13 Great Birria Tacos In Chicago
photo credit: Kim Kovacik
With roots in Tijuana and Jalisco, the traditional slow-roasted birria de res dish has been reimagined into quesabirria tacos. These tacos manage to be all things all at once: crispy, juicy, and cheesy. And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s also the consomé made from the stewed meat that becomes a dip for the cheesy tacos. Whether it’s the cheesiness or the crunchiness that’s calling you, check out this list of our favorite spots for quesabirria tacos in the city.
If Xocome Antojeria in Archer Heights were a movie, then the protagonist would be the unbelievable masa, the base for the restaurant’s incredible tlacoyos, picaditas, enchiladas, and giant quesadillas. Of course, this also goes for their outstanding quesabirria tacos, which is made with juicy slow-roasted beef and handmade tortillas.
They reel you right in at Birrieria Zaragoza with the sight of a carving station and tortillas being pressed to order when you walk in the door. This Archer Heights restaurant specializes in goat birria served up Jalisco-style, an oven-based steaming method that creates tender meat that basically melts in your mouth. Grab a single quesabirria taco for $5.75, or a combo with two tacos and a side of brothy consomé and pickled vegetables for $15.50.
Great birria is everywhere. Taco trucks, food halls, and even (pause for dramatic effect)—gas stations. And that’s where you’ll find El Tragón Taqueria, a small Lincoln Park restaurant that shares a parking lot with a Mobil. There are lots of hits here, like their bistec taco and chilaquiles, but getting quesabirria with every visit is rule number one of our El Tragón Handbook. The tortilla is griddled perfectly with just enough crispiness to complement the buttery braised beef and molten cheese. The consomé is rich and flavorful without being too oily—you’ll be tempted to take shots of it, and you definitely should.
This casual Mexican spot in Humboldt Park specializes in birria, and it’s incredible. The braised meat comes with a flavorful red consomé, and some incredibly pliable handmade tortillas. And we especially appreciate these tortillas when used to build the delicious quesabirria. Each taco has a wonderful balance of juicy goat and cheese, and the tortillas can withstand repeated dunkings in the broth without disintegrating. And while it has nothing to do with the food, we also really appreciate their giant parking lot.
If La Luna’s bright orange exterior isn’t enough to catch your attention, the food here definitely will. This fun Mexican restaurant in Pilsen serves delicious enchiladas, flautas, and carne asada—but we’re here specifically to talk about their quesabirra. An order comes with three tacos that are stuffed full of shredded beef, lined with wonderfully caramelized cheese, and weigh about five pounds each. Plus, they’re served with a large order of consomé that you’ll want to eat with a spoon—which they thoughtfully provide.
Taco Boom has two locations—a food truck parked at 47th & Keating, and a recently opened brick and mortar space in Lincoln Square. Whichever you decide to visit, you can count on eating some wonderful variations of birria tacos. Like the quesabirria, which is served almost like a quesadilla and filled with beef and melted cheese, and comes with a consomé that has a great amount of spicy heat. There’s also a birria pizzadilla: A double-decker quesabirria that’s topped with a layer of caramelized panela cheese. And if you ever find yourself hungover (or just in the mood for something cheesy and delicious), it will definitely save you.
After a fire closed their Pilsen restaurant in 2020, and a short stint serving tacos in a food hall, Jarabe is now operating out of a much larger and permanent location in Little Italy. But you’ll still find wine and cream-colored heirloom corn lining the counter, which is used to make masa for their hand-pressed tortillas. The quesabirria tacos are rich, and their pico de gallo adds a brightly flavored crunch. Do yourself a favor and grab a cucumber agua fresca while you’re here, too. You’ll be happy you did.
Tata’s Tacos in Portage Park describes their au-jus consomé as “down and dirty,” and that’s how you’ll probably look after eating them. Tata’s sears their tortillas in the consomé, which gives the tacos an extra flavor boost. Order the “Tijuana”—three shredded birria tacos for $16. In addition to the cheesy birria, they offer at least a dozen types of tacos, including The Tux, a seared scallop and ribeye taco, and the Jibarito which is served on a plantain tortilla.
A lively restaurant in Gage Park, you’ll know you’re in the right place when you smell white onions on the grill as soon as you walk in. Those onions give El Asador’s quesabirria tacos the crunch that you want to go with a side of rich consomé. Their beef quesabirria is a new offering and can be ordered at both their 47th and 51st location. You can get the three or four taco quesabirria dinner—it comes with rice and beans, along with a side of cilantro, onion, and the consomé.
Some are new to this, but Birrieria Ocotlan is true to this. They’ve been serving birria (and now quesabirria tacos) since 1978. It’s a family recipe, and they like to keep things traditional with choices including beef and goat tacos. A “Combo Quesatacos″ includes three quesabirria tacos, beans, rice, a pop (yes, pop, not soda), and of course, a side of consomé.
Tacotlan in Hermosa really does birria, and they have a whole separate menu to prove it. That menu includes birria ramen, and even bizza (birria pizza), but we only have eyes for the quesabirria. This one of the first restaurants to introduce quesabirria to Chicago, and the proof is in the delicious taco. Theirs oozes chihuahua cheese, and if the tacos weren’t great enough, the side of consomé could be a dish by itself. You can get individual tacos for $4.25, or an order of three for $13.50. We'll be back for the ramen. And the bizza.
With a cilantro and onion-loaded au jus that tastes good enough to drink, it’s no wonder Birrieria El Texcal is a favorite in Albany Park. Birria options include two goat or lamb quesabirrias on either corn or flour tortillas, and each comes with rice and beans. The birria is buttery from hours of slow roasting, and these hefty tacos are full of meat. Stop by, or call in your order early—they open at 10am.
Things we love that are orange? Tang, the Reddit logo (no, it’s not red—look again), and the tacos at Quesabirria Jalisco in Pilsen. They’re orange by virtue of being doused in chili-laden consomé, layered with cheese, packed with juicy beef birria (or chicken, or shrimp), and perfectly crisped up on the grill. The tacos come with salsas, including a creamy and spicy “bussin sauce” that also happens to be orange. But our allegiance is to the combination of birria topped with the wonderfully spicy salsa verde that cuts through the richness. Like its menu, the counter-service space is small—there are only four tables, so unless you get lucky, plan on placing your order to go.