Good, cheap, authentic Mexican near Gold Coast
I'm looking for a good, cheap, authentic Mexican food in or near the Gold Coast/River North area. As much as I love eating Chipotle, I'm craving a more authentic Mexican meal at a good price.
Topo being one of the top fine dining restaurant in the city, is way way left of 'cheap'.
Nacional 27 is not necessarily 'cheap', and is Pan-Latino (i dislike these made-up terms) more than Mexican. It is a fun place though.
For a more casual and fun alternative to Frontera, try Zocalo. It is in River North close to Nacional 27. Best margarita IMHO. Get the tacos de casuela (make your own, comes in a huge platter with 3 meats and fix-ins), or the calamari/shrimp fajita. Loud loud music on weekends starting at 11.
Good AND cheap Mexican food is not readily available in the GC/RN area. It's abundant in other neighborhoods that aren't that far a commute from there but within that specific locale you can have good OR cheap, just not both at the same time.
Go to "chicago restaurant menus" and click onto Gold Coast, River North, or Old Town and then click on to Mexican and see what turns up. All these locales are a 5-minute cab ride from each other. Heart of Gold Coast right on Viagra Triangle is Blue Agave and it's really cheap but it's not that good. Edible though. Maybe one step up from Chipotle.