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El Nandu

View Map2731 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 278-0900
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Editorial Review of El Nandu

Donít expect your palate to be wowed, but do expect a full stomach after dining at this lively and informal Argentinean restaurant. Advertising a "dining experience for mind, body & spirit," El Nanduís narrow layout and exposed brick walls arenít exactly unusual but do create a comfortable environment appropriate for good chats. Musicians perform on weekend nights to spice things up. Begin your meal with one of eight varieties of empanadas ($2.25), a deep-fried and authentically Argentinean pocket. Warm filling oozes out of crisp dough in varieties like the Criolla, a blend of ground beef, red peppers, onions, yellow raisins, hard-boiled eggs and herbs.

Dinner options are restricted to chicken or steak (though there are house and potato salads on the menu for vegetarians). The entrees are simply prepared; standouts include Pollo Al Chimichuuri, two chicken breasts toped with a creamy garlic, parsley and olive oil sauce, and Milanesa El Nandu, a traditional breaded steak topped with homemade tomato sauce, garlic and white cheese. Portions are generous and include your choice of steak-cut French fries or yellow rice. A full bar features Quilmes beer from Argentina and a wine in a carafe option; the half-size has enough staying power for a slow-paced meal for two at $7.95. All other drinks cost $5.50 or less. Smoking is permitted throughout the restaurant.

Average cost: <$10

Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Schwartz

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4:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday; noon-10:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday; noon-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday

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chicago, metromix