In recent years, Chicago has become one of the world’s premiere destinations when it comes to eating. The city is full of innovative culinary experiences that put it close to the top of the food chain. If you happen to be craving Mexican food (which is always for us), you’re in luck if you also happen to be in the city. Chicago is home to some of the trendiest and best-tasting Mexican spots and you definitely won’t get disappointed. If you’re looking for just the right Mexican restaurant to satisfy your South of the Border cravings, here are five of the best Mexican restaurants you could only find in Chicago.
Restaurant Veneno de Nayarit
When it comes to Mexican seafood, there’s no place we’d rather be than Restaurant Veneno. Chicago has its fair share of Mexican seafood joints, but this one tops them all. Be prepared for a line, but trust us when we say that the wait is absolutely worth it. The seafood is fresh, and the plates are huge. Don’t bother coming when you’re not hungry because you’ll definitely get satisfied. The shrimp and crab legs that go with their drinks are spectacular. Your belly will thank you for such a lovely feast and will probably want a repeat the following day. You’ll be surprised how soon you’re going to want to return to this restaurant as soon as you leave.
The best Mexican foods are the ones that are as close to authentic as possible. It’s even better if they’ve been passed down from generation to generation. That’s exactly what you’ll get at 5 Rabanitos. Owner Alfonso Sotelo uses longtime family recipes that have withstood the test of time, but he also uses plenty of modern recipes that he got from training under renowned chef Rick Bayless. If you’re craving brunch, switch it up a bit with Mexican and head on over to Rabanitos. You can get a good serving of tamales and tortas for a good price. Everything on the menu here looks as good as they taste, so you’re safe to explore.
This restaurant will remind you of a cheap taqueria, which is often the place that serves the best tacos anyway. La Chaparrita is perfect for the taco lover. It’s where the tacos are so cheap that you can get as many as you’d like without making too much of a dent in your wallet. Not a single taco here would cost you any more than $2. So pack on the orders because every single thing at La Chaparrita is scrumptious. Just make sure that you have cash at hand because this restaurant does not accept any other forms of payment. Also, make sure that you carry extra cash for the Mexican grocery store right after.
Nothing is more unique than this Baja and Japan-inspired restaurant. Chef Rick Bayless’ magic is at work again here. The menu is fish-heavy to reflect the Japanese influence, but the true star of the restaurant is the open-fire cooking hearth. Anything that’s cooked on the hearth is absolutely delightful, but start your meal off right with something raw. The scallop ceviche maki roll is definitely a good option. That particular dish is actually inspired by the Japanese that moved to Baja in the 1920s.
There’s one place for the best chips and guacamole in town—that’s in Broken English. They’ll couple that with their awesome margaritas too, and those are just the beginning. Broken English’s menu is filled with the classics, but they’re given a more modern twist. You’ll also enjoy the hip décor of the place, made to really impress the millennial in all of us. The atmosphere may be as laid back as it could be, but the restaurant is serious when it comes to their food. You’d never have to pay too much for anything either. Broken English represents everything that you’d come to expects in Mexican restaurants when it comes down to it, but they deliver respectively and with flavor as well. They may not be the most original in the bunch but they have just as much heart as all Mexican restaurants are known for.