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Mana Food Bar

  • Vegetarian
    ( 10 reviews )
Contact 773-342-1742
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1742 W Division St (at Blue line train: Division/Ashland), Chicago, Illinois, USA, 60622

Veggie restaurant featuring an eclectic menu comprising ethnic inspired food. Influences from many different world regions. Contemporary decor. Confirmed open May 2012.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, International, Juice bar, Beer/Wine, Delivery, Take-out, Asian

Reviews (10)

First Review by jeanne rogers

Korean-inspired and great - Edit

Vegetarian Korean cuisine is not all that easy to find, so I checked this out, and it was great. Not all the menu items are Korean-inspired, and not all are vegan, but the waiter (vegan herself) was a capable advisor. I had the bulgogi, which was a surprise - so immensely savoury that it really needed to be eaten slowly, but unforgettable.

Pros: excellent food


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Good Food, but could be more vegan friendly - Edit

I have eaten here a couple of times. It is a nice cozy little place, with great atmosphere and good food. It is a very small place, so reservations are recommended. They have a rather large menu, but a large amount of it is not vegan. Some of the things that aren't vegan would be very easy for them to make vegan and not alter the flavor in any way, so I kind of scratch my head wondering why not. I would say that this is a good restaurant, with good food, but somewhat limited on vegan options and so I tend to go other places over this place.

Pros: Nice Decor, Good Food

Cons: Limited Vegan Options, Very Small


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Small Plates, Big Taste! - Edit

MANA food bar is a small Wicker Park vegetarian tapas restaurant. I was first introduced to this gem several years ago and have yet to be disappointed. About half their menu is vegan and very inspired by Asian flavors as well as other world cuisines. You can order small plates or large plates of most dishes. I would recommend getting a variety of small plates to try out different items. Don't go overboard, though! Get a couple dishes and see if you are full and then order more if you'd like. The items can rack up in price if you don't do it that way. MANA is moderately priced so expect to pay about $50-$70 a meal with alcohol.

Be warned also that this restaurant is pretty small, so you might be waiting for a table (unless you go during good weather seasons when they have a small outside table area too).

For appetizers, we had the pickled veggies, caponata, and the sesame noodles, all small sized. The pickled veggies were good - tomatoes, green beans, and mushrooms. I didn't care for the tomatoes as much as the other two. One of my favorite dishes at MANA is the caponata. If you are not an eggplant person, do not get this dish. If you love eggplant like myself, you will thoroughly enjoy this tapas plate. I highly recommend one tries this item! The sesame noodles were pretty good as well. It was my friend's least favorite of the variety of small plates we got, but I'd get it again. In the past, I've also tried the spinach and pear salad and it is also one of my favorites on the menu.

For hot plates, we got the curry dish, ma po tofu, and gyoza, again all small sized. The gyoza are really good - just your standard fried veggie dumplings, but delicious. I preferred the curry dish over the ma po tofu. Once again, if you don't like eggplant, don't get the ma po tofu dish. The lentils in the curry plate were a nice added touch too. In the past, I've had the tofu bulgogi dish and it is one of my favorites on the menu. I highly recommend trying out that plate. My friend also had the tamale and the potato pancakes. He really enjoyed them both, particularly the potato pancakes, but be warned neither are vegan (he's a vegetarian).

If I had to go with a top three favorite dishes at MANA, I would choose: bulgogi, caponata, and gyoza. The sesame noodles run a tie with the gyoza in my opinion.

For a complete review, please see my blog here: http://veganmiss.blogspot.com/2012/10/vegan-chicago-restaurant-review-of-mana.html

Pros: tasty, vegan-friendly

Cons: small place, pricey, long wait


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Fun little place - Edit

I really like Mana. I have been here several times and have really enjoyed the experience of ordering with friends and sharing small plates. The food is great. Non-vegetarians enjoy this place too. My only complaint is that it gets busy and has very little seating. I would recommend not going at peak times.

Pros: excellent food, small plates- so can try many things

Cons: limited seating


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Wonderful - Edit

I've been going to Mana since it opened. I love the menu. Unlike some veg*n places, they have a great variety of dishes I don't grow tired of.

The smoothies are fantastic. They're always creative like avocado, pineapple & coconut water. Other great menu items are the Five Spice Tofu, Quinoa, Maki, Sesame Noodle, Potato Pancake and Ravioli. I think I've had almost every menu item. Some dishes are better that others but I can honestly say I haven't had a bad dish.

There's room for improvement in that the staff could be friendlier. They're hit and miss on the welcoming factor.

Yes, the restaurant is small but it's nicely decorated and if you are lucky enough to get one of the booths you'll have plenty of room. Street parking is available out front but is hard to find at any time of day. I'd take the Blue Line and get off at Division.


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upscale veg. dining - Edit

A wonderful place where the meat is not missed. I took my very carnivorous bf here and he loved it. Great specials and excellent regular menu. The sliders are tasty. Drinks are awesome but pricey. I would go here weekly if I could afford to.

Pros: so very tasty, great date place, cozy vibe

Cons: can get loud, the bill can add up, pretty small space


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Small, cozy, intimate place, great food - Edit

The best thing I liked about Mana was that almost every item on the menu comes in small and large size. This allows for trying many dishes even when there are just 2 in the party. We tried the spinach ravioli, sweet potato pancake, dumplings and their special soup of the day, spicy tomato. Each item was excellent, with not a flaw. They have a good wine list as well. It is small, but very good value. Go for it.

Pros: Quality, Portions, Value


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Awesome! - Edit

The place is small but super cute. The menu was great. My favorite was the bi bim bop no egg. The bulgogi was super salty and the waiter said that's how it is so if you like salty...The curry was really good as well. There were 3 of us and we ordered 6 small dishes and ate it tapas style. The service was excellent. One of the customers tried to get us to move because they had a large party but the only seats were by the door and it was freezing and one of the ladies that worked there told them to leave us alone and bought us a round of margarita shot afterwards coz she felt bad. I totally recommend the place and will be going back.

Pros: Friendly staff, Excellent Food, Good Value

Cons: Small space


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Nice Place - Edit

I went to Mana last week and to me it appears a little more upscale. I actually had the hummus, which was good and full of garlic, but the pita isn't Vegan so I had to eat it with just vegetables. Some of the other stuff looked really good and I hear the lasagna is very good as well [it's not Vegan, but Vegetarian. If you want to impress your veggie girlfriend/boyfriend, this would be a nice place to take them.


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We are so lucky to have this in the neighborhood! - Edit

I am a lttle wary of writing a review for this gem. I don't want to have trouble getting into this small restauarant in the future, but I want to support them and future chefs in opening vegan friendly restuarants. The food and service is great, and their outdoor area comfortable and interesting.

Pros: Excellent food, Many choices, Friendly staff

Cons: too small, a little dark inside


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