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Good food and good value at Dona Torta/Tortas USA

Good food and good value at Dona Torta/Tortas USA
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  • Good food and good value at Dona Torta/Tortas USA

    Post #1 - August 12th, 2004, 7:38 pm
    Post #1 - August 12th, 2004, 7:38 pm Post #1 - August 12th, 2004, 7:38 pm
    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. I saw that some people in the Forum were posting about decent taquerias and Mexican places a few months ago. Thought this might be helpful for anyone looking for cheap, tasty Mexican. I've written more on my blog at http://atourtable.blogspot.com if you're interested in viewing it there. Otherwise, the highlights are below:

    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 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.

    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 the Lakeview or Roscoe Village area.

    Dona Torta (Tortas USA)
    3057 N Ashland Ave
    Chicago, IL 60657-3035
    Phone: (773) 871-8999
    At Our Table
    http://www.atourtable.blogspot.com/
    Chicago Food Blog
  • Post #2 - August 13th, 2004, 11:34 am
    Post #2 - August 13th, 2004, 11:34 am Post #2 - August 13th, 2004, 11:34 am
    You are right about Dona Torta, and we are lucky to have such a Mexican sandwich specialist. Ask for one ahogada, or "drowned" in chile sauce like a pamabzo (but not a pambazo, really, sice DT uses bolillos). Have you tried the Mexican hot dogs, a big mess that I have never brought myself to order?

    Your post raises again the continuing need to recognize old favorites from the other board. Dona Torta a/k/a Tortas USA was a frequent subject of discussion on Chowhound.
  • Post #3 - August 13th, 2004, 11:37 am
    Post #3 - August 13th, 2004, 11:37 am Post #3 - August 13th, 2004, 11:37 am
    There's a brief mention here which is more notable because it provides a link to Vital Info's Mexican sandwich post from his blog, which mentions Dona Torta and some others. But a longer report is a good thing, this became my default Mexican place just because it's close to my house and it took me a while to realize that it was unusually good for its genre, making fresher and healthier food that wasn't just a grease bomb for your stomach.
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  • Post #4 - August 13th, 2004, 6:46 pm
    Post #4 - August 13th, 2004, 6:46 pm Post #4 - August 13th, 2004, 6:46 pm
    Haven't tried the Mexican hot dogs yet, but they sound very interesting...There's just so many good things on their menu to try; it takes several visits to even scratch the surface.
    At Our Table
    http://www.atourtable.blogspot.com/
    Chicago Food Blog
  • Post #5 - November 30th, 2009, 4:45 pm
    Post #5 - November 30th, 2009, 4:45 pm Post #5 - November 30th, 2009, 4:45 pm
    I had lunch at Doña Torta yesterday for the first time in a while. I have to think that more than "street food," this is the analog for Rick Bayless' new Xoco.

    I don't quite understand why this place doesn't get more love. It's not gourmet food (it's actually 'gourmett', or at least that's how the burritos are described) but it's good stuff. My dining companion and I split two tortas: my standard, La Asadera, and La Pastora. The pork may not come from Gunthorp Farms, but it was awfully tasty.

    So if you've never been, or if like me, you just have forgotten about it for a while... check it out.
    Joe G.

    "Whatever may be wrong with the world, at least it has some good things to eat." -- Cowboy Jack Clement
  • Post #6 - November 30th, 2009, 5:05 pm
    Post #6 - November 30th, 2009, 5:05 pm Post #6 - November 30th, 2009, 5:05 pm
    I love Dona Torta but haven't been in a long while. Maybe tonight on my way home.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #7 - November 30th, 2009, 8:59 pm
    Post #7 - November 30th, 2009, 8:59 pm Post #7 - November 30th, 2009, 8:59 pm
    Man, when my kids went to school nearly across the street, we ate here about once a week. That was ten years ago. Glad to know it's still very good.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #8 - November 30th, 2009, 10:40 pm
    Post #8 - November 30th, 2009, 10:40 pm Post #8 - November 30th, 2009, 10:40 pm
    At Our Table wrote: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. I saw that some people in the Forum were posting about decent taquerias and Mexican places a few months ago. Thought this might be helpful for anyone looking for cheap, tasty Mexican. I've written more on my blog at http://atourtable.blogspot.com if you're interested in viewing it there. Otherwise, the highlights are below:

    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.


    This place has some great tortas. The ingredients are fresh, the bread is toasted. The service is very friendly and helpful. I tried the, El Tri. Yum! Breaded steak, ham, white cheese, mexican sausage, and eggs! And only $5! What a steal! There are so many choices you may want to take home more than one! I'm craving one now! Check out the menu and you'll see what I mean!
  • Post #9 - January 12th, 2010, 9:15 am
    Post #9 - January 12th, 2010, 9:15 am Post #9 - January 12th, 2010, 9:15 am
    Dona Torta is a great spot to hit when driving down Ashland. They have a parking lot, they're fast, they're cheap, and most importantly, the tortas are great. The bread has that crustiness that crunches when you bite it, but the inside is very soft and chewy and sucks up all the sauce and meat juices perfectly. I don't have a favorite because I like them all, but last week I really enjoyed La Capitalina which has breaded steak, chorizo (spicy!), ham, and chihuahua cheese. Next to the sandwiches they serve pickled jalapenos and pickled carrots that are pretty crunchy and very sour.

    Image
  • Post #10 - July 21st, 2017, 10:29 am
    Post #10 - July 21st, 2017, 10:29 am Post #10 - July 21st, 2017, 10:29 am
    Reviving an old thread. Dona Torta, which used to be where RHR on Ashland is now, seems to have opened a 2nd location on California just north of Lincoln. Here now and it seems to be a similar menu from way back when with tons of torta options.
  • Post #11 - July 25th, 2017, 5:26 pm
    Post #11 - July 25th, 2017, 5:26 pm Post #11 - July 25th, 2017, 5:26 pm
    We tried to get lunch at the California location today, but it was closed in spite of listed hours and with no note or other sign. I hope that this is an isolated case and not indicative of flakiness with hours.

    Fortunately, Bryanna's is nearby and provided an excellent lunch. Bryanna thread
  • Post #12 - July 26th, 2017, 8:04 am
    Post #12 - July 26th, 2017, 8:04 am Post #12 - July 26th, 2017, 8:04 am
    As part of tracking down good Al Pastor/Pork Adobada I tried a branch of Dona Torta down in Pilsen. Value is great with free escabeche and pico de gallo and huge sandwiches. However, it was a relatively medioce torta IMO and I don't recall the watery salsas being great. Which reminds me I should post about all of the places I went to...
  • Post #13 - July 26th, 2017, 8:29 am
    Post #13 - July 26th, 2017, 8:29 am Post #13 - July 26th, 2017, 8:29 am
    ekreider wrote:We tried to get lunch at the California location today, but it was closed in spite of listed hours and with no note or other sign.

    I've driven by Dona Torta on California quite a bit in the last week as Lincoln Ave northbound is under construction and California is the detour route. It has been closed each and every time I've driven past. No idea what is going on.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #14 - July 26th, 2017, 1:21 pm
    Post #14 - July 26th, 2017, 1:21 pm Post #14 - July 26th, 2017, 1:21 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    ekreider wrote:It has been closed each and every time I've driven past.

    Looks like I spoke too soon. Dona Torta on California was open for business today at 10:30 when I drove past. I pulled in the lot to make sure but did not go in.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - July 26th, 2017, 1:35 pm
    Post #15 - July 26th, 2017, 1:35 pm Post #15 - July 26th, 2017, 1:35 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    G Wiv wrote:
    ekreider wrote:It has been closed each and every time I've driven past.

    Looks like I spoke too soon. Dona Torta on California was open for business today at 10:30 when I drove past. I pulled in the lot to make sure but did not go in.


    The first time I tried to go was for lunch on 7/3 and it was closed then too, but i chalked it up to the 4th of July holiday. Hopefully they get more consistent with their hours.

    The torta dona was tasty and I had forgotten how good their side of pickled jalapenos and onions were! That was a nice surprise.
  • Post #16 - July 26th, 2017, 5:59 pm
    Post #16 - July 26th, 2017, 5:59 pm Post #16 - July 26th, 2017, 5:59 pm
    Hours posted on website are consistent with sign in window. Closed Sunday, opens at 10 AM other days. Closes at 6 PM on Monday and 8 PM Tuesday through Saturday.
  • Post #17 - July 31st, 2017, 4:15 pm
    Post #17 - July 31st, 2017, 4:15 pm Post #17 - July 31st, 2017, 4:15 pm
    Quite enjoyed lunch at the newly opened California Ave Dona Torta Mexican Grill.

    DonaTorta1.jpg Omelet Torta surprisingly tasty, bread lighter crisper than appears.

    DonaTorta5.jpg Omelet Torta

    DonaTorta2.jpg Dona Torta, 5750 N California Ave


    Spacious interior, larger than it appears from the outside, clean, comfortable, good service, dizzying array of torta choices / combinations.

    Dona Torta
    5750 N California
    Chicago, IL 60659
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - August 21st, 2017, 8:25 am
    Post #18 - August 21st, 2017, 8:25 am Post #18 - August 21st, 2017, 8:25 am
    Enjoyed my plate of chilaquiles at the recently opened Dona Torta on California Ave. I'm big on custom ordering chilaquiles, fresh hot pepper, lots of onion, some type of meat, sour cream/crema on the side and they were quite accommodating. The only negative, at least to me, Dona Torta uses fresh tortillas instead of chips which I find lend a textural dimension to the dish.

    DonaTortaLTH3.jpg Dona Torta Chilaquiles


    Dona Torta has a way with eggs, I've had them twice, chilaquiles/omelette torta, and both times they were silky soft and perfectly cooked.

    If you go at lunch you may have to ask for the breakfast menu, which they will happily bring.

    As an aside, we tried an al pastor taco, entirely forgettable.

    Two visits so far and I'm digging the place.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #19 - January 4th, 2019, 6:01 pm
    Post #19 - January 4th, 2019, 6:01 pm Post #19 - January 4th, 2019, 6:01 pm
    The Dona Torta at 5750 N. California closed some time in 2018. The space is now occupied by Cabos Baja Cafe and Grill, which is owned by the original owner of Wholly Frijoles.

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