Cafe El Tapatio

★★★★☆
Oversized drinks and Mexican dishes attract crowds to this casual corner spot.
  • 3400 N Ashland Ave

    Chicago, IL 60657

    Cross street: Roscoe Street

    Map & Directions
  • 773-327-5475

About Cafe El Tapatio

Hours
Mon-Thu 10am-10pm Fri-Sat 10am-12am Sun 9am-12am

Food

Food
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.

I've been here half a dozen times and have never had a 'good' experience. Others I have dined with had a better time, which is the reason I've come back...until now.

My boyfriend and I both ordered the El Grandioso Burrito " Suizo" with chicken to go. The food itself was good, with the exception of the CHICKEN BONES we found inside! There were multiple bones in each of our burritos, but mine was the worst- one was 2 1/2 inches long!

I called just to let them know about the issue and the man I spoke with was very apologetic. I wasn't expecting anything, but he offered to give us with a complimentary dinner provided we didn't tell anyone about the bones!

When we called in tonight to order our food, the man we spoke to said he would give us the food, but we needed to understand it's NORMAL for shredded chicken to have BONES! I don't think so!

I'm sorry to say, but I will never be going back again and I would warn everyone reading this against it too!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I've been here half a dozen times and have never had a 'good' experience. Others I have dined with had a better time, which is the reason I've come back...until now.

My boyfriend and I both ordered the El Grandioso Burrito " Suizo" with chicken to go. The food itself was good, with the exception of the CHICKEN BONES we found inside! There were multiple bones in each of our burritos, but mine was the worst- one was 2 1/2 inches long!

I called just to let them know about the issue and the man I spoke with was very apologetic. I wasn't expecting anything, but he offered to give us with a complimentary dinner provided we didn't tell anyone about the bones!

When we called in tonight to order our food, the man we spoke to said he would give us the food, but we needed to understand it's NORMAL for shredded chicken to have BONES! I don't think so!

I'm sorry to say, but I will never be going back again and I would warn everyone reading this against it too!

Pros: Close to my apartment

Cons: Bones in my food!

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OK...I thought it was just me, but recent reviews support my most recent experience.

I have eaten here for years and I have always enjoyed the food, but my last experience was just average. The food was not as fresh and it was hardly worth the 30 minute drive that it is from my house. I attributed it to the economy. I'm sure the turn-over can't be as good as it was and maybe they have even changed suppliers. I can't quite put my finger on it but the taste was a little off :(

1
★★★☆☆

OK...I thought it was just me, but recent reviews support my most recent experience.

I have eaten here for years and I have always enjoyed the food, but my last experience was just average. The food was not as fresh and it was hardly worth the 30 minute drive that it is from my house. I attributed it to the economy. I'm sure the turn-over can't be as good as it was and maybe they have even changed suppliers. I can't quite put my finger on it but the taste was a little off :(

Pros: inexpensive

Cons: parking was always bad(but it was worth it)

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I don't know, maybe they had a few bad days or something - but I can't believe the bad reviews... maybe they were really made by another MX Restaurant?

I've had 3 dishes there and it was wonderful every time. Their guacamole is wonderful - the salsa had the perfect amount of spice that you could still actually taste it and it didn't burn off your taste buds.

It has a huge menu - the service is friendly - it's very easy on the pocket book!

I actually don't like writing this review because I don't want a huge crowd where I can't get a seat... but I have to defend them.

I love this place and will continue to go back!!! Maybe I will have a bad meal... it can happen - but they are worth it to try it again!

2
★★★★★

I don't know, maybe they had a few bad days or something - but I can't believe the bad reviews... maybe they were really made by another MX Restaurant?

I've had 3 dishes there and it was wonderful every time. Their guacamole is wonderful - the salsa had the perfect amount of spice that you could still actually taste it and it didn't burn off your taste buds.

It has a huge menu - the service is friendly - it's very easy on the pocket book!

I actually don't like writing this review because I don't want a huge crowd where I can't get a seat... but I have to defend them.

I love this place and will continue to go back!!! Maybe I will have a bad meal... it can happen - but they are worth it to try it again!

Pros: AMAZING - everything

Cons: ahhh... it's 100 feet from my house and not 50

.

I am a self described critic of Mexican cuisine having travelled all over Mexico and learned to make it myself I know what is "authentic" and was is catering to non Mexicans. So anyway, I've been to this place a couple times before within the last three years and really can't remember it being as bad as it was tonight. The margaritas were ok, strong but you could tell it wasn't top shelf. My fault for not asking for top shelf! The salsa lacked 'kick', not spicy at all, my taste buds were yawning!! When approached by our waiter to take our order I asked "please tell me, is the 'caldo de res' (beef soup) made today (Monday-I know dumb question) or from the weekend?" I expected an honest answer which probably would have made me 1. order something else 2. patronize the restaurant again, but no, instead he said it was fresh and that they made it every day. Ok, so I ordered it and the carrots were under cooked which made me think they ran out and threw some more in to make up for it, and the zucchini was fresh but...the kicker and this is how I know a soup is at least a day old is, the POTATO!! The potato was a couple of days old at best. My husband didn't even finish his burrito which you can't go wrong on; flour tortilla, steak, cheese, sour cream, and he said it was horrible. Needless to say we won't be going back, EVER!! There are a gazillion Mexican restaurants in the city and not all are good but this one is definitely not good!

0
★☆☆☆☆

I am a self described critic of Mexican cuisine having travelled all over Mexico and learned to make it myself I know what is "authentic" and was is catering to non Mexicans. So anyway, I've been to this place a couple times before within the last three years and really can't remember it being as bad as it was tonight. The margaritas were ok, strong but you could tell it wasn't top shelf. My fault for not asking for top shelf! The salsa lacked 'kick', not spicy at all, my taste buds were yawning!! When approached by our waiter to take our order I asked "please tell me, is the 'caldo de res' (beef soup) made today (Monday-I know dumb question) or from the weekend?" I expected an honest answer which probably would have made me 1. order something else 2. patronize the restaurant again, but no, instead he said it was fresh and that they made it every day. Ok, so I ordered it and the carrots were under cooked which made me think they ran out and threw some more in to make up for it, and the zucchini was fresh but...the kicker and this is how I know a soup is at least a day old is, the POTATO!! The potato was a couple of days old at best. My husband didn't even finish his burrito which you can't go wrong on; flour tortilla, steak, cheese, sour cream, and he said it was horrible. Needless to say we won't be going back, EVER!! There are a gazillion Mexican restaurants in the city and not all are good but this one is definitely not good!

Pros: PARKING WAS EASY

Cons: SALSA, MARGARITA LACKED KICK

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So the margaritas were fine. But not fine enough to overcome the bad food.

We ordered the poblano soup which came out to the table at the same time as our entrees. Even the server couldn't figure out what to do with it all. We sent back the entrees, where I am sure they sat under heat lights for the next 20 minutes. The soup wasn't bad tasting, but it was had "cold spots" in it. It was either heated up in a microwave or it was frozen and not fully defrosted before it was served.

My husband's skirt steak tasted heavily tenderized instead of properly marinated, and the short ribs left me with indigestion.

All I could think of is how Gordon Ramsey would have reacted on Kitchen Nightmares if he had been brought in to help this "favorite" Mexican restaurant and tasted what we did.

Chicago has some really excellent Mexican food. This was not one of the places that serve it. Suffice it to say, we won't be back.

0
★☆☆☆☆

So the margaritas were fine. But not fine enough to overcome the bad food.

We ordered the poblano soup which came out to the table at the same time as our entrees. Even the server couldn't figure out what to do with it all. We sent back the entrees, where I am sure they sat under heat lights for the next 20 minutes. The soup wasn't bad tasting, but it was had "cold spots" in it. It was either heated up in a microwave or it was frozen and not fully defrosted before it was served.

My husband's skirt steak tasted heavily tenderized instead of properly marinated, and the short ribs left me with indigestion.

All I could think of is how Gordon Ramsey would have reacted on Kitchen Nightmares if he had been brought in to help this "favorite" Mexican restaurant and tasted what we did.

Chicago has some really excellent Mexican food. This was not one of the places that serve it. Suffice it to say, we won't be back.

Pros: Drinkable margaritas; inexpensive food.

Cons: Dreadful food, poorly served and presented.

.

My friend and I just had dinner here and it was AMAZING!!! I had a pomegranate flavored Margarita that was Delicious. We ordered a Shrimp Cocktail.. SO GOOD! For dinner I had Chicken smothered in fresh mushrooms, onions and Mexican cheese. It was honestly the best dinner I have had at a restaurant in many months. Completely blew me away. I had heard this place was good. But, in my opinion, that is an understatement. My friend had the enchiladas and really enjoyed them as well. I'll definitely go back!

2
★★★★★

My friend and I just had dinner here and it was AMAZING!!! I had a pomegranate flavored Margarita that was Delicious. We ordered a Shrimp Cocktail.. SO GOOD! For dinner I had Chicken smothered in fresh mushrooms, onions and Mexican cheese. It was honestly the best dinner I have had at a restaurant in many months. Completely blew me away. I had heard this place was good. But, in my opinion, that is an understatement. My friend had the enchiladas and really enjoyed them as well. I'll definitely go back!

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Always walk by this crowed restaurant and finally sat down to try it. Besides the comfortable outdoor seating, the service was rude and the food was the same quality as the 5 dollar enchiladas down the street. After the waiter reluctantly accepted a "non-frozen" margarita request the margarita (frozen and non-frozen) was marginal at best.

1
★★☆☆☆

Always walk by this crowed restaurant and finally sat down to try it. Besides the comfortable outdoor seating, the service was rude and the food was the same quality as the 5 dollar enchiladas down the street. After the waiter reluctantly accepted a "non-frozen" margarita request the margarita (frozen and non-frozen) was marginal at best.

Pros: Outdoor seating. they leave a pitcher of water at your table so you can fill it your self

Cons: Quality doesn't match their prices. Our waiter was rude (or having a really bad day).

.

I decided to visit this restaurant after seeing it as the editors pick for best mexican in Chicago. Chicago is a large city and let me tell you that the food at El Cafe Tapatio was pretty bad compared to other resturants in Chicago. Yes this place is busy but busy doesnt mean good food. Its in a central location where people tend to dine, Try Garcias, Nuevo Leon, El Pasadita--thats real food.

1
★★☆☆☆

I decided to visit this restaurant after seeing it as the editors pick for best mexican in Chicago. Chicago is a large city and let me tell you that the food at El Cafe Tapatio was pretty bad compared to other resturants in Chicago. Yes this place is busy but busy doesnt mean good food. Its in a central location where people tend to dine, Try Garcias, Nuevo Leon, El Pasadita--thats real food.

Pros: In The Lakeview/Wrigley Area

Cons: Poor Service, poor food

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I have been to Cafe El Tapatio many times in the last few years and I have never been disappointed. It is a small place with a very cozy Mexican atmosphere. The food is good and the portions are large and, while the drinks are a bit pricey, they are worth it; there is nothing much more refreshing on a hot summer day than a delicious pitcher of their mango margaritas.

2
★★★★☆

I have been to Cafe El Tapatio many times in the last few years and I have never been disappointed. It is a small place with a very cozy Mexican atmosphere. The food is good and the portions are large and, while the drinks are a bit pricey, they are worth it; there is nothing much more refreshing on a hot summer day than a delicious pitcher of their mango margaritas.

Pros: Great drinks and good food. Lovely outdoor seating.

Cons: Drinks are pricey and it can get very busy on weekend nights.

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I have been here a few times with the girls and we have never had a bad meal! Sometimes there is a wait but you can walk across the side street and sit in their bar, have appetizers and they will come and get you when your table is ready.

2
★★★★★

I have been here a few times with the girls and we have never had a bad meal! Sometimes there is a wait but you can walk across the side street and sit in their bar, have appetizers and they will come and get you when your table is ready.

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Pros: Decent Atmosphere, Good service (once you are seated), you can grocery shop while you wait.

Cons: The wait was about 1.5 hours when we were told 45 minutes. All the while we were staring at open tables. The drinks were overpriced and weak. The ceviche was just plain bad. The enchiladas were stale and lacking flavor. Afterwards we felt depressed and violated that we had just waited that long for food and drinks of that quality. This place attracts a very particular crowd and they all seem to be very confused about where the good mexican food is. For fans of ceviche I'd recommend Las Palmas or Los Nopales, or probably anywhere else besides this place. This is the first online review I've ever written. It took a place this bad to encourage me to do it.

0
★☆☆☆☆

Pros: Decent Atmosphere, Good service (once you are seated), you can grocery shop while you wait.

Cons: The wait was about 1.5 hours when we were told 45 minutes. All the while we were staring at open tables. The drinks were overpriced and weak. The ceviche was just plain bad. The enchiladas were stale and lacking flavor. Afterwards we felt depressed and violated that we had just waited that long for food and drinks of that quality. This place attracts a very particular crowd and they all seem to be very confused about where the good mexican food is. For fans of ceviche I'd recommend Las Palmas or Los Nopales, or probably anywhere else besides this place. This is the first online review I've ever written. It took a place this bad to encourage me to do it.

Pros: Location

Cons: Bad food, overpriced and weak drinks, outrageous wait.

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The food is excellent, the staff is friendly, and the price is right. I highly recommend the fajitas, margaritas and the empanadas if they have them.

1
★★★☆☆

The food is excellent, the staff is friendly, and the price is right. I highly recommend the fajitas, margaritas and the empanadas if they have them.

Pros: Great Food

Cons: Can be busy at times

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A very small little place, El Tapatio was surprisingly good! It was quite a wait, but the bar across the street kept us busy. Great guacamole, great salsa and the tortilla soup was delicious!

2
★★★★☆

A very small little place, El Tapatio was surprisingly good! It was quite a wait, but the bar across the street kept us busy. Great guacamole, great salsa and the tortilla soup was delicious!

Pros: Great food

Cons: long wait

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This is the kind of place that you think of when you think of "that little Mexican place on the corner." And if it's not, it should be. It's small, bright, and cozy. It can get a bit loud, but you can call it "festive." The food's pretty standard, overall, but that's not to say it's not done very well. And of course, there are the Margaritas, which not quite as potent as Fernando's just up Lincoln, will still do the trick!

You may not want to wait until you're starving to head over, as the wait can get pretty long on weekends. However, they'll take your number, send you to the bar across the street, and call you when your table's ready.

2
★★★★★

This is the kind of place that you think of when you think of "that little Mexican place on the corner." And if it's not, it should be. It's small, bright, and cozy. It can get a bit loud, but you can call it "festive." The food's pretty standard, overall, but that's not to say it's not done very well. And of course, there are the Margaritas, which not quite as potent as Fernando's just up Lincoln, will still do the trick!

You may not want to wait until you're starving to head over, as the wait can get pretty long on weekends. However, they'll take your number, send you to the bar across the street, and call you when your table's ready.

Pros: great value

Cons: expect a wait

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I can't help but get the tortilla soup (which comes with rice and is a huge bowl) whenever I go there. I pair it with a taco and a mojito (highly recommended) and am stuffed. I really wasn't impressed with the margaritas, however.

Yes, can be busy and you'll have to wait for a table, but they'll give you a call on your cell phone when a table is ready, and you can wait across the street at the bar and feast on chips and salsa while you wait.

It's seriously good food

2
★★★★★

I can't help but get the tortilla soup (which comes with rice and is a huge bowl) whenever I go there. I pair it with a taco and a mojito (highly recommended) and am stuffed. I really wasn't impressed with the margaritas, however.

Yes, can be busy and you'll have to wait for a table, but they'll give you a call on your cell phone when a table is ready, and you can wait across the street at the bar and feast on chips and salsa while you wait.

It's seriously good food

Pros: Excellent food, Great Mojitos

Cons: Long wait times, Slow service sometime, Average Margaritas

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a great mexican restaurant. very authentic mexican food. Good size portions. The mexican long island drink rocks. Huge bowl about 32oz. can spit it on a date and both be drunk. Enchalites are good. steak dishes are good to. have not had a bad meal there yet.

4
★★★★☆

a great mexican restaurant. very authentic mexican food. Good size portions. The mexican long island drink rocks. Huge bowl about 32oz. can spit it on a date and both be drunk. Enchalites are good. steak dishes are good to. have not had a bad meal there yet.

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Caf El Tapatio is a small but busy Mexican caf/restaurant at Ashland & Roscoe. The margaritas were very good in my opinion, but just a little pricey. The salsa was excellent homemade and moderately spicy with plenty of cilantro - YUM! The food was very good also, with average prices for the area. On different occasions I have had the burrito, enchiladas, and tostadas, and all have been high quality. The place has festive Mexican dcor and theres outdoor seating which is great fun in warm weather.

4
★★★★☆

Caf El Tapatio is a small but busy Mexican caf/restaurant at Ashland & Roscoe. The margaritas were very good in my opinion, but just a little pricey. The salsa was excellent homemade and moderately spicy with plenty of cilantro - YUM! The food was very good also, with average prices for the area. On different occasions I have had the burrito, enchiladas, and tostadas, and all have been high quality. The place has festive Mexican dcor and theres outdoor seating which is great fun in warm weather.

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Hands down the best Mexican food in the city. Great food, great margaritas. It's crowded on the weekends, well weekdays too, but you can wait at Ivan's across the street and they'll come and get you. Friendly staff and spicy salsa. great restaurant. if you want mexican, go here!

2
★★★★★

Hands down the best Mexican food in the city. Great food, great margaritas. It's crowded on the weekends, well weekdays too, but you can wait at Ivan's across the street and they'll come and get you. Friendly staff and spicy salsa. great restaurant. if you want mexican, go here!

Pros: great food

Cons: waiting time

.

I like the carne asada very much. The fiesta plate appetizer was good with sorted tortilla goodies. The beef flauta was my favorite. I've come here before and had a margarita that I wasn't impressed with. My suggestion is to skip it for dinner because the place fills fast and empties slow. That's because the food is pretty darn good.

2
★★★★☆

I like the carne asada very much. The fiesta plate appetizer was good with sorted tortilla goodies. The beef flauta was my favorite. I've come here before and had a margarita that I wasn't impressed with. My suggestion is to skip it for dinner because the place fills fast and empties slow. That's because the food is pretty darn good.

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Every time I go I wonder why I don't go more often. In fact, I'm going right after I write this. It is far and away the best mexican food in town. My girlfriend always gets the plantain enchiladas whereas I try to get something different every time. It is a sit down restaurant unlike most mexican restaurants in chicago and it is quite reasonable priced. Got to go, El Tapatio is minutes away.

2
★★★★★

Every time I go I wonder why I don't go more often. In fact, I'm going right after I write this. It is far and away the best mexican food in town. My girlfriend always gets the plantain enchiladas whereas I try to get something different every time. It is a sit down restaurant unlike most mexican restaurants in chicago and it is quite reasonable priced. Got to go, El Tapatio is minutes away.

Pros: food, food, food

Cons: slightly slow service

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I have been searching for really good *and* inexpensive Mexican food. So far, El Tapatio is one of my favorites. The restaurant is on the small side, and tables are pretty tight, so you have to keep your elbows in--the sidewalk patio is a good option in the warmer months. Service is friendly and swift. The Rolls Royce Margarita is spendy, but worth the extra bucks: It's massive. And the food is terrific. I had enchiladas suizas with a rich mole sauce--excellent. Tacos are very good, too. I'm looking forward to going back.

2
★★★★★

I have been searching for really good *and* inexpensive Mexican food. So far, El Tapatio is one of my favorites. The restaurant is on the small side, and tables are pretty tight, so you have to keep your elbows in--the sidewalk patio is a good option in the warmer months. Service is friendly and swift. The Rolls Royce Margarita is spendy, but worth the extra bucks: It's massive. And the food is terrific. I had enchiladas suizas with a rich mole sauce--excellent. Tacos are very good, too. I'm looking forward to going back.

Pros: Great food, Inexpensive, Excellent margaritas

Cons: Tight space, Street parking

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Great food and truly authentic!! I am from mexico so I know how and with what ingridients they are cooking, every time I go there I know Iam going to be satisfied. What elese I can say....I love it!!!!!!

2
★★★★★

Great food and truly authentic!! I am from mexico so I know how and with what ingridients they are cooking, every time I go there I know Iam going to be satisfied. What elese I can say....I love it!!!!!!

Pros: inexpensive, authentic mexican, clean!

Cons: crowded, not for big grups, parking good luck!

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My husband and I just enjoyed dinner at El Tapatio the other night. It was wonderful! Despite the restaurant being quite small they somehow find a way to seat you as though you feel you aren't around a lot of people. The food was delicious and the drinks are remarkable. Make sure you try the Mexican Long Island Ice Tea...it is a very big surprise...but oh so good!

2
★★★★★

My husband and I just enjoyed dinner at El Tapatio the other night. It was wonderful! Despite the restaurant being quite small they somehow find a way to seat you as though you feel you aren't around a lot of people. The food was delicious and the drinks are remarkable. Make sure you try the Mexican Long Island Ice Tea...it is a very big surprise...but oh so good!

Editorial from

In Short
Small and packed to the hilt with customers, this Mexican joint serves up specialties like caldo de camarones (shrimp soup in tomato base) and pechuga--a grilled double chicken breast, topped with sauteed mushrooms,…

 

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