Hi There and Happy Taco Tuesday,
The countdown to one of my favorite days of the year has commenced! Cinco de Mayo is officially 5 days away and is always a great excuse to eat endless amounts of tacos and drink pitchers of house margs. Also known as the most wonderful holiday to ever exist. Cinco de Mayo is also really special to me because it is the exact date I graduated from college. This year will be my one-year anniversary from graduating, so I plan on celebrating. If you are still looking for the perfect place to grab some Mexican food, I have rounded up my top 5 favorite Mexican restaurants in the city.
Broken English Taco Pub, 75 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601
The vibe in this place is just really cool. As soon as you walk in, you are surrounded by colorful murals and the hip yet traditional decorations make you feel like you just entered a restaurant actually in Mexico. I went to the location in The Loop right off of Michigan Ave with my mom where we sat outside in their seasonal patio section under heat lamps. The food was incredible! Their main menu is a unique take on street style tacos and refreshing cocktails. Tacos come 2 per order, so I think my mom and I got the Tinga de Pollo, Carne Asada and Pork Belly Al Pastor and shared so we could each taste a different one. I got a Paloma to drink and my mom got a regular margarita. On their website, they are currently promoting their Cinco on the Street event in Lincoln Park for both Saturday May 4th and Sunday May 5th, so if you are still looking for something to do, I would definitely consider this place. You won’t be disappointed!
Barrio, 65 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654
We just tried this place last Saturday when we were in the city and I think we are already planning our next trip back. Barrio is located right in the loop on Kinzie Street, so you feel right in the heart of all the city action. It’s eclectic décor and detailed menu with Japanese influences makes this the perfect spot if you are looking for a more upscale Mexican restaurant to dine in at for Cinco de Mayo. The traditional guacamole was some of the freshest I’ve ever had in my life. We also started with the Grilled Octopus, which comes with the most amazing aioli sauce that I could have eaten on its own. For dinner, I got the Pork Shoulder entrée and my mom got the special for the evening which was a Paella brimming to the top with an assortment of seafood. It was all so delicious, and the portions were so generous, we ended up eating leftovers for the next two days. And somehow the food got better and better each time we ate it. Get the pitcher of Jalapeno Cucumber margaritas too!
Cruz Blanca, 904 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
I went to Cruz Blanca for a work lunch one day a few months ago and was so impressed. This is a brewery style Rick Bayless restaurant tucked away on the bustling restaurant row of Randolph Street. With a visible production area and a Mexican pub style menu, this would be the PERFECT, modern place to go for lunch on Cinco de Mayo. Since I went for lunch during work, I didn’t get to try any of their infamous cocktails or beers, but I did try as much of the menu as I could. I would recommend getting the Pork Belly Al Pastor tacos (one of the best tacos I’ve ever eaten) and the esquites as a side. If you try any of their ModMex lagers, let me know because I am interested!
Tony’s Burrito Mex, 1957 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Saying that I am a regular at this Roscoe Village location would be an understatement. I have probably eaten here at least 50 times. It is one of the best hole-in-the-wall taco joints I have ever been to. Tony’s is more of a grab and go rather than a sit-down restaurant, but I think this would be a great Cinco de Mayo option if you are looking forward to a night in with homemade margaritas. They host a long list of traditional Mexican fare and the counter-service digs is perfect for a walk-in order and go. I always get either the Enchiladas Suizas or the Steak Tacos with everything. A hidden, insider secret, if you like things really spicy, is to order a side of Tony’s sauce. Lather your tacos in this bright red concoction and you are sure to heat things up.
Café El Tapatio, 3400 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
This casual Mexican restaurant totally reminds me of old Mexico. The exposed brick and faded wall murals make you feel like you are walking the streets of a quaint town. Café El Tapatio is a great neighborhood spot located on Ashland Ave. This is just one of those classic places. No frills, no thrills, just a great place to hang and eat really good food. If that is the environment you are looking for this Cinco de Mayo, then this is the place for you. My go-to is usually the steak and chicken fajitas and a strawberry margarita. You really can’t go wrong with anything on this menu.