Hola, mi gente! After careful research, I give to you my picks for the “15 Best Chicago Tacos Accessible Via Mass Transit.” That’s a lot of hot sauce and napkins, folks! It was my pleasure. Enjoy!
*Click on the links provided for full blog reviews and directions.
[Editors Note: This post was originally published on October 27, 2015, and it was entitled “Chicago’s 11 Best Tacos Accessible Via Mass Transit.” This update as of November 30, 2016, includes 4 additional taco recommendations which bring the total to 15 and those are highlighted in RED].
Carnitas is the specialty here and it’s the best you will find in Chicago. Buy it by the taco or by the pound and don’t forget the chicharrones!
Value Meal for $6.50 is a great way to go!
If you love goat, then you cannot miss out on this place which makes goat the order of the day. I love it by the platter with the special consomme for extra comfort.
Maxwell Street Market is a long-standing tradition in Chicago and it is only open on Sunday, so get there early in the morning to avoid the long lines which has the very best al pastor and calabaza (squash blossom) tacos in town.
The lomo encebollado (ribeye & onions) is a “must-do” here and the salsa are super fresh.
I highly recommend the garlic shrimp taco with cauliflower elote, crispy kale and avocado basil salsa.
This place specializes in Korean Street BBQ. The blackened tofu taco was a delicious surprise and I also recommend the sesame-chili shrimp and the kalbi (short rib) tacos.
This Pilsen gem is one of the very best Mexican restaurants in Chicago. I highly recommend the pibil (slow-cooked, marinated pork) with pickled onions, habanero, and radishes. The carne asada tacos are pretty awesome, too. If you want to round off your meal, get the pozole soup. Wash it all down with their daily flavored water. The cucumber-mint water was very refreshing.
5 Rabanitos is located 1 block west of the 18th St. ‘L’ stop, along the Pink Line. (1758 W. 18th St.)
Stand-outs at Velvet Taco are the shrimp and grits and falafel tacos.
Classic tacos are what makes Del Toro great. Get the puerco (pork) adobado and grilled shrimp tacos.
This West Loop spot features tacos inspired by the flavors of Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. The specially seasoned tortillas are a draw here, I loved the pork belly tacos.
This quaint seafood-centric taqueria is located in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood. I loved the crispy cod tacos because they were very fresh, crispy and filling. Nicely done! Next time, I will be checking out the margaritas.
This joint, steps from Millennium Park, is the latest addition to Chicago’s taco scene. I was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful the shrimp and swordfish tacos are and the plates are pretty, too! Broken English is located at 75 E. Lake Street. Take the Brown, Orange, Purple, Green or Pink Lines to the Randolph/Wabash ‘L’ stop.
Belly Shack and Del Seoul are not the only great Korean taco joints in Chicago. You can add En Hakkore in Bucktown to the list. I stopped into this bright spot last week to check out the eats and I was thrilled to find that the price was terrific, the flavors were amazing and the portions were huge. The tacos come two to an order and I chose the special tofu-kimchi and the spicy-pork tacos. The special flour tortillas served here have a thicker texture to support the ingredients and they taste different than your average flour tortillas. I could not convince the owner to tell me her secret but I am happy to have it be kept a mystery. Fabulous!!
En Hakkore is located at 1840 N. Damen, just 2 blocks north of the Damen ‘L’ stop, along the Blue Line.
If you are wondering where you can find some late-night tacos, Arturo’s Tacos in Bucktown is open 24 hours! They have a separate breakfast menu and there is much more than tacos available for your dining pleasure! However, the 3 taco dinner with rice and beans is a steal. You are free to choose whichever tacos you like in this order and I like the carne asada and al pastor best. Your server will bring you complimentary chips and pico de gallo which are very good, indeed! The small ramekin of pico de gallo might not look like it’s “all that” but it is surprisingly bright and spicy.
Arturo’s Tacos is located at 2001 N. Western Ave, just one block north of the Western ‘L’ stop, along the Blue Line.
Jarabe Mexican Street Food
The Little Italy section of Chicago is not only a residential neighborhood, it is home to the University of Illinois at Chicago (U.I.C.). So, where there are droves of young people, there had better be a decent taco joint around which is wallet-friendly. Jarabe is a really refreshing option in this part of town. I really enjoyed the al pastor tacos, as well as the vegetarian burrito made with mushrooms sauteed in garlic with cabbage and avocado. The salsas are delicious with enough heat.
Jarabe is located at 2255 W. Taylor St., just a few blocks south of the Western ‘L’ stop on the Blue Line (Forest Park branch). Alternatively, take the #12 Roosevelt bus to Oakley Blvd and walk 2 blocks north to Jarabe.
You’re all set, folks! Get up, get out and hit the rails to grab these 15 Best Chicago Tacos whether it’s Taco Tuesday or any other day of the week.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to these 15 Best Chicago Tacos. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!