Tucked away in a strip mall in the Uptown neighbourhood of Chicago is a little gem of a taquería. La Ciudad opened just last December, and has already been garnering rave reviews on user sites like Yelp and Urban Spoon. I stumbled upon the Yelp reviews quite by accident, but the consensus was that the food was amazing, and it’s around the corner from where I’m staying. Plus, I needed a near guaranteed sure thing after being very disappointed by the Oyster Fest I checked out earlier that day.
First up was the complimentary chips and salsas. From the first bite, I could tell they’d made the chips in house, which was confirmed by my friendly server. The salsa roja was nice, if a bit watery, but the verde was excellent. It had a much more robust flavour profile and just the right amount of heat. Sadly, I couldn’t have much of the huge platter of ceviche, as it’s packed with shrimp (which wasn’t specified on the menu). But the few bites I got of tilapia were delicious. The combination of the spices, acids, tomatoes and avocadoes was a delight. Perfectly balanced.
For the mains, I went a la carte and ordered the chicken taco and the beef tostada. I do wish I’d had the taco first, as I think it suffered in comparison to the tostada. The meat was a little dry and underseasoned, which was surprising, considering the other dishes I tried. However, I added some of the salsa verde to it, and it was all good. Now, the tostada. Good grief, that was delicious. The finely cubed bits of marinated beef were bursting with sabor, and played real nice with the refried beans and queso fresco. Now, you know I’m a fan of crunch, so I think that also factored into my heavy preference for the tostada.
I capped of the meal with a generous slice of La Ciudad’s tres leches cake. What more can I say about a sponge cake soaked in heavy cream, evaporated and condensed milks? I actually didn’t think I’d be able to finish the large slab. I was wrong. It was, of course, very sweet, but so light it went down like it was half its size. The staff have invited me back to try their flan, and I do believe I’ll take them up on that.