Chicago >Food & Dining > El Barco
1035 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6062241.900712 -87.667272
Neighborhoods: Wicker Park, West Side
Look up at this West Town Mexican spot and you'll see endless bottles of tequila and plastic fish mounted to the wall. Look down at your plate and you'll see a bounty of colors, from fiery red peppers, fresh green guac, green beans, orange rice and more. Garlic shrimp fajitas, steak tacos and the whole roasted fish are standouts...that is if you make it past margaritas as big as your head.
Great seafood, cooked like you were in Mexico – This place was recomended by out Mexican friends. Authentic! We went to Frontera Grill for Lunch which was so so, but were blown away with this place. Hard to get in and we saw why. If you like fish, and want to try it Mexican style come here. We had the snapper for two and got way way too much food. It was delicious, along with the plentiful key limes. My partner is from Mexico, and loved the place.
Not a fancy place, but if you like good food, come here. If you want pretentious, try Frontera.
Very good for very little – First off, to address some of the negative comments. This is in a less than glitzy neighborhood. It may be billed as Wicker Park it may be billed as West Town - in any case it is a stretch of Ashland south of Division where few Lincoln Sqaure/ Park types venture. If you are uncomfortable when your whiteness does not grant you entry into majority status than you will likely be a little on edge. Silly, but fine with me as this place is always packed and for good reason - the food and the insanely low prices. Pitchers of margerita go for 8 dolllars, a Mahi Mahi fajita - 11 dollars! The fish is incredibly fresh and the veggies are as well. If you think that Mexican food is about tortias please go away, if you expect chipper little waitresses who attend to your every whim then pay more for some cheese covered dish at any of a plethera of eateries in any of the Lincolns - you will find many many white people there that will be far friendlier than the diverse group of Wicker Park natives who have discovered this gem!
decent food, beyond TERRIBLE SERVICE – El Barco has alright food but its really the place for you if...
If you don't mind having your food thrown in front of you without any kind of courtesy
If you don't mind the waitress never coming by and asking you if you need anything
If you don't mind the waitress caring so little about you she just drops the straw for your coke (that took her 30 minutes to bring out) right in your food and just walking away
If you don't mind your waitress just standing there talking on her cell phone instead of helping any one of her totally disgruntled patrons
If you don't mind your waitress standing there and eating when you've been waiting forever for your own food
If you don't mind waiting 15 minutes for the waitress to bring you a tiny 8 oz cup of water and never refilling it
If you don't mind the waitress never saying "Please" or "Thank you" or "You're welcome"
If you don't mind being served one basket of tortillas and never being asked if you want more
If you don't mind them giving you four tiny, measly tortillas when you are supposed to get a whole container full
If you don't mind them not having any red snapper (the dish they're known for) and being told so with a series of grunts and head shaking and pointing
Basically I'm really starting to think they are biased against white people. I mean excuse me for coming in and trying to eat some food at your resturant!
And I'm not some naggy old woman or anything. I'm just a dude who gets along with most people.
To give you a clearer idea of my disappointment take this into consideration.
I've never in my life tipped under 15% and that was for pretty bad servce.
I left about a 4% tip and that's only because I cannot bring myself to leave nothing.
Though I wish I would have.
Good food, Great atmosphere – Food is good, service is great and the sangria is superb. Expect some wating time before you get seated because the place is always busy (same thing with parking).
The restaurant is very casual. I would not bring my first date to this place unless he/she is very easy going. Good restaurant for bringing family or a large group of friends.
Huge Portions – El Barco has become my absolute favorite Mexican restaurant! My husband dand I have visited many, many times. I usually order the chicken fajitas and ALWAYS have leftovers, enough to get 2 additional meals out of it. I took my parents for Father's Day and my dad loved it. He got the Deep Fried Red Snapper. The Red Snapper was huge. The amount of food you get at El Barco is always plentiful. The prices are great, making El Barco the best value around.
Seafood and Mexican – I took my mom here with a party of 8 and let me tell you, it did not take long to get seated (on a Saturday night) and the food was beyond good and authentic. The whole fish platters, the shrimp salads ( and not that store bought shrimp, the real thing), the margaritas, oh those margaritas. Glasses were sooo big and when it came down to sing happy birtjday, the waitresses decided to bring my mom a margarita in a 3 foot long glass. My mom turned 60 and was very pleased, you will not regret this one. Can't way to go again....
Great Mexican Seafood! – This place is a hidden treasure! Great Mexican seafood. The place is small, but if there is a line, it is worth the wait!
Best Mexican Style Seafood! – Being Mexican, I might say its the best place where I can get Mexican style seafood. I love their "caldos". Place is just a little small however the service is great. I will make sure I will return!
Hot waitresses! – Hot waitresses, great food. I wish the place was bigger, but overall this is a great place to eat. I will be back!
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