-packed pieces of cow intestines that even the most picky eaters should try.

2500 S Whipple St
Chicago, IL 60623

4. L' Patron

3749 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Although the original location has shuttered, brothers Ernesto and Cesar Gonzales continue to dish out otherworldly tacos in Logan Square. Try the carne asada, al pastor, or fish tacos dressed with roasted serrano aioli, cabbage, and pico de gallo. Just don’t forget to bring some bills because it’s cash only.

3749 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

5. La Casa de Samuel

2834 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60623
La Casa de Samuel [Official Photo]

The tortilla is sometimes an afterthought at taquerias but not here. Head to Samuel Linares’s restaurant for fresh corn tortillas made from scratch. Guests can watch the masa masters at work up front and then taste the difference by enveloping a variety of proteins that range from traditional — carne asada, shrimp — to gamier choices like alligator, rattlesnake, and bull’s testicles.

2834 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60623

6. Tío Luis Tacos

3856 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60632
Tío Luis Tacos [Official Photo]

Jose Luis Gonzales’ tacos are a paragon of the form, seasoned just right and grilled to order. The carne asada and adobo-rubbed al pastor are always good decisions, but don’t skip the more offal-y cuts, such as beef tongue and tripe.

3856 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60632

7. Taqueria Chingon

2234 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Near the Logan Square and Bucktown border, the owner of Le Bouchon, the beloved French bistro, has turned to some his most trusted cooks to open their own taqueria. The results have been stunning with street tacos that burst with flavor. Pastor is the house speciality, but everything is worth a try. And the ceviche and flan are also top notch.

2234 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

8. Taqueria El Asadero

2213 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

Carne asada is the name of the game at this North Side spot. Perfectly seasoned, tender chunks of steak are thinly sliced and cooked to order. At just $3 per sizeable taco, it’s also a great bargain.

2213 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

9. Rojo Gusano

4217 N Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

This contemporary Mexican spot, opened by beloved chef Dudley Nieto, has expanded to a few locations in Albany Park and Ravenswood. The fried fish and Korean BBQ are classics and go well with the mezcal selection.

4217 N Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

10. Taqueria Jarabe (Dr. Murphy's Food Hall)

1811 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60612

Chicago doesn’t have much for breakfast tacos. This isn’t Texas. But Taqueria Jarabe, which is currently operating a stall on the Near West Side in the Medical District, inside Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall, is an exception. The Numero Uno, with eggs, chorizo, and fried potatoes, is a perfect morning pick me up. For more heat, the Machaca with shredded beef and pickled jalapeños will do the trick.

1811 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60612

11. Antique Taco

1360 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Antique Taco [Official Photo]

One of Wicker Park’s hippest and most creative taquerias changes its menu from time to time but folks can always expect to see crispy fish tacos with spicy tartar, smoked cabbage, scallions, and sesame. Grilled steak topped with morita salsa, arugula, onion, lime, queso, and cilantro is another favorite. The restaurant also has locations in Bridgeport.

1360 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

12. Taqueria El Mezquite

1756 W 18th, Chicago, IL
Taqueria El Mezquite [Official Photo]

Located just down the street from Carnitas Uruapan, Taqueria El Mezquite goes in a different direction by utilizing every part of the cow. The Cruz family’s secret recipes yield top notch tongue, tripe, brain, and beef head tacos.

1756 W 18th
Chicago, IL

13. Carnitas Uruapan

1725 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Carnitas Uruapan [Official Photo]

Eaters will find only one type of meat at this Eater 38 spot. The tender pork carnitas — slow-cooked for more than two hours — reflect the street fare found in Uruapan, Mexico. It’s sold by the pound alongside other items like chicharonnes and cactus salad. Spicy pork brain tacos are available on the weekends for adventurous eaters. A second outpost recently opened in Gage Park.

1725 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

14. La Lagartija Taqueria

132 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60607

Shrimp tacos seldom get top billing. The ones from this West Side taqueria, though, are worth raving about. Each taco is built on housemade tortillas with plump, crispy, beer-battered crustaceans, slaw, spicy habanero ketchup, and creamy aioli. For diners who don’t do shellfish, the al pastor is also a solid bet and is shaved straight off a spit.

132 S Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60607

15. Paco's Tacos

4556 S Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60609

Spectacular tacos can come from anywhere. Case in point: Paco’s Tacos. The South Side taqueria, located inside a supermarket, is such a hit that it spawned several brick and mortar restaurants. Follow the scents to the back of the store, grab a seat at the counter, and get ready for high quality carne asada.

4556 S Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60609

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16. Rubi’s Tacos

1316 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

The legendary taco stall lasted 20 years at Maxwell Street Market before the city closed the weekly mainstay due to the pandemic. That accelerated Rubi’s search for restaurant space, one that they found on Pilsen’s main drag on 18th Street. The mole rojo (braised pork on a fresh corn tortilla) stars. The pastor is also worth ordering. But anything tastes better due to the delicate yellow corn wrappings. These are some of the best tortillas in the city.

1316 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

17. Don Pedro Carnitas

1113 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

There’s usually a line at this Pilsen spot and for good reason. Carnitas are (predictably) the star of the show, cooked in rendered pork fat until crispy. Order the meat by the pound and build tacos with the complimentary condiments and tortillas, but make sure to get there early before it sells out.

1113 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

18. Takito Street Lincoln Park

2423 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

The Takito brand has three locations, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, and West Loop, but the Lincoln Park location offers a little bit more — especially in stark contrast to the taquerias clustered around DePaul and aimed at students. The Takito beef, named after the owner’s family, stars with fried potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and marinated steak. Shout out to the Green Farm. Brussel sprouts with sriracha honey proves meat doesn’t make a taco. The equites are also worth an order. 

2423 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614

19. Taco Sublime

Chicago, IL

Taco Sublime was a wandering food truck that’s now been popping up all across the city from Royal Palms Shuffle Board to Marz Community Brewing. The concept is simple: fresh beef, shrimp, and chicken with zesty salsas tossed upon a modest bed of griddled cheese. The results are sensational. Check Instagram from their latest residency and visit ASAP or learn to live with regret.

Related Maps