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11 Delicious Tacos to Try Now On Chicago's South Side, Mapped

Venture south of Madison and be rewarded

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Generally uncharted territory for many, the Chicago’s South Side boasts an array of restaurants and bars that can satisfy the most curious palates. Hardworking, inexpensive, delicious and to the point: the South Side is not only home to some the best tacos the city has to offer, but arguably some of the best tacos in the country.

Whether you’re into pastor, lengua, carne asada, vegetarian, or even if you’re a connoisseur of the tortilla variety, the South Side offers something for everyone from either side of the city. So put on your Sox hat, turn up Chance the Rapper, and head south of Madison to enjoy the definitive list of South Side tacos.

This map is ordered from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Don Pedro Carnitas

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One of few places to survive the nuclear blast of gentrification in Pilsen, this 30-year-old South Side staple serves everything pork. From snout to tail, and everything in between, you’ll only find carnitas on the menu during most days, with limited menu expansions on weekends that include menudo and brain tacos. $10 can feed two people, just make sure you arrive early because they open early and often close before 6 p.m.

Carnitas Uruapan

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This family-owned establishment has been in the heart of Pilsen for over 40 years. They only serve carnitas by the pound and feature a small handful of sides. Reminiscent of the street food of Uruapan, Mexico, the tacos are fully stuffed and most of the pig is utilized. They fry up chicharrones all day, every day, with an expanded menu on weekends featuring potato tacos.

El Milagro Taqueria

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If you’ve ever been to a Chicago grocery store, you’ve seen El Milagro tortillas and chips. Kitty-corner to the factory, El Milagro has a storefront taqueria that sits facing the county prison in Little Village. Often the first meal of freedom for many, El Milagro serves up a large chunk slab of unchopped skirt steak on top of a bed of rice and beans on their famous tortillas.

Taqueria Atotonilco

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In the epicenter of Little Village, Taquerias Atotonilco has been serving up some of the best street-style tacos the South Side has to offer for nearly 50 years. Open 24 hours on weekends and deep into the night on weekdays, you can have a char-grilled carne asada tacos for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a nightcap. Their pastor taco combines beef and pork in a red sauce marinade that is uniquely different from most pastors.

Tío Luis Tacos

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Visit Chicago. Meet a woman. Fall in love. Buy a home. Turn it into a restaurant. That is the epitome of the South Side culture and the recipe for success at Tio Luis Tacos. The barbacoa tacos are the standout at Tio Luis and their cucumber lemonade pairs with everything on the menu and is a great refresher during the Chicago heat. Let Luis serve you and your friends the “el Tablazo” if you’re looking to try a little bit of everything served on a large, shareable platter.

Paco's Tacos

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Known for being one of the most authentic street taco joints in Chicago, Paco’s serves up a taco so stuffed with meat and condiments, you’ll be glad you ventured to this Brighton Park gem. The char-grilled steak and al pastor are local favorites and are open for customization. Chicharron is king here and is fried up throughout the day and sold by the pound. They’ve since opened a second location in West Lawn neighborhood.

Machetes Big Quesadillas

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Although there are no tacos here — only quesadillas— this place is worthy of mention on this list because of their ability to stand shoulder to shoulder in the land of meat, cheese and tortilla. They are known for their comically large, 20-inch quesadillas and almost infinite combinations of stuffings with a large variety of salsas. They have two locations within a mile of each other.

Birrieria Zaragoza

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If you’re going to have only one item on your menu, it better be good. Your only choice here is a small or large plate of chef Jonathan Zaragoza's organically-raised, several-hour-roasted goat on handmade-to-order tortillas with hot salsa and tomato consommé. You are naturally intimate with the Zaragoza family in this 20-seate as you enjoy the layers of flavor and complexity that make up one of the most unique taco dining experiences the South Side has to offer.

Zacatacos

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You know you’re near a Zacatacos if you’re driving with the windows down – the smell of char-grilled steak and chicken fills your car hundreds of feet away. This South Side mainstay is arguably the standard when it comes to all things taco. They are known for their char-grilled chicken and overstuffed vegetarian tacos that will please most carnivorous taco junkie. The West Lawn location is the original, with four other locations on the South Side to enjoy as well.

Dos Ricco's Mexican and Asian Fusion

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The Clearing neighborhood of the South Side is an unexpected location to try Mexican/Asian fusion. This tiny little taco shop that sits beneath the ever-landing planes of Midway Airport offers tacos of the Asian variety. You can indeed enjoy Korean BBQ steak tacos and spicy Hawaiian pork tacos with kimchi pico de gallo without having to head north.

Macho Taco

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Ohhhh yeaaaaaaah, you’ll dig it. Macho Taco separates itself from the rest of herd for their noticeably colorful tacos. Further off the grid for most people, this South Side hidden gem is really worth trying. Macho Taco stands tall with their beer-battered whitefish tacos, brightly colored corn salsa, pickled onions, and an array of aiolis and mayos that top their char-grilled chicken and steak tacos for a visual treat that accompanies their equally colorful taste.

Don Pedro Carnitas

One of few places to survive the nuclear blast of gentrification in Pilsen, this 30-year-old South Side staple serves everything pork. From snout to tail, and everything in between, you’ll only find carnitas on the menu during most days, with limited menu expansions on weekends that include menudo and brain tacos. $10 can feed two people, just make sure you arrive early because they open early and often close before 6 p.m.

Carnitas Uruapan

This family-owned establishment has been in the heart of Pilsen for over 40 years. They only serve carnitas by the pound and feature a small handful of sides. Reminiscent of the street food of Uruapan, Mexico, the tacos are fully stuffed and most of the pig is utilized. They fry up chicharrones all day, every day, with an expanded menu on weekends featuring potato tacos.

El Milagro Taqueria

If you’ve ever been to a Chicago grocery store, you’ve seen El Milagro tortillas and chips. Kitty-corner to the factory, El Milagro has a storefront taqueria that sits facing the county prison in Little Village. Often the first meal of freedom for many, El Milagro serves up a large chunk slab of unchopped skirt steak on top of a bed of rice and beans on their famous tortillas.

Taqueria Atotonilco

In the epicenter of Little Village, Taquerias Atotonilco has been serving up some of the best street-style tacos the South Side has to offer for nearly 50 years. Open 24 hours on weekends and deep into the night on weekdays, you can have a char-grilled carne asada tacos for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a nightcap. Their pastor taco combines beef and pork in a red sauce marinade that is uniquely different from most pastors.

Tío Luis Tacos

Visit Chicago. Meet a woman. Fall in love. Buy a home. Turn it into a restaurant. That is the epitome of the South Side culture and the recipe for success at Tio Luis Tacos. The barbacoa tacos are the standout at Tio Luis and their cucumber lemonade pairs with everything on the menu and is a great refresher during the Chicago heat. Let Luis serve you and your friends the “el Tablazo” if you’re looking to try a little bit of everything served on a large, shareable platter.

Paco's Tacos

Known for being one of the most authentic street taco joints in Chicago, Paco’s serves up a taco so stuffed with meat and condiments, you’ll be glad you ventured to this Brighton Park gem. The char-grilled steak and al pastor are local favorites and are open for customization. Chicharron is king here and is fried up throughout the day and sold by the pound. They’ve since opened a second location in West Lawn neighborhood.

Machetes Big Quesadillas

Although there are no tacos here — only quesadillas— this place is worthy of mention on this list because of their ability to stand shoulder to shoulder in the land of meat, cheese and tortilla. They are known for their comically large, 20-inch quesadillas and almost infinite combinations of stuffings with a large variety of salsas. They have two locations within a mile of each other.

Birrieria Zaragoza

If you’re going to have only one item on your menu, it better be good. Your only choice here is a small or large plate of chef Jonathan Zaragoza's organically-raised, several-hour-roasted goat on handmade-to-order tortillas with hot salsa and tomato consommé. You are naturally intimate with the Zaragoza family in this 20-seate as you enjoy the layers of flavor and complexity that make up one of the most unique taco dining experiences the South Side has to offer.

Zacatacos

You know you’re near a Zacatacos if you’re driving with the windows down – the smell of char-grilled steak and chicken fills your car hundreds of feet away. This South Side mainstay is arguably the standard when it comes to all things taco. They are known for their char-grilled chicken and overstuffed vegetarian tacos that will please most carnivorous taco junkie. The West Lawn location is the original, with four other locations on the South Side to enjoy as well.

Dos Ricco's Mexican and Asian Fusion

The Clearing neighborhood of the South Side is an unexpected location to try Mexican/Asian fusion. This tiny little taco shop that sits beneath the ever-landing planes of Midway Airport offers tacos of the Asian variety. You can indeed enjoy Korean BBQ steak tacos and spicy Hawaiian pork tacos with kimchi pico de gallo without having to head north.

Macho Taco

Ohhhh yeaaaaaaah, you’ll dig it. Macho Taco separates itself from the rest of herd for their noticeably colorful tacos. Further off the grid for most people, this South Side hidden gem is really worth trying. Macho Taco stands tall with their beer-battered whitefish tacos, brightly colored corn salsa, pickled onions, and an array of aiolis and mayos that top their char-grilled chicken and steak tacos for a visual treat that accompanies their equally colorful taste.

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