Naansense is a wonderful new restaurant tucked beneath the el tracks in Chicago’s loop. It just opened, but the word seems to be spreading quickly since the line was nearly out the door when I arrive for lunch. Naansense is a fast casual restaurant that serves high quality, freshly made, modern Indian food.
The concept behind Naansense is similar to Chipotle’s. Customers decide if they would like a naanwich (a sandwich made with naan), a roti roll, a salad bowl, or a rice bowl. The customers go through the line selecting meats, vegetables and sauces to add to their meal. There are also a handful of set menu items for those who don’t feel like building their own lunch.
I ordered one of the set menu items, trusting the chefs to have selected the perfect combination of ingredients. Naansense is owned and operated by three chefs. This makes Naansense far superior to other fast casual restaurants. My chicken naanwich was made with freshly made naan, tender chicken, greens, pickled onions, tomato, cucumber and topped with makhani sauce and a garlic yogurt chutney. This sandwich was so good I ate every bite.
My friend Lauren had highly recommended the spicy fries which came with a curry mayonnaise, and they exceeded my expectations. The fries were crisp, well seasoned, and the creamy curry mayonnaise was spectacular. You seriously need to try these fries. I also tried the roasted carrot and cumin soup that warmed me right up from the cold. Finally I had a mango lassi, which is something that I had never tried before. A lassi is a yogurt milkshake. It was refreshing and fruity; it would be the perfect summertime drink.
If I worked in the loop, Naansense would be my go-to restaurant. It is fast, affordable, and the food is a total bargain considering the fact that everything is freshly prepared and made in house. Naansense has sleek modern decor and a giant graffiti wall. They do have some seating, but you are also get take out.
Naansense is open from 10:30 – 3:30 Monday-Friday and is located at 171 North Wells Street, just over the river from Merchandise Mart.