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We're bowled over by the chupe at Tanta.

You’re no slouch at navigating ethnic food, thanks to years spent identifying favorite dishes at Thai, Japanese, Indian, Vietnamese--even Ethiopian--restaurants around the city.

But you may find yourself stumped by the unfamiliar (to us, at least) menu at Tanta, a lively and laid-back new Peruvian spot in River North. What the heck are anticuchos? you might wonder. And, um, causitas? (Meat skewers and mini potato logs, respectively.)

Here, let us make things easier: Get the chupe.

Chupe, we learned, is an amazingly satisfying Peruvian stew. And at $22 for a gigantic bowl, it delivers the best bang for your buck at famed South American chef Gastón Acurio’s Chicago eatery.

The fragrant soup arrives still boiling, with a crispy hunk of bread, prawn tails, lima beans and large-kernel corn all peeking out from its orange, steamy depths.

As you wait for the chupe to cool, breathe deeply--the slightly spicy aroma of the broth should work wonders for your fall cold. When you finally dig in, don’t ignore the big soft thing that looks like a lump of cheese. It’s an egg, and you’ll be happy you broke it open and stirred the yolk into the rich, heady mix.

You’ll never get to the bottom of that bowl, but here’s to trying.

Tanta, 118 W. Grand Ave.; 312-222-9700 or

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