Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Dec 8, 2006 08:48 PM


I just ate at Topolobampo and perhaps my expactations were quite high, but I found what should be vibrant, flavorful food to be bland and frankly, not that enjoyable. The ceviche did not burst with citrus and herbs that I love, and the duck dish could have been at any restaurant, although more aptly TGI Friday's than Jean Georges. It was overdone and underseasoned, and needed a sauce. Did I just catch it on a bad day? Someone fill me in because I don't get it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. DH and I had lunch there this past summer, and it was wonderful. I don't remember exactly what we had, except for the ceviche trio, but we had a fairly late reservation (ie, 2-ish), so the restaurant was quiet and service was terrific. I've only been there once, so perhaps I'm not really qualified to make this call, but it sounds like you got them on an off day.

    1. Sorry you had a bad experience. I have only been there once and it was excellent. Had dinner there on a weekend night about a year ago. It was packed, but the service was seamless and the food tasty and innovative. (Or maybe it was just that I usually get Tex-Mex and was just blown away by the real Mexican stuff!)

      1. I have been to Topolobampo four or five times over the last twelve years or so and I have been disappointed every time. Sure, there have been flashes of brilliance, but overall I have always wondered what all the hype was about. Very inconsistent and overpriced. Frontera Grill is just as inconsistent, but at least you don't feel so bad when you get the check.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Steven T

          That begs the question, why would you go back four or five times if you were consistently disappointed?

          If I'm unhappy with a restaurant, it's one and done.

          1. re: redchile

            You may have also noticed that those four or five visits were spread out over the course of twelve years. Sometimes you end up at a restaurant because that's where others want to go, sometimes you opt to give it another chance.

            You seriously never go to a restaurant more than once if you aren't impressed on your first visit?

            I have never felt that Topolobampo was terrible, and certainly I have eaten some interesting dishes there, I just have never had a start to finish great experience there. Considering the reputation and the price point, four or five visits without a great experience merits being disappointed.

        2. I might give a restaurant a 2nd chance if it has a great reputation, maybe. But, considering the hundreds of choices in the Chicago area, why bother going back to a restaurant that disappoints more than once or twice? To me, that would apply particularly to a place like Topolobampo, considering their prices.

          I may also consider going back to a restaurant if it is in close proximity to where I live. If I lived in River North, and could walk to Topolobampo, I would probably give it a 2nd chance.

          Oh well, to each his own.

          1. I've only been to Topo once and I found the meal to be somewhat underwhelming, there was really nothing that really impressed me. That being said, each time I eat at Frontera, something blows me away. Topo does have a better environment and service though.

            I'd give it another shot, the menu changes so often that just because I didn't care for something in July doesn't mean today's menu will be the same.