Autre Monde Café celebrates five years in Berwyn

The Chicago suburbs often surprise and delight diners with some of the finest restaurants in the region. Autre Monde Café in Berwyn has rightfully developed that reputation. The superb restaurant located at 6727 West Roosevelt Road (just east of Oak Park Avenue) recently celebrated their fifth anniversary with a new menu, a gorgeous redecoration, and a continued focus on excellence.

Autre Monde Café is a neighborhood restaurant celebrating all things Mediterranean with a fresh, seasonal menu, old world focused wine list showcasing the best organic and artisan producers as well as cocktail program inspired by small batch spirits, fresh juices and old school techniques. The clean lines of the dining room are highlighted by beautiful tables, hand crafted by Mennonites out of fallen ash trees from Cakeridge Farms (the home of their Ohio-based chefs) mixed with vibrant vintage French subway posters and the warm glow of handcrafted imported Moroccan light fixtures, all designed to transport the diner heart and soul to another world.

In full disclosure, I live just a few blocks from Autre Monde Café and have been a fan since they first opened. When I was invited to attend a special anniversary meal, there was no hesitation on my part. Not only do they have superb food and cocktails, but their wine list is one of the most fascinating you will find anywhere in the Chicago area. They specialize in Mediterranean cuisine so the wine follows that but includes rare varietals from Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia along with many unusual Italian regions. A few of the wines are exclusive to Autre Monde Café, so if you’re an oenophile you must give them a try.

The restaurant grew out of the shared vision of owners John Aranza and Christine Tully Aranza along with Chefs Dan Pancake and Beth Partridge. According to Christine:

It’s about shared experiences and delicious, unpretentious Mediterranean food, plates driven by the freshest ingredients … it’s about warm and informed service … and showcasing the finest artisan producers of wine and spirits. In short it’s about giving our diners the best experience a neighborhood restaurant can deliver.

In celebration of their anniversary, and at the turn of the seasons, they recently refreshed the menu. The results are outstanding. Autre Monde Café has a few specialties that have been on the menu for years and will remain. Try their excellent Neevik – a mixture of spinach, garlic and chickpeas – a favorite of regulars to the restaurant. I have also never regretted ordering any of the seasonal pasta dishes, with noodles freshly-made daily in the restaurant combined with locally-sourced ingredients often purchased from the Oak Park and Berwyn farmers markets.

The menu changes frequently based on what is fresh, local and available so it is difficult to accurately give a full review. If you happen to visit any time near the posting of this review, then I highly recommend the following:

Pintxos

  • Squid Steak – large slices of squid grilled perfectly (not chewy!) and served with a lovely Cava vinaigrette
  • Piquillo Peppers – marinated in chili and basil oils and wrapped around house-made sausage.

Small Plates

  • Shrimp Dolmades – a fantastic riff on the ‘traditional’ Greek dish but filled with shrimp and lobster, served with a lemon hollandaise
  • Crudo – a refreshing combination including fluke, sea beans, radish, and Meyer lemon
  • Pasta De Atun – a unique Portuguese tuna pâté served with warm grilled bread
  • Mediterranean Wings – smoked and fried, served with chili honey
  • Jamón Spare Rib – Duroc spare rib accompanied with sweet onion BBQ sauce

Larger Plates

  • Wood Grilled Lamb Chops – served with Gigante beans, oregano, lemon and some of the best lamb you are likely to sample in the area.
  • Amish 1/2 Chicken – I rarely advocate ordering chicken in a fine dining restaurant, not because it’s not great, but because it’s so simple to prepare at home. In this case, I will make an exception. They serve theirs with house-made Merguez and a lovely combination of spinach, quinoa, and harissa. This is some great chicken!

You can also be assured that any of the flatbreads, pastas, and desserts are going to be superb. The daily cheese plate (for dessert) rotates some excellent artisan cheeses so ask your server for the selections of the day.

For more information, visit the Autre Monde Café website. Email them at info@autremondecafe.net or call (708) 775-8122. You can follow their social media conversations on Facebook and Twitter. Autre Monde Café is open Tue – Thur: 5pm – 10pm; Fri & Sat: 5pm- 11pm; Sun Brunch: 10am – 2pm; Sun Dinner: 5pm – 9pm; closed on Mondays.

Photo Credit: Kailley Lindman


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