Cantaritto's Taqueria & Bar: A Tiny Storefront That Delivers Big Taste

Tucked into an L-shaped strip mall is an unassuming storefront restaurant. You could easily drive by it (as I did), but that would be a shame because this tiny Mexican spot packs a big authentic punch.

Located in Hoffman Estates just south of I-90 and east of Barrington Road, Cantaritto’s Taqueria & Bar is a surprising find. The dining room – and calling that is generous – might seat 20 people, if everybody likes each other and sits close together. After dining at Cantaritto’s I’d be happy to squeeze in no matter how packed the place gets.

We found this hidden gem through My parents were staying at a nearby hotel and mom loves Mexican cuisine, so when I saw that Cantaritto’s had consistent 4+ star reviews on several ratings sites we decided to give it a try. When I walked in the door I quickly did a double-take. The space reminded me of those take-out only Chinese restaurants that only have seats to accommodate people who are waiting for their hot & sour soup and mu shu pork. However, all of us were game to try a new place so we piled in, and we are so very glad we did.

We started off with the suggested quacamole. When my mom, who’s lactose intolerant, asked whether there was any dairy in it, our server (who I suspect was also one of the owners) said there was none because they’re authentic. I didn’t care if it was Authentic, capital A, or not – it was some of the best guac I’ve had. Made to order, they went light on the jalapenos for my folks and used just the right amount of tomato, cilantro, and lime. 

Our entrees were also impressive. Mom’s Al Pastor tacos, Dad’s chimichanga, my husband and son’s burritos – all were filled with flavor and layers and they wouldn’t have changed a thing. I ordered the steak fajitas, despite knowing they used green peppers, and I am not a fan of green peppers. These were so good that when my mom tried to sneak one of my peppers I nearly smacked her hand. The steak? Tender, delicious.

Cantaritto’s somehow managed to squeeze a bar in the shoebox space with an impressive selection of tequilas. We ordered a pitcher of regular margaritas and, just like with the food, were blown away by the quality. I don’t know for sure, but I’d be surprised if they used a store-bought mix.

Our total bill for five people ended up being under $100. With our* certificate this delicious and satisfying dinner cost less than a trip to the movies with one large popcorn. Cantaritto’s Taqueria and Bar exemplifies the phrase “Hidden Gem,” and is well worth a visit. Or two. Or five.

Cantaritto’s Taqueria and Bar is located at 2312 Hassell Road, Hoffman Estates, IL. TLT is a affiliate.






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