Latinicity: a taste of Latin street food in the heart of Chicago

Latinicity: a taste of Latin street food in the heart of Chicago
Salsa Night at Latinicity.

The Latin spirit is alive and well in Chicago, three floors up on Block 37 in the heart of downtown Chicago at Latinicity food hall.

Billed as the Latin version of Eataly, the huge, 22,000 sq. ft., Latinicity food hall offers a unique dining experience with 10 innovative kitchens, a tapas restaurant, coffee café, full bar, market and lounge that showcase the flavors of Latin America, Spain and Portugal with accents of Mexico, Peru and Argentina.

The ambitious endeavor that opened a little over a year ago is the brainchild of Celebrity chef Richard Sandoval (fifth season of “Top Chef Masters” on Bravo) and whose dining empire includes 45 restaurants in the USA, Mexico, Asia and the Middle East.

What a treat, on a gray, foggy Tuesday to step off the elevator on the third floor of the Block 37 building (Randolph & Dearborn) and be greeted by the bright sounds, colors and food of Latin America.

On the day we were there, we tried the Angry Tuna ($9)–a spicy yellowfin tuna mix with avocado, cucumber and wasabi tobiko that was beautifully presented and tasty.

Angry Tuna. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Angry Tuna. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

We also had the Classico Peruvian Ceviche ($12) served with the fish of the day and serrano, fresnos, cilantro, ancha, sweet potato, red onion and tortilla chips that resulted in a cool refreshing taste with a nice crunch. latin9redpicassco

We tried the Sangria Roja ($9)–a red wine / brandy / kalani guanabana liqueur with fresh fruit and the Sangria Blanco ($9)–made with white wine / brandy and fresh fruit. It was hard to pick a favorite as both were delicious.

In the future, we look forward to trying some of their Mezcal cocktails including the Mexican Mule ($12) and Mezcal Old Fashioned ($13) along with other offerings from their extensive wine, beer, and spirits menus.

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Executive Chef Marcos Flores. Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The operation is headed by Executive Chef, Marcos Flores who is originally from Caracas, Venezuela.

Flores specializes in bringing cross-culture flavors together and is known for maximizing teamwork within the kitchen always tweaking, brainstorming and creating new ideas.

One of his new ideas is a monthly cooking class held at Pata Negra.

The class offers participants an opportunity to fine tune their cooking skills, enjoy a meal and spirits.

Next up is Cuban cooking on Saturday, February 25 from 11 am – 2 pm.

The hands-on cooking class hosted by Flores and the Pata Negra team, introduces the art of Cuban cooking with a Cubano sandwich, Cuban Carne Asada and Moros y Christianos accompanied by a house-made Cuba Libre and Mojito.  (Must be 21 or older to attend this class).

Right in the heart of the downtown theatre district, Latinicity is the perfect spot to dine before or after attending a show. The in-house sit-down restaurant, Pata Negra–complete with its own bar, has recently added a pre and post theater menu.patanegra-theater-prix-fixe-menu

Brunch lovers will want to stop by on Sundays for their ALL you can eat and drink brunch. For $39.99 you can enjoy as much as you want plus Bottomless House Mimosa & House Sangria. Or you can skip the spirits and partake in the full extensive brunch menu for $19.99 adults and $8.50 for kids, ages 4-11.

Weekday breakfast, lunch and other Grab-n-Go options are available at Taqueria 2.0 on the Pedway level from 7 am. to 4 pm. taquerialatincity

Stop by Friday nights for Salsa Miami Night featuring live music and dance starting at 10 pm.salsa1-1

Latinicity is the perfect easy to get to spot for all tastes and budgets. Go early for a quick breakfast at Taqueria 2.0, take a break from the office for a quick lunch by yourself or with co-workers, rest your feet after a big day of shopping, stop by before or after theater or whenever for good food, music, art and more.

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

Photo: Carole Kuhrt-Brewer

The conveniently located food hall is at the corner of Randolph and Dearborn, just across the street from Daley Plaza–but remember you can’t see it from the street. You must go inside Block 37 and take the elevator or escalator to the 3rd floor for the food hall or downstairs to the Pedway for Taqueria 2.0.

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