Five Best Latin Restaurants for Chicago Restaurant Week

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Joel Mora

Last week we covered the five best seafood and steakhouses for Chicago Restaurant Week, so this week we wanted to spice it up a bit with some Latin restaurants to make you forget about weather outside.

1. Carnivale
702 W. Fulton St.
Provides lunch and dinner menu for restaurant week

Carnivale ceviche tasting

Carnivale ceviche tasting

The lively atmosphere and colorful dining room alone at this Latin restaurant can get you out your winter funk, but once you try any of the dishes from chef Rodolfo Cuadro’s menu you’ll be doing shoulder shimmies in your seat. I’d recommend to start off with the ceviche tasting where you can pick three from a selection of Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche, mixto ceviche, tuna tiradito ceviche, and salmon ceviche. It’s hard to pick and if you’re with friends I make sure to them all but the stand outs are the Ecuadorian shrimp that is cooked perfectly and has some nice heat to wake up the taste buds, the savory salmon that rests atop a delicious slaw that provides nice texture, and the mixto that uses an octopus that couldn’t taste any fresher and soaks in the poblano sauce.

For your entree there is no wrong choice but I keep having dreams of the jerk baby back ribs with the side of sweet plantains and the Cuadro’s take on Nicaraguan vigoron. Too many places think jerk ribs are only supposed to have a ridiculous heat, which causes them to have no real flavor. Chef Cuadro’s jerk ribs contain the heat but doesn’t lose the smokiness of the meat that is so tender that it fell from the bone the moment I picked them up. Round out the dish with a glass of the If you need to cool down the tongue then take a bite of the perfectly fried sweet plantains that are possible to stop pooping in your mouth. If you’re looking for a more classic latin dish then the comforting vaca frita is a good choice or the juicy criollo chicken with Colombian papa guisada.

The dessert trio is perfect if you need some help to finish as it has the moist tres leches, the eye-catching peanut butter chocolate cigar, and playful vanilla, pistachio, and guava ice cream cake.

Carnivale dessert trio

Carnivale dessert trio

With dish sizes big enough that your  grandmother wouldn’t dare to offer to serve you any more and their mouthwatering food, Carnivale is a great deal for Chicago Restaurant Week.

2. Bar Takito
201 N. Morgan St.
Provides lunch and dinner menu for restaurant week
Highlight: coffee braised beef on a beer tortilla with queso, Oaxaca jicama, red onion, jalapeño cilantro, and peanuts

3. Tanta
118 W. Grand Ave.
Provides a dinner menu for restaurant week
Highlight: grilled swordfish atop stewed cannellini beans with a cilantro sauce

4. La Sirena Clandestina
954 W. Fulton Market
Provides lunch and dinner menu for restaurant week
Highlight: La Bomba Rice with potato leek cream, crispy leeks, chive oil, and aged white cheddar

5. Frontera Grill
445 N. Clark St.
Provides lunch and dinner menu for restaurant week
Highlight: Pozole corn and crispy kale torta with mole poblano and beans

Chicago Restaurant Week runs through Feb. 4 across Chicago. Prix fixe menus are $22 for lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner not including drinks and gratuity. For more information visit choosechicago.com/things-to-do/dining/chicago-restaurant-week.

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