What To Eat

What To Eat at Balena, Opening Tomorrow

Balena, 1633 N. Halsted.
Balena, 1633 N. Halsted. Photo: courtesy Kevin Boehm via Facebook

In a season of long-awaited openings… here’s one that’s both long and awaited. Balena, the BoKa Group-Chris Pandel collaboration in the former Landmark space, was talked about for the fall. But we don’t mind the delay if the result is a cool space giving The Bristol chef Pandel a new canvas to work on with an Italian, housemade pasta focus. More than one opening date has been out there on the interthing, but per BoKa partner Kevin Boehm on Twitter, it finally opens tomorrow for real. We’ll have more on this opening later in the week, but for now, here (under Boehm’s own snapshot of the interior) is the very latest, actual menu they’ll be serving on the very latest, actual opening day.


Seafood Salad, Golden Raisin, Arugula 15
Sliced Winter Citrus, Avocado, Burnt Pine Nut 11
Bruschetta of Oil Poached Tuna, Marinated Beans 11
Smoked Mackerel, Aioli, Pangrattato, Soft Cooked Egg 10
Spicy Grilled Short Ribs, Charred Orange, Basil 13
Tuscan Kale Salad, Tonnato, Sardines, Croutons 10
Tripe Stufato, Marrow, Pancetta, Ceci Beans 10
Zingerman’s Buratta, Roasted Beets, Celery Root 14
Charred Quail, Hazelnut Butter, Escarole 14


Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato 10
Spicy Salami, Tomato, Mozzarella 14
Mushroom, Fontina, Taleggio, Scallion, Thyme 15
Mortadella, Pistachio, Red Onion, Mozzarella 14
Spicy Sausage, Red Onion, Tomato, Mozzarella 14
Lasagna Pie, Bolognese, Ricotta, Basil 14


Ricotta Ravioli, Swiss Chard, Brown Butter 14
Spaghetti, Tomato Fondue, Garlic, Parmesan 13
Orecchiette, Lemon, Kale, Bread Crumbs, Chili 14
Canestri, Duck Liver Ragu, Hazelnut, Balsamic 16
Strozzapreti, Rabbit Sugo, Rosemary, Olives 15
Tagliolini Nero, Crab, Sea Urchin, Chile 19
Tajarin with Pork Ragu 14


Big Bowl of Clams, House Bread 18
Grilled Sturgeon, Glazed Carrots, White Balsamic 21
Braised Chicken Thighs, Mascarpone Sugo, Cerignola Olives 18
Grilled Head-On Prawns, Grapes, Finger Chiles, Aioli 19
Stuffed Rabbit Loin, Garlic, Chive, Olive Oil 21
Glazed Duck Leg, Dried Fig, Amaro, Basil 19
Whole Roasted Fish, Peanut Gremolata (for 2ppl) MP
36 oz Bistecca, Lemon, Salt, Olive Oil, Roast Garlic Head (for 2ppl) MP


all sides 6

Grilled Rapini, Garlic, Lemon
Charred Radicchio, Pecorino, Basil
Jota, Carrots, Borlotti, Pancetta, Kraut
Oven Roasted Squash, Spiced Ricotta
Red Floriani Polenta, Butter, Dante


Tiramisu, Chocolate Sauce, Coffee Streusel, Roasted Pear

Affogato, Vanilla Gelato, Espresso, Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Caramel Pine Nut Tart, Vanilla Gelato, Anglaise, Fried Rosemary

Chocolate Budino, Amaro, Cocoa Nib, Fior di Latte



Vanilla, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Malt Chocolate Sauce, “Toasted Milk”
Hazelnut, Cookie, Spiced Fried Hazelnuts, Nutella Crème
Chocolate, Olive Oil, Sea Salt, Crostini
Pistachio, Burnt Orange Caramel, Pistachio Nougat, Confit Orange


Grapefruit, Dry Meringue, Cinnamon, Aperol Granite
Lemon, Lemon Curd, Shortbread, Mint, Toasted Meringue

all desserts 8

Balena, 1633 N. Halsted, 312-867-3888.

What To Eat at Balena, Opening Tomorrow