Tanta: Your New Favorite Brunch

June 10, 2014

I first fell in love with River North Peruvian restaurant, Tanta, back in February. I had stopped by to check out their Chicago Restaurant Week menu and had one of the best meals in quite some time! Tanta opened in August 2013 by renowned chef Gaston Acurio. Acurio operates more than 30 restaurants globally, including Astrid Y Gaston, on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list.

Tanta launched Sunday brunch service on Mother's Day so I stopped by last week to check it out. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and they had their rooftop patio open but we decided to dine indoors since I'm uber pale and get sunburns in a split second.

The patio is awesome because it's hidden upstairs. You'd never know it was there if you were walking down Grand Ave! It's the perfect spot to grab a pisco cocktail and some cebiche or empanadas.

Rooftop Patio
To start our meal, we ordered some cocktails off the brunch cocktail list. Most of the cocktails are available at dinner, but there also are some brunch bebidas including their take on a bloody mary with leche de tigre, which is the juice from cebiche. Apparently the leche de tigre is an awesome hangover cure...or so we were told.

We tried The Globe, a mix of rum, herb liquor, and prosecco, as well as the traditional pisco sour with pisco, egg white, lime, sugar, and bitters.

The Globe & Pisco Sour
We also tried the Pisco Pepe, a refreshing blend of pisco, dry vermouth, lemon juice, and cucumber, as well as El Piscolero, with pisco, mezcal, Grand Marnier, passion fruit, and lime. You really can't go wrong with any cocktail at Tanta, especially those made with pisco.

Pisco Pepe & El Piscolero
Tanta's brunch menu puts a Peruvian spin on traditional brunch items. It's customary to eat cebiche during the morning hours in Peru, so, when in Rome...We tried the Cebiche Mar Y Tierra with scallops, shrimp, grapes, habanero peppers, and passion fruit leche de tigre. This cebiche had quite a kick from the peppers, but I loved the mix of spice and acidity from the leche de tigre. There also were chunks of mango that added a slightly sweet touch. Even if you don't think you like cebiche, or don't typically eat seafood, you should give it a try!

Cebiche Mar y Tierra
We also tried the Pulpo Criollo, octopus braised in aji-panca red wine sauce. The octopus was grilled nicely and the sauce was pleasantly sweet. The dish also included a bed of harvest quinoa and swiss chard--I loved every bite!

Pulpo Criollo
We tried two of the larger brunch entrees including Huevos Tanta, and the Chicharron Waffle. Both were outstanding! The Huevos Tanta featured two soft baked eggs on top of crispy hash browns, and braised beef cheeks. The braised beef was fork tender and I only wish there was more! You can also find the braised beef on Tanta's dinner menu. The hash browns were similar to potato pancakes, and had a wonderfully crispy texture. We demolished everything on the plate!

Huevos Tanta
The Chicharron Waffle included two giant pieces of pork belly which sat atop a Belgian waffle. Both were drizzled with panca chili honey, and raspberry compote. The waffle could have been crispier, but the pork belly was fantastic. It melted right off the bone and was a wonderful contrast to the sweetness of the sauce, and fresh seasonal berries.

Chicharron Waffle
Last, but not least (as if we weren't already full!), we were advised we had to end our meal with Cachanga, a beautiful fried sweet dough topped with kabocha squash ice cream, seasonal fruit, jicama, and orange honey. The dough was thin and light like a wonton, and the ice cream was smooth and not too sweet. It was the perfect ending to a perfect brunch.

While it may be difficult to secure a dinner reservation at Tanta, brunch service is still relatively new, and slightly unknown. Brunch is a great time to experience Tanta's cocktails and cebiches, and try some out-of-the-ordinary brunch entrees. I highly recommend a meal at Tanta to anyone who loves experimenting with interesting flavors and appreciates culinary creativity!

Tanta serves brunch on Sundays from 11am-2:30 and reservations are accepted. Brunch menu items range from $11-$22.

Note: My meal at Tanta was complimentary, however, the opinions expressed herein are my own.

118 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60652
Tanta on Urbanspoon


  1. I am Peruvian and it's an honor to see how authentic Peruvian ingredients mixed with fine culinary creativity are being introduced to the American-brunch scenery and attracting new customers. I'm glad that you enjoyed everything you tried there! I wish I lived closer to Chicago (one of my favorite cities in the U.S., by the way) to go one of these Sundays.

    1. I 100% agree! I wouldn't be surprised to see Peruvian cuisine become more mainstream in the US. Cheers!


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