Barcocina is a new restaurant in Lakeview, conveniently located between the Diversey and Wellington Brown Line stops. Lakeview is a great Chicago neighborhood to check out for food and shopping, not to mention its proximity to both downtown Chicago and Wrigleyville. As closeby Chicago hotdog spot Hot Diggity Dog has regrettably just closed its doors, a new go-to spot was practically required to take its place.
What I love about Barcocina is its open-air design. You go inside, and feel like you're outside. Barcocina has been trying to open its patio up, but struggling with some city ordinances. Although I know it's a big deal to them (as evidenced by their call for support in the form of an online petition), I don't think the lack of a patio takes away from the experience.
Let's talk food and drinks.
First off, this isn't your typical Mexican restaurant. Lakeview has a lot of awesome, cheap, quick-service Mexican joints ... but this is not one of them. Barcocina has what I'd call upscale/gourmet Mexican cuisine. Each dish is a unique take on the classics. Their guacamole has balsamic vinegar in it. Their queso dip has chorizo AND a poached egg on the top.
If you're looking for some cost-effective drink options, I would steer you toward the specialty cocktail menu. The cocktails are organized by different flavor profiles (sweet, smoky and spicy) and combine a lot of different flavors. You may be skeptical to try some of their drink combinations, but you're missing out if you don't take a leap of faith. For the record, my favorite is a toss between the Texas Piña (that foam!) or the Basil Bramble (kind of like a flavored mojito).
The tacos (above) are fairly in line with what you would expect, but come with extra toppings and sauces to customize as you please. Each order includes three of the same for now, but as Barcocina perfects their operations, there may be an option to order one of each flavor.
Oh, and the dessert is phenomenal. I got the Warm Chocolate Ganache, which reminded me of several mini chocolate lava cakes.
You can opt to sit at the edge of the restaurant, looking out at Sheffield or George Street, or at one of their two bars. There's a fair amount of bars and restaurants in this part of Lakeview. But Barcocina is the perfect fusion of both, that doesn't sacrifice food or beverage quality to provide the perfect package for whatever you're looking for during a night out.