clock menu more-arrow no yes

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

View as Map

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.


—Eater Chicago intern Melanie Hesdorffer contributed this story.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Japonais by Morimoto

Copy Link
600 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 822-9600
Visit Website
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 soy sauce, and finished with crisp bonito flakes.

2. Tanta Chicago

Copy Link
118 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 222-9700
Visit Website
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.

3. Girl & the Goat

Copy Link
809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 492-6262
Visit Website
Stephanie Izard serves her wood-grilled baby octopus as a bold and hot salad at Girl & the Goat, sourcing accompanying vegetables fresh from the market and rotating them seasonally.

4. Takashi

Copy Link
1952 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 772-6170
Visit Website
chef Takashi Yagihashi sources his octopus from his cousin in Nakaminato, Japan, uses it a crudo of baby octopus, hokkaido, scallops and Maine cuttlefish. The seafood is served simply with a spicy citrus dressing and finished with crispy Japanese cucumbers in this fresh summertime standout.

5. Nico Osteria

Copy Link
1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
Literally translated to mean "oiled slice," the fettunta, or bruschetta, at Nico Osteria are piled high. In the grilled octopus fettunta, two thick slices of garlic-glazed grilled ciabatta is the base, followed by smooth fava bean favetta and topped with thinly sliced pieces of tenderized octopus. The dish is garnished with fresh arugula, grapefruit and preserved lemon.

6. Embeya

Copy Link
564 W Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 612-5640
Visit Website
It's all about flavor and texture for Thai Dang's refined French technique and Southeast Asian accents at Embeya. His octopus dish begins with the sauce: a bright green emulsion of coriander, cilantro, garlic, scallion, chives, chillies and lime and continues with slices of gem lettuce, pickled shallot and fried garlic sitting atop pieces of pan-seared octopus.

7. Vera

Copy Link
1023 W. Lake St.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 243-9770
Visit Website
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.
3056 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(872) 206-8553
Visit Website
A classic Japanese street food, Takoyaki literally translated means "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.

9. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

Copy Link
2024 N Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 935-5000
Visit Website
Not only is "Pulpo a la Parilla" a staple of Spanish cuisine, but it is also a signature dish at the 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.

10. Taxim

Copy Link
1558 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 252-1558
Visit Website
From the extra virgin olive oil to the fresh lemon wedge, everything about chef David Schneider's wood-grilled octopus at Taxim is pure and simple Greek.

Loading comments...

1. Japonais by Morimoto

600 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60610
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 soy sauce, and finished with crisp bonito flakes.
600 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60610

2. Tanta Chicago

118 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
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

3. Girl & the Goat

809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Stephanie Izard serves her wood-grilled baby octopus as a bold and hot salad at Girl & the Goat, sourcing accompanying vegetables fresh from the market and rotating them seasonally.
809 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607

4. Takashi

1952 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
chef Takashi Yagihashi sources his octopus from his cousin in Nakaminato, Japan, uses it a crudo of baby octopus, hokkaido, scallops and Maine cuttlefish. The seafood is served simply with a spicy citrus dressing and finished with crispy Japanese cucumbers in this fresh summertime standout.
1952 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

5. Nico Osteria

1015 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
Literally translated to mean "oiled slice," the fettunta, or bruschetta, at Nico Osteria are piled high. In the grilled octopus fettunta, two thick slices of garlic-glazed grilled ciabatta is the base, followed by smooth fava bean favetta and topped with thinly sliced pieces of tenderized octopus. The dish is garnished with fresh arugula, grapefruit and preserved lemon.
1015 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

6. Embeya

564 W Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60661
It's all about flavor and texture for Thai Dang's refined French technique and Southeast Asian accents at Embeya. His octopus dish begins with the sauce: a bright green emulsion of coriander, cilantro, garlic, scallion, chives, chillies and lime and continues with slices of gem lettuce, pickled shallot and fried garlic sitting atop pieces of pan-seared octopus.
564 W Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60661

7. Vera

1023 W. Lake St., Chicago, IL 60607
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

8. Ani

3056 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
A classic Japanese street food, Takoyaki literally translated means "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.
3056 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

9. Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

2024 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Not only is "Pulpo a la Parilla" a staple of Spanish cuisine, but it is also a signature dish at the 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

10. Taxim

1558 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
From the extra virgin olive oil to the fresh lemon wedge, everything about chef David Schneider's wood-grilled octopus at Taxim is pure and simple Greek.
1558 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

Related Maps