My cousin Connie turned me onto Mana Food Bar, and I'm so, so glad she did. I'm a bit manic for Mana! That didn't quite work...did it? Mana Food Bar is a vegetarian restaurant in Wicker Park. Yep, vegetarian, meatless, no meat. I know, in the heart of the Midwest, the land of steaks and hot dogs, you can be hard pressed to find a decent vegetarian restaurant. But no need to look much further, Mana Food Bar is on the scene.
Hubby and I had a little date night there last week, it was so nice to be at a restaurant that doesn't have a kiddie menu and crayons. And there wasn't a chicken nugget to be seen! We are mostly vegetarians and are always on the look out for restaurants that serve healthier fare. We loved the Tomato Pumpkin Ravioli in sage cream sauce. My husband, Eric said,"That's happiness on a plate. That is complete synchronicity where all the ingredients just work together perfectly."
Another house favorite is the Mana Sliders which are brown rice and mushroom burgers with spicy mayo. Honestly, they are delicious and cute too! You have to also try the Maki. The menu features Asian/Mediterranean and you can order small or large plates. Think tapas -- the food is meant to be shared. Yes, they have a bar and they also do smoothies and fresh squeezed juices.
Some tips on dining at Mana Food Bar, it's tiny, cozy little restaurant, and they don't take reservations. But, you can call ahead and they'll put your name on a list. The staff is extremely friendly and more than accommodating. The entire restaurant just had this warm, cozy vibe. Also, we noticed that although we loved, loved some dishes and others fell a bit flat. The grilled eggplant was divine, but the rice noodles were just so-so and a bit uninspired. This is perfect for a date night, get-a-way from the kids type restaurant. And trust me, whether you are a vegetarian or not, you too will be manic for Mana!
Mana Food Bar is located at 1742 W Division, Chicago, IL
Sun - Thurs: 4 to 10 pm
Fri: 4 to 11 pm
Sat: 12 to 11 pm