We might be 1,500 miles from the Mexican border, but there are a lot of great tacos just an L ride away. From cherished 100-year-old traditional recipes to modern tweaks drizzled in Sriracha-flavored tartar sauce, here are seven of our local favorites.
① Big Star in Wicker Park
The taco al pastor ($3) with marinated, spit-roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled onion and cilantro pairs well with a dulce de leche milkshake ($4) at Paul Kahan's Tex-Mex haven.
② L'Patron in Logan Square
Always bustling, and for good reason: the pescado tacos ($2.49) are packed with beer-battered tilapia and topped with roasted Serrano aioli, cabbage and pico de gallo.
③ Cemitas Puebla in Humboldt Park
Tacos Arabes ($2.75) are stuffed with spit-roasted pork and onions and wrapped in a thick, pita-esque tortilla, a nod to the restaurant's Lebanese-influenced Puebla cuisine.
④ Birrieria Zaragoza in Archer Heights
Based on a century-old recipe, the Birria Tatemada taco ($2.75) showcases steamed and roasted goat meat rubbed with an ancho chile-based red mole sauce, served on a house-made corn tortilla and topped with fresh accouterments, like onions, roasted chiles and cilantro.
⑤ Carnicerias Guanajuato in Wicker Park
Within an unassuming grocery lies one of Wicker Park's best kept secrets: a tiny taqueria slinging ultra beefy carne asada tacos ($1.75) that cost little more than a candy bar.
⑥ Antique Taco in Wicker Park
This counter service taco shop is home to a couple of the best seafood tacos in town, including the crispy fish tempura taco ($4) with Sriracha-tartar sauce, smoked cabbage, chives and sesame oil.
⑦ Mixteco Grill in Lakeview
A Frontera Grill veteran brings a gourmet touch to the bold flavors of Mexico's Oaxacan region. Splurge on the tacos de asada ($7.50) with grilled steak, avocado-tomatillo salsa, grilled red onion and queso fresco on soft flour tortillas.
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