Spotlight On: Native Foods Cafe, Chicago, Illinois

Conveniently located in downtown Chicago, a decent walk between The Willis Tower and the Art Institute, is an unassuming little gem of vegan fare. Native Foods Cafe, on South Clark Street, is one of four in Chicago and 13 total. Featuring a creative menu of globally influence, the atmosphere is a bit frenetic but there is ample seating and the vibe is casual. The helpful staff is knowledgeable about each dish and happy to provide recommendations. They even customize your order if you ask nicely.

On my first visit, I had the Greek Gyro and it was delicious! I was able to get non-peppered seitan which gave the base of quinoa and vegetables a savory zing. Adding the side of hummus was a great way to jazz up the whole thing. At my second visit, I had a Reuben, which was tasty, but not my favorite but I think that’s because it looked SO much like roast beef I started to believe I was eating roast beef and lost my appetite. For my third visit, I chose the Moroccan Earth Bowl. The creativity of adding raisins and toasted almonds elevated a simple dish to an outstanding entree.

For one of my visits, I was joined by. A colleague (a carnivore) who really enjoyed the Thai Curry bowl, so I think it’s a safe bet that something on the menu will appeal to almost everyone. I am not sure they have gluten-free options, so be sure to ask.

Final verdict? Two thumbs up and if you are in the Loop, be sure to make time to grab lunch or dinner at Native Foods. It makes for a great (and different) culinary experience.