A Local’s Guide to the Best Mexican Restaurants in Chicago

Discover the vibrant flavors of Mexico right here in Chicago! Join The Debra Dobbs Group as we dive into the city’s rich culinary scene, showcasing the best Mexican eateries that offer everything from traditional dishes to innovative takes on classic flavors. Whether you’re craving tacos, margaritas, or something a bit more avant-garde, our guide will lead you to the finest spots in town. Explore and savor the taste of Mexico in every bite! Debra and her team picked the best Mexican eateries for you to enjoy!

Top Mexican Restaurants in Chicago

Lonesome Rose
Lonesome Rose

2101 N California Ave, Chicago, IL

(773) 770-3414 |

Lonesome Rose stands out with its laid-back atmosphere and a menu that blends traditional Mexican cuisine with modern twists. It’s a perfect spot for those who enjoy exploring the depth of flavors Mexico has to offer.

La Josie
La Josie

740 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL

(312) 929-2900 |

One of the best upscale Mexican restaurants in the city. La Josie is one of the few family owned restaurants in restaurant row (west loop). If you aren’t afraid of spicy, try their scallop tacos.

El Mariachi Tequila Bar & Grill
El Mariachi Tequila Bar & Grill

3906 North Broadway, Chicago, IL

(773) 549-2932 |

A beloved gem where the ambiance matches the soul of Mexico. We would suggest getting… anything on the menu!

Big Star
Big Star

1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL

(773) 235-4039 |

One of Debra’s favorite spots for a margarita, and that walking taco is worth twice the calories!

Carnitas Don Pedro
Carnitas Don Pedro

1113 W 18th St, Chicago, IL

(312) 829-4757 |

For some of the best tacos to be found, head to Pilsen. Sunday is especially fun; there’s usually a line out the door of families just out of church. I head down here once or twice a month for lunch – you can walk about Pilsen and explore the wonderful galleries in the hood.

La Vaca Margarita Bar
La Vaca Margarita Bar

1160 W 18th St, Chicago, IL

(312) 829-1147 |

La Vaca Margarita Bar is celebrated for its lively atmosphere and exceptional margaritas. A vibrant spot in Pilsen, it’s perfect for those looking to enjoy a fun night out with friends.

Xoco River North
Xoco River North

449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL

(312) 723-2131 |

A lively spot by Chef Rick Bayless, Xoco River North is renowned for its artisanal sandwiches, fresh churros, and rich chocolate. A true celebration of Mexican street food flavors in a fast-casual setting.


215 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL & More Locations

(312) 643-2242 |

Craving Cuban? Open year round, we love stopping by Cafecito’s Gold Coast location for a pressed sandwich and cortadito on our way to catch the fireworks at Navy Pier. Talk about a killer combo.

We hope you savor these Mexican culinary gems as much as we have. Each restaurant delivers a distinct taste of Mexico, right here in Chicago. ¡Buen provecho!

To discover more tips for local resources, connect with us for a complimentary digital and/or printed copy of Debra’s Little Black Book.

Top Picks - Mexican Restaurants in Chicago

What Are the Best Mexican Dishes in Chicago?

Diving into the Mexican cuisine of Chicago is like wandering through a bustling market in Mexico, where each dish tells a story of history, family, and communal joy. The city’s Mexican restaurants serve as a culinary bridge to Mexico, presenting dishes that are both a homage to traditional cooking and a celebration of modern culinary innovation. Among the myriad of flavors, several dishes stand as pillars of Mexican cuisine in Chicago, each carrying the essence of its region with pride and flavor.

At the forefront is the beloved Tacos al Pastor, a masterpiece of Mexican culinary art. This dish, with its origins traced back to the influence of Lebanese immigrants in Mexico, features marinated pork cooked on a vertical spit. The meat, succulent and richly flavored, is served on small tortillas with pineapple, onions, and cilantro, creating a perfect harmony of sweetness and spice that echoes through the streets of Chicago.

Another gem is the Chiles en Nogada, a dish that embodies the spirit of Mexican independence with its vibrant representation of the national flag’s colors. Poblano peppers stuffed with picadillo, adorned with a walnut-based cream sauce, and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, offer a taste of Puebla’s culinary tradition, reinterpreted in Chicago with local ingredients and flair.

No exploration of Mexican cuisine would be complete without the iconic Mole Poblano. This complex sauce, boasting a blend of spices, chocolate, and chili peppers, serves as a testament to the rich culinary history of Mexico. Served over chicken, it provides a deeply flavorful experience that’s both rustic and sophisticated, inviting Chicago’s diners to savor a dish that’s been centuries in the making.

The journey through Chicago’s Mexican culinary landscape also features the refreshing Ceviche, a coastal delight of fresh fish cured in lime juice, spiced with chili peppers, and adorned with avocado, onions, and cilantro. This dish captures the essence of Mexico’s beaches and brings a wave of freshness to the Windy City.

Rounding out the culinary tour are the heartwarming Tamales, steamed corn dough parcels filled with a variety of meats, cheeses, or vegetables, wrapped in corn husks. A staple during Mexican celebrations, they symbolize the warmth of family gatherings, now shared in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods.

These dishes, along with the comforting Pozole, a hominy soup that’s a festival in a bowl, and the indulgent Churros dipped in chocolate, are not just meals. They are a vibrant fiesta of flavors, showcasing the rich tapestry of Mexican culture and its indelible mark on Chicago’s culinary scene.