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Dec 9, 2010 09:08 AM

Best Hole in the Wall Mexican for a Burrito

Hole in the wall mexican places always seem to have the best I am looking for the best hole in the wall mexican place to get a great burrito and some good salsa. I LOVE spicy so nothing is too hot for me! Usually get carne asada, pollo or carnitas. Thanks!

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  1. In my experience, I favor carne asada cooked over open flame, and not chopped up and sauteed in a pile on a griddle.
    My favorite places for fire grilled Carne Asada in order of preference:
    1. Las Asadas on Western Avenue
    2. Taqueria El Asadero on Montrose
    3. Tierra Caliente on Ashland
    4. La Pasadita on Ashland

    For pollo, I favor Ino's Tacos in Oak Park on Roosevelt Road, and then second place would be Taqueria El Asadero again.

    Carnitas - I'm not big on carnitas. I like it, but someone else might be more knowledgeable on the subject of which joints are great. We do have several spots that specialize in carnitas - I have not been to any of them. If I want carnitas, I usually just buy it by the lb at a Mexican market. Good luck finding what you like! There are opinions about good taquerias from just about everybody, and there are 100's of taquerias. IMHO, most of them are total garbage, and sling out the same old tired drunk food slop, but the joints for steak above are putting out mouthwatering grilled skirt steak.

    Is there a certain area you are targeting?

    Taqueria El Asadero
    2213 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

    Ino's Taco
    7100 Roosevelt Rd, Oak Park, IL 60304

    9 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Carne Asada burritos are my favorite and I agree that it does taste better over an open flame. That is how I cook it when I make it. I am not very familiar with the areas of Chicago. I moved to DeKalb back in August from California. I am staying at a hotel across from Grant Park later this month and I wanted to stop by on my way home to get something to eat. To be honest I really don't want to venture into any of the bad areas of town. And I don't really know what part of the city Grant Park is in so I would like to go to one of the places that is in that area if possible. I know I should know more about Chicago by now but I am still learning and exploring. Thank you for your suggestions. Sounds like you really know what you are talking about!

      1. re: crystalrae

        None of those gordeaux named are in "bad areas of town," but neither are any of them are near (or at least walking distance from) Grant Park which is between the shore of Lake Michigan and South Michigan Avenue. I don't know of any good taco or burrito places in that neighborhood, but others may.

        And I LOVE Las Asadas.

        1. re: chicgail

          Ya we are driving so I am going to see where Las Asadas is compared to our hotel and swing by there and get a burrito or something. Out here in DeKalb there is NO good mexican food and NO hole in the wall burrito places. So I got to get my fix while I am in the city!!

          1. re: chicgail

            I want to make sure I go to the right it on Western at West Charleston Street??

            1. re: crystalrae

              That's it. Hole in the wall awesome carne asadas burritos. Maybe I'll see you there. It's where I get my fix sometimes. In fact my mouth is watering as I think about it.

          2. re: crystalrae

            Well, I'll tell you this to maybe narrow down where you wanna go from the list I threw at you:

            Las Asadas doesn't have carnitas. They have great steak, just ok chicken, and really decent barbacoa (if you like fatty meat.) Their salsa will not wow you as far as being complex. It's made by hand, and the heat level varies depending on the peppers. I've had it both insanely scorching hot and also as little more than green salty, tangy liquid with no real heat. If you do go, ask them if they have salsa negra hidden behind the counter somewhere. Also, in my experience, the salsa in the to go containers can be hotter than the table salsa, so if the table salsa is weak, ask for a to go cup.

            Taqueria El Asadero rocks. They do many things very well. I've had top notch steak, chicken, al pastor there, but I've never tried their carnitas- not sure if they have it, but I would guess that they would. Usually have a fiery salsa verde, not sure if they have a chile de arbol or a fresh pico de gallo for you. Been a while since I've been, but whenever I'm hungry and in the area, it's tops on my list.

            Tierra Caliente is the holiest in the walliest, and it is fierce. It's a little counter with stools, and a few tables in the back of a grocery store. If you want a hole in the wall that pumps out killer grub, this is a great bet. They do really good carne asada, absolutely KILLER al pastor, carnitas, and they have a few specials for tacos daily - perhaps birria or carnitas, who knows what they'll have if you go. Hopefully the counter will have a bowl of grilled salted jalapenos for you to munch on. Just remember it's a total dive. I love dives. I frequent dives. I prefer dives. So when I tell you it's a dive, it's REALLY a dive. It's on 1400 N Ashland. If you've never had good al pastor, you really should try theirs.

            La Pasadita is an old standby. It's not bad, but I like these other places better. If you choose La Pasadita, go to the one on the EAST side of the street (there are three of them all really close, two on the west side of the street, and one on the east. Go to the East side one - remember, the lake is always east!)

            Also, you'll get different recs for a good steak burrito a mile long. I'm telling you, if you want ffire grilled skirt steak, these are some of the EXTREMELY few places that cook it that way. I don't get carne asada at the places that chop the meat up and throw it on a griddle - waste of time. If you go to some other place and get chewy, gristly, garbage, mystery steak from a griddle, don't blame me.

            Taqueria El Asadero
            2213 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

            1. re: gordeaux

              For a carne asada burrito and plenty of character, I prefer the lunch counter inside the Guanajuato #3 grocery store at California and Belmont. I've tried all four places mentioned by gordeaux and still prefer Guanajuato for carne asada burritos. It's not quite the dive that Tierra Caliente is (friendlier service, appears a small bit cleaner), but has just as much local flavor. I've never had the pollo, but the carnitas are solid. Gotta go before 3pm, I'd say, to ensure that your food is freshly made.

              My last visit to Pasadita wasn't any good. I think it's too inconsistent. I really like Tierra Caliente, but it seems they rarely have everything. I didn't get pastor on either of my last two visits, and carne asada was reheated in a microwave. Plus, I find the service to be pretty poor - - good luck getting a table cleared. I live close to Asadero and think they do a pretty good job. I hate that the salsa is so inconsistent and at several dollars more than a burrito at Guanajuato, I'm more likely to go to Guanajuato. I've only been to Asadas once, and it was before the move across the street - - I thought it was pretty good, though.

              Bottom line - - there are many good choices and it's all about preferences. None of gordeaux's selections are bad choices, and in many cities each would be the best Mexican food around.

              1. re: RChicago

                RChicago offers another solid choice. I've never been, but I'm well aware of that place, it's just never been the right time for me to stop in. RChicago also makes an EXCELLENT point about timing. All of these places have ebbs and flows of business, and they will sometimes hold the carne asada if there is a decent amount leftover after a rush. To absolutely ensure you will get fresh off the grill meat, you need to go at a peak rush time. - generally lunch. I've had steallar steak at all times of the day from all of these places, but for best bet, go during the lunch rush when the meat is going straight from the grill to the chopping block to a tortilla.

                As for service at TIerra Caliente, yeah, it's an absolute DIVE. But, the guys behind the counter are usually a riot. If you know some Spanglish, you'll be fine.

                RChicago, you're making me want to make a special trip to Guanajuato now! I'll have to do a taco crawl one day, and pick five or so places and get a taco at each one. Although, we should also all know that since the cows are no cloned and fed the same diet, and harvested at the same time, that there are some days where the taqueria just has a chewy set of skirt steak. So one day, Asada's might be the greatest in the world, and Asadero might have chewy stuff, but another day, Asadero might have succulent, ultra tender stuff while asadas has some gristle going on. Nature of the beast, and you can't expect ultra superb meat for the prices they are charging. When you get the good stuff though, WOW is it worth it!

          3. re: gordeaux

            Yep, gordeaux is spot on!!!! Las Asadas and Taqueria El Asadero are tops in the city for steak and chicken tacos and burritos, really tough to beat. I like La Pasadita Express on West Irving Park Rd better than the original locations on Ashland general, the quality control with all of the La Pasadita taquerias is poor at best!!! I've complained to the owners and managers on a number of occasions. They don't seem to care, so I will always go out of my way for Taqueria El Asadero and Las Asadas!!
            Also, there's a great steak taco cart at the Maxwell St. Market located on DesPlaines...darn, can't remember the name. They sell quite a few....maybe 2000 to 3000 a day.

            Taqueria El Asadero
            2213 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618