Guys, it’s coming.
The 25th anniversary of Shark Week starts next Sunday, Aug. 12, on the Discovery Channel.
Great White. Great SCOTT.
How we became a society of TV watchers obsessed with shark attacks, shark bites and shark fights is beyond us here at Chicago Food Planet, but we’ll be glued all the same.
We know as well as anybody how hard it is to tear yourself away from the television, but if the sharks have taught us anything, it’s that you’ve gotta eat, right? No matter what. Here are five restaurant suggestions to keep your head — and stomach — where they belong this Shark Week: under the sea.
You’re gonna need a bigger belt.
1. El Barco Mariscos
This West Town restaurant is shaped like a boat and creates a cheery atmosphere with neon décor accents, terra cotta tiling and a cantina feel. The brightly colored spot on Ashland Avenue offers a Mexican twist on seafood, including ceviche and parillada de mariscos — plus a whole fried snapper that Yelpers rave about.
You’ll also find classic Mexican items like margaritas, carne asada and fajitas. El Barco Mariscos 1035 N. Ashland Ave. | 773-486-6850
2. GT Fish & Oyster
This seafood-centric Boka Group spot in River North was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2012 — and there’s nothing fishy about that.
The tuna poke is cool and refreshing with chunks of mango and cucumber, and the oyster po’boy sliders are the best two bites you’ll put in your mouth all night. The lobster roll puts a twist on traditional but has still garnered rave reviews — and the GT “Mac and Cheese” is a can’t-miss, too, with English peas and huge chunks of buttery lobster. GT Fish & Oyster 531 N. Wells St. | 312-929-3501
3. Great Sea Chinese Restaurant
Three words: shark’s fin soup.
In Chinese culture, shark fins are said to boost virility, enhance the complexion, increase one’s qi, prevent heart disease and lower cholesterol. (Some even say it can prevent cancer.)
The soup is increasingly rare, given some ethical and sustainability concerns for the sharks, but people still love this Chinese delicacy. Great Sea Chinese Restaurant 3254 W. Lawrence Ave. | 773-478-9129
4. Toro Sushi
Constant long waits and long delays for takeout usually aren’t a good thing, but in this case, it’s just Chicago sushi enthusiasts being loyal one of their favorite sushi joints. This BYOB spot in the heart of Lincoln Park is low on space but big on freshness and flavor.
The rolls have names like the Tipsy Trixie, Super White Crunch, Salmon Crunch, Oh My God Roll, Kamikaze and Midway Monster Roll. Toro Sushi 2546 N. Clark St. | 773-348-4877
5. Calumet Fisheries
Specializing in smoked and fried seafood, Calumet Fisheries has been well worth the hike to the South Side since 1948. It’s family owned and operated, and draws a crowd seven days a week.
Don’t plan on a fancy sit-down meal — Calumet Fisheries is a takeout-only joint. The website claims many customers don’t even wait until they get home to eat and chow down right in the parking lot instead. Calumet Fisheries 3259 E. 95th St. | 773-933-9855