Iguana Cafe (Cafe, Bar, River West)

Location: 517 N. Halsted
Phone: (312) 432-0663
Website: http://iguanacafe.com/

Do you miss those coffee shops in Europe where you could linger for hours and maybe catch some free internet at one of their desktops in the front? They probably had good coffee and food for a reasonable price too. Well, that’s exactly the vibe you’re going to get from Iguana Cafe, transplanting yourself right back to to your favorite European city.

Iguana Cafe also has a liquor license, so they are open until 12:30am Sunday – Thursday, and until 2am Friday & Saturday. If you’re sick of the bars and want a place geared for conversation while sipping wine or espresso then this is a great option. And I’m not kidding when I say this place can get more crowded on a weekend night than Emmit’s Pub across the street.

Mornings are distinctly different than evenings with a quiet crowd sucking down espresso at the bar. Ultimately espresso will be your best bet as it far outshines their standard coffee. They have typical breakfast items, including some pretty delicious breakfast sandwiches. Their sausage, egg and cheese is solid but you’ll find more unorthodox breakfast sammies like turkey, muenster cheese, hard boiled egg or a croissant with mortadella ham, provolone and tomato.

But don’t think this is just a sandwich spot. Their panini’s, spinach baked pie and clay bowl pastas are all distinct and very gratifying on a cold Chicago evening. Dinner portions are left purposefully light as this locale is known for their desserts and more specificaly their crepes which contend for the best in the city (they have savory crepes as well). Like true Euro’s, nutella runs rampant upon their menu on items like gourmet waffles, a homemade peanut butter cup and bougatsa’s which are a Greek specialty of stuffed phyllo dough.

But why do they call it Iguana Cafe? Well look over your shoulder and the giant lizard hanging out inside the built-in glass case might give you a clue. As the resident and namesake pet, this relaxed lizard should set the tone for you’re own casual affair.


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Tessa McLean

About Tessa McLean

There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile.

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