Chicago >Topolobampo Frontera Grill
“We were seated 15 minutes late from our reservation time, but once we sat down, the ambiance was great, so we thought we were in for a wonderful experience.”
“The waiter told us that the "dining experience" would take 2 hours, which was fine, but in hour 3 after we'd had horrible food, we asked the busboy to tell our waiter that we'd like the final course (dessert) to go.”
“The service was great and sitting at the bar, we got a glimpse of Rick Bayless, but I just wish the food matched the hype.”
“That along with outstanding food and an ever changing wine list it makes this place hard to beat.”
“eat at a variety of Mexican restaurants on a fairly regular basis including a very upscale restaurant in Lakeview (Agava - always a great meal for about the same price as Frontera).”
“We ordered an assortment of starters and entrees including ceviche and everything flat out sucked-- sorry, but that is the best way to express our absolute dislike with this place.”
“would definitely go back and always highly recommend both establishments to anyone who travels to Chicago.”
“The worst service we've had in a long time, and we dine out a lot.”
“We all loved the food, thought portions were perfect (didn't feel like we needed to be rolled out the door).”
“The worst service we've had in a long time, and we dine out a lot.”
Droolingly delicious, this restaurant was made famous by Rick Bayless' passion for fine Mexican cuisine. Committed to the environment as well as their customers, this restaurant is truly focused on bringing fresh healthy foods forward in a sustainable fashion and is a member of Chicago's Guaranteed Green Restaurant Coalition.
All Mexican food is not created equal, and I think Rick Bayless has proven that across the globe.
Rick Bayless's high end temple of Mexican cuisine. Worth every penny.
Chicago's quintessential upscale Mex spot. Make your reservation weeks in advance (really!), sip a Topolo margarita, and order extra guac.
Fantastic!. We were a little nervous about Mexican food in Chicago since we were coming from Texas, but made a reservation at Topolobampo at the recommendation of a friend. We were amazed! The food was incredible and the members of the waitstaff were very attentive. Highly recommended.
We went for a birthday celebration. We knew on a Saturday night it would be crowded and we would have to wait. We understood. At 8:30pm we thought a 2 hour wait to be a bit long but OK. Did that mean that since they close at 10:30 we wouldn't be able to eat?
We got drinks. What a disappointment! I get better house margaritas at my casual Mexican restaurant in Lincoln Park.
Within 10 minutes we had not one but two tables secured in the bar area. Why such the long wait then? Service was slow. Maybe that is the reason for the 2 hour wait.
I would not recommend the guacamole. It had no taste. The second round of drinks weren't any better. A shame since even with a bad first drink, the second usually tastes a little better.
When it came to the food it was just not right. I eat at a variety of Mexican restaurants on a fairly regular basis including a very upscale restaurant in Lakeview (Agava - always a great meal for about the same price as Frontera).
The meat was so OVER seasoned all I could taste was the seasonings. OK, maybe the chef's style but for what we were paying for the "organic" beef I would have hoped that we could cut it with a steak knife but unfortunately we couldn't. I don't know why since it wasn't tough but it wouldn't cut.
All 3 of us were very disappointed in our dinners, drinks and service. With SO many great places to eat in Chicago why does this place get all the raves?
I never need to go back.
Getting in for lunch.... While Frontera Grill can get packed quickly, you can often wander in and get seated (and eat) at either the bar or right alongside the kitchen where there are maybe six bar-stools -- not only do you not have to wait, but you get to see the busy kitchen in action.
Save your money and your time. Wow. This was a total disappointment. We waited more than two hours for food. The bar is ok -- I've had better Margaritas at Chilis to be perfectly honest. The bar is standing room only and you can hardly hear yourself think. Definitely not a place for locals. Topolobampo is not a restaurant -- it's a racket. There's no heart in the place anymore. It's just a cash machine. Save your money and your time.
An Unpleasant Experience.
My rating is based on my recent experience at Topolobampo, not on the quality of the food. The margaritas in the bar were good, which is why my rating is two stars instead of one.
My wife and I had a reservation, and we arrived early and had a drink in the bar. We were seated a bit late but not unacceptably so. After ordering the recommended tasting menus (~$80 per person, plus ~$45 for the matched wines), we waited 45 minutes without receiving any food. I politely informed our server that we were leaving, which seemed to surprise her but to her credit she was gracious.
I cannot comment on the food, but my experience at Topolobampo was unacceptable. I eat out often in Chicago both with my wife and for business, and I have not experienced anything like this at an established restaurant in a number of years.
not very impressed.... I don't know if it's because it's been rated so highly by critics and other reviews, or if it's from living in nyc with terrific restaurants all over the city... but after waiting for 2 hours and then being offered to sit at the bar to eat with our meal comped because of the long wait and seating location, we were still unimpressed by the food. the ceviche was rubbery and not very good tasting and both of our dishes were just okay... which is not what i would expect from a restaurant with this much hype over it. Actually, nothing on the menu really looked or sounded appealing to me. I love mexican food and tex mex (after living in austin for a few years), but nothing I tried here really tasted THAT great. I felt the food was more on the bland side and the dishes were boring. The service was great and sitting at the bar, we got a glimpse of Rick Bayless, but I just wish the food matched the hype.
Overpriced and Underwhelmed. I had heard great things about Tapolobampo and was eager to try it. I just moved here from the east coast, where i had a great selection of good food. The experience at Tapolo was very underwhelming - esp. for the price. i could have gotten the same meal numerous places back home for half the price - and they would have been more enjoyable. First off, the ceviches were tasty but nothing exciting and sparse on the seafood. We shared a turkey salad appetizer that was terrible. Lots of very salty, dark meat turkey in an even saltier sauce. My entree was decent but nothing exciting. Over-toasted rice cakes and little bits of octopus at the bottom. My companion's entree was even less notable. Best parts of the meal were the gratis guacamole and the little banana gelees that they presented at the end of the meal. I would say that unless you money is not an issue, i would pass on this place in favor of your neighborhood Latin restaurant.
Food? What food?. After 2 visits to Topolobampo (one good, one bad), we were eager to try Frontera Grill. We saw on their website that they take limited reservations, so we decided to brave it -- knowing full well we may have a substantial wait. What we didn't know is that the host staff would be so nasty. After waiting 10 minutes in line just to "check in", one of the 5 (FIVE!) people behind the counter (one writing, four doing nothing), told us, in his snottiest tone, "Well you know, there's a 3 hour wait" -- as if somehow we should have known and not bothered them. I don't expect to be treated with this kind of attitude at any restaurant -- no matter how famous the owner, no matter how many out-of-towners are waiting in line, and no matter how popular the place. We don't mind waiting -- we do mind being treated like dirt. We left, and at the moment, we're not inclined to try again.
Just ok for me. Went to Topolobampo for my birthday recently. I read the reviews on here and elsewhere so I was expecting some unique but good food. It was up and down. Had reservations, wait was not terrible. The appetizers were excellent, get the trio, worth it. Had the prawns which were good, and my entree was average. My fiance, her "salad" was bad, her entree was much worse. She ordered the lamb in some kind of brown mole sauce. Now, I understand that in a place like this the food portions will be small but it was a bit ridonkulous. 5 tiny slices of lamb in brown toilet sauce for $35. Not impressed. Plus, and I was pretty shocked about this, our drinks were terrible. I tried 3 different margaritas, blue agave, reg, etc... All were not good, finally ended with a mexican mojito which was better. The wine selection and Sangria were not good either. I was surprised. I would not go back. I think the regular Frontera Grill would be a better choice, looked to have more selection.
Would you believe the best Mexican Food in the US is in CHI-town!. Hands down the best upscale mexican food I have had in the US. I was in Chicago for the Restaurant Week and it was just such a delightful experience. Meeting Rick Bayless was a perk too!
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