Opera

Chicago, Illinois

Closed as of Jan 9 11

1309 South Wabash Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
312-461-0161

Vegan-Friendly

3.6 / 7 votes

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Chinese Restaurant with Vegan Menu

Opera is a former warehouse that is now an elegant restaurant. It features classic Chinese cuisine and has a completely separate vegan menu. Opera is also in the middle of the theater district downtown, so it's a great place to go before catching a show.

Added by Eric Purdy on Aug 14 04 (last updated Apr 1 11)

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Most Recent Reviews

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As many of the other reviewers have commented, Opera is a great place to go on a date (or with non-vegan family members). While many of the dishes at Opera are quite expensive, the vegan dishes tend to be very reasonably-priced. The decor is stunning and the bar makes really good drinks. I am a huge fan of the vegetable rice noodle stir fry. The desserts tend to vary (they used to have really good homemade sorbet but recently the vegan dessert has been a mango panna cotta that I am a little less enthused about). Still, I have to give major points to Opera for having a separate vegan menu. It's a pretty rare occurrence in Chicago.

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We got to Opera pretty late (10:45 p.m.), so I was happy that they're open late. They recommend making reservations, as it's a popular place in the theater district. The decor is pretty cool and artsy-unusual, and the service was friendly and prompt.

I also love that they have a separate vegan menu, however small it may be, and however confusing (it's not separated into traditional groupings of appetizer-entree-dessert, so make sure to ask what's what).

Now onto the food. The morel mushroom wontons were pretty good but nothing spectacular. Morels are delicate, so I wasn't sure that deep frying them in batter was the best cooking treatment. The portion size was kind of small considering the price ($9).

My Mapo tofu was also decent, but nothing special. The portion size was much larger, even though the price was only $8, so I'm not sure how they set prices. The flavors were a strange mix of sweet and spicy, but I found the dish became boring after ten or fifteen bites.

There were two other vegans in my group and one of them was greatly disappointed by her "vegetable rice noodle stir fry" which she found to be overly sweet with low quality noodles. I tried her dish and concurred---it was almost sugary, rather than savory. Finally, the last vegan in the group enjoyed her "spring vegetable muushu."

So while I must give the restaurant kudos for having a vegan menu, and having hip decor and nice service, I was not impressed by the food. Quite honestly, I probably won't go back here unless I'm desperate. It just doesn't merit a second visit.

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Neighborhood

Loop

Allows Smoking

Accepts Reservations

Wheelchair Accessible

Prices

$$$ - expensive

Payment

  • Checks
  • American Express Diner's Club Discover MasterCard Visa

Cuisines

  • Chinese

Features

  • Large Group-Friendly
  • Private Rooms
  • Quiet
  • Romantic
  • Valet Parking

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Hours

5pm - 10pm
5pm - 11pm
5pm - midnight
5pm - 10pm

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