Visiting Expat – al fresco dining in Chicago

Last Friday after a long day of work my sister, a friend of ours and I went to Expat on Green St. in the West Loop of Chicago. Expat is an al fresco only dining experience that has just popped up for only the summer time because people can’t al fresco in the winter here in Chicago…that would be something.

When I heard about this place I was a woman on a mission to get there before summer expired to try a boozy rosé sno cone, pictured above. In theory a rosé sno cone sounds like the greatest thing on the planet – wine plus a throwback to your childhood with a tasty icy treat, who wouldn’t want to try that? In practice, it was a bit difficult to consume. The evening wasn’t particularly hot (luke warm at best) so the ice didn’t melt very quickly, and we were stuck picking at the sno cone, hoping it’d melt. Once it did melt we slurped the rosé down quickly with our straws. So a lil more work for a glass of wine than we had bargained for. I could imagine on a super hot day/evening (like the 5 we’ve had all summer), it would be much easier to consume. All in all though, given the 5 buck price tag, if you want to give it a shot, go for it because it’s a unique summer time experience!

What I will absolutely rave about was the food! We started with oysters, which were very fresh and delicious. We did half west coast and half east coast. They went fast between the three of us. Next up, was the Chicago burrata which was great. The fresh mozzarella burst out of its outer shell with the first slice of the knife, and its creamy goodness melted in your mouth with the bread. The smoked trout roe complimented it nicely. Our only mild compliant was that there wasn’t enough bread for all of us to have two pieces each, even though we still had plenty of burrata. I feel like this happens at restaurants all the time so this is more of a general restaurant-gripe, and I am sure if we had asked for more bread (we didn’t-that’s on us), they would have accommodated us. Finally, we DEVOURED the ahi tuna with watermelon, avocado and hearts of palm. I believe my sister even said at one point that we needed to hurry up and eat some before she ate it all because it was so good. The tuna was perfect with the watermelon keeping it light and hearts of palm giving it a nice crunch. Overall, the food was excellent. This place specializes in crudo and small plates, but they do have a small selection of salads and sandwiches in case you want a lil something more. Except for the oysters, all of the food on the menu is $12 or under so that’s pretty reasonable for the city. Bookending our sno cones, we had a few glasses of rosé – it’s so hot right now. They were $6, so again, not bad price-wise. Their drink menu ranges from $3 (almost unheard of in the city) for a can of Miller Highlife to $10 for a cocktail or glass of champagne. So you can keep it pretty cheap if you want to throwback some good old Champagne of Beers (Miller Highlife), and honestly, who doesn’t?? Also, I noticed on Yelp some reviews about poor service – I thought our service was good. The servers weren’t super in your face with that in and out, burn and churn Chili’s-type mentality, but that’s not what we were looking for in our experience anyways. We wanted a laid back, chill and talk over drinks and food at our pace kinda time. I think the servers fit that speed appropriately.

Expat is a great little gem right off the hustle and bustle of Randolph St. on Green in the West Loop. This place is perfect for soaking up the sun with reasonably priced and tasty food and beverages. It’s definitely worth stopping over and enjoying before the summer slips away from us!


Peace out,

Wet Hair, Don’t Care



  1. August 27, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    I am salivating thinking about that tuna again. So. Good.

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