I have been a big fan of Taco Joint since it first opened in Lincoln Park near the busy Halsted-Armitage intersection in early 2011. Its dark and intimate atmosphere is perfect for a margarita at the bar, or some tasty guacamole and tacos in the back dining room. The vibe is casual and the food is delicious and very reasonably priced.
I recently visited to check out some new menu items that were just introduced in time for fall and winter. Our knowledgeable and friendly server recommended starting with the grapefruit margarita, and I wisely followed his advice. Made with Herradura Tequila Reposado, orange liqueur, citrus-chile agave, ruby red grapefruit, lemon, grapefruit bitters, and a chile piquin rim, this margarita put others to shame; it was delicious. The chile on the rim cut through any bitterness and it went down way too easily. It is my new favorite and I much preferred it to the regular margarita.
We then started with the rojo guacamole, which is another favorite. Featuring avocado, sun dried tomato, roasted onion, and topped roasted red jalapeño salsa, this guacamole has just the perfect amount of flavor and spice. And, the mix of plantain, malanga, and corn tortilla chips served on the side are the perfect accompaniment.
My favorite taco at Taco Joint is the ceviche taco – poached shrimp mixed in a light and refreshing lemon-serrano vinaigrette, with avocado, cucumber, and pico de gallo, and served in a malanga chip shell. The flavors are bright and delicious. So, of course, I had to order it and it did not disappoint.
I also tried the chile relleno taco which is a new addition to the menu, and I absolutely loved it. Made of egg-battered roasted poblano pepper, queso panela, roasted tomato salsa, crema, and queso fresco, this taco was heartier than the ceviche iteration, but the flavors were fantastic. I will definitely be ordering this one again.
The special taco the night that we visited was the aguacate, or beer-battered avocado, with black bean salsa, crema, and pico de gallo. It was good, but not great; especially as compared to the ceviche and chile relleno tacos.
My husband wanted to try something new and went with the carne asada torta – a pressed and grilled sandwich made with grilled tri-tip steak, grilled queso panela, vegetable escabeche, and black bean spread. While he enjoyed the flavors, the meat was a bit dry and overcooked for his taste. That did not stop him from polishing the whole thing off, however.
He also ordered the baja taco – beer battered tilapia filet with an arbol chile slaw – which is also one of his favorites, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Even though I had absolutely no room after dinner, I still managed to enjoy a few bites of the churro donut, topped with cinnamon & sugar and served with an indulgent chocolate-hibiscus dipping sauce. It was sinfully good. Perfectly doughy, warm, and flaky, and made even better with the dipping sauce.
The food, drinks and service were all fantastic during our visit. Taco Joint remains a favorite for quality margaritas, guacamole, and tacos at a great value. Taco Joint Lincoln Park is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. A larger iteration is located in River North and is open for breakfast, Monday through Friday, and lunch and dinner seven days a week. Taco Joint is a perfect casual dinner destination by oneself, with friends, or for a relaxed date night. Reservations are accepted at the River North location, only.
Lincoln Park: 1969 N Halsted, Chicago, Illinois 60614
River North: 158 W Ontario, Chicago, Illinois 60654
While my meal was complimentary, all opinions expressed herein are my own.