An absolutely fabulous, new Mexican dining option has opened its doors in the River North neighborhood called, Solita Tacos & Margaritas (“Solita”) at 431 N. Wells Street. Solita has several other locations in Southern California, the first outpost of the restaurant in a different state. Solita features a vibrant culinary and beverage program that highlights Baja-style fare as well as a unique variety of tequila, mezcal and margaritas.
The two-level restaurant features seating for 161 guests on the first floor, and an extra 100 on the second floor. There are flat screens throughout the 10,000-square-foot space, creating the perfect atmosphere to catch a weekend college or NFL game. As the weather in Chicago doesn’t turn permanently cold for another couple of months, there is also access to its dual-side patio on Wells and Hubbard Street, which seats up to 48-guests.
Many of the design elements including the old wooden floors, the caged, warm Edison bulb lights, exposed wooden beams and brick, helped create a cozy, comfortable vibe. However, I felt that the big screen TV’s did unot exactly mesh with the rest of the atmosphere. There was also live music playing when we arrived, which was a bit too loud. We requested the volume be turned down a touch so we could hear our conversation. They obliged, which was very nice and attentive.
I always love venturing to River North, as it is always a Chicago neighborhood with a vibrant and impressive dining scene. Solita is one more excellent food destination added to the list.
My guest and I loved the entire experience at Solita from beginning to end. Excellent service, food, drink and interiors; what more could you ask for?
Our server, Josh, was very attentive. He was always ready to provide suggestions for food and drinks.
The drinks and cocktail selection was very impressive, offering creative recipes to enjoy such as the watermelon margarita (compete with a full slice of juicy watermelon, crushed watermelon, 100% blue agave tequila blanco, fresh lime), and The Mezcalero (Smoky mezcal, passion fruit, sweet y guava & lime juice, chile salt rim). A lovely addition included the Smoky Hermanita, (El Silencio mezcal, Cynar artichoke liqueur, tamarind, lemon juice, grapefruit juice and agave nectar). It was tasty and and delightfully complex, but unfortunately too small of a drink with a lot of ice. It was gone in a few sips.
After drinks, came our delectable small plates, Ceviche Tropicale (raw tuna, fresh lime, serrano, cucumber, tropical fruit & salsa fresca, avocado) and Peel and Eat Wood-Grilled Shrimp (grilled in the shell over an oak fire, ready to peel and eat, tossed with butter and spicy salt, grilled lemon). The tuna ceviche was a tad spicy for me, but the combination of different flavors and texture was mind blowing. The wood-grilled shrimp was smoky and woodsy with a touch of sweetness from the shrimp. Other appetizers we did not get the chance to try were the grilled corn elote and the guacamole Solita.
There were also three choices for salsa served with house made tortilla chips: Verde (green, medium heat), a red habanero salsa (quite hot) and a mild salsa with vibrant fresh flavors. All were made from scratch and delicious.
We also enjoyed an excellent selection of tacos (El Promo Street Taco Taster (Mix & match, choose any 4 street tacosh from above. Served with one side). I chose the Crispy Fish (sustainable fish in house-made beer batter, secret sauce and lime), Wood-Grilled Fish Mazatlan (sustainable fish oak-grilled with citrus adobo, secret sauce and lime), Chile Tofu (ancho chile, garlic and red chile rub, pan-seared) and Mushrooms with Garlic and Epazote (mixed exotic mushrooms with Mexican herbs & garlic). All tacos were absolutely delicious.
My meat-crazy guest gobbled up his tacos of Oak – Toasted Chipotle Chicken, Wood-Grilled Carne Asada (grilled over oak with a house special spice rub) and Chorizo Bacon and Sweet Potato with caramelized onion.
Our grand finale was a sinful and extra warm, gooey Demonic Brownie with salted caramel, pecans, vanilla ice cream and strawberry salsa.
We could not have asked for a better ending to our meal here, nor a better dining experience overall. I plan to be back at Solita in the near future.
Photos: Jennifer Lunz
For more information about Solita, or to book a reservation, please visit the website or call 773-312-4989.