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North Side, Lakeview

Cafe El Tapatio

Mexican Restaurants, Caterers, Latin American Restaurants, Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch Restaurants, Restaurants
Other Information

Parking: Street

Wi-Fi: Free

Bike Parking: Yes

Attire: Casual

Good For Groups: Yes

Wheelchair Accessible: Yes

Cuisines: Caterers, Mexican, Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch, Latin American

Alcohol: Full Bar

Takes Reservations: No

Outdoor Seating: Yes

Price Range : Average


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Provided by Citysearch - 
Bones in my burrito!

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!



Provided by Citysearch - 
WAS one of my favorite places

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 :(



Provided by Citysearch - 
WHAT?? I can't believe the recent reviews

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!



Provided by Citysearch - 
I hate when servers lie about freshness!!

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!



Provided by Citysearch - 
I'd love to see Gordon Ramsey's reaction

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.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Best Tasting Mexican Food!!!

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!



Provided by Citysearch - 
Overrated. Don't judge this place by its cover

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.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Highly Over rated

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.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Great mango margaritas!

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.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Yummy and great priced Mexican food

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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