Taqueria Traspasada #2
It's not always the case, but a good way to figure out which taco to order off a taqueria's menu is to choose the first one listed. That's what caught my eye at this little spot sitting on Ashland just north of Chicago Ave. The tilapia taco is also pictured in a few photographs along the side wall, so it made sense to try one. Rightfully so, because the taqueria takes a nice hunk of fillet, sears it until dark, and tops the fish with made-in-house purple cabbage slaw. This is one of the better tilapia fish taco options in town.
There hasn't been much chat about this semi-new taqueria in Logan Square. Unlike the un-original name suggests, this place is actually a BYOB, for now anyway. I'm betting if they had some cocktails it would be a little more buzzed about by now because their taco options are really good. I enjoyed almost all of them and have been back a couple times since. One of the constant taco orders has been the pescado taco. Sautéed Tilapia is cooked and then diced up and served with a cabbage pico de gallo and chipotle aioli. Go check this place out if you haven't already.
Esencia Urban Kitchen
Whether fried or grilled, most of the time the fish in a taco is going to be tilapia. But this Mexican-influenced corner eatery in Lakeview goes with the ever-versatile cod. Served on a flour tortilla with a heaping helping of house-made guacamole, along with lettuce, tomato, and onion. It immediately sits amongst my fish taco favorites.
La Riviera Maya
Mike already shined some light onto this charming family-owned spot, which I had tried awhile back. We were on a little fish taco tour back then and decided to get both a shrimp and fish. One of the fun things about all of these mariscos spots around Chicagoland is seeing how your fish tacos come out. In most instances all the menu will say is "pescado taco," so unless you ask it's a mystery until your order arrives. Here they present theirs served hot and chopped up in chunks in what tasted to me to be melted butter. There's a good chance it was margarine as many places in Mexico cook with it. Each was overloaded to the point where I had to eat some of the fish and shrimp off before indulging.
Don Cucos Tacos
I already threw this 47th Street taqueria some love in my guide to tacos on the South Side, though that was for their shrimp taco. But I also love their fish taco, which features an intact tilapia fillet crisped up on a flattop that is then thrown into a tortilla rubbed with mayonnaise. The warm fish heats the mayonnaise, creating a creamy base.
Here's my pick for the best non-fried fish taco available around the clock. This 24-hour stop on Grand Ave near Western serves the chopped up variety, but they pack the flesh in and grill their tortillas to a perfect texture, making this a better taco than the sum of all its parts would suggest.
I need to give a shout out to my followers of TweetsofTacos. One of them recommended the fish tacos from this little sitdown spot with booze on Irving Park. They have a pretty large menu, along with an entire poster advertising Lent specials, but I came away impressed with the fish taco off the regular menu. A large piece of tilapia is cooked whole and topped with guacamole and cabbage—a very nice representation of this kind.
I've stopped here before on occasion for their crispy tacos, but also knew folks loved their fish and shrimp tacos, too. I used this roundup as an excuse to not go crispy and came away impressed. They chop up the fish, and top it all off with fresh pico de gallo. It's a really solid option on a rich taco trail.
El Pulpo Loco
I made an impromptu visit to this somewhat new mariscos restaurant located on Clark in Rogers Park. Greeted by a nice young lady, I asked if their fish tacos were fried and she confidently told me no that they are griddled and they're really good. Sold. Nothing life changing as far as preparation goes, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a textbook example of a good fish taco that came with some exceptionally tasty and also incredibly hot orange-red salsa. Some places will ask if you want cilantro and onion or lettuce and tomatoes on your fish taco; in this one instance I prefer the latter, along with some salsa, because it makes for a more complete bite.
Taqueria Don Robe
This is a spot on the East Side that advertises a few types of tacos on their outside awning, one of which is fish. While not as good as their signature Taco Don Robe made with pork adobado, I did think their fish taco slathered in chipotle with a cabbage slaw is solid. It features a nice hunk of fish, along with a some good salsa options.
"It's genuinely hard to make a grilled fish taco where the meat doesn't get mushy, but the fish taco ($3.50) here solves that problem by being extra thin and crispy. Even with the salsa, the fish maintains its structure." Read more here >>