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Aug 24, 2010 12:09 PM

need an alternative to frontera grill

hi folks.
my sister has decided to throw an impromptu bachelorette weekend for our other sister. in chicago. so i'm in charge of dinner reservations.

the bride to be loves mexican food so i figured i'd give frontera grill a shot. no dice. booked up.

and then the chow creative juices kind of crashed. we aren't in a place to take everyone to topolobampo (not that they'd have a table either)...what other mexican restaurants would be a celebratory time for 5 women (including my mom....i know, i know)? we're not looking to dance on tables, just great food in a great environment.


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  1. I don't quite understand why you were in a position to go to Frontera Grill but are not in a position to go to Topolobampo...? I went to Topolobampo and it was the best Mexican food I've ever had. They do take walk-ins there and if the wait is an hour plus, just walk around the Magnificent Mile for a bit.

    Frontera Grill
    445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

    445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    2 Replies
    1. re: Rich D.

      >> I don't quite understand why you were in a position to go to Frontera Grill but are not in a position to go to Topolobampo...? I went to Topolobampo and it was the best Mexican food I've ever had.

      Perhaps because Topolobampo is significantly more expensive. Or, perhaps because Topolobampo books up the entire room with reservations, and is typically booked 2-3 months in advance for dinner.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        My mistake!!!!! I mixed up Topolobampo and Frontera grill! I apologize profusely.

        445 N Clark St., Chicago, IL 60610

    2. Salpicon is in Old Town not too far from Frontera Grill and the downtown hotel district, and has excellent Mexican food. You can make a reservation at

      Another excellent creative Mexican place just a couple miles west of Frontera is Mexique, in West Town. Again, reserve on

      Are you willing to travel several miles from the downtown hotel district? If so, consider Mixteco Grill on the North Side, not far from the Montrose stop on the CTA Brown Line. Great food. Reservations strongly recommended, accepted only by phone.

      Another excellent place is Mundial Cocina Mestiza in Pilsen on the South Side, near the 18th Street stop on the CTA Orange Line. The food is great but it's not quite as festive (i.e. LOUD) as the others. Great food. Reservations only by phone.

      All of these places are excellent and you shouldn't feel let down by going to any of them instead of Frontera Grill.

      1. There are quite a few very decent Mexican places along the lines you seem to be looking for.

        From experience, I would suggest:
        Mixteco Grill
        Sol De Mexico
        Mexique (Mexican / French "fusion")

        Mundial Cocina Mestiza (Mexican / French "fusion") I still have yet to get here, but I don't think I've ever heard anything approaching bad about this one

        Mundial Cocina Mestiza
        1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

        Mixteco Grill
        1601 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

        1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

        7 Replies
        1. re: gordeaux

          You should be aware that Sol de Mexico is very far from downtown and inconvenient by public transportation. (I wasn't impressed by the food there, either, although the menu makes it *sound* good.)

          1. re: gordeaux

            Second (or, I guess third) for Mexique and Mundial!.

            I am less wholeheartedly enthusiastic about Mixteco Grill. It's a converted coffee shop and noisy and I didn't love the food all that much. I know I'm in the minority here, but it might be fun for a bachelorette party.

            Mixteco Grill
            1601 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60613

            1529 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

            1. re: chicgail

              Different strokes.

              I'm in the minority about Salpicon. I've tried three times because I know every place can have off nights. Each time, the food was just kinda blah. Nothing popped out as interesting or good. They are obviously doing something right tho.

              1. re: gordeaux

                Actually, I agree with you about Salpicon as well. It's not on my rotation and I'm always surprised to see it recommended.

            2. re: gordeaux

              For what it's worth, I had a lousy meal at Mundial a couple years back.

              1. re: gordeaux

                Sol de Mexico is at the very top of the list when it comes to quality Mexican restaurants in Chicago. If it were in any other location only the Bayless restaurants would rival it. Depending upon where you're coming from, I wouldn't discount it because of "distance." It's easy to reach by major expressway. Salpicion is excellent, as well - and is in the Old Town neighborhood. I don't think Mixteco is worthy of such a visit. Have a wonderful time!

                1. re: gomexico

                  Sol de Mexico is at the very bottom of the list when it comes to my opinions of creative Mexican restaurants. I was really looking forward to going there when I saw their menu, which sounded great. But while the menu is appealing (such as with its variety of moles), I found that the execution was not there, and the food was thoroughly disappointing, from the appetizers through the entrees and hard, tart, unripe mangos topping the natillas for dessert. The inconvenient geographical location is merely beside the point. I have thoroughly enjoyed my meals at Mundial Cocina Mestiza, Mixteco Grill, Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Salpicon, Amelia's, Flamingo's (now closed), Salsa 17, Yolo, Fonda del Mar (now Don Diablo), Lupita's, and Fuego, and I was a bit less thrilled with Chilam Balam and Rustico Grill (now closed). I would put Sol de Mexico below ALL of these.

              2. many thanks all! i'll send my sister links to mexique and mudial and see what she says.

                i wish xoco were open on sunday (or frontera for that matter!). that would be a great lunch choice for the group...

                1. I like Mercadito better than Frontera and it's right around the corner. More hip and modern feeling. Food is great, and it is fun to share.

                  108 W. Kinzie, Chicago, IL 60610

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jasonkc99

                    I consider Mercadito a bar that just happens, as an afterthought, to serve food ... to the people who go there to drink. I've been very disappointed by the quality of the food at Mercadito and don't think it's in the same category as the Bayless places. Chipotle probably serves better Mexican-style food than Mercadito, IMO.