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Chicago Restaurants

Frontera

  • 445 N. Clark St. Map It
  • River North
  • Mexican
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 06/11/2013

Fodor's Review

Devotees of chef-owner Rick Bayless queue up for the bold flavors of his distinct fare at this casual restaurant brightly trimmed in Mexican folk art. The menu changes monthly, but you can count on the freshest ingredients and options that include several varieties of guacamole, seafood, and ceviche, smaller "street food" options like soft or crispy tacos, and a variety of main courses typified by dishes like trout in cilantro sauce, red chili–marinated pork, and black-bean tamales filled with goat cheese. Bayless visits Mexico annually, updating his his already extensive knowledge of regional food and cooking techniques, and he frequently takes his staff with him, ensuring that even the servers have an encyclopedic knowledge about the food. There are a limited number of reservations available, but most seats are first-come, first-serve—expect a wait.

Restaurant Information

Address:

445 N. Clark St., Chicago, Illinois, 60654, United States

Map It

Phone:

312-661–1434

Restaurant Details:

  • Credit cards accepted
  • Closed Sun. and Mon.

Updated 06/11/2013

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating

By maghols

  • Décor

  • Food

  • Service

  • Value

Sep 20, 2009

Our favorite Chicago restaurant

Or really, maybe our favorite restaurant anywhere. We first dined at Topolobombo, which was amazing, but our budget and our somewhat more casual tastes mesh better with Frontera Grill. Have been many, many times (including my bachelorette party), and have never been disappointed. Yes there is a wait, but that is part of the experience.

  • Food

  • Décor

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  • Value

Sep 18, 2009

Worth the wait!

Never thought after 8 o'clock on a weeknight (after the theater diners had already left) there'd be a 90 minute wait to be seated, but it was good! We had the pork empanadas to tide us over while we waited at the bar. Dinner was the garlic and cilantro shrimp and the chipotle steak. The sauce on the steak was fantastic and the shrimp were also very tasty. The server was either tired, bored, or needs to find a new job because he wasn't personable,

interested, or enthusiastic about serving us or recommending selections. A lot more expensive than your standard Mexican restaurants but a lot more inventive menu and variety.

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By rollo

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Service

  • Value

Aug 6, 2009

Repeat Diner

Having been to Mexico many times, we are always disappointed with Mexican restaurants in the USA. Frontera Grill is excellent Mexican food. We had the Mexico City style quesodillas, entree was the salmon and we had a very good wine from Spain. The service was good on our visit last week-end. The food was excellent!

  • Food

  • Décor

  • Service

  • Value

Apr 5, 2007

Poor Service, Lack of Atmosphere make for a bad experience

This was not a first visit for me at this well-known establishment, but may well be the last. The bar area has a better ambience and a more jolly atmosphere than the main dining area which is cramped and uninviting. If it was not for the art, the dining area would have no ambience at all. I could expand upon this point, but that's not what prompted me to write this review. One can always make excuses for service, but on this occasion there was no

excuse. The service was appalling, possibly the worst I have experienced in a long while from an inattentive wait staff that, quite frankly, could have cared less. Perhaps Rick Bayless should spend less time spinning his take on organic food prep and authentic recipes and take the time to discover the fundamentals of running a restaurant where service is a key element of good business.

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