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“A Young Vibrant Restaurant”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Mercadito

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Ranked #244 of 9,494 Restaurants in Chicago
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Mexican, Latin, Central American, South American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Bar scene, Large groups
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Brunch, Dinner, Delivery, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Near North Side
Cross street: Kinzie between N Clark and N La Salle
Transit: Merchandise Mart stops Purple and Brown Line and 156 Bus LaSalle.
Level Contributor
185 reviews
128 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“A Young Vibrant Restaurant”
Reviewed February 7, 2014 via mobile

We went to Mercadito in Chicago for dinner with a group of business associates recently. I like the atmosphere and the youthfulness of the crowd...I'm sure that I was the most elderly of the diners there! The food is really interesting...we ordered the complete dinners which are served sort of "family" style. It consisted of three dips and chips and flatbreads. Four types of tacos plus a couple of other courses and desserts. It really was very good and after eating you won't walk out feeling like you've eaten far too much...it was just right. Give it a try, it is certainly something different and a pleasant, youthful experience.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank Piquarick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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448 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
39 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Great place”
Reviewed February 6, 2014

We at here for restaurant week and couldn't finish all the courses. The tacos are overflowing and filling (even though they look small). The only thing that wasn't pleasant was the seating. At the front of the restaurant they have short tables and chairs. I'm 5,7" and my knees touched the top of the table. It made for a very uncomfortable dining experience. If you go, make a reservation at the back of the restaurant and request "normal" chairs.

Visited February 2014
Thank widget_99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Miami, Florida
Level Contributor
101 reviews
82 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Going downhill”
Reviewed January 25, 2014

We've been to Mercadito several times and we've always been impressed. This time, we ordered off the Restaurant Week menu and were disappointed in unexpected ways. Our biggest complaint was how unbelievably rushed we felt. We showed up for our reservation embarrassingly early (we changed our minds about the long walk because of the extreme cold and arrived by taxi instead) and got seated right away because it was quite early in the evening. We felt rushed ordering cocktails, felt rushed about deciding on our food order, and once we ordered, it was as though the food was all slammed on our table at once. We were warned that the food "comes out of the kitchen when it's ready" and of course, we're used to that at many ethnic restaurants. But we ended up with 3 courses on our table at one time-- and there wasn't even enough room on the table for all of the plates. It was pretty ridiculous-- and uncomfortable.

With the notable exception of the tacos, the food isn't quite what it was the previous times we've been here. The mahi-mahi ceviche was almost a bit... dry. Both the mahi-mahi and shrimp ceviches were practically flavorless, something that I've rarely had an issue with at good restaurants. The rice casserole, which we've swooned over in previous visits was totally "meh" this visit.

We were also disappointed with the drinks. We've tried a number of their margaritas in the past and ordered our favorite (pepina/cucumber). The flavor was still refreshing, but it was as though they completely forgot the tequila. I thought perhaps that the problem was that we had a "restaurant week" discount, but when my husband ordered another at the full-freight rate, it was just as weak as the first two we ordered.

On the plus side:
1. The service is nothing if not attentive. They have more than enough staff to make sure your water glass is never empty and that an empty plate never lingers on your table.
2. The tacos are absolutely incredible. Order ALL of the tacos-- or at least as many as your belly can hold. The balance of flavors and textures is exquisite. There is a lot of good Mexican food in Chicago, but I can't think of better tacos than those that are served here.
3. This is also a vegetarian-friendly place. If someone in your group is vegan or vegetarian, they will eat at least as well as everyone else, and have lots of options to choose from.
4. The cocktail menu is varied and creative, and we've enjoyed the flavors of the various margaritas we've tried.
5. The decor might be my favorite of any restaurant in Chicago. The entire place is visually arresting. The beautiful photos you see online can't do it justice.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank SusanMochnacs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
18 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Mexican Night out!”
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Came here for dinner on New Years Day because it was one of the only places open. A friend told me about this place so I decided to try it out. It was great. Service was great, atompshere was great. The food was delicious and very satisfying.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank shtefaaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
60 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Good but beware of Hobbit tables!”
Reviewed January 6, 2014 via mobile

Very busy place...particularly on weekends. We had a late reservation and the line was still spilling out the door. They seated us about 20 minutes after our reservation time. Well, they tried to seat us. My husband and I are both over 6-feet. The section in the front of the restaurant has a number of VERY short tables which is where they first sat us. The table next to us even remarked that they could barely fit and were all under 5'8". We lasted about 2 minutes and then asked to be reseated. Before we were seated at the Hobbit table, we had seen at least 2-3 other couples of "normal" height seated at "normal" tables. They lose points for lack of observational skills. When we did get reseated at a normal table we were able to enjoy our meal. Our waiter was excellent and really knew the menu. Would certainly go back for a number of the dishes including the pork belly tacos and bread pudding dessert. Heaven! Don't go if you are hoping for a quiet, intimate evening - music is loud and tables very close together.

1 Thank Rachel N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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