By all rights, Garvanza’s should be wildly popular, but its tucked-away location keeps it undercover. The neighborhood restaurant focuses on pan-Latin flavors with an emphasis on high quality local ingredients. The produce is fresh and seasonal, and the service is super friendly. A lot of people, including me, are rooting for it.
The bulk of Garvanza’s menu is burritos and tacos, including tender barbacoa with pickled onions, pork shoulder slow cooked in garlic and peppercorns, and flaky mango-salsa-topped fish tacos. Plates, comprised of those same meat choices and some of the most flavorful rice and beans in a 10 mile radius, are also served.
The one must of the appetizers at Garvanza’s, which shares the name of the historic neighborhood next to Highland Park, is the Garbanzo Bean Salad, a simple mix of fried garbanzos, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. The cool veggies and a drenching of lime juice really brighten up this highly addictive dish. The chips and salsa are also notable for the same reason—the chips are thick and greasy, making them the perfect match for the tangy salsa their served with.
Brunch at Garvanza’s gives you free reign of the entire menu, plus some breakfast options. Their Buttermilk Pancakes with honey and cinnamon are a Yelp hit, and the Vegan Burrito is stuffed with sorizo, zucchini, rice and black beans. I like the Spanish Tortilla, a tasty layering of fluffy eggs with thin slices of potato, zucchini and onion. There’s no actual tortilla involved, but it is topped with melted cheese and comes with green salsa.
The agua frescas, prominently displayed in the dining room, shouldn’t be passed up, nor should their smoothies—the vegan option with almond milk, bananas, strawberries and brown sugar is a lush, but not overly sweet, treat.
I’ve heard the same promised of the Flan Brulée, but that’s still on my to-do list.
519 N. Avenue 64
Valentina Silva writes about food and restaurants. You can also find Valentina’s reviews and stories on her blog, Eastside Food Bites.