Dona Torta: Delicious, Inexpensive Mexican Food
I've developed quite a soft spot for a Mexican restaurant in Lakeview called Dona Torta. While it's nothing fancy, the food is great, the staff friendly, and the prices extremely reasonable. We stumbled upon Dona Torta quite accidentally a few months ago. We had intended to have lunch somewhere else and found the place closed, so we just kept driving on Ashland hoping to find something else interesting. Lima was younger then and at the frequent napping stage, so time was limited. We had to find a lunch place fast or we'd risk running into her nap window. This is why we steered the car into Dona Torta's tiny parking lot. It was there and it was open.
Dona Torta doesn't look like much from the outside. It's a small restaurant nestled in a mini strip mall. Its sign says both Dona Torta and Tortas USA, leading us to wonder which was the official name at first. Its parking lot holds about 8 cars tops and it's a tight squeeze to get in and out. While it doesn't impress with looks, Dona Torta's food won us over from the first bite.
At Dona Torta, you can order at the counter and take your food to go or sit down and be served by a waitress. We've always eaten in the restaurant and found the staff to be extremely warm and friendly. The food is excellent and a very good value. Their chorizo tacos are wonderfully flavorful and their chicken flautas are the perfect combination of crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. The mini fajitas, pictured above, are delicious and the quesadilla la gran dona is heavenly. This quesadilla comes with a wide variety of fillings that you can customize as needed. Some of the options include chicken, red and green peppers, mushrooms, spinach, and chihuahua cheese. This quesadilla was the largest one I have ever seen. Although meant to serve one, it could easily serve two or three people. I'm not shy about food and can definitely eat, and even I ended up taking most of it home and making three meals out of it. Many of the meals are served with rice and beans and you are greeted with chips and salsa when you sit down.
Another reason why I love Dona Torta is the size of their beverages. Pictured above is their large soda, conveniently placed next to a salt shaker and ketchup bottle for scale. This is a giant soda and for Diet Coke junkies like me, it's a thrill. The sodas there also remind me of Master Shake from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, potentially the weirdest cartoon I've ever seen. Have you seen it? It's on the Cartoon Network and it is the story of a milkshake, an order of fries and a meatball that try and solve crimes in New Jersey. Depending on your mood, you'll either find it hilarious or deeply disturbing. I don't know what it says about me that every time I see a Dona Torta soda I think of Master Shake.
We often eat at much fancier Mexican restaurants with prettier decor and more elaborate menus, but time after time we comment that Dona Torta's food is just as good for about half the price. For a casual lunch or dinner, it's hard to beat the taste and price of Dona Torta. Check it out if you're in Chicago.
Dona Torta (Tortas USA)
3057 N Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60657-3035
Phone: (773) 871-8999