You’re not confusing that bile-colored gelatinous liquid found in a plastic bag at your local grocery chain with guacamole are you? The green gift of the Aztecs should be made from just opened, ripe avocados and mixed with a few fresh ingredients. Of course, it would be great if it were prepared with a molcajete (mortar and pestle) carved from volcanic rock but now we’re moving into foodie lunacy. Andele, andele to these restaurants and get set to say, “Ole!”
See our original roundup of Chicago’s best guacamole here.
2901 W. Diversey
Chicago, IL 60647
With exotic smoky Mezcals, bright Chilean wines and artisanal sodas to sip solo or mixed into a refreshing cocktail, Masa Azul isn’t your corner taqueria. Spirits in the agave-focused bar line up nicely with traditional dishes from areas like La Barca, Jalisco, Mexico City and the south side of Chicago, where chef Jonathan Zaragoza was the go-to guy at his family’s Birrieria Zaragoza before helming the Logan Square kitchen. His guacamole is made to order with avocado, onion, cilantro, lime, Serrano chilies and salt – never mashed so the unique texture of the avocado, onions and chilies remains intact. Chef says, “The more you mash the avocado, the more surface area created, which means the quicker it oxidizes. We cut it in its skin into a medium dice then scoop it out with a spoon and mix it with the rest of the ingredients, preserving the texture of the amazing avocado. Our policy at Masa Azul is to let the ingredients do the talking.”
508 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60654
You’ll find modern Mexican City cuisine that changes seasonally at River North’s Cantina Laredo as well as superior tequilas, hand-muddled mojitos, sturdy margaritas and ice cold cervezas to accompany bites to full dinners. Although there are a handful of other Cantina Laredos in the country, the guacamole experience is a very individualized process. The silver bowl on your table with avocado and lime in it? That will turn into your guac made tableside exactly the way you like it when the rolling cart breezes by. Some like it hot so tell your server to throw in the seeds of diced Serrano chilies, too.
Zocalo Restaurant & Tequila Bar
358 West Ontario
Chicago, IL 60654
If you never met a bowl of guacamole you didn’t like, get to Zocalo where you can plunge your chips and tortillas into a trio de guacamole. You’ll get a nicely sized plop of tradicional, freshly diced avocado mixed with tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and Serrano chilies; a charred red salsa number that combines freshly diced avocado with roasted tomatoes, roasted onion and roasted red jalapeno salsa; and a seasonal fruit guacamole. That one could be diced avocado mixed with fresh papaya, guava, Habanero chilies and walnuts or perhaps with grapefruit, peach salsa and pumpkin seeds.
Related: Best Mojitos In Chicago
325 W Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60654
Some come to dance, others to hear salsa, merengue and cumbia tunes while sipping the famous mojitos and there are those who can’t get enough of the shrimp and guacamole. Citrus-marinated, diced and poached Gulf shrimp are added to the already delicious and freshly prepared guacamole. It’s served with tortilla chips and a side of roasted tomato salsa, and garnished with cilantro and a lime wedge. Now you’re getting selenium, protein and carotenoids along with avocado’s health benefits – a win-win for taste buds and the whole bod.
814 W Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
One would expect a chef who specializes in meatless, globally inspired food would make a mean guacamole and MANA’s executive chef/owner Jill Barron does not disappoint. “I made great guacamole at De Cero taqueria and they still use my same recipe,” she explains. Barron, who is still a limited partner at the West Loop eatery (but not chef), notes that great guac is all about simplicity. “Just good ingredients, with lots of garlic and lime juice, great body, chunky and enough salt and olive oil.” The modern taqueria specializes in hand-pressed made-to-order gourmet tacos – more than 15 versions – just calling for a dollop of Barron’s green goodness.
Related: Best Tortas In Chicago
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.