Best Tacos In Chicago: I’m Right (You’re Wrong)

May 2, 2013 7:00 AM

Taco de Panza (Credit:

By Mason Johnson

Tacos. They’re all that are left for me in this dark, dreary world now that my wife has left, the police chief has taken my badge, and my dog has died.

Scruffles, I hope to be with you again someday.

(Note: Scruffles is the name of my wife.)

Anyway, here are three of the best taco joints in Chicago. So good, they’re worth living for.

(Credit: Mason Johnson)

(Credit: Mason Johnson)

L’ Patron

2815 W Diversey
(773) 252-6335
L’ Patron’s Facebook

L’ Patron’s tacos are some of the best I’ve had in recent memory. You can’t go wrong with the steak tacos, which come on corn tortillas with onions and cilantro. Just as good are the poblana rajas – tacos with strips of roasted peppers, caramelized onions, cheese and roasted tomato sauce. All their ingredients are fresh and plentiful; though L’ Patron is just a small (and tidy) hole in the wall, they don’t skimp on the quality whatsoever. Their fish and shrimp tacos are also worth trying. In fact, just about everything here is worth trying.

Even though L’ Patron has been around for less than a year, they’ve become quite popular. Show up with an abundance of patience and a desire to devour some of the best tacos in Chicago.

(Credit: Nuevo Leon)

(Credit: Nuevo Leon)

Nuevo Leon

1515 West 18th Street
Chicago, IL 60608

Nuevo Leon has long been one of Chicago’s go-tos for great Mexican food, which makes sense, cause they’re freakin’ awesome. They’ve got great soup, and not just the chicken soup they usually give for free along with the chips and salsa, but the beef soup is also superb. Their chicken enchiladas may also be some of the best in the city. But we’re here to talk about tacos! Their beef tacos with lettuce, cilantro, onions and tomatoes NEED to be a part of your life. And if that’s not impressive enough, try their tacos de sabinas, which are filled with strips of ribeye, grilled onions, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, refried beans and Chihuahua cheese.

Listen, Nuevo Leon’s been around for over forty years. For those of you saying, “There are great tacos all over the place,” you have to understand: it’s Nuevo Leon that set those great standards. Respect.

Taco de Panza (Credit:

Taco de Panza (Credit:

Big Star

1531 N Damen
Chicago, IL 60622

Big Star is the place to eat tacos if you’re cool, hip, good-looking and hungry.

Don’t worry, us “normies” can get in too.

Their tacos are NOT made to order, so you’ll eat what you get. Thankfully, whatever you get is bound to be amazing. Their staple is the taco al pastor: marinated, spit roasted pork shoulder, grilled pineapple, grilled onion and cilantro.

It’s their staple for a reason. (Cause it’s freakin’ tasty. Duh.)

They’ve got a handful of other taco concoctions you’ll just have to go see for yourself. Beer battered tilapia, roasted chicken leg… Big Star goes all out.

It’s always packed, but now that it’s getting nice out they’ll open up their patio, which will also be packed. But still, there’s no cooler place to be seen eating tacos and drinking whiskey (they’ve got a plethora of great bourbon) in Chicago than Big Star’s patio.

So go be cool.

Angry your favorite taco place isn’t on the list? Leave a comment below!

Mason Johnson has never been married, has never been a police officer, and while he has owned dogs, none of them have died in a very long time.

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