La Sirena Clandestina A Must Try In Chicago’s West Loop
What is La Sirena and why should you go: La Sirena Clandestina recalls the sneak-away beachside joints of Rio de Janiero that inspire its name ‘hidden mermaid.’ Chef John Manion serves Latin-local fare with distinctly Brazilian influences that draw on his childhood in Brazil as well as two decades cooking in Chicago.
How are the wines and cockails: The wine list is eclectic, focusing on natural and bio-dynamic producers. The cocktail program highlights the spirits of the Americas with ample acidity and brightness with an eye towards innovation. Located at 954 W. Fulton Market, the space offers up an intimate yet lively vibe that easily makes guests forget time and place.
What’s the story on the Owner & Chef John Manion: A 20-year veteran of the restaurant scene, Manion took the plunge opening his own spot in the summer of 2012, after a weekend pop-up serving “beachy Brazilian food” in the former Dodo restaurant space morphed into this new Latin concept.
How are the drinks: They are spectacular. I enjoyed a Caipirinha Cocktail and it was out of this world. It tasted so authentic, fresh and yummy as if I was on a beach in Brazil not in chilly Chicago in November!
What does La Sirena Clandestina mean: The name, which means “hidden mermaid,” derives from Manion’s desire to create the dark and slightly mysterious atmosphere of a hidden spot one might stumble upon at a beach somewhere tropical. The chef drew ideas for the menu and concept at La Sirena from growing up in Brazil and his subsequent travels to South America and the Caribbean”.
One of the most delicious Kale Salads I have ever had. The dressing combined with the delicious Cotija cheese, radishes and jaleponeos were the perfect pairing with the yummy Roasted Pablano Dressing. Between the two of us we finished the entire salad with no problem!
The delicious Empanadas. We enjoyed the Vegetarian version (since we had the Steak for our entree) and it was yummy!
La Bomba Rice which is also spectacular
The Grilled Hangar Steak with Chimichurri which was also incredible. It was cooked medium with amazing juice, flavor and fabulous Chimichurri.
The Shortbread Cookies filled with Dulche de Leche. I am not usually a big dessert eater but I adore shortbread cookies (and rarely get to enjoy them) so this dessert was devoured.
My dining partner Alana and member of J.S.F. Advisory Board