Five restaurants to visit in Chicago

Five neighborhoods. Five restaurants. Five cuisines. Five reasons to get out this weekend and eat!

Now, there’s something I need to get out on the table (no pun intended). I have no extensive experience reviewing restaurants or being a food critic. But hey, I like to eat. And I’m sure you do too. So that’s why I’ve decided to pick 5 restaurants in the city that I enjoy, spread over 5 different neighborhoods. If you’ve ever been out somewhere and wondered “What’s good to eat around here?” Wonder no more. Here are 5 ideas for you to try out the next time your stomach hollers.

Edgewater:  Shinobu

Where: 1131 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.

Why: It’s easy to pass by Shinobu, a small Japanese restaurant on Bryn Mawr Avenue, tucked between other shops and restaurants past the Bryn Mawr red line stop. Sit by the window on a Saturday evening and people watch as you enjoy items from a wide-ranging menu. This is a great place to enjoy a noodle dish and a cup of green tea ice cream with a date, or order appetizers and sushi rolls to share with friends.

Try: The Godzilla Rolls—Shrimp tempura, spicy sauce, avocado, scallions, cream cheese, unagi, and wasabi mayo. Not a sushi fan? Go for the Ton Katsu, deep-fried pork cutlet served with a salad (with a delicious dressing, by the way), and a warm, inviting miso soup to start.

Chinatown: Lao You Ju

Where: 2002 S. Wentworth Ave.

Why: “Lao You Ju”, which means “Old friends coming together” is the newest of award-winner Tony Hu’s restaurants (he owns six, four of which are in Chinatown). Not only is he a really cool and friendly guy, but he genuinely cares about people, Chinese culture, and food, and you will definitely see that in this restaurant. Imagine great quality, authentic Chinese food, and combine it with a trendy, modern-day vibe. That’s what you’ll get at Lao You Ju.

Try: The Sichuan-style Kung Pao, of course! This dish originates in the Sichuan province, famous for its spicy cuisine. The more Sichuan peppers, the better! If you’re not a fan of the spice, the more mild American version of the dish is also on the menu. Goes perfectly with a hot cup of green tea. (Bonus: You’ll get a bucket of rice too!)

Roger’s Park/West Ridge: Ghareeb Nawaz

Where: 2032 W. Devon Ave.

Why: Amidst the hustle and bustle that you’ll find on a typical day on Devon Avenue, there lies a small establishment that features plenty of selection, inexpensive options, and delicious food. I’m talking so delicious, you’ll order something the first time and get the same thing every time you come back. (At least that’s what I did).

Try: The butter chicken. No, I don’t know how many calories are in it. I don’t really want to know. One thing I do know is that it’s delicious. And if you make the little over a mile trek from Loyola University, we’ll just say you will have burned it all off. Tip: Beware of minimal seating. (And though it can be crowded, you shouldn’t have to wait extremely long).

Lakeview: Cesar’s

Where: 3166 N. Clark St.

Why: With its convenient location less than a block from the Belmont red line stop, Cesar’s is a hot spot for a night out with friends. Mexican cuisine is the specialty, and this restaurant is known as the “Home of the Killer Margarita”. Cesar’s has another location, at 2924 N. Broadway.

Try: The homemade tamales. I could be biased here, (due to my undying commitment for the delicious little treat), but these are fantastic. It will fill you up. Be sure to try one of their signature Margaritas, too. (I recommend the strawberry banana). The smallest size is a “Large”, and you can upgrade to a “Jumbo” and a “Mega” for just a dollar more each.

Near North Side: Go Roma

Where: 848 N. State St.

Why: While this isn’t the only Go Roma around, it’s the only one in Chicago, and it’s great! It offers a lot of combinations so you can customize your meal the way you like it. Great for picky eaters, and pasta lovers (as I am). They make pizza, pasta, salads and soups.

Try: If you’re in the mood for more than just pasta, or just pizza, try the “Go for 2” option that allows you to pick any 2 items out of salad, soup, half of a sandwich, half of 1 entre of pasta, or 1 half of pizza. So whether you’re out shopping this weekend and want a good place to grab lunch or dinner, or if you are meeting friends after work to catch up, Go Roma is quick and easy, and the food is great too.

Do you know of a restaurant that I have to try? Please leave me a comment! And share your own favorites with me!


  1. Great article! It makes me hungry just reading it! I think this demonstrates a small fraction of the amazing variety of food in Chicago. Maybe you should do a follow-up on good places to get Chicago-standbys (Chicago-style pizza, hotdogs, etc.)!

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