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General Info
Topolobampo, specializes in authentic regional cuisine served in an elegant, upscale setting.
Mon Closed, Tue - Thu 11:30 am - 2:30 pm, Fri 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm, Sat 10:30 am - 2:00 pm, Sun Closed
Extra Phones

Fax: (312) 661-1830

TollFree: (800) 559-4441

Payment method
amex, diners club, discover, master card, visa, cash, all major credit cards
Price Range
Central Chicago, Near North Side

Topolobampo Frontera Grill

Topolo Bampo

Other Email

Mexican Restaurants, Latin American Restaurants, American Restaurants, Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch Restaurants, Family Style Restaurants, Bar & Grills, Restaurants
Other Information

Bike Parking: No

Cuisines: Family Style, Mexican, American, Breakfast, Brunch & Lunch, Latin American, Bar & Grills

Good for Kids: Yes


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Provided by Citysearch - 

It's good, but overrated. Highly recommend the oysters and Marisol beer. Other than that, save your money, head up to Garcias on Lawrence/Western and have an equally fantastic Mexican meal for 1/4 of the price of Frontera.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Go somewhere else, enjoy more, spend less

Let me start by saying my wife and I are big fans of Top Chef. We were excited to see a hometown chef win Top Chef Masters so we excitedly decided to try his Topo Restaurant. Sadly, we were less than impressed with his food and restaurant. We were provided a guacamole appetizer that was only ok, Ive made better homemade guac myself. The Margaritas were all Tequila and no flair. We ordered 2 different flavors, but they both tasted the same. My wife ordered a Halibut meal that was awful, (she had to order something different and that was just OK) She is a huge fan of fish, and to her her dish was inedible, tasted like the fish had gone bad. My chicken dish came out without its sauce, and I had to wait for that. That was after everyone was served and eating before my food arrived. We are by no means food critics, however, we did expect WAY better than we received. Again, we were big fans of Rick, so we would like to believe this was just an off night, but we will not risk spending the amount of money we paid just to go and find out we were mistaken. Think twice about eating here, the hype of this restaurant is blown way out of proportion. ....sorry Rick :(



Provided by Citysearch - 
great food, terrible service at frontera

The food was great, but the service was terrible. The hostesses lied to us about our wait time, over and over -- it took over four hours before we got seated. Two hours in, we were having a great time at the bar down the street and they rushed us back saying that ""our table"" is finishing up. ""Our table"" proceeded to finish up for another 2 hours. Once we got seated the waiter was a jert, who would only recommend the most expensive dishes. Also, he tried to charge us for > $40 of apps that we did not have. Frontera ruined what should have been a great night with friends.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Maso o Maenos (OK food more or less)

The food just seemed OK. The ceviche was mushy and pretty nasty (our fault for ordering ceviche in Chicago). The rest of the food was just OK if overpriced. I would eat there again, if the prices were cheaper. The place is popular because of the celebrity owner, who was there, and was nice enough. Bottom line, save a trip downtown, unless you need to impress someone with a trendy place. We found 2 other Mexican places in town we will be sure to return to.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Disappointing Topolo

The worst service we've had in a long time, and we dine out a lot. We made reservations for us and our out-of-town guests weeks in advance, at their request. We arrived on time, had to wait 10-15 minutes in the very noisy entry area, and were given the worst table, right by the door and all the noise (""only available""). After no attention for 20 minutes, asked someone to find our server to take a drink order. When she eventually arrived (another 5 minutes or so), she wanted to immediately take our food order. Ah, no, we'll order our drinks now. The rest of the service was desultory, at best. The whole experience took 2 hours for drinks, entrees and dessert. Too bad it's not a place where management comes by from time to time to ask if everything is satisfactory. Food was interesting and good, but very small portions. We would never go back, nor recommend it. Our meal at a neighborhood place the previous evening provided much better service and the food ultimately was more satisfying--for half the price.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Who honestly thinks this is 5 stars?

I'm rather stunned that this restaurant gets all the hype it's getting. I agree with many reviews of the food being over-spiced--be it too much lime or simply too salty. And after you wait for this reservation and the experience--like you'll really send it back? I couldn't imagine eating at the Frontera side (even though my husband said the food looked better on that side), it was so loud you may as well eat under a plane for the same sound effect. Who really enjoys this?
Expensive mexican food in my book.
Pro: the decor of the place and the mango dessert
con: That we spent over 300 dollars and didn't enjoy it. Won't be back



Provided by Citysearch - 
Save your money

First, we tried to change our reservation from 2 people to 4. I called an hour ahead of time and the maitre d told me that this was not possible. Wrong answer. Fine-dining restaurants should do everything possible to accomadate their customers and, by looking around when we got there, they could have accomadated us--there were several empty tables! We were seated 15 minutes late from our reservation time, but once we sat down, the ambiance was great, so we thought we were in for a wonderful experience. Wrong. We both ordered from the five course tasting menu--70-85 dollars each--save your money! Everything we ate was overseasoned, heavy, and downright disgusting. Even when my entree came out--pork tendorloin--it was over-cooked and brittle. The waiter told us that the ""dining experience"" would take 2 hours, which was fine, but in hour 3 after we'd had horrible food, we asked the busboy to tell our waiter that we'd like the final course (dessert) to go. The waiter then came out hurridly and apologized saying ""I know it took too long between the first and second course"" thus admitting mistakes when we hadn't even complained. You would think he'd have comped part of the bill--no way. I was so unfullfilled with dinner that I went back to the hotel and scarfed down a bag of M&Ms.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Service was extemely poor and so was the food.

I have been to almost all of the fine dining restaurants in this city and I cannot believe that this deserves a four star rating. I went there last Tuesday for a friends birthday and we waited at least 10-15 minutes before a server came to our table to order a drink. Our server then made recommendations for our appetizer and entree. The appetizer was fair. Our entree was so spicy we could not even eat it. He brought us a sauce to calm it down, but it did nothing. He did not even offer to replace it. To pay $36.00 for a steak you can't even eat is ridiculous. It was the worse dining experience I have had in a long time and a ruined evening. An expensive tab, where we left still hungry. I would never go back.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Love the Hot Sauce!

My husband and I have been dying to go here since we watched his show on T.V. Lunch hours where almost over so we were only able to eat in the bar area. There wasn't too much on the lunch menu, but I did like the idea how they change the menu often so it makes you want to come back for more. We love there hot sauce, that we actually bought one for our home. My husband grew up in Mexico all his life and he loved it, he said the sauce was just like his Grandma's homemade sauce.The food was delicious and the appearance of it was tasteful. We can't wait to go back and try out the new items on the menu.



Provided by Citysearch - 

We were a little nervous about Mexican food in Chicago since we were coming from Texas, but made a reservation at Topolobampo at the recommendation of a friend. We were amazed! The food was incredible and the members of the waitstaff were very attentive. Highly recommended.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Very Disappointing!

We went for a birthday celebration. We knew on a Saturday night it would be crowded and we would have to wait. We understood. At 8:30pm we thought a 2 hour wait to be a bit long but OK. Did that mean that since they close at 10:30 we wouldn't be able to eat?
We got drinks. What a disappointment! I get better house margaritas at my casual Mexican restaurant in Lincoln Park.
Within 10 minutes we had not one but two tables secured in the bar area. Why such the long wait then? Service was slow. Maybe that is the reason for the 2 hour wait.
I would not recommend the guacamole. It had no taste. The second round of drinks weren't any better. A shame since even with a bad first drink, the second usually tastes a little better.
When it came to the food it was just not right. I eat at a variety of Mexican restaurants on a fairly regular basis including a very upscale restaurant in Lakeview (Agava - always a great meal for about the same price as Frontera).
The meat was so OVER seasoned all I could taste was the seasonings. OK, maybe the chef's style but for what we were paying for the ""organic"" beef I would have hoped that we could cut it with a steak knife but unfortunately we couldn't. I don't know why since it wasn't tough but it wouldn't cut.
All 3 of us were very disappointed in our dinners, drinks and service. With SO many great places to eat in Chicago why does this place get all the raves?
I never need to go back.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Getting in for lunch...

While Frontera Grill can get packed quickly, you can often wander in and get seated (and eat) at either the bar or right alongside the kitchen where there are maybe six bar-stools -- not only do you not have to wait, but you get to see the busy kitchen in action.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Save your money and your time

Wow. This was a total disappointment. We waited more than two hours for food. The bar is ok -- I've had better Margaritas at Chilis to be perfectly honest. The bar is standing room only and you can hardly hear yourself think. Definitely not a place for locals. Topolobampo is not a restaurant -- it's a racket. There's no heart in the place anymore. It's just a cash machine. Save your money and your time.



Provided by Citysearch - 
An Unpleasant Experience

My rating is based on my recent experience at Topolobampo, not on the quality of the food. The margaritas in the bar were good, which is why my rating is two stars instead of one.

My wife and I had a reservation, and we arrived early and had a drink in the bar. We were seated a bit late but not unacceptably so. After ordering the recommended tasting menus (~$80 per person, plus ~$45 for the matched wines), we waited 45 minutes without receiving any food. I politely informed our server that we were leaving, which seemed to surprise her but to her credit she was gracious.

I cannot comment on the food, but my experience at Topolobampo was unacceptable. I eat out often in Chicago both with my wife and for business, and I have not experienced anything like this at an established restaurant in a number of years.



Provided by Citysearch - 
not very impressed...

I don't know if it's because it's been rated so highly by critics and other reviews, or if it's from living in nyc with terrific restaurants all over the city... but after waiting for 2 hours and then being offered to sit at the bar to eat with our meal comped because of the long wait and seating location, we were still unimpressed by the food. the ceviche was rubbery and not very good tasting and both of our dishes were just okay... which is not what i would expect from a restaurant with this much hype over it. Actually, nothing on the menu really looked or sounded appealing to me. I love mexican food and tex mex (after living in austin for a few years), but nothing I tried here really tasted THAT great. I felt the food was more on the bland side and the dishes were boring. The service was great and sitting at the bar, we got a glimpse of Rick Bayless, but I just wish the food matched the hype.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Overpriced and Underwhelmed

I had heard great things about Tapolobampo and was eager to try it. I just moved here from the east coast, where i had a great selection of good food. The experience at Tapolo was very underwhelming - esp. for the price. i could have gotten the same meal numerous places back home for half the price - and they would have been more enjoyable. First off, the ceviches were tasty but nothing exciting and sparse on the seafood. We shared a turkey salad appetizer that was terrible. Lots of very salty, dark meat turkey in an even saltier sauce. My entree was decent but nothing exciting. Over-toasted rice cakes and little bits of octopus at the bottom. My companion's entree was even less notable. Best parts of the meal were the gratis guacamole and the little banana gelees that they presented at the end of the meal. I would say that unless you money is not an issue, i would pass on this place in favor of your neighborhood Latin restaurant.



Provided by Citysearch - 
Food? What food?

After 2 visits to Topolobampo (one good, one bad), we were eager to try Frontera Grill. We saw on their website that they take limited reservations, so we decided to brave it -- knowing full well we may have a substantial wait. What we didn't know is that the host staff would be so nasty. After waiting 10 minutes in line just to ""check in"", one of the 5 (FIVE!) people behind the counter (one writing, four doing nothing), told us, in his snottiest tone, ""Well you know, there's a 3 hour wait"" -- as if somehow we should have known and not bothered them. I don't expect to be treated with this kind of attitude at any restaurant -- no matter how famous the owner, no matter how many out-of-towners are waiting in line, and no matter how popular the place. We don't mind waiting -- we do mind being treated like dirt. We left, and at the moment, we're not inclined to try again.

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