El Tinajon serves up Guatemalan specialties, and if you've never had Guatemalan cuisine, you won't regret trying it here. Delicious tamales, burritos, chile rellenos, tostadas and tacos keep good company with less familiar dishes like pepian antigueno
(Mayan chicken stew with potatoes and green beans) and tostaditas con salpicon
(beef marinated with onions, mint leaves and lime juice on corn tortilla chips).
Vegetarians (and non-vegetarians alike) will delight in the selection of six vegetarian combination platters. You order by number here, so take our advice and try the No. 3 (Carne Stilo Tinajon) or No. V1 (Platillo Vegetariano) at least once.
One warning about the salsa served with the free basket of chips: It's incredibly addictive, and perhaps the best in Chicago. The drink menu includes such tantalizing options as rosa jamaica, horchata, hot plantain atole and Guatemalan Famosa beer.
If you're strolling through Roscoe Village on a Saturday or Sunday, then stop in here for brunch. You'll have a choice of traditional breakfast fare alongside exotic offerings like the Mayan Princess, whose sauteed potatoes and simmered black beans will make you feel royal indeed.
The establishment is friendly to patrons of all ages, and families with young children seem to love the joint. But be warned that Friday and Saturday nights can be very busy, and small crowds have been known to form in the almost nonexistent waiting area. Catering and carryout are available.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Abigail Derecho