1. Spoon Thai
Not enough people know about this little authentic Thai restaurant, and we’re not quite sure why. Spoon Thai looks like a little hole in the wall, but don’t let that steer you away. They have plenty of delicious options, like the Duck Curry. You should also start out with their Egg Rolls or Crab Rangoon, which might be the best you’ve ever tasted. Plus, you can bring your own beer or wine, so you don’t have to spend tons at the restaurant.
Credit: Spoon Thai
2. Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna
This family owned Greek restaurant is a hidden gem in Lincoln Square. The portions are huge, so be prepared to share or take some home. If you’re looking for a vegetarian dish, go for the Mousakas. The Gyros Plate is also amazingly delicious. Plus, they have a great wine selection.
Credit: Alexander Rabb
3. Grand Katachi
The regulars say it’s their go-to sushi place, and it’s time you try it out too. You can get a Bento Box, which is great for lunch, but it’s really the sushi that you need to try. The Sweet Potato Maki is an awesome vegetarian option, and the San Fransisco Maki is super tasty. You can even bring your own booze for them to mix. Now that’s hospitality.
Credit: Gino W.
4. Chez Simo Bistro
French food, good prices, and the fun, small cafe feeling. Yeah, you definitely need to try Chez Simo Bistro. The staff treats you like a member of the family, and this is another great BYOB restaurant, so grab that bottle of wine off the shelf you’ve been saving for the right moment. Order the Canard for your main dish, and finish the night with their amazing Crème Brûlée. It won’t be long until you make another visit.
Credit: Chez Simo Bistro
5. Brianna’s Restaurant
Have you ever had a Pupusa? It’s best described as thick, corn-flour tortillas stuffed with pork, cheese and beans. Amazing, right? And Brianna’s has the best in the city. They focus on serving Guatemalan and El Salvadorian food, and they seriously know what they’re doing. The dining area is small, so come here with people you don’t mind getting cozy with. And be ready to sit and stay for a while, because everything is made to order. Can’t complain about that when everything tastes this delicious.
Credit: Inspired Bites
European food, yes please. The Himmel sisters have created a good thing, especially with the help of their wood-burning oven that came to Chicago straight from Rome. Himmel’s nails the feeling of an old, European restaurant with a wood and brick interior. You’ve got plenty of options for food, like the Bavarian Pork Shank that you can only get on weekends, or the Pizza Silvio & Gabriele. Trust us, that oven makes all the difference.
7. Due Lire Vino & Cucina
This place has insanely good Italian food, and an intimate, comfortable atmosphere. Their menu is filled with good things, like Olives for appetizers, Pappardelle, and Ravioli with braised shortrib. Come here on a Wednesday night, when wine is half priced. You’ll be wondering why you never came here before.
Credit: Due Lire Vino
8. Dolce Casa Café
While you’re more than welcome to bring a laptop, book, or homework here, this is not your typical café. Chef Ross Outten is committed to serving good food, with all organic egg and dairy products. Their sandwiches are absolutely amazing. You can also get breakfast all day long, so definitely try the Breakfast Panini. This is the perfect place to come during the Polar Vortex and curl up in front of the fireplace.
Credit: Dolce Casa Café
Featured Image Credit: Andrew Seaman