Taqueria Atotonilco

Hours: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner: seven days
Open Late: Friday & Saturday till 3, other nights till 1

Price: $

Humble destination for outstanding tacos al pastor.

Restaurant Details

Like other branches of this miniempire, the Taqueria Atotonilco on Kedzie is a simple space, serving just a few things, mostly tacos and tortas from a streamlined roster of interchangeable ingredients including head and tongue, avocado and frijoles. On a Saturday night we scored the taco trifecta: birria (available only on weekends), barbacoa, and al pastor. Tacos al pastor were the clear standout from the other two somewhat gray and vapid meats, and to watch the spitted meat spin is to witness a thing of beauty; the sculptural layers of pork bubbling back and forth, caramelizing on the outside, oozing and exchanging lushly seasoned juices. The irregularity of the slices and the way each piece cooks crunchy outside and moist inside renders the taco inconsistently textured and so more interesting, less predictable: the sweetly piquant seasoning gives each bite a lot of dimension and makes for an excellent fistful of food. Licuados (fresh fruit, milk, and sugar) are a good way to balance meat and heat with sweet, as are fresh juices. This place presents some funky visuals, but don’t let uptight gringo reserve hold you back; the folks are friendly and the tacos al pastor are killer.

David Hammond

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Price: $

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