Carne Asada Taco at L' Patron
"Stuffed with hunks of freshly grilled meat, the carne asada is still slightly pink in the middle, but tender throughout. Extra beefy but surprisingly greaseless, it stands out as something of an instant classic, and a serious contender for best in the city." Read more here >>
Carne Asada Tacos at La Oaxaqueña
Oaxaca is the land of seven moles, but there is far more to uncover in Mexico's gastronomic heartland. In fact, one of my fondest food memories came while walking through the Mercado 20 de Noviembre, where dozens of vendors were grilling meat over live charcoal. Instead of little hunks of beef hacked to bits, the carne asada was left in thin sheets, caramelized by the flame. Sadly, I can't return there on a whim, but I can visit La Oaxaqueña in Irving Park, which cooks its beef to order over a grill and tosses them in warm corn tortillas.
La Oaxaquena, 3382 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60641 (map); 773-545-8585
Carne Asada at Tio Luis Tacos
Tio Luis's gimmick is that there is no gimmick. The skirt steak at this charming Archer Heights taqueria is beefy and powerful, with none of the grease that usually comes along. It's also stuffed into wonderfully soft corn tortillas, and served with not one but three different salsas. The tomatillo salsa is a must, through the avocado one is also quite good. These are also reasonably sized, so you won't feel guilty about downing three.
Tio Luis Tacos, 3856 South Archer Avenue, Chicago, IL 60632 (map); 773-843-0098; tioluistacos.com
Carne Asada Taco at Taqueria El Asadero
"The carne asada ($2.20) at Taqueria el Asadero is cut thinner than most versions around town, which is a definite plus in my book...The thin shards here are nicely caramelized and tender—a tough sweet spot to find." Read more here >>
Taqueria el Asadero, 2213 West Montrose Avenue, Chicago, IL 60618 (map); 773-583-5563
Carne Asada Taco at Zacatacos
"Zacatacos also happens to kick out one of the best carne asada tacos ($2.00) around. Thinly sliced sheets of beef are tossed on the grill, sprinkled with seasoning, and then cooked until browned. They are moved to the chopping table, where they are allowed to rest for a few minutes, and then sliced up. This is just about everything you could want in a great carne asada taco: extra beefy, well seasoned, and juicy." Read more here >>
Grilled Steak Taco at Carbón
"The workers mercifully leave the steak in large slices, instead of manhandling them into size of petite peas. Luckily, they are also tender, so you don't have to gnaw through tough fibers just to take a bite. Save the aroma of real charcoal, this has just about everything you could want from a steak taco." Read more here >>
Grilled Steak Taco at Taqueria El Milagro
The steak taco at El Milagro is a feast. That's crunchy dressed cabbage on top, followed by steamy rice, and creamy beans. But even with all the toppings, which are standard with every order, the grilled steak manages to steal the show. Grilled until browned, the thin pieces are still the dominant flavor.
Taqueria El Milagro, 3050 West 26th Street, Chicago, IL 60623 (map); 773-579-6120
Carne Asada Taco at Las Asadas
"Every visit should start with at least one carne asada taco ($2.05). Everything that makes Las Asadas great is summed up here: the beef is well seasoned and juicy, the tortillas are soft and sturdy, and the salsas are fresh and fierce." Read more here >>