10 of the Best Chicago Restaurants That Aren’t Actually in Chicago
Bridgeview for Middle Eastern. Arlington Heights for Japanese. Winnetka for French. Yep, not all the best food is found in the city proper. It’s time to head to the surburbs for some amazing international flavors (and easy parking).
AL BAWADI GRILL
This family-owned spot is perfect for family meals. Order up a couple mezas (small plates) and shawarma platters to share. But don’t be surprised if you wind up arguing over who gets the last falafel.
7216 W. 87th St., Bridgeview; 708-599-1999
This charming Evanston café has that certain je ne sais quoi. The space is filled with eclectic flea market finds, while the menu thoughtfully showcases local, seasonal ingredients. We suggest the lamb meatballs with pistachio chimichurri and mint yogurt.
1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston; 847-868-8945 or foundkitchen.com
Helmed by Paul Virant and with a Michelin star to its name, this restaurant comes with all the credentials you’d want. From the goat Bolognese made with feta orecchiette to the miniature chocolate crullers with blueberry glaze, the food lives up to the reputation.
4471 Lawn Ave., Western Springs; 708-246-2082 or vierestaurant.com
Driving 45 minutes to eat in a chain food court? Trust us, it’s more than worth it. Tucked inside the Japanese marketplace Mitsuwa, Santouka is known for its shio ramen—go ahead and slurp up every drop.
100 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights; 847-357-0286 or santouka.co.jp
Put four Spiaggia vets at the helm of a Berwyn restaurant and what do you get? Really, really good Mediterranean fare. We’re talking braised octopus, whole roasted fresh fish and handmade pastas.
6727 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn; 708-775-8122 or autremondecafe.net
This Latin American-inspired eatery somehow manages to draw a steady crowd from morning to night. For brunch, you can’t beat the chilaquiles, while a dinner of asada with chipotle goat cheese and yucca frites pretty much leaves us in tears.
7931 Lincoln Ave., Skokie; 847-674-8100 or libertad7931.com
THE DEER PATH INN
A meal at this 85-year-old Tudor-style inn will have you feeling all kinds of sparkly. While the downstairs pub has its charms, we’re all over the English Room, especially its adjoining patio. Order up a glass of rosé while you peruse the menu of simple, English-style fare.
255 E. Illinois Rd., Lake Forest; 847-234-2280 or thedeerpathinn.com
GENE & JUDE’S
This historic hot dog stand still serves up its “Depression Dog,” a hot dog topped with mustard, onions, relish, sport peppers and a handful of fries. Sounds more like a happiness dog. And you’ve been warned: Do not ask for ketchup.
2720 River Rd., River Grove; 708-452-7634 or geneandjudes.com
For more than a decade, chef Michael Lachowicz has been bringing French dining to the North Shore. Showstopping presentations of salade Lyonnaise, souffle and foie gras are de rigueur here, but for something even more elegant, book a meal at George Trois, an intimate tasting menu experience within Michael.
64 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka; 847-441-3100 or restaurantmichael.com
The pizza here is so good, they’ve expanded to two other locations. While the original serves up Neapolitan style, the second Evanston location and the outpost at Revival Food Hall in Chicago focus on Detroit style. Wherever you go, you’ll enjoy fresh ingredients cooked to perfection, but it's only at the original that you can pair your pie with some live music at adjoining S.P.A.C.E. (hello, date night).
1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston; 847-475-2400 or unionpizza.com