Friday, May 12, 2017

El Taco Azteca

- On the Road with The Chicago Taco Tour

I haven't the slightest idea what took me so long in between visits to El Taco Azteca. Usually when I try a place and love it I get back soon thereafter for more. But for whatever reason it took me a good three months or so in between visits to Pilsen's newest taco focused shop. It comes to us from a cook who came up at Antique Taco before deciding to open his own place. I had wondered before when chef driven tacos would finally hit Pilsen and was very intrigued when I learned of El Taco Azteca opening. Would the longtime locals support a place like this? Only time would tell.

Newly Opened Taco Stop in Pilsen

I'm happy report that as of last night they seem to be doing alright. I stopped in around 7pm and there were four tables of couples dining and a few others dining solo. It's positive news as this is a part of Pilsen that hasn't seen many new school places open up. I was told most of the people in the area eat at home during the weekday and do stuff like pizza when eating out. The owner being Mexican has to be a positive as this isn't some white guy from Massachusetts trying to push tacos on people with roots in Mexico. But more important than any of that if the fact the food is really good. You can tell there's care involved with each dish ate and that's nothing you want to push out. 

Chips and Guacamole at El Taco Azteca

You need look no further for the care than with the complimentary chips and salsa. El Taco Azteca supplies you with fresh tortilla chips mixed in with both plantain and yucca chips. You can enjoy these with the complimentary side of smokey red salsa or for just $3 you can choose from a trio of fresh made guacamole. The Ranchero version seen above is made with pork skin, Panela cheese and smoked guajillo chile salsa. It has to be one of the city's best bites in the $3.00 category. Another great way to start is with the cochinita pibil flautas ($6). I thought these were near perfect and some of the best flautas I've ever tried. The fact they were freshly fried was evident in the wonderful crunch while the pibil pork makes for a much more exciting filling than standard shredded chicken.

Cochinita Pibil Flautas at El Taco Azteca 

As the name of the place suggests tacos are what they specialize in here. I've read that the tortas are also good and if the salads are similar in prep to those at Antique Taco I don't doubt they're also great. But the tacos are what you're here for. You'll notice a familiarity to Antique Taco with some of them such as the fish. Why not stay close to form when those offered at Antique are some of the best fish tacos in the city? We can now add El Taco Azteca to the list of best fish tacos in Chicago. But they make their own identity too. The Taco Arabe is made in the style of those from the Puebla region in Mexico where Arab's settled. Well marinated strips of tender pork are placed in a house made flour tortilla. It's another contender for best taco in Pilsen and judging by the consistency here I'm guessing that can be said for every taco on offer at El Taco Azteca. Welcome to my rotation.

Fish Taco (L) Taco Arabe (R) at El Taco Azteca

El Taco Azteca
2151 W Cermak Rd
Chicago, IL 60608
(773) 247-1103

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