Chicago loves putting restaurants in alleys. Maybe because (unlike New York, where garbage is proudly displayed on the street) we just have so many of them. Bar Sotano is a cocktail bar in the alley behind Frontera Grill, and it’s owned by the same team. So it’s not surprising that the Mexican food here is great. The menu has a mix of bar snacks (like habanero-glazed fried chicken bites), plus entrees like a burger and a wagyu steak with pureed sunchoke. Which is probably one of the best steaks you’ll have the chance to eat in an alley.
More spots in River NorthSee more
Slurping Turtle is a respectable Japanese restaurant in River North. It's never going to be great, but you can count on it for certain situations in this part of town.
We wanted to hate it, but we can’t. RPM Steak can hang with the Chicago steakhouse classics any day.
The Smith is a chain restaurant from New York. It’s a good place to get together when food isn’t the most important aspect of the night.
More Mexican spotsSee more
El Mariachi Tequila Bar & Grill
El Mariachi is a Mexican restaurant in Lakeview with a bottomless brunch.
La Josie is a lively modern Mexican restaurant in the West Loop with a huge selection of tequila and great tacos.
Carnitas Uruapan is a casual Mexican restaurant in Gage Park that specializes in carnitas
Suggested by our writers
Frontera Grill is the most famous Mexican restaurant in Chicago. It’s a classic spot that’s doing excellent food in a casual sit-down place.
Beatnik is a restaurant and cocktail lounge in West Town serving average food in a beautiful environment.
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