445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA


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The adjoining sister restaurant to Rick Bayless’s casual Frontera Grill, Topolobampo offers a more elegant dining experience. The atmosphere is a touch more refined, though still funky, with walls covered in museum-quality Mexican artwork in eye-popping colors. The menu, which guests choose from to create three-, five- or seven-course tasting menus, features elegant Mexican cuisine such as chayote salad with Oaxacan chiles and enchiladas with black truffles, roasted organic vegetables and huitlacoche. Always available is an impressive selection of ceviches such as lime-marinated Hawaiian blue marlin with jicama and the Sopa Azteca, a heavenly chicken soup with pasilla chiles, avocado and grilled chicken.

Bayless is a strong proponent of organic and sustainably raised ingredients and Mexican regional specialties, and the gracious, informed waiters are happy to talk about the meticulous sourcing that goes into different dishes. You can learn how the frothy hot cocoa on the dessert menu uses dark-roasted chocolate made by hand by a family in Oaxaca—or you can just lean back and savor the rich, spicy, sublime flavors with a sigh.

Written by Eliza Harris

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