Pork belly with squash purée Photo: Anna Knott

Consider Tanta the antidote to the overstuffed River North restaurant scene: colorful and lively without turning into a cliché of itself. The restaurant draws on Peru’s multicultural culinary influences, in particular Japanese (evident most notably in the niguiris nikei, sashimi-like nibbles of raw fish) and Chinese (see the “del Chifa” section of the menu, featuring dishes that evolved from an influx of Cantonese immigrants to the country in the 1800s). Oceanic delights abound, from the ceviche criollo, which exhibits the subtlest heat from ají amarillo peppers, to the king crab causita in a nest of fluffy whipped potatoes. The pisco sours go down easy, especially when consumed from the idyllic rooftop terrace, where you can gaze upon the rest of the throbbing neighborhood, remembering how happy you are to be above the fray.