That Little Mexican Cafe probably isn't the most authentic Mexican joint in Evanston, but it's got to be the most creative. Though it isn't so little since it moved from Sherman Avenue to Church Street in 2004, don't be surprised if you have to wait for a table, which isn't a problem if you've got a margarita in hand.
The cafe's motto is "Friends don't let friends drink cheap margaritas," so belly up to the bar. And, when the weather cooperates, take it outside to the patio with a basket of chips and salsa. Both the atmosphere and the food are as festive as a pinata.
In terms of the solid foods (not that the two-page list of tequilas isn't worth discussing), expect a nice balance of traditional and inventive cuisine and be prepared for pretty sizeable portions. For starters, go with nachos, stuffed jalapenos or crab cakes with a chipotle dressing; guacamole, prepared tableside, is required (or at least it should be). In terms of entrees, you'll find all of your favorite Mexican specialties: enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, tacos and tamales (all of which are homemade and served with beans and rice). The chefs stir things up every few months with a new list of specials, featuring items you wouldn't expect to find, like ahi tuna fajitas and sweet potato flautas.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Natalie Goldstein