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Feb 5, 2004 09:13 PM

What's your fave late-night dining spots (past midnight?) in Chicago

  • r

I have lived in Chicago for 5 years now and I'm still looking for great late-night food. I mean LATE, like 2 or 4am. On a weeknight. [I'm a student ;-) ]

To preface this I have to say where I've *been*. I live near Greektown/West Loop, so I'm no stranger to Zorbas, Mr. Greek, Zeus, and Greektown Gyros. The nicer places (Parthenon, Pegasus, Roditys, Greek Islands) all close around 10-ish. As for the rest of the city, I've been to all the Golden (Angel, Nugget, Griddle, whatever) places. A pancake house is a pancake house. IHOP= Blech! Chinatown - check. 7 Treasures and a few of the others on Cermak.

I'm talking GOOD food. My last favourite place was Iggys, they have really great food and it's nice to have a full dinner at 1 or 2am, without getting funny looks from the waitstaff or to hear "Oh, we shut the ovens off already." Iggys has never done that to me. I'm also familiar with PickMeUp Cafe, but sometimes it can get a little "weird" in there. A lot of neighbourhood "crazies" come out at night and I don't like to be stared at through the window while I'm eating...

So what I really want to know - what other great late-night (open past midnight) places am I missing out on?

I'm sure some of you have a yen for good food at 4 in the morning and you don't want warmed over gyro meat and fries.

Thanks for any responses! -Matt

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  1. v
    Vital Information

    At the end of October, as the clocks were falling back, making it truly, the longest day of the year, we had an event dedicated to, and celebrating the all night/late night eatery. The thread describing what we did is linked. Note, because of our interest in quanitity as much as anything, we did not sample anything really fancy (like Iggy's). Still, there is an amazing range of places open in Chicago in the wee hours from traditional Chicago grills to Korean, Thai, Assyrian, Mexican, Pakistani, hot dogs. One's choices are not limited.



    1. Along with the allnightathon, note the two competing 24-hour middle eastern joints on Lawrence near Kedzie. Both are, if I recall correctly, pretty decent.

      Miller's pub is open pretty late in the loop, but not at 4am.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Ed Fisher

        I'll have to try them....

      2. s
        Shannon Clark

        VI's link to the Allnightathon is a good one, but here are a few specifics suggestions (including some not part of the Allnightathon).

        For Korean - 24hr Korean Restaurant is, as the name implies, open 24hrs. Great food, but a bit pricier than some other places, many of which are open until 2am (or later) - so are worth investigating as well. Also worth noting, many Korean Kareoke bars serve food, though a limited menu, it is can be very good - well worth exploring.

        For Thai - River Kwai II. Long wait, one cook, but the free refills on the 1 quart (no typo) Thai Iced Coffee will keep you up all night. Fried Rice or Soups can come more quickly than many other dishes. Portions can be huge, so bring friends or at least an appetizer. And, don't worry about the signs to the contrary, feel free to ask for customizations of the dishes (spicy noodles are great without tomatoes for example). This place opens at 9pm, closes sometime in the early morning, frequented by a very diverse group of people.

        "Pakistani Cab driver joints" - many clusters of these throughout the city (including a great one Kabob House near you in Greektown. Many are quite friendly, always incrediably cheap, and the food often very good. Baba Palace on Orleans and Chicago is a good option as well.

        For Sushi until 2am, Kamehachi Cafe on Wells. This is the 2nd floor restaurant/lounge of Kamehachi, open until 2am most nights (later on Friday and Saturday I think) it serves a nearly full menu of sushi and japanese dishes into the night. A true hidden secret gem of Chicago. Not as great sushi as many other places thoughout the city, but heck, it is open until 2 am so who's complaining.

        For cafe food with good wine and drinks - 3rd Coast cafe on Dearborn and Goethe. Great selection of wines, drinks, and coffees. Daily specials and good food. Especially notable are any dish with bacon (they use a small speciality provider for their bacon which may be the best in the city) and their crab cakes. [full disclosure, I've been a regular there for well over a decade and am friends with the owners]

        For great omlettes - Tempo is one option I have written about in the past, there are many other 24hr diners, but I think that Tempo's omlettes at least are better than most (I recommend the Michigan omlette - chedder and apples - very tasty).

        In Chinatown - there are many places along Cermak that stay open until 2 or even 4 am. Many of which have late night menus that are very good and have amazing deals (Little Three Happiness is one that many on the board love). Seven Treasures (?) down past the gate a few blocks serves cheap noodle soup and is a great option for cheap yet tasty.

        For really good food, until 4am many nights, Dublins in the Gold Coast is highly recommended. Open 364 nights a year, it is a bar, but the food is quite good. Highly recommended are the salads, but everything there is pretty tasty (and reasonably priced) - frequently crowded but for a good reason.

        Chicago's late night options have been growing over the years. There is now a Starbucks (North and Wells) which is open 24hrs.

        I encourage you to explore the city and try other places. There are also many taco places (authentic or otherwise that stay open most of the night).

        Enjoy and report back your experiences and any finds!


        1 Reply
        1. re: Shannon Clark

          Thank you! Your very well-written list of suggestions ROCKS!


        2. s

          Here's a bit of a previous post of mine on Triple Crown Seafood in Chinatown - They're ope until at least 2:00 AM and folks sometimes hang out well past 3:00....

          You do have to bring your own booze.

          "So.....where are the best tapas in Chicago to be found??? CHINATOWN!!!! No this is no Oloroso fueled fever dream -- Triple Crown Seafood serves "small plate" cuisine after 10PM (and only after 10PM, so don't try to order Lotus root and pork belly at 9:45!!)

          Also try Vietnamese style fried quail or salt & pepper fish filet (a little red vinegar really sets it off). The "ne plus ultra" small plate is the ambiguously labeled "fried cream", little, rectangular logs of coconut jelly that are battered and deep fried.

          So what to drink? Why not a fino sherry! A Pfalz Riesling (Lingefelder) or a medium, full Alsace Pinot Blanc (Albert Mann) will also do nicely."


          Triple Crown
          211 W. 22nd Pl., Chicago, (312) 791-0788.
          Chinese, Asian. Lunch, dinner: seven days.
          Open late: Daily till 2. BYOB - OK