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12

Ixcateco Grill

Albany Park

Picaditas filled with poultry carnitas  Photo: Jeff Marini

Anselmo Ramirez’s can-do BYO may have the highest batting average of any restaurant in Chicago. Anyone who walks into the adorably plain spot comes out liking it. That’s no accident: Ramirez, a native of Guerrero, Mexico, who put in 14 years at Frontera Grill and Topolobampo, keeps the menu simple (10 items) and the prices low (nothing exceeds $17). But his bright and balanced southern Mexican standards—lime-soaked tilapia ceviche, adobo-marinated wood-grilled pork loin—fill the niche between typical storefront fare and froufrou downtown stuff. Diners pile crisp-edged carne asada, thick medallions of mole chicken, and anything else they can into the wonderful tortillas, handmade by none other than Ramirez’s mother, Maria.

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