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

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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.

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Japonais by Morimoto

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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.

Tanta Chicago

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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.

Girl & the Goat

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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.

Takashi

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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.

Nico Osteria

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

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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.

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.

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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 soy sauce, and finished with crisp bonito flakes.

Tanta Chicago

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.

Girl & the Goat

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.

Takashi

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.

Nico Osteria

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.

Embeya

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.

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.

Ani

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.

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

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.

Taxim

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.

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