I cannot even begin to tell you how much I enjoy Tortas Frontera at Chicago O’Hare Airport. This Mexican spot serves the best takeout food of any kind, not just Mexican food, that I have ever tasted at an airport.
You won’t find the usual “Mexican-style” fast food here. Tortas Frontera imparts the authentic flavors of Mexico.
At Tortas Frontera, meals are prepared from scratch. The influences of southern Mexico cooking and seasoning come through.
The huge emphasis on authenticity, freshness, and quality at Tortas Frontera comes naturally from its creator Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill in Chicago, my favorite table-service Mexican restaurant.
Now, Rick Bayless runs two fast food stands at O’Hare, while keeping up his reputation.
You will notice Rick's attention to detail everywhere. For example, his chefs preserve freshness by not having more than two sliced avocatos on hand at any time.
For Tortas Frontera, Rick Bayless designed a menu that can be prepared reasonably quickly, without sacrificing quality. You may wait for your food a little longer than at McDonald’s, but not much.
I love the baked-on-a-griddle tortas, generous Mexican sandwiches with your choice of fillings, such as smoky garlic shrimp with goat cheese.
Or, you may prefer the smaller molletes, which are warm, open-faced sandwiches.
Prices are reasonable. Currently, molletes go for around $5 – 6.00. The large tortas run $9 -12.00, with people happily sharing these.
I meant to show a delicious chipotle chicken torta here, but dived in before remembering to take its photo. Can you blame me?
In any case, a photo would not have done the sandwich justice. You would not have been able to ~
Here is the Guacamole Bar, with your choice of fresh toppings. You won’t find canned or frozen food used at Tortas Frontera.
The menu (pdf. file) includes salads, soups (I am addicted to the tortilla soup), and even a variety of breakfast molletes and tortas, which I have not tried. Watch for seasonal items that are not on the menu.
Lacto-vegetarians dine happily here, but vegans not so much.
The bar and dining areas offer seating, but not nearly enough for the crowds who flock here. But don’t worry. You can easily carry any item, including soups, to a gate area.
Above: Watching the Grammy Awards at Tortas Frontera. I dined here before heading downtown.
The two Tortas Frontera restaurants are located at:
Terminal 1, Concourse B, adjacent to Gate B11
Terminal 3, Concourse K, adjacent to Gate K4 (near an American Airlines Admirals Club).
To access either Tortas Frontera, you must either arrive at Chicago O’Hare terminal 1, 2, or 3, or hold a same day boarding pass to depart from one of these terminals.
Terminal 1 hosts United Airlines domestic flights, as well as the outbound international flights of United and some of its SkyTeam partners like Lufthansa.
Terminal 3 hosts Alaska, American, Iberia, Japan, JetBlue, Spirit, and Virgin America airlines.
Although international flights of the airlines mentioned usually arrive elsewhere, if you leave from an airport with U.S. immigration clearance prior to boarding, you may have access to Tortas Frontera.
What a fine welcome that provides to the United States!
I love that Tortas Frontera proudly tells us some of the companies that source their ingredients, including some organic, natural, and seasonal foods.
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