friends at sunday lunch

Restaurant Review: Hot, spicy summer nights and a cool Father’s Day celebration at West Loop’s Carnivale

friends at sunday lunch

With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, June 16, and hot summer nights ahead, a cool tropical drink and Latin fusion cooking might be just the ticket to summer fun!

There’s no better place in the West Loop than the Latin fusion cuisine, festive atmosphere and tropical décor of Carnivale, 702 W. Fulton Market.

Inspired, as they say on their website, by the cuisine and culture of Mexico, South America, and Central America, owner and longtime Chicago politician William Marovitz fashioned Carnivale with a lush, colorful interior, original artwork. The Carnivale experience makes every meal a celebration.

Start with APERITIVOS like their Carnivale Guacamole,  with avocados, cilantro, chilies, onions, garlic, and lime, served with organic blue corn tortilla chips. Ropa Vieja is made with braised beef, pickled onions, the alliterative Aji Amarillo Aioli, queso fresco, and sweet plantains. Luz’s Empanada packs roasted corn, manchego cheese, roasted poblano créme, nestled in closed Loop Farms greens. Octopus a la Planxa has roasted potatoes, piquillo peppers, Iberico chorizo, pickled ramps, and green garlic Mojo sauce.

What’s a Latin fusion restaurant without ceviche?Carnivale has four kinds, including King Crab with pomelo, jicama, radish, red onion, Aji Amarillo, and closed Loop micro cilantro. Shrimp Ceviche has avocado, cilantro, red onions, rooftop garden peppers, charred tomato salsa, and lime juice, and Blue Crab comes with avocado, cucumber, red onion, cilantro, tomato, watermelon radish, and preserved lemon aioli.

DE LAS BRASAS (chargrilled) options include Gaucho Steak,  an 18-ounce, 45-day dry-aged ribeye, served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes,l and chimichurri.  Brazilian Picanha* is a Brazilian-style, 12-ounce prime top sirloin, served with Caribbean plantain fufu, roasted carrots, pickled eggplant, and Molho Lambao (Brazilian chile and tomato salsa). 

PAELLAS includes a succulent Lobster Paella, a full pound of lemon-butter poached Maine lobster, Spanish bilbao chorizo, roasted chicken, crab claws, peas, and tomato sofrito in  saffron broth. Seafood Paella has saffron Bomba rice, shrimp, mussels, scallops, clams, octopus, and tomato sofrito. Vegan Paella has Forbidden Rice, asparagus, snap and spring peas, spinach, roasted tomatoes, Padron peppers, trumpet mushrooms, and sofrito, with garlic chips in a saffron-vegetable broth.

Celebrate Dad this Sunday 

Carnivale is hosting a Father’s Day Celebration on Sunday, June 16th from 1pm-5pm with special cocktails, photo-ops, and goodies for Dad. For reservations, click here.

But don’t just take my word for it. Google reviewers were ecstatic: 

*My husband and I have been here a few times,” said one. “But we wanted to bring our 2 daughters for the brunch experience. They absolutely loved it and really enjoyed themselves. The staff was awesome and my girls danced with the two Samba dancers!”

“I really enjoy this place. It serves amazing variety of food and drinks,” another said. “My favorite is the steak with bone marrow on the side. All their appetizers and side dishes are excellent as well. The vibe and atmosphere makes you feel like you’re literally in a carnival. I was able to enjoy one of the shows they had and it was a blast.”

Carnivale is open Tuesday-Thursday from 5pm–9pm, Friday from 5pm–9:30pm, Saturday from 4pm–9:30pm, andSunday, from 1pm–8:30pm. They are closed on Monday. Reservations are recommended. For reservations, click here.

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago