Review: La Tacorea, best Korean taco in Chicago

Resident Foodies say: We stumbled on a new Korean taco restaurant called La Tacorea in Chicago, on Belmont (x Clark, near the Belmont stop) in Lakeview, which just opened up last week.

The clever name alludes to the fusion of Mexican and Korean flavors, which the restaurant describes as “muy yum.” Of course, the Korean taco has been around for some time, popularized in LA and moving around the country. Chicago has a few places that serve Korean tacos, or a fusion of Mexican and Korean flavors.

But we were pleasantly surprised by La Tacorea. It was amazing, even better than Del Seoul, which is commonly thought to have the best Korean taco in Chicago.

So what did we like so much? The flavors. The lightly spiced honey soy chicken taco is close to perfection. It is served with rice on a soft tortilla, with your choice of lettuce, cilantro, onions, cheese, and other fixings. And don’t forget the special Chipotle sauce in the yellow bottle–it has a kick! The taco is a “jumbo taco,” with generous portions for an unbelievable price of $4.25. That’s a steal. The menu is simple in a good way. You can get Korean bulgogi, Korean kalbi, shrimp, and tofu tacos. Plus, each of the above dishes comes in a burrito or a bowl version, similar to the pick-and-choose, made to order approach of Chipotle.

Showing its true Korean expertise, La Tacorea also offers mandu, bibimbap, and kimchi in a jar. We love this place.

New Review: Belly Shack in Chicago, Executive Chef Bill Kim

Executive chef: Bill Kim, co-owner with wife Yvonne Cadiz-Kim

Location: 1912 N. Western, Chicago, IL 60647 (under Western blueline stop) (Map)

Phone: 773.252.1414

Website: Yelp reviews: click

Resident Foodies say: Fantastic Korean-Latin fusion! Chef Bill Kim and wife co-owner, Yvonne Cadiz-Kim, opened a new restaurant on October 20, 2009, right underneath the blue line Western El stop. The Shack follows their acclaimed Urban Belly restaurant. We sampled: (1) quinoa ssam (lettuce wrap) with Korean chili paste, Bibb lettuce, and apples, (2) the boricua sandwich (fried plantains, marinated tofu, organic brown rice, spinach), (3) Korean BBQ kogi with pita and kimchi, and (4) kimchi.

Put simply, Chef Kim is killing it with these amazing fusion dishes. The ssam and BBQ kogi have unmistakable and authentic Korean flavors–yet they are transformed in wonderful modern fusion dishes. The ssam or lettuce wraps were so refreshing, and the portabello inside so tasty, that it brought a smile to our faces. The BBQ kogi was sweet, and, when coupled with kimchi inside a pita, made for the yummiest of Korean-influenced concoctions. Finally, the boricua sandwich used fried plaintains to create a mouth watering, vegetarian sandwich with tofu, rice, and spinach inside. Belly Shack may well turn out to be our favorite new opening in Chicago this year!