photo credit: Christina Slaton


Frontera Grill


River North

$$$$Perfect For:Classic EstablishmentDate NightEating At The BarPrivate Dining


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Frontera Grill is famous. This Mexican restaurant has been in River North since 1987, it’s the basis for a whole line of products you can buy at the grocery store, and is the first restaurant in Rick Bayless’ empire. And even though it’s way past the point of “hot and new” it’s still a good option if you’re looking for Mexican food in the neighborhood.

Frontera’s menu has things like guacamole, tacos, enchiladas, carne asada, and moles - which are all done very well. The moles are rich and complex, handmade tortillas are chewy, and something as simple as a queso fundido might make you question all other queso fundidos you’ve had before.

This restaurant is always full of a mixture of neighborhood locals and tourists who look like they read about Rick Bayless on Trip Advisor. But that doesn’t mean this place is a bad experience. The brightly colored space is casual, the service is always friendly, and they have a cute sidewalk patio,

Food Rundown

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Duh. And as delicious as they may be, don’t fill up on chips.
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Tortillas dipped in black bean sauce with chorizo, roasted tomatillo salsa, crema, and fresh cheese. The black bean sauce and chorizo really shine through, and this is a great small bite to share.
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Tacos Al Carbon Trio

Why order one style taco when you get try three. You’ll think one meat has to be better than the other, but then you’ll realize they’re all incredible - skirt steak, chicken breast, and duck. It comes with a generous portion of guacamole, roasted poblano peppers, grilled onions, and grilled shoshito peppers so you can load it all up in fresh made tortillas. This is a large dish best for sharing.
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Dúo De Flanes

Mexican vanilla flan and line and ginger flan with blueberry compote and candied ginger. A light classic dessert with a bit of a twist.
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Fried Sweet Plantains

You’re going to want a side of these.

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Suggested Reading

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Xoco is a casual Mexican spot in River North. It’s a good move for an easy meal.

Cruz Blanca Cervecería & Taqueria image

Cruz Blanca is a combination of a casual taco spot and a brewpub that's good for an easy meal and hanging out.

Irazu image

Irazu is a laid-back Costa Rican restaurant with an excellent patio and a BYOB policy.

Leña Brava image

Leña Brava is a nicer and cool Mexican restaurant in the West Loop.

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