Since opening its doors in 1985, Capri Ristorante & Catering has expanded to four locations including Capri Mex, which strays from the other locations' Italian fare with a menu of Mexican delights. Chefs fill the kitchen with aromas of carne asada and marinated chicken sizzling on the grill as diners patiently await the impending smorgasbord in the dining room's family-friendly confines. Options such as à la carte burritos and quesadillas leave room for extras, or dinner combos featuring rice, beans, and guacamole quell hunger whether chosen for dine-in, carryout, or storage in a refrigerated safety deposit box.
It began with three sisters leaving their home in the San Luis Potosi region of Mexico. For their trip, the trio packed up their all their belongings, their arsenal of traditional Mexican recipes, and the desire to prosper in their new home of Chicago. They named their new venture El Jardin, which was quite prophetic as their little taqueria grew faster than most gardens, and now they serve authentic Central Mexican cuisine at numerous sites around Chicago under the management of the next generation.
The staff still specializes in tender carne asada, which is so popular the restaurant offers to ship it in vacuum-sealed packs to customers’ homes. The carne asada also appears in the shop’s superburrito dinners, fajitas, and quesadillas, as well as other traditional meats such as tilapia, chorizo, chicken, and shrimp. Chefs begin crafting the fare as early as breakfast and help clients celebrate late into the night with their classic and specialty margaritas that feature more than 40 styles of tequila.
Fat Rosie's Taco & Tequila Bar’s executive chef Raoul Arreola draws on culinary experience including 12 years working with celebrated chef Rick Bayless to whip up dinner and weekend brunch menus featuring inventive Mexican fare with an emphasis on Oaxacan recipes. Eating ensembles can gear up for spirited conversation as they plunge homemade tortilla chips into the guacamole’s verdant avocado and serrano-chili depths. Taste buds escape on border-traversing sojourns with entrees such as fajitas that snuggle charred poblano peppers, queso fresco, and a choice of veggies, chicken, steak, or shrimp into a warm corn-tortilla sleeping bag. A quartet of Ensenada tacos packed with buttered tilapia and avocado mayonnaise torpedo growling tummy trolls, and the enchiladas con salsa Del Dia Tango bellies up to tables filled with cheese, picadillo, chicken, or steak. To quench mouths parched from reciting Pancho Villa's memoir, a Fat Rosie’s margarita floods tongue caves with a mélange of tequila, triple sec, and a house lime mix. On Thursday and Friday nights, mariachi music entertains diners and enables mouths to show off their choreographed chewing routines.
Every meal at La Alianza Restaurant begins the same way. A basket of house-made tortilla chips, usually with the heat of the oven still on them, arrives at the table. That's usually where the similarities end, though. Sometimes, a bowl of spicy red salsa or fresh guacamole accompanies the chips. Appetizers may then follow, or for diners, they may opt to straight for the enticing array of entrees, which all feature a blend of authentic Mexican flavors with a bit of creative cooking. Dishes range from meaty dishes such as mesquite grilled lamb to lighter fare such as red snapper slathered in spicy salsa with a side of pineapple-infused rice. Throughout meals, the staff keep pitchers of sangria and 16-ounce margaritas flowing to wash down the hearty eats.
And when mouths aren't full of food, La Alianza’s owners encourage them to take up singing. They host participatory events in their karaoke bar, where technique matters less than enthusiasm and a killer stage name.
An American tourist in Mexico might stroll by a restaurant decorated with goat horns and not give the decor a second thought. However, the horns do often signify something special: birria, a hearty mexican stew from the state of Jalisco. And while Mr. Burritos and Los Lokos Burritos may not have goat horns strung across its walls, its chefs do make the spicy, soul-warming treat—but only on weekends.
The name Mr. Burritos should give away the eatery’s other specialty, which comes in nearly 20 varieties—including two vegetarian options and two sizes, baby or giant. Similar spiced meats, such as barbacoa, steak, and carnitas, also fill tacos and chimichangas. People who weirdly enjoy mornings can stop by in the a.m. for a hearty Mexican breakfast of eggs and chorizo. Aside from inviting guests to test their heat tolerances at three locations, Mr. Burritos and Los Lokos Burritos deliver their food directly to doorsteps and can also cater events such as birthday parties and presidential debates.
Burrito Parrilla Mexicana treats tummies to tantalizing south-of-the-border cuisine served with a modern aesthetic. Mexican favorites mingle on a menu, such as burritos and tacos made with a choice of six meats that include beef picadillo, chorizo, and marinated al pastor pork that regularly defies physics by cooking on a vertical grill and refusing to proofread Isaac Newton’s autobiography. The restaurant’s dinner plates, such as chicken or steak fajitas, arrive at chartreuse booths inside sizzling skillets and accompanied by an elegantly plated assortment of guacamole, pico de gallo, black beans, and rice.