Chicago’s Essential Taco Restaurants

Equal part tradition and ingenuity, in Mexico alone, there are countless taco varieties. Tacos are brought to life in their unique environment, and each region has its favorites, and every stall has the best recipe.

Chicago’s taco scene contributes to the city’s culinary tradition. New taquerías seem to pop up faster than Tuesdays on a calendar with a hunger resulting in a rich taco landscape from weather-defying market stall cooks to backyard kitchens to taco trucks with celebrity chefs.

While including a comprehensive list of all the taco styles available in Chicago might not be a practical exercise, here is a list featuring a mix of classic haunts and a few exciting new ones. The listing highlights some of Mexico’s better-known taco types, including anything from birria, al pastor, carnitas, fish, breakfast tacos, and asada, to tacos de canasta, exotic meats, and vegan options.

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Huaraches Doña Chio

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The tantalizing sizzling masa aroma that greets customers inside this small and casual eatery will immediately transport them to a corner stall in Mexico City. Doña Chío’s specialty may be huaraches, but you can also transform their delicious guisados (prepared dishes of different varieties) into a taco. Take your pick from one or two guisados from options that include huitlacoche, zucchini blossoms, cactus, and the chipotle-spiced chicken tinga.