I should have started listing restaurants in Chicago a long time ago. This list is so incomplete that it's missing many good Chicago restaurants, but it's a start and it's casual. I could do it but, it would be actual work to organize and rate all the restaurants in Chicago in a database with a sensible interface.
There are, of course, many sites that list and rate restaurants in Chicago. EGs:
My "quality rating" system is as follows. There are many distinctions of quality. A show may have a production rating of Q3of9, but a liking rating of Q8of9. Note that my ratings are not like the usual 1-5 star system because I give places that have personal meaning a higher rating.
Q2of9. Very bad.
Q4of9. A bit below fair.
Q6of9. A bit above fair.
Q8of9. Very good.
These are places that have stuff from smaller asian coutries, more than one asian country or fusions between asian .
2830 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618. 773-227-0970.
"180° from ordinary Chinese"
One day in 2005 or 2004, I on foot was with my wife and kids we wanted to dash in some kid friendly place and grab some chow. Years ago when we had lived in the Logan Square neighborhood, we had eaten at the Chinese Friendship Restaurant years ago and it was the typical "dive" Chinese restaurant. So when we stepped into the new restaurant we were taken aback because it looked way too fancy for kids! We backed out but then the waitress called us back because she had heard the door. She invited us in and we had a meal in a place with much more atmosphere than we usually take our kids to. I love hidden gems. The food tends to be dark and different from the usual Chinese but it's good.
4356 West Armitage, Chicago, Illinois 60639. (773)235-3515. Closed Mondays!
A run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurant but it's near my house.
My family has been going there since they were at their old location. They have the whole ducks hanging up right by the front door and you can watch them chop it up. I particularly like their Chinese vegetables with oyster sauce. Lots of good food at a great price.
There are many fast food places in Chicago but the two kinds that are identified with Chicago are the Chicago-style hot dog places and the Maxwell Street-style places.
Byron's Chicago Hot Dogs
1017 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, Illinois 60613. The oldest and smallest. Frequented by Cubs fans.
1701 West Lawrence Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60640.
680 North Halsted Street, Chicago, Illinois 60622.
They do the Chicago-style hot dog but they specialize in "lots". Lots of fries and lots of toppings. Their dogs have tons of toppings and other toppings not found in the Chicago hot dog --including lettuce, green peppers, and cucumbers.
3324 N. California, Chicago, Illinois. 773-279-9550.
I decided to check this place out on a whim. What an incredible find! The first thing you notice is the line. The second thing you notice is the Elvis and celebrity decor. I've only been there twice, but each time the line was practically sticking out the door. They do all the usual stuff like Chicago style hot dogs, Maxwell style, polish, brats, Italian sausage, cheesy fries, free refills, etc., but then they go on. There are exotic sausages like rabbit, venison, and antelope, and then they have different and unexpected sides. The clientele varies and some of them are obviously from out of town. After working so close to Hot Doug's for two years, my company is moving down town! I could almost cry.
'There are no two finer words in the English language than "encased meats," my friend.' dattebayo!
210 South Canal Street, Chicago, Illinois 60606 U.S.A.. Phone: 312-928-0405.
4455 South Pulaski Rd. Chicago, Illinois 60632 U.S.A.. Phone: 773-869-9500.
O divine. Dunkin Donuts is good but Krispy Kreme is much much better.
Maxwell Bus Stop
2807 North Clybourn Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618, U.S.A.. At the corner of Damen and Diversey.
There are many little Maxwell Street-style fast food places in Chicago but this is the one closest to me. Maxwell Street-style places are distinguished by two dishes: Maxwell Street-style polish sausages (A polish sausage with grilled onions, mustard, and peppers on a bun) and Maxwell Street-style pork chop sandwiches (a fried pork chop on a hamburger bun). I used to eat at the "real" Maxwell Street (near Halsted Street and Roosevelt Road) --especially in the early AM hours-- where they also had the "black market" atmosphere, but alas construction has moved the vendors to Union Avenue and I'll take Maxwell Street polishes wherever I can get them.
174 N. Franklin St., Chicago, IL, 60606. (312)372-7557.
719 W. Maxwell St., Chicago, IL, 60607. (312)243-1633.
2009-06-30 14:32. I was just at the Franklin location a few minutes ago. After loading up, I could barely walk back! Their stuff is so big and luscious. My eyes popped just watching them make the sandwiches. It's like sandwich porn!
S & S Deli
2390 North Elston Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618, (773)267-4315.
2006-03-27t19:34:38Z. I'm eating one of their sandwiches as I write this. From the outside S & S Deli looks like a typical Chicago fast food place. They makes subs as well as Chicago-style hot dogs, beef sandwiches, and such, but they offer several surprises. As soon as you walk in, you immediately notice how tidy and clean the place in. The way they take your order, wrap your sandwich, chat with you, etc. is so meticulous and warm that it makes you feel properly civilized. Additionally, they are also a convenience store with a large selection of ice cream.
5343 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60625, phone (773)293-2362, 07:30/19:30.
A combination Filipino restaurant and grocer. Almost looks like a chain. You can get a breakfast of fried eggs, garlic fried rice, a choice of Filipino meats like sausage or fried Bangus, plus coffee or hot cocoa for under $6.
7329 Lemont Road, Downers Grove, Illinois, 630-663-8803.
This Filipino restaurant isn't in Chicago proper but I needed to park this info somewhere.
4423 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60640. 773-271-5441. Just north of Montrose Avenue. Affordable. Buffet too. Too bad the Filipino restaurant across the street got torn down. Closed old location.
6259 N McCormick Blvd, Chicago, IL 60659. 773-279-8861. Bigger new location.
Filipino bakery, restaurant, and catering. They also do wedding cakes.
Ruby's Fast Food
3740 West Montrose Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618. 773-539-2669.
Ruby L. Rodica, Owner/Chef/Cook. 'Lutong Bahay Talaga -- Masarap Na, Mura Pa!'. My mom loves the food and I like the place because several times I've bumped into my mom there while on my lunch break. Near my current work.
733 Lake Street, Oak Park, Illinois. 708-358-1700.
The two story setting was cool. I thought the food was delicious --even though my good friend Nikos (a proud Greek American) thought the taramosalata wasn't fishy enough and the scordalia wasn't garlicky enough. I had the fabulous broiled fresh whole seabass, with olive oil-lemon sauce, served with dandelion greens. And of course we had flaming saganaki. Perhaps the meal was fabulous because it was a gathering of my friends, including Gus who flew in from Las Vegas, plus it was a meal we had before seeing the movie 300 on opening night, which I had been anticipating for months.
4242 W. Fullerton Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60639. (773)278-1468.
A run-of-the-mill taqueria but it's near my house. Decent portions but the food tends to be over-done.
2054 West Roscoe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60618, (773)525-8455.
Apparently Guatemalan food is similar to Mexican food. I had the "pescado likin" a tilapia fillet steamed with cilantro, ginger, green pepper, tomato, green onions, and wine. Tasted fine but too much green pepper and not enough rice. The music was a little loud too.
600 West Chicago Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60610. 312-822-9600.
Before I continue, I must admit my bias: My brother Joe Hernandez is one of the chefs there. My wife and I went there for our wedding anniversary in 2007-07. We had set up a reservation via opentable.com which apparently does reserverations for many restaurants. The lighting was very dim and the space very large. The food was fresh, creative, and very well presented. Interestingly many of the dishes had to be explained. My wife and I particularly enjoyed the Kani Kani claws which in addition to the claws, had these adorable little beach crabs cooked whole that were almost too cute to eat, but we popped them in our mouths anyway. My wife and I had a wonderful time and spent around $200.
Belmont near Clark.
Alas this tiny little Japanese restaurant closed down. It was a favorite of mine. The best donburi ever. Very affordable, fun for a date.
3242 N. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois. 773-477-1652.
Very nice and casual. Japanese food as it ought to be. Warm wash cloths, box lunches, sushi, kid-friendly chopsticks, etc. I will however forever associate this place as the place where my kids tried sushi for the first time. It's just a few doors down from Chicago Comics [chicagocomics.com], the best comic shop in Chicago.
440 West Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60606, phone (312)575-9900.
A steak and seafood place. Medium sized portions. Pricey (I spent $168 there) but nice atmosphere.
Last week (2006-02-09) we took my good friend Mike out for a special dinner in honor of his finally getting married. I generally abhor getting dressed and spending a lot of money on food but I think it's fine for special occasions. I could only eat like that regularly if I also made great contributions in reducing world suffering and hunger.
3134 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60657, 773-935-6101.
Last week on 2007-01-23, I ate at A La Turak Turkish Restaurant. I've been wanting to go there for a while because at the front they have these tables where instead of chairs they have a lot of pillows. The atmosphere was grown up but since we were tucked away in a corner I felt I could relax with my wife and my two year old daughter (while the other two kids were in karate class across the street). The music was different but mild. It looks like they have belly dancing on certain nights too. The waiter Edmundo was very comfortable and yet polite and mindful. The food was wonderful, fresh, and flavorful. Lots of warm and cold appetizers. The bread was obviously fresh baked. Dishes are around $18.
2845 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60657, 773-528-9050.
Tiny Moroccan place with tasty, fresh, more-than-just-breakfast crepes served from a bar. Very affordable, fun for a date.
Last week on 2006-03-08 Thursday I ate at Turquoise Restaurant, a Turkish restaurant in Chicago's Roscoe Village. It was very clean and refined with lots of wine. The music was mild and the waitress was beautiful. The food was varied, filling, and healthy. Lunch was very affordable but the dinner menu was much larger and roughly double or triple in cost.
3471 North Elston Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618, (773)IRELAND.
This Irish place is right across the street of my work. Nice atmosphere. --> It turns out that they are definitely more pub then restaurant. In the fall and winter, they don't open until 16:00 on weekdays.
Crabby Kim's Bikini Sports Bar
3655 North Western Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60618. (773) 404-8156. It's not too far from my current work location.
First went there 2006-12-15. A ton of TVs with sports on. Lady bartenders in bikinis. Smoking and drinking. Not too loud. Pretty nice. Just down the road from Lane Tech, my old high school. Lunch was a drink and a $7 bacon cheeseburger.
Gale Street Inn.
4914 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60630. 773-725-1300. Northwest side.
1958 West Roscoe Street, Chicago, Illinois 60657. (773)248-9523.
I just got back from eating at the Riverview Tavern. It's a large place with friendly service, good food, generous portions, and nice prices. The neat thing about the place is that it commemorates a bit of Chicago history. Until I this afternoon, I did not know that the neighborhood used to have a Riverview Park, a great amusement park. The Riverview Park ran from 1904 to 1967 and was in the 0.3 km2 = 74 acre area bounded by Western Avenue, Belmont Avenue, the river, and Lane Tech High School (my alma mater!). All I knew was that was south of Lane was a mall, DeVry Institute of Technology, and a large police station. Here are some links related to Riverview Park:
2008-11-21. Discovered them just today. They have a buffet! Nice spicy kick to their stuff.
Star of Siam
11 E. Illinois Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611. (312) 670-0100.
My favorite Thai restaurant in Chicago. I like their sunken tables.
Thai "Linda" Café
2022 West Roscoe Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60618. 773-868-0075.
2006-04-07t18:23:48Z. I ate there earlier this week. Cool looking place. Even the menus are very textured. The food was moist, fresh, nicely presented, and delicious. There was an "incident" while I was there but they handled it well so I'm overlooking it.
3248 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 60657. (773)348-7199.
2009-06-15: Thai Thank You opened up just this year and this was my first time there. Very clean and modern, yet warm atmosphere. The food was delicious. The notable thing about the food was that it was lighter in flavor than the usual Thai so I found it quite refreshing.
1540 North Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60610. 312-712-9900. Lincoln Parkish.
Thai food that delivered to my old work place at Larabee. Decent.
2009-06. There's a Thai place at the Oglive Metra station. I forget what it was called. Very clean but too pricey for an everyday lunch and yet not enough pizazz for a dinner date. It may be good for a lunch date.
734 Lake St., Oak Park, Illinois 60301. (708)848-CAFE.
2007-12-12: I met with my friends Mike, Nick, and Nikos there. It's a small French restaurant. The food was plentiful, delicious, and beautifully presented. The staff was very personable and patient. I paid a worthwhile $88 for multiple appetizers, dinner, drinks, and dessert. The atmosphere was terribly romantic. It was a cozy, relaxing, and fun evening with friends. I know where I'm taking my wife to on our next date!
2008-02-14: My wife and I had a wonderful quiet time there.
4729 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. 773.989.5595.
This place looked awesome: Artsy, light, airy. The food looked great: Different, desserts, textured. The clientele all looked hip: Bill, Anne, and I were there. The location was fun: Hidden in Lincoln Square. Cafe Selmarie should have been great! But (alas) they had three strikes with me: The curry soup was bland, the raspberry chocolate tart would have been better without the chocolate (which bland: neither dark or sweet), and the bread on my sandwich was ridiculously crusty (I felt like I was eating crab in its shell). It was just a bad visit for me but most likely other visits would be just fine.
5412 West Madison Street, Chicago, Illinois 60644. 773-261-2316.
"The Best Soul Food In Chicago"
Comfort food, lots of it and fast. A Chicago institution!
1960 North Western Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60647.
2008-12-20: I've driven by this place for years but now my family and I have finally dropped in. This place has character! Margie's Candies [W] is possibly the only restaurant on this page with an entry on Wikipedia. Chocolates and ice cream parlor with very large sundae creations.
504 North Wells Street, Chicago, Illinois 60610. (312) 595-2300. They also have restaurants in Miami, New York, and Tel Aviv.
I went out there on 2006-12-01 with the guys for the holidays and because one of the guys was in town from Las Vegas. It's Japanese and Brazilian food but it seemed like mostly Japanese to me. The food was delicious, fresh, varied, and interesting. As far as atmosphere it looks like one of those multi-level places where cool folks go to sometimes. It was $148 with drinks. I liked their cocktails, especially the Lemon Samurai and the Caipirinha.