Best Restaurants List

Discussion in 'Paradise Garage' started by resinate, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. resinate

    resinate Toy Prince

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    This is my last week in Chicago but i figured this forum needed a food central thread, as this is a great town for both fine dining and quick food.

    Cousin's
    [​IMG]
    if you consider yourself a vegetarian or vegan and have never tried raw food once you owe it to yourself. it's dense and usually cold or dehydrated, but all the digestive troubles that sometimes come with dairy or meat are gone, leaving a sense of well being and enlightenment. and then, some of the best nut-based desserts i've ever had. i'm unable to go frequently, but when i do it counts.

    Karyn's
    [​IMG]
    i respect the effort, but of the three locations i only really go to karyn's raw on halsted. there's dining, a shop, and a cafe all in one. every time i go i always want to get everything, but with the pricing it's far from possible.

    Pick Me Up Cafe
    [​IMG]
    a recent discovery. open til 3 every night, 24 hours on the weekend, and the food is affordable and actually good. they can substitute vegan ingredients into most of the orders. great cakes/pies. also, for being that close to clark and addison it's never been packed or even uncomfortable when i've eaten there.

    Paciugo
    [​IMG]
    gelato. tons of it. my god

    Molly's Cupcakes
    [​IMG]
    cupcakes, tea and coffee. to me, the whole purpose of eating out of home is to get stuff that you just can't make, and well, nobody makes cupcakes as well as they do. i've been going once a week for many weeks. very nice staff, and games like scrabble available to pass the time.

    Istanbul Restaurant
    [​IMG]
    a great turkish place with some really friendly owners. lakeview.

    Emilio's Tapas
    (not pictured)
    apparently they're newly relocated in the loop, but the place near clark and fullerton was one of my favorites for a long time. tapas is just the perfect set up for a group dinner - endless appetizers and sharing. i'm partial to the spicy potatoes.

    Sultan's Market
    (not pictured)
    the best falafel/salad bar for the best price in the city.

    Homemade Pizza Co
    (not pictured)
    despite abounding deep dish franchises spread throughout the area, that's just too much cheese and i don't want to drown. they don't even have an oven - they assemble a pizza for takeout and it's yours to decide how and when you want to prepare it. a nice middle ground if you want control but don't have time to make your own dough and sauce.



    those are probably my most frequented places. there's a thousand more i'm omitting or never discovered. but i know you're all out there, too. with some perseverance we can get this to rival the SF thread :D
     
  2. Ghost&Flower

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    Re: Best Restaurants

    Life On Mars Vegan Takeout.
    http://mars-takeout.com/
    The menu can change daily, but they have some stuff that seems to be there everytime. The mac n' cheese is the best I've ever had (besides my own) vegan or not. They recently added some chairs and tables so it isn't strictly take out anymore.
    It is a pretty new place that was started by the same guy that started Atomix Cafe, which another great place. It is vegan friendly as well.
    Used to be able to say that its right next to Roto, but not anymore. Too bad they didn't move with them.


    Lula Cafe is right underneath the Logan Square Auditorium. I wish more bands I liked played there because I love going to Lulas.
    Place seems little trendy, but the food is awesome. Here's my favorite item on the menu..
    [​IMG]
    "spicy peanut butter ‘tineka’ with tomato, cucumber, red onion, and indonesian sweet soy sauce on toasted multigrain sourdough bread."
    The desserts are awesome too.
     
  3. Ghost&Flower

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  4. BloodDrinker6969

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    I don't know if I want to get started in this thread, too much!

    I'll make a short list, you can Yelp them:

    Susies (ultimate junk food)

    San Soo Gab San (korean bbq 24/7)

    Crisp (fried chicken, also korean)

    Dairy Star (cheap ass ice cream, not fancy but totally fun)

    There's about a dozen or so joints on Devon I can't even name with all sorts of killer Indian and Pakistani food too, real good stuff.

    I'm not gonna mention the big joints we're sure to see mentioned (kumas, hot dougs, etc.) but I'll try to add some more weird places I love.

    Any where with weird bits I'm into, so I'll take any suggestions. Guts, brains, eyes, whatever, as long as they're made with skill whether it's old world or fancy pants up scale.
     
  5. damaged Bryan

    damaged Bryan Comment King

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    Frances is one of my favorite places in the city to eat.
    BD, I LOVE DAIRY STAR!!!!! I think we've been out there at least once every weekend since summer started.
    I also love Cloud 9 on Belmont, the owner is really nice and it tastes delicious.
    Outside of the city, Edzo's in Evanston and Walker Bros are two of my favorite places (I know there is a Walker Bros. in the city, but the one out of town is actually closer)
     
  6. BloodDrinker6969

    BloodDrinker6969 Die-Cast

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    I've been hitting Dairy Star every weekend since I moved, we must be missing each other. I'm like 5 min. away.

    Edit on San Soo Gab San, NOT 24 hours, 10am-5am (so they close for 4 hours.)

    I'll tell you what, Golden Nugget (well, any of them) have been a staple of my life since I was a teenager. I went recently and have not been in years. I was pissed the prices went up BUT I'll say they at least improved for that price hike. Greezy diner, but still an all time fav. for shit talking at 2am.
     
  7. damaged Bryan

    damaged Bryan Comment King

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    I heard Golden Nugget was shady... And if you're there at 2AM I KNOW it's shady.

    You go to the Dairy Star across from the Taco Bell right? We must be missing each other because I loves me some Dairy Star. Get the Strawberry with the crunch, it tastes like a strawberry pie.

    San Boo Gab San was really good, I got the seafood stone bi bim bob, I want to go back sometime.

    And Molly's cupcakes... Oh my God! So good.
     
  8. BloodDrinker6969

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    Golden Nugget is an institution. I've been going, seriously, since I was in high school. The 2 on Irving Park are the best IMO. Perfect level of trashy but not SO trashy that your foods gonna end up with hair or something. Again, they've cleaned up a bit. Typical diner but fun. Monte Cristo is the best. The place is historic to the city in my eyes.

    There's another place on Morse, Korean (mostly breakfast) ran by 1 lady who's awesome. Next to a comic shop too.
     
  9. vog_island

    vog_island Addicted

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    cool! I've only been to a few of these.
     
  10. rotokirby

    rotokirby Toy Prince

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    Paramount Room
    415 N. Milwaukee

    I'd eat here once a week, or more, if I had the time.

    The $10 Kobe Burger and a Pint special (any day before 7pm) is the best bargain in the city. Pony up some extra funds for the Tempura Green Beans, they're worth it just for the chili dipping sauce.

    Other favorites of mine are the Scotch Egg, Steak Tartare and the Poutine, french Canada's greatest contribution to the world. Great beers on tap too.
     
  11. SmilingIdiot

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    There are many resturants that I frequent around town, but these are off the top of my head:

    Favorite BBQ: Smoque
    Favorite Late Night: San Soo Gab San
    Favorite Cheap Chinese: Chi Cafe (Chinatown)
    Favorite Sushi: Sea Ranch (Evanston)
    Favorite Buger: Kuma's
    Favorite Buger You Can Actually Get (since Kuma's is usually impossible): Moody's
    Favorite Vietnamese: Hai Yen (on Argyle)
    Favorite Junk Food That My Wife Wishes I Would Stop Eating So Much Of: Harold's Fried Chicken :lol:
     
  12. damaged Bryan

    damaged Bryan Comment King

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    Oh damn, I need to try Sea Ranch, I'm just a hop skip and jump away from Evanston anyways.
     
  13. SmilingIdiot

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    It's a small little Japanese grocery store with a sushi shop in the back. It is on Chicago and Dempster in Evanston. I rarely eat sushi, but I do like that place alot.
     
  14. Ultra999

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    our two favorite (not necessarily the best):

    • addis abeba
    • saint's alp

    and i have to agree about harold's chicken shack -- the best fried chicken and hot sauce!
     
  15. BloodDrinker6969

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    I love fried chicken but never got into Harolds. I've been to a few different ones and was never totally into it. Is one location better vs. others?
     
  16. SmilingIdiot

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    Probably one is better than the other, as some locations' menu differ from others, but the more sketchy the neighborhood, the better for me. There isn't any really good fried chicken in Chicago, so I go to Harold's for my grease-fix.
     
  17. BloodDrinker6969

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    Seriously, Crisp man. There were a ton of low key hole in the wall Korean fried chicken places where I lived in GA and this one is just as good despite being marketed towards the hipsters and yuppies. It's GOOD. They have your basic fried chicken and then a bunch of different types as well.
     
  18. damaged Bryan

    damaged Bryan Comment King

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    I like Krisp a lot, but I always get the burrito's, the sauce that comes with the burritos are killer.
     
  19. BloodDrinker6969

    BloodDrinker6969 Die-Cast

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    I never had the burritos. Also my bad for spelling their name wrong (right?)
     
  20. damaged Bryan

    damaged Bryan Comment King

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    Wrong you were right I guess I was thinking of a dozen glaze... MMMMmmmmm... Dozen glaze... Is there a krispy Kreme within like 2 hours of the city?
     
  21. damaged Bryan

    damaged Bryan Comment King

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    I had Sea Ranch over the weekend, really good stuff. I had the Ramen set. Not as good as Mitsuwa but it's also not an hour drive. The sushi was fresh, and the place was clean and quaint.

    Next time I'm going whole hog for the sushi, this will probably be my sushi joint for a while.
     
  22. SmilingIdiot

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    Nice! Glad you liked the place. Sea Ranch have an all-you-can-eat sushi special in the afternoon/evening on certain days.
     
  23. sbbenhcs

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    i wouldn't consider these "big joints"... but they are heavy hitters, that's for sure. i have been surprised that not everyone even knows about these places. and there's another couple nice finds in that belmont/elston/california area: urban belly (good pork belly ramen, a bit overpriced dumplings), and just a bit further south is fat willy's, my go to bbq joint.

    crisp: gotta agree it's great, but go for the bee bim bop. it's nowhere near as good as if it came in a hot stone bowl, but i don't need a car to get it!

    san soo gab san: not looking to start any fights, but i'm over this one. go try boo il, up on bryn mawr and kimball. better food, and 1/10th the crowds.

    sushi: my favorite "let's go out" place used to be marai, but then i went to macku. holy sh!tballs on rice! seriously, one of the best all round meals i've had in a long time. pony up and do a tasting, let them do their thing, and you will not regret it!
    if you want to get some stuffs to go (or feed a party), go to lawrence fish market. stupid low prices, killer fresh fish. three of us went in on a $20 plate, and got 4 maki and 16 pieces of sashimi. it looks seriously dodgy, and you DO NOT want to eat it there, but this stuff is top-notch.

    middle eastern: two places pretty much right across the street from each other. semiramis, for a nicer, date-friendly place, and salam, more quick-serve style. either way, stop in at nazareth sweets for baklava afterwards. and then there's turquoise cafe, right down the street from me in roscoe village. best. iskender. ever. (they call it a yogurt kebap... but it's iskender.)

    and that's just a few of my favorites. doesn't really help that the missus is a food blogger, so a lot of would be toy money ends up being let's go to dinner money.
     
  24. BloodDrinker6969

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    I hear you on san soo gab san, I do love it but I'm not closed minded enough to say it's the end all of Korean BBQ, especially after living in a huge Korean area outside of Atlanta where that was what half the places were.

    I think the tough part (and great part) about a thread like this is that it can be endless. Chicago's food landscape is huge and always changing. A place can be amazing today and in 2 years fade away to garbage. Plus you have to count the burbs, there's just as much amazing food out there. I find myself lost more and more since I'm getting into things like offal and more simple plates. I get frustrated by overly complicated menu items. My friends are all into that but to me it's too much sometimes. Here: Roasted. Bone. Marrow. Thanks, 'nuff said, I'll take it! But when I read a plate description and see all sorts of adjectives that make less and less sense my eyes roll back into my head. It's not out of closed mindedness but sometimes less is more with food for me, ya know?

    Anyway, anyone into Borinquen? There's 2, one near Humboldt Park and one on Western near Lane Tech. Honestly just the Jibarritos are worth it. I've never bothered with the other food because I love the Jibarritos so much (sandwhich made with 2 slices of fried plantains instead of bread, then either pork, chicken or shrimp and some mayo and veggies) that I haven't bothered. Awesome stuff to kill your heart.
     
  25. sbbenhcs

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    gonna have to try borinquen near lane, that's within walking distance. i usually head south, though, and hit up 90 mile. but i do love me some fried plantains! and mojo... mmmmojo.

    yeah, hear you on the diversity of food we have here. the missus and i just got back from a week in nyc, where we basically ate our way across the lower half of manhattan. and while there were some great things to be found (seriously, chicago needs to adopt the lobster roll. and not the way shaw's does it.), i just didn't get too excited about it. not because it wasn't brilliant finding all these little places, but because they'll never be our little places. but that's a different conversation, i think...

    talk more about marrow! *drewl*
     

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