Chicago: El Nandu

After a day of Italian beef sandwiches, tres leches cakes, and hot dogs, my visiting friend and I met up with my girls at El Nandu for dinner to celebrate our friend, Esther's birthday. The epic painting on the side of the building makes the restaurant rather difficult to miss:

Thank goodness we had an early reservation because soon after we sat down, the place got BUSY. I love the feel of El Nandu, from the painted portraits that verge on being downright creepy to the Argentinian tango dancers going at it on the random screen mounted on the wall.

I was toeing the food coma line before even arriving at the restaurant, but I still found the space in my stomach to fit in some bread:

The bread was fantastic by itself (I'm a sucker for soft bread), but what really stood out were the two sauces. One was a chimmichurri and I have no clue what the other one was.

What follows is proof that I have no self control and that I should really listen to my stomach when it's telling me that I'm full and that I should stop eating.

My friend and I decided to share an entrée and because I've heard so much about El Nandu's empanadas, I made her share one with me too:

The empanadas at El Nandu come stamped with what's in it. How cute is that?

We ordered the tucumana, which includes diced steak, green onions, olives, egg, and various herbs:

So very good. I've never had empanadas as good as this one. The shell is perfection in itself. They could've stuffed it with nothing at all and I would've still enjoyed it. If I ever come back, I think I'll just order a basket of every different kind of empanada El Nandu has to offer.

For our main dish, we ordered the entrana, which is basically char-broiled skirt steak:

For $19.95, that's a massive piece of meat. I don't know how anyone could finish one by themselves. Even between the two of us, we couldn't quite do it without sneaking large sections onto my roommate's plate.

If I wasn't in a food coma when I entered the restaurant, I was certainly in one halfway through the meal. Note to self: don't try to squeeze in multiple food stops before dining at El Nandu. It's painful.

It seemed like a waste to end the night after dinner; it was a birthday celebration after all. Which is how after El Nandu, we ended up dancing the night away at the Butterfly Lounge. I honestly don't know how I did it. Adrenaline, perhaps? All I remember is wanting to curl up and sleep as I left the restaurant and then suddenly finding myself with my friends on the dance floor. Hopefully I was able to work off even 2% of what I consumed that day...

Update: Esther specifically wanted me to edit this post and write in her name instead of referring to her as "one of our friends".  If anyone else doesn't mind having their name written into my blog, let me know!  It'll certainly make it easier for me to keep track of everyone instead of resorting to "that one friend" and "that other friend".  Hope you had a fabulous birthday, Esther!

El Nandu
2731 W Fullerton Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 278-0900


  1. All dishes look so tasty. Thanks for sharing this information with us!

  2. It all looks so good...I would have had trouble going with moderation there. ;)


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