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Best Tacos in America: Chicago is Home to Five of Top 50

 Big Star's al pastor taco was named of the nation's top 50 tacos by The Daily Meal.
Big Star's al pastor taco was named of the nation's top 50 tacos by The Daily Meal.
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Big Star

CHICAGO — Chicago is home to some of the country's best beer bars, was named the nation's best food city and claims the world's best restaurant. But let's talk tacos.

Foodie website The Daily Meal says our town has five of the country's best tacos. In fact, by sheer volume, Chicago has the second-most best tacos in the land, to Austin's eight.

“Tacos are a food that inspires fierce loyalty. Ask someone in Texas (Austin, in particular) where the country’s best tacos are and they’ll tell you’ve found it. But head to Los Angeles and you’ll meet people convinced that there’s nothing better than a perfectly fried fish taco. And you know what? They’ll both be right,” said Dan Myers, editor of The Daily Meal.

The Daily Meal surveyed more than 200 food writers and "taco authorities" about their favorite tacos from brick-and-mortar joints - excluding food trucks ("that's a ranking for another day," the magazine said.). The magazine's editors also included tacos mentioned in "best of" lists from around the country.

In the end, a list of more than 150 tacos from taquerías on the East and West coasts, the Midwest, Southwest and Texas was pared down to the final 50.

The birria tatemada taco from Birrieria Zaragoza, 4852 S. Pulaski Road, in Archer Heights was the highest-ranked taco in Chicago, coming in at No. 10 nationally. The Daily Meal said the recipe for the goat-meat taco is 100 years old.

Maxwell Street Market's La Paz's Quesadilla taco was ranked 12th, saying it will "leave you wishing you’d ordered two more, and little room to try anything" else at the market. The La Paz stand is open Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Wicker Park, the al pastor taco at Big Star, 1531 N. Damen Ave., came in at No. 15. "Astoundingly delicious," is how the site put it, recommending the restaurant's margarita to wash it down.

The arabes taco from Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill, 445 N. Clark St., followed at 16. It features pork shoulder, chipotle salsa and jocoque, a type of Mexican yogurt.

Ranked No. 47, the shrimp taco at La Lagartija Taqueria, 132 S. Ashland Ave., is the city's final representative on the list. The "succulent" taco "might just make you think you’ve been teleported to Mexico."

The country's best taco?

That belongs to La Taquería in San Francisco, which serves the delectable carnitas taco.

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