Noting that Chicago “may be the best place in America to unravel the complex regional nuances of Mexican cuisine,” (a claim Jonathan Gold would probably disagree with), Chicago Magazine picked its twelve favorite Mexican restaurants. As you may imagine Rick Bayless shows up quite a bit. Three of his restaurants (poor Frontera Fresco) made this list, which means a quarter of the picks feature Bayless. Then there are the chefs that have apprenticed at his restaurants, including Chuy Valencia’s Chilam Balam and Priscila Satkoff’s ¡Salpicón!. The list also seems to avoid the quick taquerias and simple taco stands. So, if you’re looking for La Pasadita, then you’ll probably be disappointed. Otherwise, check out who made it below.
The picks fall into roughly three categories: The Bayless empire, the feisty new comers with rules to break (Mexique and Chilam Balam), and then authentic places further away from downtown. The latter group feature restaurants from all over the city, including the old standby in Pilsen (Nuevo Léon), the Yucatacan upstart in the suburbs (Xni-Pec), and even one we’d never heard about before (Mom’s Old Recipe Mexican Restaurant) in Jefferson Park.
It’s an excellent list, which has given us a few new ideas.
Amelia’s Mestizo Grill
La Casa de Samuel
La Fonda del Gusto
Mom’s Old Recipe Mexican Restaurant
Xni-Pec de Yucatán
Best Mexican Restaurants in Chicago [Chicago Magazine]