My first Carnivale experience

My Carnivale experience was one of a kind.  From the moment I laid eyes on the bright signage outside of the restaurant while I was driving along the I-90 expressway, I knew this was one restaurant I had to try.  I am a sucker for anything bright with colorful lights.  From the moment I walked into to the restaurant, I knew it was going to be a fun dining experience.  The place was packed with a lively crowd, a definite Friday night hot spot in Chicago.

What I loved most about Carnivale was there mini-seating area and bar outside of the main restaurant for people to mingle and drink their amazing mojitos (which are to die for).  So if you are going to Carnivale on a Friday or Saturday night, no worries, there are enough tables and bar stools in the bar area for you and your party (a huge plus). If you know me at all, you know if a specialty mojito…. or any for that matter is on the drink menu- I’m getting it, maybe even three. The key to a great mojito is all in the mint leaf- you can’t have too much or too little and girl let me tell you, this mojito blew my expectations out the water.  For anyone that goes and wants to order a mojito- the raspberry one was phenom.

After we mingled in the bar area, we were finally able to enter this fabulous open space area filled with rooms inside of it for different seating areas.  The vibe and ambience was great and you could tell this was a place to go for a fun and delicious dinner.  Not to mention, the food could have sucked, but I still would have been in love with the loud, bright and colorful dining experience.

Starters:

Guacamole “Kleiner Style”: filled with chunky avocados, cilantro, onion, and the perfect amount of garlic.

Ropa Vieja: one of the first times I had plantains and it definitely won’t be my last.  I loved this dish and I would go back just for this.  The plaintains are accompanied with braised beef, spicy mayo, and queso fresco.

Dinner: 

Bife Angosto: New York Strip & Yukon gold potatoes mixed with Spanish chorizo, manchego cheese and chimmichurri sauce, need I say more?

Although, I loved my meal, I will be coming back and I will be getting the Churrasco.  It was one of the best beef tenderloins I have ever had.  The Nicaraguan style beef was mixed with truffle oil and an herb chimichurri.  Surrounding the beef are fluff-mashed potatoes mixed with a boniato puree.  Puree deliciousness.

Dessert:

Who can honestly end a fabulous evening and dinner without craving something sweet (as if I didn’t have enough frozen margaritas)?  We opted for the Lemon Meringue with blueberry ice-cream, which I will admit I was hesitate about at first, because I normally ate lemon flavored anything (I always throw the yellow Starburst away).  This however, was the perfect amount of lemon, mixed with the blueberry ice-cream and was a dessert delight.

If you are looking for a night out with your friends or for a date night with your boy, this is a perfect spot to have fun while drinking great drinks and eating delicious food.  I’m thinking of having my birthday dinner here, who’s in?

Overall, everything from the bar area to the Churrasco was great.  The Latin Cuisine from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, and Puerto Rico beats carnies and tilt-a-whirls any day.

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