Written byClaire Schlafly
Tanta's Peruvian menu incorporates regional specialties such as anticuchos and classic cebiches, but it also includes influences from Peru’s largest immigrant populations, specifically China, Japan, Spain, and Italy. That’s why you’ll find things like skirt steak nigiri, and an exellent chaufa aeropuerto. And the food is also stunning with rainbow colors plated artistically over earthy dishware. We’re pretty sure the dishware makes the food taste even better than it already does - science y’all.
Tanta maintains the high-end River North vibes, but music is bumpin’, the lighting is clubby, and the dining room is as colorful as the bright dishes on the menu. This place is always a great option, but it’s best in the summer when you can hang out at the rooftop bar. Not only can you eat delicious food, but you can also avoid the typical outdoor dining situation in River North - i.e. sitting on a sidewalk while trying to ignore the garbage trucks going by. This place is perfect for a weekend date, or even a nicer dinner during the week.
Fish, squid, and shrimp bathed in a delicious leche de tigre. It’s made freshly to order and is seriously refreshing. We’re pretty sure it’s illegal to go to a Peruvian restaurant and not order one of the cebiches, so just do it.
Take the same tiger milk from the cebiche, put in some big ole bay scallops, plump corn kernels, and sweet potatoes, and douse it in a creamy sauce. The citrusy, sweet, seafood-y dish takes you on a mini South American vacation.
If you get one thing at Tanta, make it this. Wagyu skirt steak and quail egg in a ponzu sauce over a bed of rice. Holy sht. It’s a starter and is only two small pieces, so get your own or regret it later.
Pastel de Choclo
The equivalent of Peruvian cornbread with mushrooms, corn, and raisins. It’s sweet, starchy, and so moist you can eat it with a spoon. Much like French fries with your burger, it’s a good sidekick for any entrée.
Three hunks of tender octopus tentacles over potatoes with a bit of chimichurri, a touch of crispy garlic, and finished with olive sauce. This dish falls into their street food category, and this tasty octopus dish should make the cut if you’re having trouble choosing only one.
Potatoes, crab, avocado, egg, tomato, and spicy sauce - these are a few of our favorite things. Tanta brings them together into a magical, creamy concoction that puts your regular ole mashed potatoes to shame.
Tanta calls this “fried rice,” which is the ultimate example of under- promising and over-delivering. A hot stone bowl is filled with vegetables, rice, and marinated pork belly. The bowl is sealed with a large shrimp omelette that locks in the heat, and a sweet chili sauce settles into the eggy folds as it’s drizzled on top. They’ll let you admire the work before they decimate it with an enormous spoon and combine the layers of flavors. Some of the rice takes on a crunchiness reminiscent of a bibimbap, and the combo of textures is ideal. It’s a huge portion, and it tastes even better for your next-day leftovers.
Pollo a la Brasa
A Peruvian style roasted chicken that you can get half or whole. Simple, but solid, and it’s served with cannellini beans, rice and corn, criolla salad, potatoes, and a number of different sauces. It’s not as exciting as the rest of the menu, but if you or anyone else aren’t as adventurous, this is a good move.