Translating to "my namesake" in Spanish, Mi Tocaya is a term of endearment that chef Diana Dávila has bestowed upon her neighborhood Mexican restaurant in Logan Square. Dávila recreates childhood memories through her food, offering guests a lineup of soul-warming dishes like duck carnitas and fish in mole rojo. The guac, which is dusted with chile ash, is still on the menu, and a slate of cocktails rounds out the mix (the Ancestral Old Fashioned is brilliantly balanced and truly unique).
The following review was published in 2017.
Plenty of new Mexican restaurants have set up shop in Chicago over the last couple of years, but Mi Tocaya in Logan Square is one to watch. Upon opening the menu at this buzzy, modern eatery, your eyes will go straight to the tacos (and you should order a few of those), but the antojos section is where you’ll find chef Diana Dávila’s best work, like the timeless fish con mole and the lobster-studded esquites.
Start with an order of the house guacamole, which is showered in smoky chile ash and served with a generous helping of warm tortilla chips. The peanut butter y lengua appetizer—braised beef tongue with peanut butter salsa, pickled onions and grilled radish—is another crowd pleaser for first-timers and adventurous eaters alike. (Even if you're not a huge tongue fan, we recommend giving this dish a go.)
A table of four hungry diners should be satisfied with three to four shareable antojos. Just know that you won't find typical Mexican-American cuisine on Dávila’s menu, save for a steak burrito and those aforementioned tacos. Instead, lean on your server to talk you into dishes inspired by the chef's childhood. The tuetano con sabores de caldo, for instance, includes roasted bone marrow that's studded with hunks of tender short rib and stewed vegetables. All that goodness is scraped onto a tender but hefty housemade tortilla. It's the kind of dish that truly allows you to taste how much love Dávila pours into her food.
You can't go wrong with a round of Modelos for the table, but the reposado margaritas (which can be ordered by the pitcher) go down easy on the patio on a hot summer day. No meal is complete without an order of dense, milk-soaked tres leches cake from Kristoffer's Cafe & Bakery in Pilsen.
Atmosphere: Chef Davila makes this place feel like home with an extra special twist of controlled chaos and color in her vibrant Mexican kitchen.
What to eat: Order a few tacos for the table before digging into the antojos section, which is populated with fascinating bites that tell of the chef's favorite culinary memories.
What to drink: Margaritas rule the roost with a draft and stirred option.
Where to sit: The space is quaint and cozy, so it’s likely you won’t have a choice in the matter. On a warm day, the patio is perfect, but you can’t beat the hustle and bustle happening inside.