Our new Latinicity is bound to draw comparisons to the already mega-successful Eataly — but this new pan-Latin food hall is only similar in that you’ll also, certainly, have a great meal.
Richard Sandoval’s first foray into the Chicago dining scene has been working out the kinks — and growing pains from huge crowds these first few weeks. It is a bit smaller than you might be expecting after Eataly, but I’m not sure you’ll notice. Featuring a gourmet market, gorgeous gift shop with silver artisan works, cafe, wine bar, tapas restaurant and 12 food stalls, you’ll walk away inspired, if not stuffed.
What impresses is the variety: Tortas, cocas, ceviche and sushi, Peruvian stir fry, Brazilian grill, salads, seafood, tacos, soups… the sheer diversity of flavors will keep even the pickiest eater happy.
I only had time (and appetite) to have the Aeropuerto Arroz from Chaufa Wok: Peruvian style stir fry that did not disappoint with a medley of crispy noodles, fried rice, meats, seafood and chaufa sauce plus a red wine sangria. At $14 for the dish (and $25 overall including drink) it was a bit steep for lunch, but I also didn’t need dinner afterward.
I suppose that’s my only critique of Latinicity: It’s a pricier option. It was also a refreshing change to the Loop’s usual food fare (Chinese place I’ve been going to since 2000: I’m looking at you!).
The smart option is to hit Latinicity when it opens at 11am, and preferably on a weekday. An hour later, the line was down the hall and the food stalls were swarmed. It may take a while for this hot new food option to cool down, but it’s worth a look… or as I’m planning, several visits…