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“Best Mexican outside the city”
Review of Hot Tamales

Hot Tamales
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Ranked #29 of 109 Restaurants in Highland Park
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Mexican
Restaurant details
Reviewed May 29, 2014

The food and drinks are great. The service can be slowed as the restaurant gets busy which happens at the usual times. During these times the waiters can be rushed. The room is a bit cramped. They don't accept reservations so at high tide there is quite a wait and customers often often leave rather than endure it. The atmosphere is pretty good and the food is the best Mexican north of Skokie. Frankly there are few suburban restaurants that I enjoy and this is one of them.

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Thank Richard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (39)
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27 - 31 of 39 reviews

Reviewed November 29, 2013

There may be more authentic family places around, but Hot Tamales is consistently at the top with respect to good food and good service. The outdoor seating is also very nice in the summer. You can order a range of food, including creatively prepared fish and salads. Hot Tamales is everything that Casa del Isaac isn't. . . with great food, nice people and good service.

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Thank drdave99999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 11, 2013

We ended up at Tamales because our regular Mexican restaurant in Highland Park (La Casa de Isaac and Moishe) was closed on Saturday. We are INCREDIBLY happy we did because Tamales is just as good as La Casa, if not better. In fact, from my experience eating at a range of Mexican restaurants, this is probably the best Mexican restaurant in the North Shore of Chicago. Here's why:

FOOD/DRINK: Outstanding. All items were prepared using a nice blend of spices and flavors making them a joy to eat. We particularly liked the namesake tamales (they offer a range of unique flavors including pumpkin and shrimp) and the pollo espinaco (grilled chicken breast with portabello mushrooms, spinach, and cheese and served with a delicious poblano pepper cream sauce). I also sampled the enchiladas (you have a choice of meats and toppings--I had the mole topping and it was delicious) and the tortilla salad. Both of these dishes were excellent as well, and all vegetables were incredibly fresh, while portion sizes were VERY large. The one complaint here is that the margaritas (while fairly tasty) were served in regular glasses and not margarita or cocktail glasses of any kind.

SERVICE: Excellent. One member of our group had very particular allergies (onions, garlic, and red and green peppers), which are very hard to accommodate at a Mexican restaurant, of course. We called in advance, however, and the manager assured us that he would PERSONALLY see to it that this member was well-taken-cared-of and satisfied and even offered to start cooking something in advance of our arrival so that we wouldn't have to wait for his special order if he needed one. He WAS well taken care of, as were all members of our group.

VALUE: Very good. Main courses are about $15-$20 before tax, while tamales are about $5 each and margaritas range form $7 to $10. Chips and salsa are included for free with the meal. In the North Shore, this is a very good value for the high quality of the food and service that you get here.


I highly recommend you try Tamales! The menu is big enough that you can come back again and again to taste everything they have to offer. That is exactly what I hope to do...

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Thank globe-trotter_2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2013 via mobile

We've been to Hot Tamales several times and the food is plentiful and consistently good. When it's busy the service gets a little slow and the restaurant a little noisy - not unexpected but not good if you're in a hurry or wanting to talk to others at your table. If you pick the right times to go this is a restaurant worth trying out.

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Thank dgcrawf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Tamales is a little hole in the wall with great food and great, friendly service. I love their chimichangas and their margaritas are the best. On the weekends, I usually try to get their a little early to beat the rush because there can be line. The expanded outdoor seating in the summer makes it a little easier to get a seat.

Thank Terry M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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