Chicago >Food & Dining > El Mariachi
3829 N Broadway, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061341.952112 -87.649514
Neighborhoods: North Side, Lakeview
Best guacamole I've ever had! – I've never liked Mexican food before (I'm a total wimp when it comes to spicy food), so when my fiance and I checked out El Mariachi I thought I'd have to scour the menu to find food I might like. This place blew me away. First off, the decor is beautiful. A variety of nicely done paintings in various styles adorn the walls and set a nice atmosphere. The windows to the front are open-air which is nice for summer atmosphere, although also a disadvantage if people are outside smoking. The ceiling in the side room is beautifully done with clouded sky design and very pleasing to the eye. Regarding food and drink, my fiance had a margarita and I had a passion fruit mojito. My fiance said his margarita was average - not bad, not exceptional, but overall a good margarita. My mojito was great with just the right amount of mint and enough alcohol that you could taste it, but not enough to be overpowering. Last time I had a mojito that good, I was at La Bodeguita del Madeio in Havana, Cuba. Perfect mojito.
The guacamole was prepared fresh table-side. They ask you if you prefer mild, medium, or hot and you can choose what goes into it. As I mentioned, I am a wimp when it comes to spice but decided to try it medium. It had no bite at first, but gave you some spice just after you ate it. It was just enough to give it a little zing, and tasted as fresh as it was made. Just a great guacamole. I live near the restaurant and will probably be going back if for no other reason than to have that. Honestly, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Service was fabulous and prompt. Everyone was friendly. The meal was paced exactly right and the staff always made sure you had refills on water or anything else you wanted.
One thing stopped me from giving them 5 stars: the woman who prepares the guacamole table-side had a tip jar on her cart. She does a great job, but I think that's pretty tacky.
Let's be honest--they've come a long way! – The bad reviews are all pretty old. The switch to the newer, MUCH larger restaurant brought with it some challenges--the kitchen, managers, and wait staff were not used to the sheer volume that they were bringing in, and the first few months (ok--maybe year) were tough.
BUT...things have improved dramatically. The carne asada is amazing, particularly if you get it suizas style. The sopa azteca is to die for, and you can't miss the spicy tequila shrimp.
Occasionally, some things have gone wrong (as they sometimes do in a restaurant) and the staff goes out of their way to make things better. The door people *could* be a little more knowledgeable, and more courteous to the guests, but something tells me when I've had an issue here they were "upgraded" from a busboy that night because someone called in sick.
Go--give it another shot--and try to sit in the back patio. It's gorgeous.
Authentic Mexican Food, Fast, Cozy, Best Customer Service, Amazing – I went to El Mariachi for a friends birthday party about 5 years ago and now I am a regular customer and they know me by name. I just LOVE their food, but most of all I love their service. The employees, waitstaff and cooks are all so personable. Their margaritas are great!!!!!!!!!!!! They make them PERFECT everytime. What I love about this restaurant is it's authenticity and culture of Mexico. It is AUTHENTIC Mexican food made once I order it, its not prepared & sitting like other Mexican restaurants that I have been to. The carna asade dinner, chimichangas, tacos, tostadas, chips & salsa are WONDERFUL. The also have a wonderful Vegetarian Menu, which is extremely rare. My best friend is a vegetarian & I LOVE Mexican food & El Mariachi is perfect for both of us. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this restaurant & don't be fooled if you see people waiting for a table, the staff is great & there is room in the rear of the restaurant & perfect for couples. ENJOY
terrible customer service – I've wanted to check out El Mariachi since they reopened in their new space. A small group of us went this weekend and were definitely happy with the food. The problem was with the margaritas. Since we were all drinking, we ordered a pitcher of premium margs for $33 a pitcher. Not a bad price -- but after two pitchers, none of us hardly had a buzz. It tasted like there was one shot of premium tequila in the pitcher. But the bigger problem came when we went to refill the glasses ourselves from the second pitcher (the server filled them initially) and saw that the entire mouth of the pitcher was chipped and cracked with jagged edges. When we brought this to the attention of our server, she sent over the manager -- and instead of offering to take the pitcher off our bill (since it was 3/4 empty -- based on the server filling it up), he offered a round of tequila shots, which we didn't want. Our server then returned with a fresh pitcher, which we gladly accepted -- until we tasted it. The pitcher of margaritas was essentially a pitcher of sour mix -- and it was obvious they hadn't put in any tequila. At that point, we just got the bill, paid and left. I wanted to say something, but my friends said we should just leave and go to Las Mananitas for a good pitcher of margs, which we did. This place is lame -- sure the food is decent, but the customer service was terrible.
BEST MEXICAN FOOD IV"E EVER HAD – This place was gorgeous....Outstanding decor.... It was 6 of us in our party and we all enjoyed our first visit to El Mariachi. the enchiladas, fajitas, carne asada, and combinations were all great. The food was both delicious and very presentable. We were celebrating my friends birthday and were surprised at the end of our meal when half of their staff came out singing happy birthday with a flaming flan. Very enjoyable experience. Will definitely be back again.
3.5 stars would have been more accurate, but, I'll round up – It's a great addition to this neighborhood and I would expect your wait time to remain lengthy until more decent restaurants move to uptown. We ate early on a Saturday - 6:15 - and were seated immediately. By the time we left - 7:30 - the place was full. Even though there were 6 of us, it took too long to get our food. However, while waiting, we continuously had full drinks whether it be water, soda, margarita's, sangria, beer, etc. The chips were good though greasy and the salsas really fresh. Every chicken and steak dish served was delicious but I unfortunately ordered the shrimp tacos which were a huge mistake. To put it kindly, they were gross. All and all - I'm not complaining because this is a welcome neighborhood addition though I would plan at least a 1 hour meal, avoid the shrimp, and loosen your belt if you plan on eating the chips. P.S. The garden patio will be AWESOME once it opens!!!
Not worth the wait for the big move up the street – Living in the neighborhood, we walked by the new space for over a year before El Mariachi finally moved up the street. And we were VERY anxious -- we need more restaurants in this area. So -- you can see it coming, can't you? -- we were really disappointed when we finally got to try the place. The decor is fine, music's a bit loud, but the staff was wonderful. Unfortunately, that was it. The margaritas were boring (I could have made better at home, and that's a sad commentary), and the food -- well, it was awful. It's like a parody of every bad Americanized Mexican meal you've ever had. I had a mixed platter (to sample things), and not one thing on the plate was good -- I left most of it. I hate to say it, but we've had better frozen entrees from Trader Joe's. Ironically, the salsas were wonderful -- how can a kitchen that produces such great salsa also turn out such terrible food? We deserve better (heck, the rest of their very hard-working staff deserves better!) -- can somebody please find a decent chef for their kitchen?
Best Mexican Food in Chicago – Since moving from New Mexico, I have yet to discover a better Mexican Restuarant. The staff is friendly, the salsa hot and the food is incredible. The chile rellanos are the best I've had in a long time. The combo plates will stuff you silly. The staff always seems very happy to see us...even w/ a three yr old. Try the guac.
Dig into traditional Mexican and sip potent margaritas at this longtime Broadway local favorite. – In Short
Regulars head for tables on the bright, art-filled non-smoking side of the restaurant (the other dining room is more sparsely decorated and not as lively). Chips and salsa are a highlight--especially when it comes to the milder, smoky-tasting chipotle salsa. The menu offers traditional Mexican dishes--burritos, tacos, enchiladas--along with stellar seafood plates like camarones al mojo de ajo, packed with chunks of garlic atop grilled in-the-shell shrimp. Another fave: juicy, plump carne asada.
Hole in the Wall!!!!! – This is your typical hole in the wall Mexican restaurant, that just happens to be the best one on the North side. The Margaritas and Guacamole are very good to start, the meals are awesome. You have to try a Chimichanga. There are a lot of combo plates so you can try a lot of different things. One thing to remember, bring your appetite.
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