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Guide - Restaurants - Latin American

Adobo Grill

1610 N Wells St, Piper's Alley, Chicago, IL 60610 312-266-7999

Description: OLD TOWN. You haven't tasted guacamole until you've had it at Adobo Grill. Made tableside, it includes the freshest ingredients chopped right in front of you. It's smooth and tangy and hard to beat. Well-made margaritas abound to accompany the famous guacamole. This very popular restaurant is located in the Piper's Alley building and draws a young, upwardly mobile crowd.
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Blue Agave

1050 N State St, at W Maple St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-335-8900

Description: GOLD COAST. Head south of the border at this popular Mexican restaurant/bar, where savory food and strong tequilas keep locals happy. The walls are adorned with colorful stuffed burros and large sombreros, and bright blue and yellow accents make for a festive environment. Cacti dot the room, and both the bar and the menu are well-stocked with authentic favorites. Burritos, enchiladas, and tacos can be washed down with any one of numerous Mexican beers offered.
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Cafe Laguardia

2111 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 773-862-5996

Description: BUCKTOWN. Among the options available at this delightful Cuban restaurant are beef, fish, chicken, and vegetables. Try the house specialty, paella Valencia ­ savory yellow rice cooked with shrimp, clams, fish, chicken, ham, and pork ­ or another standout like breast of chicken steak, chicken fricassee, roast pork, or fried pork chops. The full bar serves drinks like mango margaritas, straight bourbons, and beer.
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702 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60661 312-850-5005

Description: WEST LOOP. Colorful, loud, and festive, this Nuevo Latino eatery serves up flavorful, spicy food with an extra emphasis on flair and presentation.
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Don Juan's Restaurante

6730 N Northwest Hwy, Chicago, IL 60631 773-775-6438

Description: NORTHWEST. This Mexican eatery is simple and sparse, almost pub-like, without the typical trappings often associated with Mexican restaurants. The innovative, fresh cuisine promises exciting takes on old favorites like enchiladas and tacos. Daily specials are always showstoppers, as seen in six-chili Amish chicken or pepper-crusted filet mignon with blue cheese ravioli. You'll also find lots of tequilas to choose from, in addition to an extensive wine list.
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El Barco Mariscos

1035 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 773-486-6850

Description: WEST TOWN. A popular West Town destination, El Barco Mariscos is swarmed daily by denizens who can't get enough of the mid-scale Mexican seafood restaurant. Get here early because it tends to become packed. The menu encompasses fish, steak, and chicken dishes, and they're accompanied by limes and various hot sauces that reside on the table. Portions are huge and come with beans and rice. The alcohol flows, too, thanks to giant margaritas and bottles of Corona.
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Fogo de Chão

661 N La Salle St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-932-9330

Description: RIVER NORTH. This Brazilian churrascaria features experienced gauchos who slice and roast a selection of 15 different meats tableside. Lamb, beef, pork, and chicken are all available. Plus, the price of your meal includes all-you-can eat on the meats as well as multiple side dishes and access to the cold buffet. The lodge-like interior is rustic yet upscale and features dark wood, a waterfall, a cowboy mural, and a decidedly masculine feel.
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Frontera Grill

445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-661-1434

Description: RIVER NORTH. This eatery, a more casual sibling to fantastic Topolobampo, is considered among the best restaurants in the country. The dining room boasts folk art and vivid colors inside and sunny sidewalk seating outside. The ever-changing menu offers artistic dishes from award-winning chef Rick Bayless, including stuffed poblano peppers, tamales, charcoal-cooked lamb, and desserts like almond cake and buttermilk-lime ice cream.
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1865 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 773-252-5687

Description: BUCKTOWN. Named after a Central American volcano, Irazu is reputed to be Chicago's first Costa Rican restaurant. The family-run business offers indigenous dishes of plantains, gallo pinto (beans, white rice, spices, and veggies), excellent and affordable burritos, and yummy and distinct shakes concocted with oatmeal, guanabana, and tamarind. To venture outside of the ordinary, try tacos filled with mashed potatoes or one of the numerous seafood and chicken dishes.
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La Pasadita

1140 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 773-278-2130

Description: UKRANIAN VILLAGE. "The Best Tacos in Town," touts the superlative on the eateries of this family-owned enterprise, most of which are located on the same block. The places are slightly different: Cheap, authentic, and tasty Mexican food.
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Las Tablas Colombian Steak House

2942 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657 773-871-2414

Description: LAKE VIEW. This Lincoln Park churrascaria offers meat-eaters a comfortable haven in which to delve into heaping portions of grilled beef, pork, and chicken. The signature item is the juicy, char-grilled NY strip steak served with vegetables, a baked potato, and chimichurri sauce. The menu also offers a tasty selection of paella and side dishes that include vegetables like yuca and grilled plantains. Fresh seafood also finds a spot on the menu.
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700 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202 847-328-2255

Description: EVANSTON. This restaurant serves up nouveau Mexican dishes along with a few traditional American ones as well. Notable menu items include the sautéed lemon sole, the pork with verdolagas, and the roasted 1/2 duck served in pipian sauce. The dining room is warm and welcoming with prints of Mexico lining the walls and potted plants dotting the room.
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Nacional 27

325 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-664-2727

Description: RIVER NORTH. National 27, whose name refers to the 27 recognized Latin American countries, offers a unique menu featuring a wide range of thrilling Latin American favorites. Indeed, from chimichurri sauce to garlic-roasted chicken Cubano, the skilled kitchen staff goes the extra mile to make sure even novices find something suited to their fancy. After hours, this hip restaurant turns into a nightclub that emanates the spicy grooves of salsa, merengue, and quebradita, making it one of the hippest destinations in town.
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Nuevo Leon

1515 W 18th St, between Ashland Ave & Laflin St, Chicago, IL 60608 312-421-1517

Description: WEST SIDE. This Pilsen area Mexican standby has been in the neighborhood for over 40 years. The basic Mexican food served here includes a home-style breakfast as well as late night eats. Try the pork ribs cooked in a zesty red sauce or baked chicken that's battered and served alongside potatoes and carrots. A jukebox that includes Spanish entries makes for a lively atmosphere.
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1252 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-988-7811

Description: OLD TOWN. The wild decor of this contemporary Mexican restaurant is the first clue that chef Priscilla Satkoff is set to deliver wonderful cuisine to your table. Satkoff's passion for innovative flavors and fresh ingredients is evident in everything she creates. Grilled pork tenderloin and tequila halibut are house favorites. Bright yellow and blue walls, hot pink tablecloths, high ceilings, and Alejandro Romero paintings ­ along with personal attention from the owners ­ give the place a warm, inviting feeling.
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Tamales - A Mexican Joint

493 Central Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035 847-433-4070

Description: HIGHLAND PARK. Fulfill your cravings for south-of-the-border eats at this unpretentious, festive restaurant. Order a pitcher of passion fruit margaritas to enhance the flavor of spicy entrees, including barbecue chicken enchiladas, duck tacos, and burritos stuffed with salmon, black beans, and goat cheese. As you'd expect, tamales are noteworthy, packed with unexpected ingredients like mushrooms and red pepper sauce or pumpkin. Sidewalk seating allows for a more relaxed experience than does the often-crowded dining room.
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Tango Sur

3763 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613 773-477-5466

Description: LAKE VIEW. This Argentinean steak house offers diners a mix of traditional South American appetizers and grilled meats. Start off with one of their notable deep-fried empanadas, stuffed with any number of tasty fillings from beef to cheese and ham. Then, order the Steak Parillada--a mixed grill sample platter. Save the best for last and order the flan, creamy custard topped with a drizzle of gooey caramel. Live tango music on Wednesday evenings.
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1814 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 773-384-4285

Description: WEST SIDE. This friendly Mexican eatery serves heaping helpings of homemade south-of-the-border fare. Try traditional huevos rancheros, any number of enchiladas, or chicken fajitas. Top-notch steaks sizzle as well and go perfectly with one of the specialty mole sauces and a margarita. The comfortable interior features a lovely ceiling mural and a fountain. You'll love the low prices, too!
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445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-661-1434

Description: RIVER NORTH. One of the best Mexican restaurants in Chicago according to many fervent admirers, Topolobampo manages to accommodate growing ranks of patrons. The menu changes every other week and always includes great dishes whipped up by famed chef Rick Bayless, who has been named "Chef of the Year" by the James Beard Society. The complimentary guacamole ­ no chips, only fresh vegetables for dipping ­ is stellar. After you've sampled it, try the chef's tasting dinner, which offers five courses of exotic creations like trout served in a corn husk and perfect carne asado.
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10 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60610 312-527-4060

Description: RIVER NORTH. Indian fare and Nuevo Latino cusine collide at this hip and trendy restaurant in River North.
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