Sola Updates

in a hurry for dinner? enjoy our entire menu at home with curbside carryout

Call ahead and order any item from our menu. You can pre-pay with a credit card or pay with cash when you pick up your order.

When you arrive, there’s no need to look for a parking space, just call us and we will deliver your order to your vehicle. You don’t need to worry about finding a parking space and you’ll be on your way to enjoy a signature sola meal at home.

We’ve switched all of our take out packaging to recycled materials.

Sola Updates

Sure, Lollapalooza is one of the best venues to see some of today’s greatest musical acts accompanied by revived legends like The Cars, but with Sola cooking up select menu items all day long, they might as well change the name.

Let’s face it — sure, Coldplay is pretty good, but not as good as edamame with hemp seed vinaigrette and kalua pork on banana bread. Besides, Solapalooza has a nice ring to it. See us at our booth in Grant Park, August 5-7 for some food that will be sure to blow your mind even more than a killer set from the Foo Fighters.

Sola Updates

News, Tips, and Inside Information from the Dining Editors of Chicago magazine
By Penny Pollack & Jeff Ruby

Going Sola

Carol Wallack, chef-partner at Deleece (4004 N. Southport Ave.; 773-325-1710), is leaving to open Sola (3868 N. Lincoln Ave.) this fall. “‘Sola’ is the feminine form of ‘solo,’” says Wallack, a surfer who once worked as Jack Nicholson’s personal chef. “I’m on my own. I wanted something simple to pronounce and easy to spell.” The dishes will be “very clean, straightforward California-style with a lot of Asian and Hawaiian flavors”—such as a seared tuna with ginger confit with a green papaya salad on a sesame crisp. Sola will be designed by Keith Olsen and Cynthia Vranas, the husband/wife team who did HotChocolate, MK, and Pili.Pili. Sounds promising. Deleece, meanwhile, will be in the hands of Wallack’s partner—her sister, Lynne Wallack-Handler.

Sola Updates

Catch the Wave

Imagine if restaurant reviews were written in surfer cliche.

Simply wicked braised endive was served alongside bodacious black cod. And we’ll be back for the totally righteous rack of lamb.

Hmm. At least we’d know a winner from a wipeout.

If owner/chef Carol Wallack’s work at Deleece is any indication, we’ll be raving about Sola, the new contemporary American spot that she opened yesterday. The menu is filled with South Pacific twists that play off her surfer-girl past (she grew up riding waves in Malibu and has a second home in Hawaii). Daily fish specials share billing with a trio of tuna tartares and braised short ribs.

Such beachy dishes are at home in a dining room that swims with golds and browns and is bathed in toasty, amber lighting. Too busy to take a seat? Just call ahead, drive up, and have your eats delivered right to your car.

That, dudes, is oh so tubular.

Sola Updates


Chef Carol Wallack’s new venture is meant to conjure up all things summer, like the sun, the beach and hot surfers. That’s a tall order to fill in the middle of a Chicago winter, but her ginger-touched brandade is a good example of how she gets the job done, primarily by lightening her dishes with bright Asian ingredients. Even when the food’s not sunny, it still works: Her caramelized onion tart is a rich beginning no matter what season it is, and her Dijon-crusted lamb chops are a divine way to get through a snowy day. Still, the open, airy room seems made for warmer weather, which is when we expect things to really take off.

Sola Updates


Chef Carol Wallack has dreamed up a menu board with expert balance. A roastedpepper- and-fennel soup came with a sambuca-infused creme fraiche; a sea greens salad was crisp with water chestnuts and played the bitterness of hijiki against the sweet spiciness of hoisin. There were some gimmicks: the “trio of tuna tartares,” though fresh, were indistinct in flavor; Parmesan fries with truffle oil sounded fabulous but turned out to be a fancified version of what you’d get at Gene and Jude’s. Far more memorable was the black cod, marinated three days in miso paste and rice vinegar, then seared and served with curried sunchokes and bamboo rice; it paired very well with a 2004 Mak sauvignon blanc big with grapefruit notes. We also tried Colorado lamb chops with eggplant and leeks, for which our server suggested a medium-weight Cartlidge & Brown pinot noir–an excellent match. Capping things off were citrus pound cake with mango curd and a molten chocolate cake with sesame brickle ice cream and wasabi-vanilla bean syrup. sola delivers its entire menu curbside–call ahead, pay with a card, and pull up in front.
–David Hammond

Sola Updates


Say “hey” to sola (3868 N. Lincoln Ave.), the brainchild of self-proclaimed “surfer girl” and former chef to Hollywood celebrities, Carol Wallack. The restaurant is a hot pot of American, Hawaiian and Asian cooking. Bites include pork dumplings with steamed ginger, Asian chicken broth and Fuji apple chutney and Hawaiian Red Snapper en papillote pineapple, shiitake, mint and cilantro.

Sola Updates

Illinois Featured Highlight
sola restaurant, “Surfer girl” and former chef to some of Hollywood’s celebrities such as James Garner and one of my favorites, Jack Nicholson. Carol Wallack opened sola, a really dynamic and innovative Contemporary American eatery.

sola restaurant,
By Judy Worley

The rejuvenated area is more active, more lively with excellent dining, exciting nightlife, great shopping and is where sola restaurant will call home. Owner / Executive Chef Carol Wallack is a Los Angeles native and avid surfer who found her calling on the beach after meeting a Chef of the original Spago. Wallack left Los Angeles and came to Chicago bringing her love of sand and surf to her new restaurant sola. She gracefully created a dramatic décor of amber-hughed lighting with touches of rust, gold, chocolate brown tones along with other accents of reds, oranges and warming blues and greens throughout.

The accents and color tones along with earthy island accents of bamboo floors, wood, stone and some of nature’s friendly materials evoke the tranquil beauty of sand and ocean. There is also an acoustical coating in the ceiling along with a state of the art sound system that insures that diners can converse easily, making sola comfortable, relaxing with a wonderful friendly atmosphere. The design also incorporates a special door for curbside pickup, so that young parents driving up for carryout never have to take the kids out of their car seats.

sola features the best in casual fine dining and incorporates a strong element of Wallack’s Asian-Pacific flair that were developed through her frequent surfing trips to Hawaii. She says, “My heart is in Hawaii and I tend to cook what I like to eat.” Chef Wallack created a menu that will be seasonal straightforward American with California flair and plenty of the Asian and Hawaiian flavors. Look for excellent choices on the menu.

Appetizer menu includes:
Artichoke fritters with soy lime & white truffle-honey sauces ($6.00)
Lobster shiitake pot cooked in coconut ginger broth ($9.00)
Asian pear salad with local blue cheese, Belgian endive and pear cider vinaigrette ($6.00)
Butternut squash soup with star anise and maple crème fraiche ($4.00)
Crab cakes with oriental salad and citrus gastrique ($8.00)
Trio of tuna tartars served with Thai cucumber salsa and ginger confit ($12.00)

Entree menu includes:
Carol’s Colorado lamb chops with Dijon mustard crusted, cambazola, eggplant puree and leeks ($28.00)
Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with butter squash, chanterelles, pomegranate demiglace and apples ($17.00)
Nobu’s miso black cod with bamboo rice and curried sun chokes ($19.00)
Black pepper tuna with black beluga lentils, balsamic soy syrup, shiitake and snow peas ($23.00)
Braised short ribs with glazed brussel sprouts and white cheddar macaroni and cheese ($20.00)
A vegetable potpie of golden beets, parsnips, turnips, wild mushrooms, truffle oil ($14.00)
Oven roasted chicken breast; accompanied by sautéed spinach, sweet potatoes, curry mustard and jus roti ($16.00)

While Chef Carol Wallack may not be able to bring the beach to Lincoln Avenue, with sola, she strives to give her customers a sunny sensation with a friendly atmosphere.

Sola Updates


When Chicagoist went out to check out Chef Carol Wallack’s new restaurant, sola (3868 N. Lincoln Ave.), this week we had high hopes. Luckily, we were not disappointed. The cuisine at sola is contemporary American, but because of Chef Wallack’s background, there’s a lot of Hawaiian and Asian flair. Chicagoist started off with the lobster and shitake potstickers (no-brainer!) and a carmelized onion tartlet (gruyere, sweet Maui onions, and apple) that we thought was intruging and ended up being really “wow”ed by. Delish. We also tried the hot and sour soup. Best. Hot & Sour. Ever. For entrees we stuck with seafood, which is the majority of the menu, but there is a NY Strip for those who need to get their meat on. Chicagoist got the ono and miso black cod – Nobu’s famous. Both were cooked perfectly, flavorful with sides and sauces that complimented, but didn’t overwhelm these tender fish. Oh, also, the waiter didn’t need to twist our arm very hard to get us to try the parmesan truffle french fries. Holy smokes, pommes frites used to be our favorite fried pototo, but not any more.

Sola Updates

sola Restaurant Review

Having spent a good portion of my life and time commuting back and forth between California and the suburbs of Chicago – the Fox Valley area – it has at times been somewhat difficult for me to decide where to call home. And having just recently returned from another extended sortie west, I was still smiling about some of the great dining found in various places on the coast, south of San Jose.  It is difficult to describe the differences between there and here – dining-wise – but there are definite and notable differences that I wish more places here could replicate.

Perhaps it was the lure of a kindred spirit – a chef – from the west coast that motivated me, and perhaps it was just the lure of a chance to again venture into the city of Chicago.  No matter.  This past Wednesday, Lauren and I headed east for dinner at a new restaurant called Sola.   Located not far from Wrigley Field, in what is referred to as West Lakeview, the upscale venue features an incredibly innovative menu packed with mouth-watering creations from California native Carol Wallack, who says the name Sola not only evokes the sun, but also is a feminine version of “solo”.  The drive in to the city was like a trip to the dentist, and I felt as if I needed Novocain to complete the leg from the Kennedy in to the restaurant – it was an agonizing crawl.  Once inside the front door however, it was as if Scottie had beamed me back to the coast.  General Manager John Arents met us at the door, and his demure calm and wide smile was the opening sedative that led to a relaxed and totally enjoyable evening.

The interior was almost austere, yet it exuded a soothing warmth.  The colors were the gentle earth-tones of the southwest; a fireplace glowed and the ceiling was filled with slender, curved columns of amber that cast a gentle and comfortable glow on the dining room.  Topping the white table cloths were sienna-brown paper sheets, cloth napkins and silverware, a single salt/pepper grinder and a single flower brightly smiling from its square glass container.  We were immediately provided with ice water and our server – Anya – asked if we would care for a cocktail.  After that drive?  Absolutely!  Lauren chose a Saki-tini (gin with a splash of Saki, garnished with cucumber bits) and I ordered a Stoli martini garnished with onions soaked in vermouth.  Both drinks were served in chilled “up” glasses and were perfect.

As we gazed at the menu – described as Contemporary American – I could almost hear the roar of the ocean.  The unmistakable influence of both sides of the Pacific Ocean were immediately obvious in appetizers such as artichoke fritters with soy lime & white truffle-honey sauces ($6), lobster shiitake pot cooked in coconut ginger broth ($9), crab cakes with oriental salad and citrus gastrique ($8) or a trio of tuna tartars served with Thai cucumber salsa and ginger confit ($12).  Or how about the entrees like bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with butter squash, chanterelles, pomegranate demiglace and apples ($17); Nobu’s miso black cod with bamboo rice and curried sunchokes ($19); black pepper tuna with black beluga lentils, balsamic soy syrup, shiitake and snow peas ($23); or Opakapaka (Hawaiian Red Snapper) served en papillote with pineapple, shiitake, mint and cilantro ($22).  Can you say Maui… ocean… west coast?  I knew ya could!

For starters, Lauren and I decided to get the Artichoke Fritters and the Crab Cakes and sample some of each.  The cakes were some of the very best I have had (and I have sampled them everywhere I see them on a menu) with palate-pleasing oriental nuances. The artichoke fritters had the most delicate and lightest of breading, and the two sauces were delicate, very different from one another, so complimentary and sooo good, I think I could have made a meal of them.  For dinner, Lauren selected a pan-broiled Grouper, nestled on a grilled pineapple ring with purple rice, a slick and slightly spicy salsa and topped with avocado slices.  I chose an evening special (soon to be on the menu): a “five-spice-rubbed” duck breast over parsnip–leek “hash-browns” with a brandied cherry demi-glace and ginger braised endive.  The fish was tender and perfectly cooked; the duck breast was seared on the outside, fairly rare on the inside and very flavorful.  Can you say “unbelievable”?  I knew you could say that too!  Both dishes were exquisite and the flavors were outstanding.  For dessert we split a pecan-molasses cake with Maker’s Mark bourbon and a bourbon-caramel sauce with a scoop of home-made buttermilk ice cream.  Angelic!

It was an excellent evening.  And for a relatively new restaurant, things ran as if the place had been open for years.  Plating of the entrees was done with an artist’s hand, the flavors were absolutely incredible, the prices were way reasonable and Anya was the exclamation point on the service – always with a smile at the table and throughout the dining room.  Ms. Wallack has done her homework and Sola is the perfect place for a casual, yet fine dining experience.  And believe it or not, there is even carry-out service!  If Sola weren’t such a long drive for me, I know I would be a regular.   Sola easily receives 4 1/2 Zins, and my recommendation is to make a reservation to go there ASAP.  Thanks To Chef Carol Wollack and her entire crew for bringing the warmth of the coast to a cold hinterland!