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Evanston’s Best Mexican Food
January 27, 2023
It is a testament to the quality of Mexican cuisine that it can survive and thrive in Evanston, Illinois, about two thousand miles away from its point of origin. It’s the most popular food in Illinois, and Evanston plays no small part in making that happen. There are so many great options, from Tomate Fresh Kitchen to Comida, it was difficult to choose only the three best from the city. As voted by the students, here are the top three Mexican restaurants in Evanston.
Winner: The Supreme Burrito #1
Ten years ago, The Supreme Burrito #1 opened its doors to the public. Since then, it has become an ETHS swim team tradition to stop by the restaurant for a late dinner after a home meet. With not a single home competition on the schedule for the first month and a half this season, it seemed the tradition had to wait. But after a hard-fought victory against Highland Park, I craved one thing and one thing only: a King Ground Beef Burrito from Supreme. Nothing was going to stop me from having one.
Following an anticipatory bus ride down I-94 back to our stomping ground, a group consisting of me and three of my teammates prepared ourselves for a mile-long walk down Dodge Avenue in freezing winter weather. We lacked the proper attire for this journey, having no coats nor closed-toed shoes. The valley of the shadow of death may have lied between me and my King Ground Beef Burrito, but I was determined. Broken, starving and disheartened, the four of us trudged through the barren landscape. We were down to our final leg by the time the restaurant entered our line of sight. Had it been any further, I’m not sure we would have made it there alive.
Stepping inside the restaurant was a reprieve from our suffering—the very first breath of fresh air after a close encounter with drowning. The scent of freshly cooked tacos, burritos, tortas and tostadas enveloped the dining room with a homelike familiarity. It is that very familiarity that, in my opinion, makes Supreme Burrito what it is. You can always count on Supreme Burrito to satiate your hunger in exactly the way you want it to, and yet, it never becomes repetitive. Truly, the dictionary definition of comfort food. And the best part, it’s ready before you can even sit down.
As my eyes graced my meal, I recalled back to a time a few months before, when I had Supreme with a member of the swim team who has since graduated. They used to brag that they were able to finish a King Burrito in seven minutes, flat. But after having gone through what I had that day, I bet I could do it in five. So, without any further ado, I got down to business. As I took my first bite, A concoction of flavors threw a party for my palate. And trust me, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, spicy and even umami—they were all invited. Soft and gooey inside and out, the burrito made me feel like royalty—maybe that’s why it’s called the King Ground Beef Burrito.
Within mere seconds (a new personal best, might I add) my burrito was gone. While the realization it was finished was undoubtedly a moment of anguish, I needn’t fret, for Supreme Burrito’s presence in my future is an absolute certainty. To put it bluntly, it’s the arms I want to come back to after my toughest days. Supreme Burrito, you have given me the best ten years of my life, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Runner-Up: Taco Diablo
A mouth-watering taco shell with a crunchy texture, crispy chicken, fresh cabbage and carrots, and the tangy flavor of a special aioli sauce. All these flavors come together to make a vibrant, flavorful ensemble that compares to no other. While there are many fabulous Mexican restaurants in Evanston, people have very strong opinions on which is the best.
Sophomore Signe Harris thinks Taco Diablo is the best restaurant in this category. She describes it as a place where
“The service is great and their food is always fresh and tastes good.” When asked what her favorite dish from Taco Diablo is, she states, “I love everything from Taco Diablo, but I think my favorite are the tacos and chips and guacamole.”
While Harris has strong beliefs about her favorite Taco Diablo dish, others have varied opinions on this topic. Lucy Consiglio and Raya Mae, two seniors at ETHS, share their love for the Evanston restaurant exclaiming,
“Yes! We love Taco Diablo!”
When asked what their favorite dish was, Consiglio said, “The carnitas tacos are really good.” Raya explained that her favorite was the Al Pastor tacos. Already, the tacos seem to be a pretty big hit for Taco Diablo!
As I searched the halls for more opinions on the subject, another person added that their favorite dish at Taco Diablo was the three tacos that come with rice and beans of their choice. Turns out, Taco Diablo had a reason for putting ‘Taco’ in their restaurant name!
Their variety of tacos is extraordinary with its crispy chicken, steak, fish, shrimp and vegetarian options, and even a vegan option taco isn’t the only thing Taco Diablo executes remarkably. They also serve tortas, enchiladas, salads and, of course, their scrumdiddlyumptious churros and flan.
With its dim and eerie atmosphere, Taco Diablo is a memorable restaurant not just because of its fantastic food, but also its unique ambiance. The restaurant is embellished with art that fits their theme of devils, otherwise known as diablos. There’s no doubt that many restaurants in Evanston are exquisite, and each one is different, but some restaurants just take the cake! Or should I say churro?
Third Place: La Principal
No matter the time of year, a cold Mexican Coca-Cola, fresh chips and guacamole, followed by tacos, and finished off with churros sounds appealing to everyone.
Located at 700 Main St., you can find just this. One of Evanston residents’ favorite places to eat is La Principal, where you can order amazing Mexican cuisine, from tacos and tortas to tamales. Upon entering, you are greeted by a kind host ready to show you to your seat, where you’ll find a menu full of options– there’s something for everyone with their vegetarian options on the menu and many fish and meat entrees as well.
“I love La Principal for its environment, the welcoming staff, and of course the food. The traditional tacos are some of the best you’ll find in the area. They also have quite an inclusive menu that includes options for vegetarian eaters as well. I also appreciate the pricing, for the quality of food you get it is very reasonable,” says junior Sofia Harper.
My experience with La Principal was a great one. After sitting down for an early dinner and ordering chips and guac, I watched the restaurant fill with conversation and hungry people–groups of friends and families, eager to sit down and enjoy delicious food. I admired the colorful art and decor throughout the restaurant and enjoyed hearing the volume increase as those around me cracked jokes and connected through stories.
When it was time to order the main course, the diversity of the menu made it so difficult to decide what to ask for. As a pescatarian, there were several options that I hadn’t tried before. Their Baja Fish taco is one of the best I’ve ever had; the sweet mango complimented the crispy fish and made for an outstanding flavor.
And of course, the meat options on the menu are phenomenal too, according to Harper.
“I feel you can never go wrong with their food, but my go-to order would have to be Chicken Tinga taco and the Carnitas taco,” Harper shares. “La Principal’s Chicken Tinga is my favorite around, the flavor is spot on and I love pairing it with their sauces.”