Chilam Balam review image

Chilam Balam

$$$$(773) 296-6901

Chilam Balam is a fun little basement room where you’ll be packed together with other people, all eating shareable Mexican food. The menu shifts regularly, but think ceviches, moles, empanadas, and cuts of meat, all with a unique take. Oh, did we mention it’s BYOB? It’s BYOB, though there are some restrictions: you can bring one bottle of wine or six-pack per couple, or one 750ml bottle of tequila. Yes, the only type of liquor you can bring is tequila because Chilam Balam apparently never had a terrible night as a sophomore in college.

It’s a great spot for a date, and you may even be able to impress said date by providing the translation of the name Chilam Balam, “book of the jaguar priest.” Will your date believe you? Who knows, but as long as you get some of the smashed potato salad with brussels sprouts and chorizo on the table, it will be brushed under the table. Because chorizo cures all ailments. (Except for heart disease - it probably doesn’t cure that.)

So bust out the booze you have lying at home, bring some cash (it’s a cash-only spot), and head out to Lincoln Park to eat quality Mexican small plates.

Food Rundown


Have you ever gone to a Mexican restaurant and not immediately ordered the guacamole after sitting down? Don’t break that streak now.

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Smashed Potato Salad

Our favorite thing on the menu, when it’s available. This tastes incredible. You may want to get two orders, just to prevent serious fighting over the last bites of this.

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Mahi-Mahi Ceviche

If raw fish is your thing, absolutely get this. Even if it isn’t, you should get this. Some sort of ceviche can be expected.

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Mushroom Empanadas

Shiitake mushroom empanadas with a little Wisconsin cheese and salsa verde. Sharing empanadas is a good way to make friends, and we’re into this veggie version.

Grilled Pork Ribs

A huge stack of damn good ribs. We know you’ll order this because you’ll see it on someone else’s table and think to yourself that you want a huge stack of damn good ribs on your table. And you’d be correct. Good thinking, your brain.

Chilam Balam review image


Looks good and tastes good too. Order anything that catches your eye.

Chilam Balam review image

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