In the heart of Chicago, Shaman by Chilam Balam is a unique Mexican restaurant providing high-quality cuisine with BYOB drink service. The concept is simple, more food and more flavors. Shaman by Chilam Balam specializes in small plates meant to be shared among friends. All of the dishes are created fresh from sustainable local sources. The menu is almost entirely gluten free.
Guests to Shaman claim too many favorites to list. The notable dishes include the entirely unique goat cheese enchiladas, the pork belly tacos that seem to disappear instantly and the chile en nogada, which is hand crafted with more than 30 different ingredients.
This was our 4th or 5th time at Shaman and it continues to get better. The food is modern fine Mexican cuisine with very attentive service. We highly recommend it and it is BOB.
This was my first time at Shaman, although I've frequented its Lakeview sister several times. We had a larger group and were happy to let the server pick dishes and serve us family style. Each dish was delicious and the desserts were excellent as well. The flavors were the same as lakeview and we'd probably just return there in the future out of convenience to us. This venue did offer more elbow room than the original which was nice.
Fantastic food! Excellent service. Love that it's byob. Sat outside, lovely evening. Inside is quite noisy.
Every single thing we ordered was delectable. The service was outstanding, as well. Highly recommend!
The food was pretty good if you evaluated each dish in a vacuum. But for the overall meal, there wasn't much range. Every dish seemed to have the same sauces on them: their guajillo salsa and their avocado sauce. It seemed like everything we ordered from quesadillas, to empanadas, to enchiladas all had the same sauce and the same flavors. We were looking for something a little different.
The value was not that great for what it was, but we appreciated the BYOB factor. Our bill seemed pretty high for just some small sharing plates that didnt have much range.
We love Chilam Balam and Shaman is just as good. The rotating menu helps keep things fresh every time you visit.
As always, the food is so good... lots of flavor and spiced appropriately. Atmosphere is a bit noisy, but all a good night out with friends. BYOB also makes it easier on the wallet.
No complaints about the food ... everything was really tasty. But the portions were SO small that, even if you go with their recommendation of 3 plates/person, you'll leave with a decent size tab and still be hungry.
The food was fine and not as expensive in the end as I expected. The restaurant is a bit overbearing with its rules. It also seems to be designed to be unnecessarily loud. Overall, it was fine for one meal but probably not a repeat.
Really outstanding, thoughtfully prepared food. Service was intelligent and friendly. For instance, we had three of us sharing items so they included extra portions so everybody got what they wanted. We'll definitely be back!
Owner served us. Rude from beginning of meal to end. Had been multiple times before but will never return after experiencing her. She may want to try staying in the back of the house. Lacks basic customer service skills. If you want good food but horrible service, this is where you will find it.
We went to Shaman because unlike Chilam Balam (which we love), Shaman takes reservations. We also wanted to try the menu. It was a very good choice. We both liked it quite a bit - the fruit that was added into the dishes was unexpected and a great addition. The space didn't impress us as much. It was freezing. There are double doors, but that didn't keep most of the people from holding the doors open (often unnecessarily) so you could never get warm. Since the windows and the doors don't have any coverings, it was impossible to feel totally comfortable. The restaurant is spacious, but in some ways that cut down on the romance factor. For a romantic date night, this may not be it (we were on a regular date night, so everything was fine). In general, though, it was a nice night. The staff was great, the food very, very good.
Service was good. Food was just ok. Some of it didn't taste fresh like the fish ceviche and chicken (seemed microwaved). Meat was very tough and chewy and not prepared the way I asked (asked for medium, served medium rare). Ambiance was cafeteria style and noise level was through the roof!!! I had to scream, literally, to communicate with people who were 3 feet across the table.
Great food, super service. Would definitely recommend it! The small plate options were really diverse. Amazing flavor combinations!
Absolutely the worst service I have received at a Chicago restaurant. The waitress was not only condescending and rude, when a restaurant tacks on policies that take 5 mins to recite (BYOB policy, credit card policy, how much you must order to be treated nicely "policy") it should change its name to detention. The fact the food was decent to good was completely ruined by the service.
As always, the monthly menu changes were delicious and both repeat diners and new diners who were with me in our group of Ladies Night diners were happy with their dining experience. We brought a bottle of tequila (or 2) and as always the margaritas were great. Our waiter brought back fresh salted glasses through the course of the evening. They accommodated allergies to shellfish and avacado as well as vegan fare requirements. Thanks (as always) for such a great dining experience!
For a table full of foodies we can be hard critics, but every bite was amazing, intriguing and inspiring. And to top it off the service was excellent. This place is a true gem.
What a great little restaurant, I have been to Shaman and their sister restaurant Chilam Balam numerous times. Have never had anything but great food!
Shaman is a neighborhood gem, with authentic Mexican fare.
It's a fairly small place (don't think it'd seat more than 50), in West Town, and focuses on small plate (all meant to be shared) Mexican fare. The flavor profiles and machinations are sumptuous, even if only moderately priced. A good chunk of their menu changes seasonally, to accommodate seasonal ingredients.
We had the Pork Belly Tacos, they were cooked just right, crisp on the outside, and well balanced with the kiwi pico de gallo. Butternut squash soup was flavorful, without any overpowering cream. The beef brisket cazuela (stew) was sumptuous in it's flavor profile, almost like a mild curry, with slow cooked brisket. The chile en nogada was a stuffed poblano chile, stuffed with pork picadillo, and with a walnut pomegranate cream sauce that was hearty, and so well balanced in it's nuttiness, creaminess, and spice levels. It was one of the best poblano dishes that I've ever had. We had some vegetarians in the group, and they made them sopes with beans them. There were a few available other small plates for them too (salads, gorditas, etc.) that they enjoyed very much.
Desserts were OK, fairly light, but not best in class in any category (flan, pie, tres leches cake)
Service is warm and friendly.
This is a BYOB, but with some restrictions on what can be brought and consumed (please see their website or call). And they only take 2 credit cards per table.
Overall, this was a stellar value meal at a homely, neighborhood joint.
Soraya was a great hostess. Second time at Shaman, and the food was even better the 2nd time around, Ceviche was great. The staff was kind of stingy with the tortilla chips, though. Entrees and desserts were to die for. Highly recommend to anyone looking for out-of-the-way, low-key, hipster type, WestTown restaurant, with a Hispanic, organic flair.
We took three friends who had not been to Shaman. One claims it now as her "new favorite restaurant". We took our own wine and worked our way through the amazing guacamole, the perfect calamari, the fish of the day, the Mexico city style (look like empanadas) quesadillas, the ribs and a couple of other dishes. All were wonderful and we ended up with the tres leches cake. Yum and very reasonable. The service was excellent.
Food was great, kind of a WestTown, old world gem. the waiter was somewhat tough to understand, but he was younger and might have been new in the position. Will be going back for sure. Looking forward to the next Shaman dinner.
So this is more along the lines of Mexican Tapas. We had 5 people and went through 8 entrees and they were all great! They don't hold back on the spice with some dishes but I don't mind that. The BYOB element is great! I'll return for sure!
Came with a friend who was raised in Mexico City and who is a very good cook. We oohed and aahed our way through guacamole, a fish dish, mushroom flautas, and honey spareribs and a bottle of byob wine. The bill was $29 apiece before tip. Super value, great food.
Great food and service. BYOB is a plus but only for wine and beer. No hard liquor and only a limited quantity can be brought in. Not much ambiance but a fun place.
We went to celebrate my son's birthday. He always picks interesting places. The idea of a small plate mexican restaurant was interesting. The service was very good and all the dishes were well prepared. We liked the ribs the best and the flan dessert was a great ending to a great meal.
We did not have a reservation so we had a drink at the bar. Our table came up just as our party arrived. The place can be a squeeze but it is totally worth it. The tacos were good, flavorable and a little expensive. But as everyone else has said, the BYOB on tequila and beer makes this experience even better! Between our party of 6, we tried just about every dish and had the house margaritas. They were delicious and went perfectly with our own tequila. We pretty much closed the place down and the waiter was happy to see us drinking and enjoying ourselves. Overall, a great spot to get a little rowdy with friends.
We were huge fans of his original restaurant in Chicago. This one produces similar types of dishes, but I believe they are not as creative as his previous restaurant. That said, it is still very good and interesting Mexican cooking that is unique. The BYOB keeps your costs down.
The amazing thing is that I did not think I really liked Mexican food, but my wife does. Now I know why. This is a small plate Mexican restaurant that is a foodies paradise. We ordered the chunky guacamole, then shared the flank steak, swordfish, game hen, potosinas, and sopes. Every dish was perfectly prepared, light with a wide variety of flavors and complexity. The potosinas may have been my favorite, but the others were not far behind. Jonathon, our waiter, patiently explained each course as we ordered it and the arrival of each dish was prompt without being hurried. My only regret was not leaving any room for dessert.
The other remarkable facet of the meal was the great value...our total bill, eating more than two people should ever eat in one sitting...was $80. Do yourself a favor and stop at Lush (just a few steps away) and get a great Priorat or craft beer to pair with the meal.
An amazing first experience. The owner was our waitress and hand picked all of our entrees. The entrees were all very unique and reasonably priced. Such a great find, and highly recommended for a foodie like myself.
The food is delicious & the service is great! Though we were disappointed in the BYOB restrictions. This is a hidden gem with delicious exotic food
We really enjoyed our meal here. The whole menu is small plates and we ordered the ceviche (outstanding), tacos flacos (shrimp tacos in lettuce cups; also outstanding--please keep on the menu), pork belly tacos (also very good though a bit dry), and the flank steak (good but our least favorite). It's BYOB but they have virgin sangria so be sure to bring wine. easy to find parking on the street and very friendly service. our only complaints is that the restaurant is a bit loud and the pace of the meal was a bit too quick.
Shaman is a fantastic BYOB near Beauty Bar on Grand-- they can even take your red or white wine and magically transform it into sangria! (HOORAY!) The apps and small plates are delicious and full of flavor. LOVED the guac and brussel sprout salad. Great for large groups, BUT beware of the "two credit cards only" policy. Make sure some o' your party has cash.
We had a great evening. It was our first time at Shaman. The food was delicous, presented well. Very fresh and unique. The service was great, and very knowledgeable of the menu. It had just been changed out. The BYOB is not an issue for us. However, with the house tequila mix, limeaid, I felt it was too sweet for my liking. So I will have to water my drink down more next time. We are already planning a return trip with friends in July.
Excellent food and service! I love this place; inventive and innovative Mexican fare. The noise level was way too loud, unfortunately, for me -- but I don't know if that's a problem with the acoustics in the space or the loudness of other diners. Either way, I'm always happy to Shaman packed. I will continue to support this restaurant.
The Mexican small plates is a good, if trendy idea. The creativity of the combinations is very foodie. I expected this place to be good, But what I didn't expect is that the authenticity of the Mexican cuisine would be so strikingly on target. Creative and authentic at the same time.
This is the best Mexican food I've had outside the Yucatan.
This place is so cute! My husband and I had a reservation late Friday night - the place was still bustling. The piscadillas and ribs were absolutely amazing! We also got the mahi mahi ceviche and grilled flank steak -- these weren't bad, but compared to the other dishes, I wouldn't order these again. Our waiter was very friendly (...and maybe a little high?). I've heard they are strict on the '1 bottle of wine per 2 people rule.' We didn't try bringing an extra bottle, but just something to keep in mind. Nevertheless, great experience, I'd definitely visit again!
I started off being pretty amazed at the terrible service - but then I remembered that Chilam Bilam's service set the standard for this place. It all started with a bewildering phone call. Their hostess left a message on my machine the same day as the reservation asking for confirmation that I was coming. When I called back, I began with "Hi my name is XX and I would like to confirm my reservation for this evening." There was a a long pause - after which the hostess said, "Okay, well are you coming?" I'm not sure what "confirm" means to her but I thought I was pretty clear - and her response was completely unprofessional. On our arrival, the server (who I'm pretty at both locations) was downright rude and short-tempered. After giving our party only 5-10 minutes, she came back to get our order. When we weren't prepared, and struggled to come up with a few items to put through, she proceeded to talk over each of us and say the kitchen was too busy and that she needed to put in our order t the whole time, and she left with only one item ordered. This was an astounding claims - as a place with maybe 10 tables was just over half full. Then she didn't come back for half an hour, and acted as if nothing was wrong - saying she wanted to wait to give us time and wait for our first item to come through. After taking the next part of our order, she brought up her dead best friend - completely out of the blue. I noticed the table next to us - of only two people - was waiting extended periods of time and was visibly frustrated at being ignored by our shared server, who spent a bunch of her time at the kitchen window. The only saving grace for this place is the food, and that unlike their parent restaurant they actually take reservations. Our dinner was in honor of my best friend who loves tapas and we were headed to a nearby bar afterwards, but I left completely embarrassed that I had selected this place for our small group. I for sure won't be going back.
What a great place! Share a plate of excellent Mexican food in a crowded casual place on W Chicago Ave. We tried several items including octopus, ceviche, mushroom empanada, flank steak. All delish. And we brought wine and tequila so our bill for 4 people was only $88 plus tip.
We will return.
This place had great food but definitely did not compare to restaurants like Mercadito. I knew this would be the case when we walked in for our 7PM reservation on a Friday night and we were the only ones there. This may be because it's a BYOB place that allows you to bring in handles of tequilla and we were there on a Friday, but still it's never a good sign!
Overall I thought the food was good but not anything special. Maybe a good spot if you live in the neighborhood and don't want to travel too far for pretty good Mexican tapas. Service was good but a little too in your face. Our server also misheard us and brought us an extra dish. He didn't offer to take it off the bill or take it away he just argued with us saying that we had ordered it.
Overall, average food and service. But if you want to do Mexican tapas BYOB this seems like it could be the spot!