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Zapatista (CLOSED)

Restaurants, Vegan Near South Side
1 out of 5 stars
 (Photograph: Martha Williams)
Photograph: Martha WilliamsZocalo

It’s not entirely clear what Zapatista, which recently added this location, the third restaurant in its aggressively growing empire, is going for, but it sure as hell doesn’t seem like Mexican food. Food from Mexico is marked by the contrast of rich, slow-cooked meats and bolts of fresh chiles and lime juice; it inhabits an easy—easy-looking, that is—complexity that other world cuisines struggle to match. The food at Zapatista exhibits none of these traits. Mexico, and anybody who loves the food there, should take offense.

Here, there are burritos, and they come with french fries, a crime not even Chipotle dares commit. And cochinita pibil, a perfect dish when done correctly, is yanked in two directions, one upscale circa 1998 (the dry pork has been stuffed in a ring mold and plated on top of its sauce), the other tiredly downscale (the entire thing is, without explanation, covered in what are essentially Potato Stix).

Ceviche is mushy and, remarkably, tastes as if it were made without lime. A chocolate tamale has the texture of a chocolate cake mixed with sand. To add insult to injury, service is slow and inattentive, meaning that you’re not only unable to get more water when you want it, or order your entrée—you also are forced to sit there while you try to pay your bill and leave.


Venue name: Zapatista (CLOSED)
Address: 1307 S Wabash Ave

Cross street: between 13th and 14th Sts
Opening hours: Brunch (Sat, Sun), lunch, dinner
Transport: El stop: Green, Orange, Red to Roosevelt. Bus: 1, 3, 4, 12, 18, 29, 62, 146.
Price: Average main course: $14
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