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5 Rabanitos: hidden gem for Mexican food

November 11, 2019


Julian Ingersoll

This is pollo en mole verde, a traditional Mexican dish served at 5 Rabanitos, a restaurant in Pilsen. 5 Rabanitos serves great food and is located only a block northeast of the National Museum of Mexican Art, making it an excellent place for a lunchtime excursion.

In an unassuming building on a street corner in Pilsen, one block northeast of the National Museum of Mexican Art, lies 5 Rabanitos, a lively lunch and dinner restaurant and a great place to eat authentic Mexican food. From the moment you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted by the sights, smells and sounds of a different world: A cacophony of bilingual chatter, the sizzles of carne asada and the gobbling of satisfied customers.

Pilsen, the main neighborhood of the lower west side, has developed into a mecca of Latino culture — translating into beautiful artwork, incredible museums and, of course, delicious food. All around the building and the surrounding neighborhood, beautiful murals depict aspects of a variety of cultures.

Julian Ingersoll

Inside, the walls of the restaurant scream Mexican culture with their rustic beige, green and blue color and varieties of Mexican art. The restaurant never fails to impress with the bursting, spicy flavor of the salsa and the tender, juicy texture of the meat. The warm, crunchy tortilla chips secure 5 Rabanitos’ status as a Mexican food fanatic’s heaven.

From taco dinners to Pollo en mole Verde, they have perfected their recipes after years of practice. The food is always laid in aesthetic forms that equal the intensity of the flavors…”

— Julian Ingersoll

But given the already small size of the restaurant and the exquisite flavor of the food, it is always a challenge to find a table at 5 Rabanitos. And, if you do find a table, don’t be surprised if it is unsettlingly close to another group; the atmosphere, while friendly and inviting, can be, at times, claustrophobic due to the restaurants location, size and popularity.

5 Rabanitos is also very close to the National Museum of Mexican Art, which is a very important part of Pilsen and Mexican art throughout the country.

The menu includes a variety of Mexican meats and dishes, satisfying both those familiar with Mexican cuisine, as well as first-time visitors. From taco dinners to pollo en mole verde, they have perfected their recipes after years of practice. The food is always laid in aesthetic forms that equal the intensity of the flavors of all the dishes served.

The pollo en mole verde is popular for its earthy flavor and the darkness it adds to the chicken it comes with. The mole sauce was spread at the bottom of the plate while a pyramid of chicken concealed arroz a la Mexicana and black beans. The original flavor from Oaxaca is unique and perfected by 5 Rabanitos.

If you are in the Pilsen area, 5 Rabanitos is a great place for a quick snack or to hang out with friends — if you can get a table.    

5 Rabanitos: 1758 W. 18th St.
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