I had the pleasure of having lunch with the Mayor of Chicago Chowhound, Vital Information, and his (much) better half, the Condiment Queen, a few days ago at Las Islas Marias on Grand. Las Islas Marias is a little slice of coastal Mexico in Chicago replete with oysters, shrimp, ceviche, waitresses in skimpy bikinis and children selling chiclets on the beach. Ok, maybe not the last two, but La Islas does have picnic tables set up in a covered breezeway area that looks inviting.
As the Mayor had been to Las Islas a number of times I put myself in his capable ordering hands, especially given the fact that VI subscribes to the same ordering policy as me, 'one of everything.' Ias Islas starts out with complimentary tostadas, flavorful ceviche, add a couple of Tecates with lime and salt and I could almost make a meal of the complimentary appetizers.
Thing got off to a fast start, a dozen fresh from the sea oysters, ceviche de pescado and and order of 4 empanadas de camaron. The oysters were fresh as a daisy, smelling lightly of the sea with a subtle sweetness, reasonable as well at $9.45 per dozen. The ceviche mild and flavorful, the empanadas were crisp, steaming with a delicious shrimp filling.
Next up was a nice sized order of split grilled shell and head on shrimp served with a small salad and rice on the plate, Caldo 7 Mares and a shrimp and octopus cocktail. Each of these were excellent, the grilled shrimp juicy and meaty, 7 Seas soup chock full of shrimp, mussels, shell on crab and the Shrimp and octopus cocktail was incredibly full flavored.
Though our waiter spoke little English our service was practically seamless, water and napkins were replenished without asking, he made a few menu suggestions and even, when our smallish table was groaning with food, dragged over the next table without being asked so we would be more comfortable.
Las Islas Marias is a restaurant I will be back time and time again, fresh seafood, reasonable prices and friendly competent service make an alluring package.
Thanks to ReneG for first posting about Las Islas and the Mayor, and Dave Hammond, doing the follow up Chowing so the rest of us can benefit.
I took a few pictures of our lunch, link provided.
Las Islas Marias
4770 W. Grand Avenue