Chicago is a treasure trove of places serving up all kinds of fantastic tacos. Ranging from classic and authentic to more experimental creations, the choices are seemingly endless when it comes to getting your taco fix in Chicago. We never back down from an opportunity to eat countless tacos (truly, we’ve lost count), so we were beyond excited to take on the task of creating this list of the 10 best tacos in Chicago. Whatever kind of tacos you’re in the mood for, our collection of the best places below will help you navigate through the myriad of choices when it comes to finding the best tacos in Chicago.
Garcia’s is the perfect place when you want a full sit-down classic Mexican restaurant experience complete with lively music, decor, and of course some of the best tacos in Chicago. Their taco dinner comes in a two or three taco version, depending on your appetite, and yes you can mix and match the tacos for your meal. When you sit down, they bring you fresh chips and their amazing salsa fresca that is perfect on chips and loaded up on tacos. We love the classic chorizo, steak, and al pastor tacos, and make sure you ask for the cilantro and onions on top!
9. Taqueria El Asadero
For a more tucked-away spot where you can find homemade tacos on-the-go, head to Taqueria El Asadero. This cash-only counter-service spot has all the classic Mexican tacos, and even lengua (tongue) and cabeza (cow head) if you’re feeling adventurous. You can dine in and they’ll bring you chips and salsa while you wait, or you can grab it to go and they’ll individually wrap each taco so they stay nice and hot. We loved the bigger chunks of steak on their Carne Asada Taco, and all of their tacos are piled with a good amount of meat along with the cilantro and onions, of course. The barbacoa, chorizo, and carnitas are all great options as well.
8. Taco Diablo
Taco Diablo is just a few blocks north of Chicago, but we had to include it on our list of the best tacos in Chicago because of two simple words: Bacon. Taco. All of the tacos (of which they have a great variety) are delicious here, but the Bacon Taco is the star.
With its caramelized onions and red chili aioli, we just simply can’t get enough. Don’t worry when you see that it’s listed on their special menu, we got the inside scoop that these bad boys aren’t going anywhere. Their tacos are normally served as a meal so you can pick three different tacos to be accompanied by rice and beans, but if you head over on a Tuesday night you can order a la carte and get as many tacos as you want without having to get a whole meal.
7. Rojo Gusano
Some of the most creative and best tacos in Chicago are at this Mexican-fusion spot in Albany Park. Rojo Gusano is a full-service restaurant with a long list of tacos to choose from (and they’re a la carte, our favorite), all of which have their own creative spin on them. Our preference is their award-winning Korean BBQ Taco with skirt steak, a kimchi slaw, and cilantro. Trust us, order at least two of these. Another favorite? The Butternut Squash Taco with queso fresco cheese and pepitas on top for a little crunch. Rojo Gusano’s tacos are reasonably priced, but they do offer a Taco Tuesday special where all tacos are half off, so head over on a Tuesday, grab a table by the giant windows, and stuff your face with some tasty tacos.
6. Lonesome Rose
Lonesome Rose is a Logan Square spot with a laid-back yet trendy vibe and some of the best tacos in Chicago. Anyone who is a fish taco fan should definitely check out their signature Baja Fish Taco, with beer-battered tilapia, shredded cabbage, and pico with a creamy remoulade sauce. The other big winner that we loved was the brisket barbacoa, topped with fried onions to add the perfect crunch and flavor to the tender meat. Everything is flavorful, fresh, and it doesn’t hurt that they have outdoor and rooftop seating to soak up the sun while eating two (or seven) of their incredible tacos.
5. Antique Taco
We love stepping into this casual taco spot for some of the best tacos in Chicago with generous portions and creative combinations. Garlic shrimp tacos with basil avocado salsa? Yes, please. Antique Taco makes their own handmade tortillas piled with things like crispy fish covered in smoked cabbage, chicken al pastor with fresh pineapple, or housemade smoked brisket (with a kick of heat). The communal tables and real antiques in this casual counter-service spot creates an easygoing vibe that is great for trying out as many tacos as possible with friends, especially when the patio is open in the summer. The only thing you’ll wish you had at Antique Taco is a bigger stomach to try every single item on the menu! They’ve got locations in Wicker Park and The Loop in addition to their Bridgeport location, so you can get your Antique Taco fix whenever the mood strikes.
4. Bar Takito
If you’ve read our post on the best places to eat in the West Loop, then you know why Bar Takito also had to be on our list of the best tacos in Chicago. We love the thoughtful and tasty creations they come up with, and literally every taco we’ve tried here has been a hit. The Chicken al Pastor with fresh and dried pineapple is a winner, and even the Vegetarian Taco with roasted brussels sprouts is incredible enough to make a meat-lover swoon. They’re definitely on the pricier end of the spectrum, so it’s great for a date night or you can take advantage of their Taco Tuesday menu that’s about half the price. The best part is it’s all shared plates-style so you can have a blast mixing and matching as many tacos as possible. FYI: they close early on Sundays, so plan accordingly.
3. Chicago Taco Authority
Chicago Taco Authority is a tucked-away gem with something no other place on this list has: a salsa bar. In addition to having some of the best tacos in Chicago, we love all the varieties of salsa that you can mix and match to create the perfect taco experience. This is a small counter-service spot with an extensive list of taco choices, from classics like al pastor and carne asada to the fun shrimp tacos with avocado and jalapeno slaw. Their name and menu are a nod to Chicago’s CTA (Chicago Transit Authority), and there’s no question that Chicagoans love this taco spot with fresh, flavorful, tacos that you just can’t get enough of. They’re closed on Sundays, so be sure to plan ahead.
L’Patron has some of the biggest and best tacos in Chicago without a doubt. They’re stuffed with juicy and flavorful meat, and when we say stuffed, we mean stuffed. The tacos at this friendly counter-service restaurant are filling in the best way. The al pastor is seasoned perfectly and of course includes sweet bursts of pineapple. The carne asada steak comes in big chunks that are tender and tasty.
Their fish and shrimp tacos are worth trying as well, and make sure you bring cash because this spot is cash-only. Trust us, these tacos are definitely worth the trip to the ATM.
1. Taqueria Moran
Hands down, the best tacos in Chicago can be found at Taqueria Moran. There are many reasons to love the tacos here, but the top reason is that they are incredibly fresh and delicious in every way. The meat has those satisfying, crispy, flavor-packed seared edges from the grill, but is still tender and juicy. It’s all seasoned to perfection and served with lime wedges, salt, and all the salsa you could ever want.
Speaking of salsa, Taqueria Moran’s Salsa Verde is so fresh with just the right amount of spice (so you can pile it high on your tacos) and their Salsa Fresca is amazing on the chips that they bring to you once you pick your own table. Nothing here is overly greasy, so you can load up on these tasty authentic Mexican tacos without it weighing you down. Taqueria Moran is a small corner spot right by the train in Logan Square, and the service is friendly and relaxed. The cherry on top of this incredible taco experience? The tacos are all under $2 and a la carte, so you can order as many of the best tacos in Chicago as your heart desires. You won’t go wrong with any choices here, but our favorites are the carnitas or the al pastor with grilled onions and pineapple.