Lena Brava

Ceviche sampler at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF

 

We were organizing photos recently and found these from our food tour of Chicago a few months ago. We moved from Chicago to California partially because of our love for fresh food like this, so it’s not surprising that looking back on the trip, Lena Brava was one of our absolute favorite stops. Also, we went on a personal recommendation of a chef we know and trust, so we knew it would be good!

 

Chips at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF
Food being served at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF

Open Wood Fire at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF

 

Lena Brava is inspired by the cuisine of Baja California, and features a menu of “fire and ice.” The raw bar has an amazing selection of oysters, aguachiles, ceviches and salads, and the remainder of the menu is inspired by the wood fired grill.

 

Vegetarian at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF
Cocktails at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF
Rick Bayless's Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF
Woodfired plantains at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF

 

It’s hard to get a reservation, but we think this is one restaurant that is worth the wait. They have an amazing cocktail menu and a nice bar surrounding the open kitchen. We would recommend everything we tried, especially the octopus carnitas and the pineapple aguachiles. The latter was our favorite dish we sampled, and it’s vegetarian.

 

Wood-fired octopus carnitas at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF
cocktails served at Lena Brava restaurant in Chicago, The Taste SF

 

Last but not least, the wine pairings are perfection. Manager and Sommelier Leslie Lamont heads up the wine program here, and her choices did not disappoint. We typically go for Margaritas with Mexican food, but we like wine more than Margaritas, so the exceptional pairings here were especially noteworthy.

Only downside: now we’re tempted to plan a trip to Baja.

Leña Brava, 900 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

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