In a meat-loving town like Chicago, surviving the season of Lent can be extra difficult. This year, head to city eateries for vegetarian and pescatarian-friendly offerings that will keep your hunger at bay from morning til night.
Rise and shine with the AM menu at Cafe Marie-Jeanne, Chicago’s European-style neighborhood cafe and neo-bistro in Humboldt Park, which features a wide variety of smoked, cured and pickled seafood options. From DIY fish plates with a la carte options like smoked trout ($6), hot smoked salmon ($6) and creamed herring ($5) to caviar and creme fraiche-topped toasts ($20) on freshly baked bread. On the heartier side, Executive Chef / Owner Mike Simmons also serves up customizable breakfast sandwiches (starting at $12), which can be decked out in anything from bottarga to salmon roe and dill gravlax, on house-made English muffins or country wheat bread.
Revival Food Hall
For a lunch in the Loop that will keep all denominations happy during Lent, stop by Revival Food Hall. Select from 16 fast-casual stalls featuring city restaurants serving up grab-and-go options including:
- Antique Taco Chiquito: Grab a sweet potato and poblano taco made with Iron Creek Farms sweet potatoes, tres queso, chipotle crema, scallions and crispy carrots on a handmade tortilla ($9.50 for two tacos, $14.25 for three) or the Antique Taco Salad, a fresh mix of spicy peanuts, red pepper, onions, queso fresco, cranberries, sesame and crispy tortilla on a bed of kale and tossed in a zesty pomegranate vinaigrette ($9).
- Urbanbelly: Select from vegetarian Korean-inspired options such as an Urban Bowl with tofu and pea shoots served with steamed jasmine rice and topped with your choice of red Thai curry, sweet chili lime or Belly Swang, a sweet and tangy bbq sauce ($12). Looking for a lighter lunch that still packs in the protein? Pick up a few of Urbanbelly’s signature dumplings filled with edamame ($3.50 each).
- DANKE: Just because it’s Lent that doesn’t mean you have to kiss your beloved lunch staple goodbye. Get your hands on gourmet sandwiches, minus the meat, including the grilled cheese featuring gooey Wisconsin cheddar and pickles grilled between slices of sourdough ($7) or The Veg made with braised portabello mushrooms, cauliflower eggplant puree, shaved zucchini, arugula, sundried tomatoes on a house baguette ($9.95).
Finish off your Friday with a pescatarian dinner feast at Quiote, Logan Square’s mezcal-focused contemporary Mexican restaurant. Executive Chef Ross Henke’s menu features meatless options including Smoked Whitefish served alongside shrimp, celery root, gem lettuce, pepita miso and poblano peppers ($14), Sturgeon made with salsa verde and smoke carrots atop a crispy rice cake ($23) and Crab Tostada with mustard seed, black lime, hot sauce and radish ($15).