No visit to Chicago is complete without a stop at my all-time favorite restaurant Estrella Negra. Not only does it have some of best Latin cuisine I've ever consumed, but its Day-0f-the-Dead décor and artsy vibe give it extra cool points that are even more amplified by the fact that the place is BYOB. Marked only by a red awning and a sign with a colorful skull surrounded by roses, it may be easy to miss ~ but trust me, you'll be disappointed if you do.
To start, you can't go wrong with the El Mundo Gucamole ($7 USD). They top it off with fresh fruit depending on the season ~ like a kick of fresh mango in the summer or pomegranate seeds when it starts to get chilly. Proceed with caution though... you don't want to spoil your appetite for the deliciousness that follows!
With a jam-packed menu, it can be hard to narrow down what you want ~ tamales? brunch? tostadas? enchiladas?! But whatever entrée you decide on will come with a complimentary starter, so at least you know that you'll get to sample a few flavors if you're having trouble choosing just one item. For me, the El Borracho Pozole is a no-brainer. The spicy chicken soup is beautifully balanced with creamy avocado and a hint of lime.
While I've heard great things about everything from the enchiladas to the tamales, the Black Bean Tacos ($9 USD)were the hot item to try on my most recent trip to Estrella. They weren't good enough to make me second guess my ride-or-die dish, but this veggie delight scored highly for its mix of ooey-gooey cheddar cheese and goat cheese crumbles.
And that brings me to the best thing on the entire menu in the entire world: Three Cheese Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Empanadas ($10 USD).If you're a spinach and artichoke fan, you can just thank me later. These are doughy little pockets of perfection that leave your mouth happy with every single bite. Need. These. Now...
Estrella Negra is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:00 am to 9:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:00am to 11:00pm and Sunday from 11:00am to 9:00pm. 2346 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647, (773) 227 5993.