Every time we are back in Chicago we are in the mood for tacos! We take music classes on Armitage, so when we are in the area we usually stop at El Azteca aka Taqueria Azteca Poncitlan (4158 W Armitage Ave.) for some tacos. A caveat: there are about 4 different signs indicating different names for this place some say Taqueria Poncitlan, others say El Azteca. Our hunch is El Azteca moved into the space formerly occupied by Poncitlan (the sign says it has been there since 1987), and didn’t change the main sign… but who knows! You’ll know when you are there. The inside is cute, if a little cheesy – with brightly painted carved tables and chairs and carved wall art.
The menu is predictably large- with the an array of tacos, tortas, enchiladas, gorditas, burritos, platters – as well as a full array of breakfasts and substantial chicken or beef platters. We are fans of the guacamole ($5.50) and chips, and have been known to split the giant Parilla Zamora Mixta ($16.99) a sizzling platter of peppers, onions, rice, beans, tortillas, chicken beast and skirt steak. For a “lighter” meal, our go-to order is al pastor tacos ($2.25), which are carved off a trompo, though the last time we were there the trompo was not rolling. The al pastor has a nice char, and even pieces of pineapple (a requisite). As a bonus, the tacos are completely overstuffed with meat – two usually is enough to fill us up.
Another plus, they also have a liquor license and double as a place to get an after work beer or margarita. If you are looking for another kind of pick-me-up they have a tasty Cafe de Olla, Mexican Coffee with cinnamon and sugar served in traditional Olla clay plot. The coffee is served in adorable terracotta cups with a cookie on the side, and is a perfect pick me up. They also have awesome horchata and aguas frecas. El Azteca is everything we like in a classic Chicago taqueria: good selection, nice al pastor tacos, fair prices and big portions. While we have seen mixed reviews of the service – the staff has always been super friendly to us. If you find yourself on the West side with a hankering for tacos, give Azteca try!