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This Story was Independently Researched and Written by Melanie Hesdorffer for Eater Chicago on August 26, 2014

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Where to Get Your Octo On in Chicago: 10 Tasty Tentacles From Around The World

Eater / Via

Octopus: tender, tasty and trendy. No matter what it's called—octapodi in Greece, ma dako in Japan, pulpo in Spain—its preparation is backed by years of tradition. Catch it hot off the grill with lemon and olive oil, live over rice with seaweed and soy sauce, or stewed in a wine sauce with pimento and peppers. Here are 10 of the hottest tentacles from different cuisines in town.

1 Japonais by Morimoto

Japonais by Morimoto

At Japonais by Morimoto, the live octopus carpaccio is striking. Imported directly from Japan, the octopus is sliced thin, drizzled with hot oil and house-made dashi and finished with crisp bonito flakes.

600 W Chicago Ave

Chicago, IL 60610

(312) 822-9600

2 Tanta Chicago

Melanie Hesdorffer

Chef Jesus Delgado adds a twist to tradition at Tanta, elevating Peruvian street food into an elegant and exuberant octopus dish. The "pulpo anticucho" is tossed in a spicy, sun-dried chili Anticuchera sauce and served atop a bed of crispy potatoes.

118 W Grand Ave

Chicago, IL 60654

(312) 222-9700

3 Girl & the Goat

Girl & the Goat

At Girl & the Goat, Chef Stephanie Izard serves her wood-grilled baby octopus as an unique and flavorfull hot salad. Unlike any salad you've had before, Chef Izard sources the accompanying vegetables fresh from the farmers market and rotates them seasonally.

809 W Randolph St

Chicago, IL 60607

(312) 492-6262

4 Takashi


Chef Takashi Yagihashi sources his octopus from his cousin in Nakaminato, Japan and prepares it crudo style with hokkaido, scallops and Maine cuttlefish. The seafood is served simply with a spicy citrus dressing and finished with crispy Japanese cucumbers.

1952 N Damen Ave

Chicago, IL 60647

(773) 772-6170

5 Nico Osteria

Melanie Hesdorffer

Literally translated to mean "oiled slice," the fettuntas, or bruschettas, at Nico Osteria are piled high. For the grilled octopus fettunta, two thick slices of garlic-glazed grilled ciabatta are used as the base, followed by a smooth layer of fava bean favetta, and topped with thin slices of tenderized octopus. The dish is garnished with fresh arugula, grapefruit and preserved lemon.

1015 N Rush St

Chicago, IL 60611


6 Embeya


Chef Thai Dang's refined French technique and Southeast Asian influence come to life at Embeya. His octopus dish begins with the sauce: a bright green emulsion of coriander, cilantro, garlic, scallion, chives, chillies and lime. Next come crisp slices of gem lettuce, pickled shallots and fried garlic, followed by succulent pieces of pan-seared octopus.

564 W Randolph St.

Chicago, IL 60661

(312) 612-5640

7 Vera


Chef Mark Mendez pays tribute to Galicia, Spain with his "Pulpo a la Gallega." Prepared traditionally, using pimento and olive oil, the octopus is poached and grilled to order and paired with an Albariño wine from Galicia.

1023 W. Lake St.

Chicago, IL 60607

(312) 243-9770

8 Ani


A classic Japanese street food, "Takoyaki" literally translates to "octopus fried" and is traditionally filled with scallion and tempura crumbs. At Ani, chef Shin Matsuda does things differently, using puffed rice instead of tempura and a chiffonade of seaweed as garnish.

3056 N Lincoln Ave

Chicago, IL 60657

(872) 206-8553

9 Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

Not only is "Pulpo a la Parilla" a staple of Spanish cuisine, but it is also a signature dish at this popular Lincoln Park tapas restaurant. Chef Matt Holmes sticks to a traditional preparation: the octopus is braised, cooled, then grilled to order, served with fresno chili vinaigrette, fiery tomato sauce, watercress and pipirra peppers.

2024 N Halsted St

Chicago, IL 60614

(773) 935-5000

10 Taxim

Melanie Hesdorffer

From the extra virgin olive oil to the fresh lemon wedge, everything about chef David Schneider's wood-grilled octopus at Taxim is purely and simply Greek.

1558 N Milwaukee Ave

Chicago, IL 60622

(773) 252-1558

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