Mexican

Sometimes, the urge to have Mexican food strikes, and nothing satisfies until you get it. When that happens, count on 10Best to point you in the direction of Chicago's best Mexican restaurants. We understand the desire to have a great meal, and we work hard to bring you the top places to eat in Chicago. We vet restaurants carefully for quality, and when we recommend popular eateries like Frontera Grill or tell you that Tecalitlan gets good reader feedback, you can believe it. From River North to Old Town, we'll make sure you get - and eat - what's best.

9 Topolobampo
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. (312-661-1434)

8 Frontera Grill
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. (312-661-1434)

7 Salpicon
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. (312-988-7811)

6 Don Juan's Restaurante
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. (773-775-6438)

5 Maiz
Maiz might be a tiny restaurant, but the owners have big ideas, and the food has big taste! Carlos and Margaret Reyna's cozy little Mexican restaurant is based on the idea of "pre-Hispanic cuisine." The staples of this diet, and of the restaurant's menu, are maize (corn), beans, chilies, and zucchini. When you dine at Maiz, you first choose one of the six basic tortilla options and then choose your fillings or toppings. The chicken chalupa with rice and the daily tamale special are especially popular. Don't miss the "special sauces" that are sitting out on the tables. They are homemade and pack a kick! (773-276-3149, 773-610-2111)

4 Julio's Cocina Latina
With recipes coming from South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico, this kitchen delights guests again and again. The menu includes a range of beef, chicken, and seafood eats, seasoned to perfection. Try the pork jerk, the chicken paella, or the shrimp Cabo San Lucas. Approximately 50 tequilas, a handful of margaritas, and a nice collection of Spanish and South American wines comprise the drink menu. Outdoor dining available. (847-438-3484)

3 Tamales - A Mexican Joint
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. (847-433-4070)

2 Tecalitlan
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! (773-384-4285)

1 Adobo Grill
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. (312-266-7999)


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Maps and Directions

1
Topolobampo 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Pastry Chef, Sommelier, Wine Cellar
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
COST: $$
2
Frontera Grill 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Catering, Disabled Accessible, Parties / Private Rooms, Pastry Chef, Sommelier
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: River North
COST: $
3
Salpicon 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Counter Seating, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Take Out
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile
COST: $$
4
Don Juan's Restaurante 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Non-Smoking
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
COST: $$
5
Maiz 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: Humbolt Park
COST: $
6
Julio's Cocina Latina 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Catering, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Live Music, Non-Smoking, Smoking (bar only)
Cuisine: Brazilian, Caribbean, Latin, Mexican
COST: $$
7
Tamales - A Mexican Joint 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Catering, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Take Out
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
COST: $
8
Tecalitlan 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Latin, Mexican
Dining Options: Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Take Out
COST: $
9
Adobo Grill 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Bar Dining, Disabled Accessible, Family Friendly, Non-Smoking, Parties / Private Rooms, Take Out
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
COST: $$