Montarra: The Hidden Chicago-Style Gem


Prairie Ridge senior Carsen Forte recommends local Algonquin restaurant Montarra for an upscale dining experience.

On par with any upscale restaurant in the city of Chicago, Montarra, a contemporary American restaurant in Algonquin offers a wonderful dining ambiance, provides top-notch customer service alongside a great selection of well-prepared food, and leaves customers feeling right at home.

During these times of social distancing and outdoor seating, it is crucial that restaurants keep a beautiful and professional dining experience both indoor and outdoor. 

Montarra’s outdoor seating, while set up under a tent, still was clean and well lit and had heaters set up for the cold weather. It was one of the best outdoor restaurant setups I have seen, and it was essentially an extension of the restaurant. Montarra’s indoor booth and bar seating, dark lighting, and modern aesthetics all tie together to create a relaxed ambiance, setting the perfect atmosphere for a couple’s dinner, a business meeting, or even a nice family night out. Being primarily a dinner restaurant, Montarra is most alive in the evening hours. When I arrived around 7pm, the steady chatter of excited diners, and pleasant staff members, had already filled the restaurant with life.

The staff at Montarra had top-notch customer service, adding to the experience of dining at an upscale restaurant. The employees, patient and kind with pleasant dispositions, added to the relaxed ambiance and created a comfortable environment for one to spend the evening. The customer service at Montarra is excellent, as the staff visibly enjoy what they do and pride themselves in making customers feel at home. Montarra’s customer service added to the true city experience, but one with a more relaxed environment. Attentive and accommodating, the staff at Montarra truly strives to make each and every customer feel like family. Even as a first-time customer, thanks to the staff, I felt welcomed and felt right at home at Montarra.

Montarra-known for bringing a true Chicago restaurant experience to its diners-has a variety of food and flavors incomparable to anything of its kind. As an upscale restaurant, Montarra has many different menus: wines and craft beers, elevated small plates, large plates and steaks, specials, and desserts. Ordering off the large plate menu, I chose their red wine short rib. Not only did I receive the short rib, but also a tower of scalloped potatoes, seared wild mushrooms, and a side of seasoned spinach. The seared rib was tender and juicy, with tangy and savory notes, and the seasoned spinach paired nicely with the wild mushrooms; all the flavors danced together in my mouth, leaving me full but still wanting more. 

Rarely do I ever purchase dessert, but Montarra’s dessert menu was too good to resist. I ordered the caramel turtle cheesecake, an excellent blend of both the original cheesecake taste and a caramel turtle sundae. After the first bite, any feeling of fullness from my dinner had disappeared. Everything at Montarra, from the customer service down to my dessert, was truly sweet.

The next time you’re looking for a new restaurant to try, check out Montarra. You’ll certainly feel right at home!

This review was adapted from an Advanced Writing Evaluative Essay