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Winter Warmers

December 28, 2015
La Sirena Clandestina
The Midwest winter might be cold enough to freeze the tail off a brass monkey, but we have just the thing to warm those cockles – West Fulton’s answer to Rio’s balmy, beachy boltholes, La Sirena Clandestina.   
 
Opened in 2012 by Brazilian-raised chef John Manion, ‘the hidden mermaid’ was, at first, exactly that. However, it didn’t take long for Chi-town’s foodies to discover her many delights and bring a little buzz to the one-time less-travelled locale.
 
Understated from the outside, this compact corner diner is nothing but inviting once within. Raw, hardwood flooring and finishes recall repurposed driftwood, while aquamarine hues bring to mind the cerulean waters lapping at Ipanema’s dazzling shore. Can’t you just feel your fingers thawing?
 
And it’s not just the welcoming decor that defrosts, the spicy pan-Latin treats also consign the seasonal chill to distant memory (at least for the duration of the meal). A must-order is the soulful seafood moqueca – a rich stew of fish, mussels and shrimp served with cilantro rice; while the empanadas are hot favourites for good reason too.
 
Whistle-wetters come in the form of an eclectic, natural and bio-dynamic leaning wine list, not to mention the chef’s choice, a classic kickin’ caipirinha. Belleza!
 
954 W Fulton Mkt / West Loop / +1 312 226 5300 / lunch Mon-Fri, dinner daily / lasirenachicago.com
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