Whenever someone comes to Chicago and is looking for restaurant recommendations, the first place both Jeff & I recommend is Avec.
615 W Randolph Chicago, IL 60661
We’ve been bringing our local and out of town friends to Avec for so many years, I can’t even remember when we started.
Most recently our friends Kevin and Naomi, owner of the Austin-based Paleo restaurant Picnik Austin, came to Chicago and we all met up for dinner at avec.
What’s On The Menu?
It’s pretty easy to navigate the menu, especially since most of the ingredients are listed for each dish. This makes it extremely easy if you happen to be avoiding certain foods.
Unfortunately it was not as convenient for LaToia (who is vegetarian) to find something but there are definitely more options available here than when compared to Au Cheval.
The waiters are quite accommodating and love talking about the dishes so if you have a question about something, don’t be shy. If you’ve never heard of a particular dish before, they can explain how it’s made. They can also identity which dishes are gluten-free or not.
The menu at Avec is also seasonal, which means it is constantly changing. Pretty much every time we’ve dined there, we’ve had an opportunity to try something new.
Must Order Staples
Even though the menu fluctuates, there are some dishes you just have to order.
When it comes to appetizers the chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with bacon are a must!
There are 8 dates per order and you’ll want to have at least two per person.
These dates were actually the inspiration behind the creation of my Bacon Wrapped Chicken Chorizo Poppers, a fan favorite and one of our most-loved recipes from our first cookbook Pigskin Paleo.
The second must-order dish when you dine at Avec is the slow roasted pork shoulder.
You’ll want to tell the waiter you’re ordering this dish first thing when you place your order for appetizers and drinks because it takes a while to cook. And let me tell you, it’s worth the wait! It will be the crown jewel of the night, and you won’t even need to look at the dessert menu.
When we were at Avec with Naomi & Kevin we ordered the Chicken Liver Mouse for the first time and even though it comes with crusty bread the staff was super accommodating and gave us sliced carrots to enjoy in its place. Personally, I would have eaten it with a spoon if it were just Jeff & I.
Avec is set up family style and they also have some really great mood lighting.
The restaurant is shaped like a box, it’s slim and deep. If you’re standing on the sidewalk looking in, the bar and kitchen is on the left and all the tables are right aligned with half the seats of every table against the wall and the other half in the aisle. And that’s it. The entire restaurant. You can see the entire place from the photo. I was sitting in the very last seat in the front, right corner.
The back wall is dual purpose as a wine cellar. In the evening it’s visually appealing with the green lights behind the glass bottles, allowing you to see them all. It also reminds me of The Matrix.
Don’t Forget To Visit The Loo
It’s not typical that I talk about a restaurants bathroom. And for some reason I had never used the restroom here prior to this visit. I just wanted to make a quick note, you may want to make a special trip to the bathroom. It’s seriously one of the most gorgeous bathrooms I’ve been in…or maybe I was just a little bit tipsy. ;)
The only downside to dining at Avec is that they don’t take reservations. This may be a deal breaker for some however if you don’t mind hanging around with the folks you’re dining with, then here is what you should do.
Arrive early to get your name on the list then take your entire party a block away and sit at the bar at Sepia, another Paleo-friendly restaurant we’ve reviewed on Paleo Porn.
You can order drinks and appetizers at Sepia, especially if you’re starving while waiting, just be sure to save some room for those dates!
The hostess at Avec will call you when your table is ready and you can continue the conversation over a delicious dinner.
Drinks & Liquid Courage
Avec proudly serves Chicago based Intelligentsia coffee and several different teas but if you’re looking for wine or other alcohol you’ll want to check the “other” menu.
Neither Naomi or I drink often but when we were at dinner together we were having such a good time, we decided to do shots of tequila! That was fun and unexpected…and caught on camera.
One of the first times we ate here we were on our way in as Cillian Murphy was on his way out. That’s not been a regular occurrence for us but it’s a fun little fact that you now know.
Visit Avec in Chicago
Whether you’re dining at Avec during the winter or summer (because let’s face it, there’s only two seasons in Chicago) we know you’ll enjoy the food and have a great time. And if you happen to be there in the warmer months, you may be able to dine on the patio!
Are you interested in more Paleo friendly restaurants? Have a recommendation of someplace we should check out? Let us know!
615 W Randolph Chicago, IL 60661