As we savor the last months of the summer season, our chefs are adding heirloom tomatoes to their menus. Other than being more colorful and oddly shaped than your everyday tomato, heirloom tomatoes really are special and are at their peak in the late summer.

Heirloom Tomatoes

What makes a tomato an heirloom tomato? Bon Appetit Magazine said it perfectly:

“The seeds are what make an heirloom tomato an heirloom tomato. They are passed down from season to season, taken by the farmers from the tomato plants that produced the best fruit. This process allows farmers to select for certain desirable traits like juiciness, size, shape, or color. Heirloom tomatoes are also often open-pollinated, which means that they are pollinated naturally, by birds, insects, wind, or human hands. No weird science-y genetic modification here.” – Bon Appetit Magazine 

With such a short season, our best advice is to try ’em while they’re delicious so we rounded up a few of our favorite dishes from the perfect salads and summer pastas.

The perfect salads:

Osteria Via Stato Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad

Osteria Via Stato’s Chef David DiGregorio is known for sourcing some of the best ingredients from local farmers and purveyors and one of his favorite things about summer is heirloom tomatoes. Try Osteria Via Stato’s Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad.

Make a reservation at Osteria Via Stato.

Stop by your local Farmer’s Market and pick up heirloom tomatoes and try Osteria’s Heirloom Tomato Panzanella Salad at home with this recipe!

Heirloom Tomato Salad at Joe's

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab offers an Heirloom Tomato Salad with pistachio basil pesto, burrata, balsamic reduction.

RPM Steak Tomatoes
For RPM Steak’s Heirloom Tomato Salad, the chef team looks to Nichols Farm out of Marengo, Illinois, for their juicy tomatoes. The salad is studded with creamy stracciatella (yes, that creamy fresh cheese from the middle of burrata) and imported Jamón Ibérico.

Wildfire Lincolnshire's Heirloom Tomato Salad

Wildfire’s Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad with Vidalia onions, goat cheese, and a red wine vinaigrette. (Available at select locations for a limited time only).

Make a reservation at Wildfire – Chicago | Make a reservation at Wildfire – Glenview | Make a reservation at Wildfire – Lincolnshire | Make a reservation at Wildfire – Oak Brook | Make a reservation at Wildfire – Schaumburg | Make a reservation at Wildfire – Eden Prairie | Make a reservation at Wildfire – Tysons’

Mon Ami Gabi Local Tomato Salad, corsican feta, cucumber, red wine vinaigrette

Mon Ami Gabi offers a Local Tomato Salad with Corsican feta, cucumber, and red wine vinaigrette. This salad is balanced out by a block of tangy Corsican feta that’s drizzled with olive oil. All tomatoes are from local farmers in each market and vary in color, size, and sweetness.

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! offers an Heirloom Tomato Salad with Watercress, Green Goddess & Smoked Idiazábal Cheese. This is one of the new dishes that Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba! added to their Spring/Summer 2019 menu. The Green Goddess and herbs make the plate a little less acidic, and more bright and fresh, while the cheese invokes memories of a campfire and the smell of burning wood.

The Italian way:

Pizzeria Portofino Tomato Caprese

Newly opened Pizzeria Portofino’s Tomato Caprese incorporates Campari tomatoes, which are sweet and juicy with low acidity, along with creamy stracciatella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and purple basil served with fresh semolina bread.

Beatrix Heirloom Tomato Ravioli

Who knew these delicious delicacies are the key to making your pasta lighter. Beatrix’s Housemade Ricotta Ravioli incorporates heirloom tomatoes in the sauce and garnish, along with cherry tomato sauce, grana Padano and fresh basil. 

Make a reservation at Beatrix – Chicago | Make a reservation at Beatrix – Streeterville | Make a reservation at Beatrix – Fulton Market | Make a reservation at Beatrix – Oak Brook 

Pro Tip from Beatrix Chef/ Partner, John Chiakulas:

    “You always want to leave heirloom tomatoes out at room temperature. Don’t refrigerate them unless they’re over-ripe. I always like to accent my heirloom tomatoes with fresh basil – it’s a marriage made in heaven for me!”

    Heirloom tomatoes

    On Toast: 

    Summer House Heirloom Tomato Toast

    Summer House Santa Monica – Chicago rolled out a new summer menu that showcases seasonal dishes from local farms. One of our favorite offerings is the Heirloom Tomatoes Sliced to Order served with garlic aioli and grilled bread, which features tomatoes from Klein’s Farm in Elgin, IL.