Carmela’s Taqueria Has Some Darn Tasty Al Pastor

Hey folks, sorry I’ve been MIA for a bit, been occupied with things offline. Let’s dig in.

Carmela's Taqueria sign

At one point in my life, I worked in Uptown and at one particular time, had mad cravings for Mexican food. I ate at Fiesta Mexicana and thought it was all fluff. On another day, I wandered into Carmela’s Tacqueria and it was awesome.

Carmela's Taqueria store front

Located on Lawrence, just west of Broadway street sits this wonderful place.


Inside, it is small and cozy with petite tables and chairs.


According to yelp, Carmela’s Taqueria used to be named Uptown Taqueria. There’s another Uptown Taqueria location at Sheridan and Bryn Mawr. In its past, the interior was more grungy and it was definitely more hole-in-the-wall-ish. Now, it is clean and named Carmela’s Taqueria.


Here’s the entire menu. It’s quite affordable and you could have a full meal for under $10. Midtown Lunch would be proud.

Al pastor spit

They have a huge chunk of al pastor rotating in a spit. If you order al pastor, they cut it off the roast and cook it on the flat griddle. Apparently, they’re known for their al pastor (roast pork).

Al pastor torta

On this particular visit, I wanted a sandwich so I ordered the al pastor torta to go. They griddled the bread and while it was warming up, al pastor was sliced off the spit and cooked. After asking what fillings I wanted, they filled the torta up and wrap it for me to take back to work.

Al pastor torta zoom

Along with the al pastor was avocado, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and I think some mayo. A simple, yet delicious torta (sandwich). I may have missed other fillings as I was eating too quickly to stop for a break.

Al pastor tacos w rice and beans combo

On another visit, I saw a sign saying they had a $5 special. In it, you get 2 tacos, rice and beans. Of course I ordered this as I was really hungry that day and asked for al pastor tacos in my combo. Make sure you receive sauce and lime wedges as they’ll sometimes forget limes in your order. The tacos received chopped tomatoes, onions, cilantro and shredded lettuce as their toppings. The al pastor was delicious, especially with a squeeze of lime on top and some sauce on the side. The rice and beans were okay too.

I really hope to drop by Carmela’s sometime soon since I haven’t had a good taco in a long time. Perhaps you’ll eat a taco in my name, yes? 🙂

Carmela’s Taqueria
1206 W Lawrence Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 275-5321

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6 Responses to Carmela’s Taqueria Has Some Darn Tasty Al Pastor

  1. Betty says:

    Ooh! I see they have lengua, which is one of my favorites next to pastor. Also intriguing is “cabeza” which if it is what I think it means, I’m totally going to try that! Gringa sounds fun too. Hmm… maybe I should have tacos for dinner…

    • eatfoodnao says:

      I heard you went to Carmela’s! So excited!

      • Betty says:

        Yup! Had the gringa cabeza which wasn’t what I’d hoped it to be, which would be meat off a head (in my mind I thought it would be like headcheese or succulent braised meat). The gringa turned out to be a taco with a flour tortilla instead of the usual corn, and griddled a bit with your choice of meat (I chose lengua) and had cheese. It reminded me of a tiny quesadilla. I don’t know where “cabeza” comes into play but then again, I don’t know Spanish. I’ll have to ask one of my Mexican friends about this…

      • eatfoodnao says:

        Wow, so complicated. Hmmm, so like a meaty quesadilla! This requires follow up visits, lol.

  2. pj christie says:

    Wowza that looks delicious!

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