HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >


Looking for any unturned stones in or near Gurnee

Fellow Chowhounds, please help. I've lived in Gurnee for 10 years now, and I've pretty much hated every year here from a dining perspective.

It seems like if you like Pizza, pub burgers and Durango Mexican style food, then northern Lake county has a few respectable options. Just don't go looking for any good ethnic or unique cuisine. And I don't think any good Chinese exists here!

So here is my request; I'm looking to see if anyone has any good non-national corporate chain recommendations (local Chicago only chains are OK) in the area, anything in a 5 mile radius is fair game.

So far, here are 4 worthwhile spots that I've found in the area, but I really would value any additions to this list that anyone might have, as I still know there must some hidden gems out there.
1) Backyard Steakpit - Grandwood Park
2) Rancho Nuevo - Round Lake
3) Mickey Finn's - Libertyville
4) Yuri Of Japan - Third Lake

Thanks for your recommendations.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Somehow I'm not surprised by the 0 responses to this one... I guess I live in restaurant hell.

    1. I haven't been to Gurnee in years...only a pass by on the way to WI. My parents used to journey out there to go to a place called Rustic Manor but I think that it may have burned down several years ago. Don't know enough about your zone to comment, but you might check out the Northbrook/Northfield area, there are a few good places there - lots of folks like Charlie Beinlich's for burgers, there is Prairie Grass, etc. I don't think that's too too far from you...also there is a Chef's.com store in that area - addictive!!!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Suburban Sandy

        Sandy, thanks for the tip, especially on the chefs.com store. I didnt about that. Yes I'm very familiar with the wonderful options all around and right off Lake-Cook Rd., yeah Beinlich's is great isnt it? I regularly roam that area in search of food, form restaurant row in Wheeling, to Buffalo Grove's Deerfields bakery all the way east to Highwood; and the options are staggering. Unfortunately the eating joy ride seems to end somewhere north after at Rt 60 with a few exceptions in Libertyville.

        I was just hoping that there might be something great 5-20 mins from home, instead of the usual 30-60 mins I seem to drive every time I want to go out.

        For those up who are far up north like me, perhaps you've also discovered that Kenosha, WI has some good places as well; Frank's diner is a one of kind 1926 original diner car in Downtown Kenosha, the owners serve amazing food and its totally vintage. Manga's Italian is very good as is the Stonewall Grille to name a few.

        Happy eating.

        1. re: abf005

          No problem. Chef's.com has a website and I would get registered on it if this is something you are interested in as they have a big sale twice a year and it is WELL worth it. How far are you from Wauconda? We used to go to Phil's Beach, and I thought that there were some good hole-in-the-wall places that served up some good stuff. There also used to be a Dog-n-Suds there - awesome Black Cows!! I really gotta get up that way one of these days :-) Sorry I can't serve up some finer dining options...aren't there any good, old-fashioned steak houses???

        2. re: Suburban Sandy

          what's chef's.com store is in the area?

          1. re: jenbluedog

            Chefs.com is a website, I don't see an outlet store. I used to go to a Chefs catalog store in Highland Park at 151 Skokie Valley Rd but I don't think it's there any more.

            Does anybody know?

        3. Ah yes, we all feel your pain. I personally am a big fan of Firkin on Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville. It's almost directly across the street from Mickey Finn's and they share a kitchen with The Tavern. I really like their fish tacos and the pannini with smoked salmon and goat cheese. They have excellent fries that are always hot and crispy. The atmosphere is a little more "grown up" than Mickey Finn's, but I never hesitate to take my 14 and 18 y/o there.

          Our current favorite Mexican place is in Wauconda right on Liberty St. in a little strip center. It used to be Dos Hermanos, but it changed hands about a year or so ago and is now called La Cave. Friendly staff, great food and we always enjoy ourselves.

          Although I haven't been there yet, I've heard from a credible source that Sushi Masa on the SE corner of 60 and Milwaukee is very good. It's definitely on my short list of places to try.

          The Tribune has had very recent good reviews of both Opa (in the former Hamburger Hamlet space in VH) and Rudy's (Mexican in Grayslake).

          Finally, rumor has it that Rick Tramonto is opening a steak place in Wheeling. I know that's kind of far from you, but it's a thought.


          1. Dog and Suds in Grayslake (downtown)

            1. I'm in the same boat in Fox Lake (no pun intended). There are bars every other store front, but few good restaurants. Here are the ones I've found to be good in our general area:

              Country Squire in Grayslake (great brunches on holidays)
              Tony's Paisans Ristorante in Gurnee(excellent creative Italian)
              Cafe Pyrenees in Libertyville (pricey but good)
              Thai Noodles and Rice in Libertyville

              1. Thanks for all the posts!

                Steakhouses in Northern Lake County:
                Jimmy's Char-house on Buckley is good
                Backyard Steakpit on Grand in Grandwood Park is fair
                Stone Creek grill in Winthrop Harbor is fair
                Kenosha Chops on the Lake might be the best in the area.
                Wildfire in Lincolnshire sits in class all its own.

                Last week I tried Tony Paisans, I agree it was very good. Same with Cafe Pyrenees also very good.

                Rudy's? Sounds good! I'll have to try it.

                Lately I've been liking Nuevo Mexico in Downtown Round Lake for sit down and El Rey De Oro in Libertyville for the burritos.

                Thanks again for the replies!

                1. I'm going to give Tony Paisans a try soon.

                  Has anyone been to Steven's Steakhouse across the street at Washington and 21?

                  I'll throw a plug for some good bar food to Tammy's in Fox Lake on State Park, just south of Grass Lake. They make a heck of a good thin crust pizza, and their sandwiches are all pretty good. Downside is there aren't enough tables, so there can be a wait during boating season.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fearlessfitz

                    I ate at Steven's and liked it. I had the filet trio. My husband didn't like the restaurant the way I did. Also has a good martini bar.

                    I hear Paisano's in Richmond, IL is very good but kinda far away. If you like Martini bars, there is a fabulous little place across the way. It doesn't do meals, just drinks, appetizers and desserts. I thought that was really cool.

                  2. There is very good Chinese at the Silk Manderin in Vernon Hills. It is near the corner of 60 and Deerpath. They have a "secret" menu of traditional Chinese dishes that you will have to ask for unless you are Asian. It has some really interesting things on it.

                    1. Hey this just in: new Chinese restaurant called the Red Sun at 1860 Grand Ave. in Lindenhurst has just opened, I got an advertiser in the mail today. If anyone tries it out please post your thoughts.

                      Yes, I've tried the Silk Mandarin it’s just OK, they have two locations: Round Lake & the aforementioned VH.

                      I've spent probably THOUSANDS trying out food in northern Lake County over the last 10 years. Form the now defunct Ming’s Dy-nasty to Yans, Gurnee Panda (not the Panda Express chain), Tsangs, Chopstix, Hong Kong ; blah blah blah, All of them have been mediocre Lake County establishments, I really hope this new place is better then the competition.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: abf005

                        has anyone ever heard of a restaurant in lake villa called Reflections? I was there a couple of years ago and was really wowed by the place. This place has it all...or had. Not sure if its still around. Anyway, it was on deep lake i think and had a beautiful view, great decor with alot of old pictures and articles of the area, amazing food of the polish variety, and decent wine selection. just a touch on the pricey side but a great family dining experience. Anyone else out there heard of it or been there?

                      2. If anyone finds any good chow in Lake County (that hasn't been mentioned above), let us know. Truly a culinary wasteland. When Dog 'n Suds in Grayslake is considered fine dining, or there's a 45 minute wait to get into Chili's, there's a problem.

                        Lots of people around here agree how we really would like nicer restaurants, places to take their family, but a bit more upscale than Bill's Pub or Mickey Finn's. Family places with poor quality food are abundant. There are a few good places up here, like the Firkin, but there just need to be more of them. If someone opened up a place that had great pizza, sandwiches, and a "formal" menu with great steaks, seafood, etc., it would be very popular.

                        1. I gave Tammy's a prop for great bar food, there are a couple other places that I tried in the NW corner of the county during my brief stay out there:

                          On Grand in Fox Lake.
                          Docker's - ate a Easter buffet there and thought it was a pretty good deal. The decor was a bit dated, but the food was good.

                          Whistle Stop Cafe - A popular weekend breakfast place across from the Metra station. Great value and food, but the dining room tends to fill up.

                          Channel Inn - Had a few dinners there. They serve pizza and sandwiches, and also have a somewhat formal menu. I had the prime rib special on Saturdays a couple times.

                          On 83 in Antioch
                          JT's Roadhouse - They have a good menu and a lively crowd.

                          Squire Restaurant - Walking in, I immediately thought "Market Square" in Wheeling where we've had family meals for years and years. I was worried that the place was too formal, something about the building and the calligraphy of the signage scared me from trying it for a casual dinner, but once I did, it was a great alternative to the sit down meals in the Gurnee Mills area.

                          Las Vegas Restaurant - I've been there a few times and had a real flavorful burger, as well as a great meat filled breakfast skillet in the afternoon.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: fearlessfitz

                            Las Vegas Restaurant - Can you please give us the location, I don't think I've seen it around.

                            Tried the Red Sun Chinese in Lindenhurst, my thoughts? Decent! Good Kung Pao, Mongolian Beef & Rice. Disliked the egg rolls but I will be back, so far, it's the tastiest place in Northern lake county.

                            1. re: abf005

                              Las Vegas is on 83 in downtown Antioch

                            2. re: fearlessfitz

                              JT's Roadhouse has changed names. It is (I think) Jimmy's Steak House.

                              Another Antioch option that has pretty fair German food and decent draft beer:

                              Mark's Wunder-Bar Restaurant
                              Address: 40805 N Il Route 83, Antioch, IL 60002
                              Phone: (847) 395-8282

                              1. re: OP178

                                JT's Roadhouse became UJeans burgers, and is now Johnny's Chop House. (located on 83 in Antioch, just north of the Wunder-Bar)

                                The steaks were disappointing, but it's not a bad place to have lunch.

                            3. Dog & Suds... I was refraining from commenting on that one.

                              Ate at Toluca Taqueria #2 on Washington in Waukegan, just OK, oddly enough the #1 Toluca location on 10th was better tasting but was a total dive in a crappy area.

                              1. The Las Vegas restaurant is on 83 on the main downtown strip a couple doors north of the intersection where 59 dead ends on the west side of the street.

                                1. Any other upscale places in central Lake County for a special dinner ($$$)?

                                  I like The Tavern, but would like to try something else.

                                  Tony's is good upscale Italian in Gurnee (http://www.tonyspaisans.com/). They had a bear special one night, but I passed, saying that it might best be served to Green Bay fans.

                                  D&J Bistro in Lake Zurich is a consideration, but might be a bit exotic for our simple tastes. Anybody got a menu? Their website appears to be down.

                                  Wife went to Country Squire and decided it would be a nice place to take Grandma, but that's about it.

                                  Wildfire is great, although maybe a bit pricey for what you get. Better get a reservation or you will be waiting.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: dinosaur

                                    Tony's' is just OK, it's nothing to really get too excited about. But since it's only Gurnee competition is the lousy Saluto's & Olive Garden it's pretty much an "only good choice" kind of place, that is unless your willing to go to Libertyville, Kenosha or better yet, Carlucci's in Lincolnshire.

                                  2. I've been eating at D&J Bistro for years and never has the word "exotic" come to mind in describing it. I've also never had a bad meal, lunch or dinner. I highly recommend you give it a try.

                                    Here's a link to Retro Bistro in Mt. Prospect which has the same owners and therefore the menu is very similar. I've been to Retro as well and I still like D&J best.


                                    1. I grew up in Libertyville, so here are a few favorites in that area...

                                      Ristorante Bottaio - Italian, Milwaukee Ave/Winchester in Lville
                                      Trattoria Pomigliano - family-owned Italian, downtown Lville on Milwaukee Ave
                                      The Tavern - upscale american, steaks - downtown Lville on Milwaukee Ave
                                      Tsukasa of Tokyo - japanese in Vernon Hills
                                      Opa! - Greek in VH(this has been the doomed building for years, but Opa! seems to be the best thus far)
                                      Morgan's, downtown Lville on Milwaukee Ave - great pizza, chicken salad sandwich, Morgan's fries(for bar food, I prefer theirs to Finn's)
                                      Picnic Basket - great lunchtime spot, downtown Lville on Milwaukee Ave
                                      Max's Dawg House - tasty charburgers, handcut fries in the Jewel shopping complex in Lville

                                      I definitely agree that there are more lower end 'finds' than high end dining options....but I tried to give you the best mix I could! Hope you find some new favorites!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: MJD

                                        Ristorante Bottaio - just OK IMO, but I like the rest of your list.

                                        Met my husband for the first time (we met on Match.com) at Trattoria Pomigliano so it will always hold a special place in my ...... stomach :)

                                      2. Two new places in the area:
                                        "The Vine" in downtown Grayslake. Tapas style food, Martinis, wine.
                                        "545 North Bar and Grille" in downtown Libertyville. A few doors north of the Firkin.

                                        1. Went to Miramar in Highwood last Friday night. GI had a decent Bouillbaise. French/Cuban theme.
                                          Tha Cafe at the Bannockburn Club is good.

                                          The Chinese restaurant in Lake Forest was pretty good -don't know the name.

                                          1. First of all, I have to say how excited I am as a "far northsider" about how much response this thread has garnered. I posted once already, but had to share some more. I went to an amazing Octoberfest at Steitz's in Antioch on Grass Lake last weekend. The food was above average for a fest and the setting overlooking the lake was neat. I've seen their regular menu online (which actually isn't German) and look forward to trying it. I also have to mention Oliveri North's in Antioch for good upscale Italian food and great service.
                                            Word on The Vine in Grayslke mentioned above, is that it's outrageously expensive.
                                            There's also a restaurant in McHenry, on hwy. 120 just west of rte. 12(not far from Gurnee depending on what side of it you live on) called Le Vicchyssois (sp?) that got a good review from Phil Vettel. I haven't been yet. Any opinions?

                                            1. I'm glad to see so many responses to this thread as well! Now I know that I don't suffer alone. Here two of my favorite northern Lake County hot dog stands:

                                              Big Bites - 573 West Il Route 173, Antioch, IL 60002 (847) 838-6100 I love the tribute/shrine to the good ol '85 Bears here, food was very decent and rivals many of my favorite inner city places for beef or hot dogs.

                                              Scotty's Hot Dog Stand- 1016 North Cedar Lake Road, Round Lake Beach, IL 60073 (847) 546-3400 Scotty's claims to have been so influenced by the legendary River Grove Gene & Jude stand that they opened up their own version of it in Round Lake, it's about the closest thing you'll find to Gene & Judes in these parts aka: fresh cut french fries piled on top of a steamy bun that hides a buried snappy steamed Vienna frank inside.

                                              1. Greetings fellow Lake County people!

                                                Here are a few other places for you to try...Tasty Thai in Grayslake on Washington St, just north of the College - new owners/management;Royal Thai on Grand Ave. in Gurnee just east of the tollway on the north side; Reflections on Deep Lake in Lindenhurst for authentic Polish food (and some American dishes - live music several nites a week - Fri fish fry - make reservations (just west of the Butera, go north on Deep Lake Rd, left on 2nd). Oh, and another Italian place is Lino's on 137 just west of Milwaukee on the south side. Owner worked for 20 some years in Glenview & then opened his own. Nothing fancy, but good food. For Chinese, Best Hunan in Vernon Hills at 21 & 60 is pretty decent.

                                                We've been to Le Vichy in Volo a number of times...excellent traditional French cuisine (think Paul Bocuse).

                                                Bon Appetite!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: KMD

                                                  All sound like interesting picks except for Best Hunan, unfortunaly I've been there twice, and I wont ever go back again - enough said.

                                                  The best option for Chinese in northern Lake county right now is the newly opened Red Sun, on Grand ave in Lindenhurst. Very good main course dishes and run by very nice people.

                                                2. Rudy's, in Grayslake- Excellent!
                                                  Family owned true Tex-Mex food, clean, nice service and really good food. The enchilada en Mole, tamale were especially good.

                                                  It's really nice to see a place stay true to some real authentic Tex-Mex cooking, especially in this day and age of "Bayless faux authentic" joints and first generation Durango/Michoacano cooking that dominates the IL. Mexican cooking scene.

                                                  Thanks for the lead kwe730.

                                                  1. It looks like someone reccomended The Vine in Grayslake. I don't think they had been there. The drinks are ok..pretty $$ for Lake County. Had a martini and was happy with that. Ordered several items from the menu and found them incredibly disappointing. They run about $10-15 and are tappas-style. I think the 'chef' graduated from CLC, which probably means they have a certificate in sanitation and that's about it. It was very crowded, which is an indication that the area is looking for some decent places. I hope they improve the food they serve, as it was pretty bland. The menu looked great and then when they brought out what we ordered and tried it, there was a huge gap. If you want to go all the way to Grayslake for a glass of wine or a mixed drink, then go for it, but otherwise, I think this place needs a few months to improve (hopefully).

                                                    1. We went to Steven's just the other night, and it was quite good. (Neither of us had steaks, though, so I can't report on that.)

                                                      Other very places in the area that haven't been mentioned yet are:

                                                      Park Street (just off Route 45 on Park Street in downtown Mundelein) -- excellent fine dining restaurant with sandwiches as well

                                                      Sake Zake (on Route 83 just north of Washington in Grayslake) -- sushi and their cooked dishes are all outstanding. This is actually a "destination" type restaurant.

                                                      Twin Oaks (in Wilmot, Wisconsin) -- also fine dining (although it's not unusual to see diners in ballcaps), run by a chef from one of the Mag Mile hotels who got tired of the rat race more than a decade ago

                                                      The Italian restaurant in the strip mall on Butterfield near Allanson Road (the same strip center with Kaiser's Pizza) is also very good

                                                      Green Basil (in Rivertree Plaza, on the SW corner of Route 60 and Milwaukee, in Vernon Hills) -- upscale Thai

                                                      Sushi Masa (in the same shopping mall, but facing Route 60) -- I think someone had mentioned this place. We've been there several times and it's very nice. The sushi is excellent albeit not very inventive; their soups are great!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: DrGail

                                                        FYI - The Italian Place on Butterfield is called Mambo Italiano.

                                                        I'll second the recommendation for Park Street. They have "create your own calzones" on the menu, too. The bar also attracts a nice, "grown-up" crowd on weekends. Used to have a great brunch, but I think they eliminated it.

                                                        Always wondered about Sake Zake, I'll have to try it.

                                                      2. A big Yes on Park Street from me too. They have a few outdoor tables, so if you get a lovely Fall evening . . . . . .

                                                        My family and I have also had two very nice meals at:
                                                        Little Europe At Timber Ridge Restuarant
                                                        6613 120th
                                                        Kenosha, WI 53142
                                                        262-857-9073 or 888-647-6369, according to Yahoo

                                                        Lots of varieties of schnitzels and sausages.

                                                        About 16 miles from the center of Gurnee according to Mapquest. Just to the East of and visible from I-94 and North of Rte 50.

                                                        Cheers, Ken

                                                        1. Sake Zake - Grayslake Amazing Sushi proubly best in Lake County.

                                                          Just also tried The Vine. Very good Specials had the fresh Soft Shel Crab and Calamari finished off with the Chocolate Covered Cheese Cake. The chef came out and talked to my friends and I we poked her for knowledge seemed like she was on top of her game. Third restaurant she has helped opened.
                                                          Very extensive wine list, I kept with the Fat Tire that night which I found out was the cheapest around 23oz beer for $5 most bars are selling for $7 also found out they sale all there mix drinks for under $4. Bartender said it keeps the guys there. Noticed it was about 80% women. Will definately go back, sit by the fire place and enjoy the atmosphere and food.

                                                          Hopefully they can keep up with the crowds. Thanks for coming to Grayslake

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: mbpstang

                                                            The mixed drink I had was $8...maybe I was there on the wrong night...well, if you think The Vine is good then there is this other place you might like...Denny's, I think. Except they don't serve drinks...oh well.

                                                            1. re: reddog

                                                              Martini's were like 6-9 but rum in cokes were around 3-4. If you prefer Denny's go for it.

                                                          2. As far as restaurants actually IN Gurnee Kaiser's on Rt 21 has great pizza. Have you tried Chan's on 21 & Washington for Chinese? Their chicken eggrolls are the best! The crab rangoons and potstickers are very good as well. In-laws on 21 does a nice Sunday brunch, nothing fancy but nice.

                                                            If you want to venture to Libertyville, Grill 21 on Milwaukee is awesome.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Ivybeth

                                                              Not so much a fan of Kaiser's, but have only eaten there twice. Italian Oven's in Round Lake Beach is ok. The only other place I've had pizza from up here is called Backstage something or other. Its on Grand, just west of 83. Pizza was nothing, but they do have a pretty good chicken sandwich. Having moved from Chicago four months ago, I sure do miss the ready availability of good restaurants all over. Although I do like the house prices in the Lake Villa/Lindenhurst area.

                                                            2. I moved from Lake County 2 yrs ago - Is Nektar Cafe in Mundelein still open? Good food (excellent salads & seafood, dinner entrees $10-15), friendly service, lousy location (corner of rte 176 & Midlothian, near Mundelein H.S.).

                                                              Here's their website: http://ewonton.com/NektarCafe.html

                                                              1. Another Gurnee-ite (18 years now) -- didn't move here from Chicago for the cuisine.

                                                                Something not mentioned yet is the new-ish Bombay City on Grand Avenue just east of 41. http://www.bombaycityindianrestaurant... Quite good.

                                                                We've also enjoyed Royal Thai (farther west on Grand).

                                                                We love Kaiser's pizza too (usually for take-out). If we want to sit down and eat pizza in we'll go to Bill's North on Washington just west of 45 (technically Grayslake, I think, but very close to the west side of Gurnee).

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: ChipSet

                                                                  Haven't tried Bombay City yet, but I look forward to doing so.

                                                                  Other Indian, there is one in Highwood that is quite good, the luch buffet was nice and priced under $10, although dinner was pricey as I remember.

                                                                  ANother is in Gurnee, at Milwaukee and Washington, not fancy at all, but the food is great and the staff will make to order, if it's not on the menu ask and yee shall receive.

                                                                2. > Any other upscale places in central Lake County for a special dinner ($$$)?

                                                                  A couple others have mentioned Le Vichyssois (that's the correct spelling) on Route 120; the restaurant is actually in Lakemoor. It's excellent. Their website is http://www.LeVichyssois.com

                                                                  Also consistently excellent is Le Titi de Paris. It's at the north end of Arlington Heights, just over the county line from Long Grove. Website: http://www.letitideparis.com

                                                                  Another choice I have been wanting to try is Bistro Kirkou in Lake Zurich. Anyone been there? Website: http://www.bistrokirkou.com

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                    We've been to Bistro Kirkou a few times; it's quite good. It's French, similar to D&J Bistro (just up the road a bit) and a very friendly atmosphere. Each time we've gone, the owner has come around to talk to all the diners.

                                                                    1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                      I've been to Bistro Kirkou in LZ , very nice and prices weren't outrageous.
                                                                      Food was good, although I can't remember what I ordered.

                                                                      1. re: greeniiiiz

                                                                        Bistro Kirkou has been renamed Bistro 22. Same owner and chef, I believe, but they just changed the name. www.bistro-22.com

                                                                    2. I have two more restaurants to report on:

                                                                      Johnny's Chophouse on Route 83 just south of Route 173 in Antioch: We've now eaten there twice, and the food is good. The steaks outshine the chicken entrees, but the service is good, the drinks are large, and the prices are very reasonable. I believe only the filets are over $20.

                                                                      The Full Slab has finally opened at Waterstone Place in Third Lake (just north of Washington Street on Route 45). The ribs were, at best, okay -- and this is supposed to be their "claim to flame". Side dishes were small and not especially good, and the prices were pretty high for what you get. We went a few days after they opened, so the bumps in the service I'm willing to attribute to the start-up, but the food isn't likely to improve with greater time and experience.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: DrGail

                                                                        DrGail, I completely agree with you on the Full Slab. I would say its more like the "Full Slob".

                                                                        I had a very mediocre at best lunch there last week, and I would argue that they are not quite even on a par with Famous Dave's. Which makes me very sad too, especially since I am a HUGE BBQ fan.

                                                                        My experience with the ribs was that they lacked any deep flavors and obviously had not had any rub applied when smoked, so if they were to be eaten alone with no sauce on top they would be quite plain. The rib meat was fall off the bone (meaning over cooked)and not pull off the bone. The brisket was also over done, and dissolved with a fork. They had a OK hot link but the french fries were horrible, frozen fake baked & not real fresh cut like most serious BBQ joints would offer.

                                                                        I had a minor miscue on the menu since portions are small for the money and the lunch special is supposed to be a 1/3 (3-4 bone) of a rack portion for 8 bucks!! Which is way too high.

                                                                      2. I have been in Northern Lake County for 10 years now. I have been to most of the restaurants that have been mentioned in this thread. Most comments are accurate. Le Vichyssois and Johnny's Chophouse will always be in my top five as good and consistent without gouging the wallet (depends on wine). I don't like having to travel home from Wheeling or Highwood just to have a good dinner (with good wine)and am always looking for a couple more places that are good.

                                                                        1. Pizza in Lake County - we've tried Kaiser's a few times, based on neighbor's reco; didn't really care for it. Try The Silo in Lake Bluff - you may not care for it, if you're a deep-dish fan; but I think it's the best I've had up here. It can get really crowded - we actually had to wait 5-10 minutes on a Monday at lunch tme! Also, if you want autographs, many the the Bears eat here.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: KMD

                                                                            Pizza problems? I would say you must not looking to hard! Must be 100's of options to choose from, I've always thought that burgers & pizza were the least of my food problems in Lake county.

                                                                            Even so, here are a few ideas:

                                                                            Deep dish: there are only 2 really good options; either Lou Malnati's in Gurnee (take out only) or the Lou's in Buffalo Grove (full service restaurant), or better yet just go to Giordano's on Grand Ave in Gurnee for the real deal.

                                                                            AVOID at all costs; the Gino's East in Libertyville and the Unos Chicago Grill in Gurnee they not only suck they insult the names of those fine establishments.

                                                                            Thin crust: Jimmanos (my usual order in preference), Pat's, Bills, Kaisers, Wayne's & Gurnee Pizza are all base line OK but for a really great thin go to Barnaby's in Deerfield on Skokie Hwy & Dundee. Also worthy of travel are the Wells Bros in Racine, WI and the Villa De Carlo in Kenosha, for interesting cracker crust options.
                                                                            Seriously AVOID RJ's, Saluto's, Wapagetees (sp?) and Mikes located in the old Nancys on Washington (damn I miss them!)

                                                                            Pizza wise in Lake county there is plenty to choose from including Jake's & Rosati's as well.

                                                                            1. re: abf005

                                                                              I want to second the recommendation for Lou Malnati's, located in Gurnee/Grayslake, on 45 just north of Washington in Waterstone Place. It's too bad it's just take out, but it's good takeout.

                                                                            2. re: KMD

                                                                              We live very close to the Silo in Lake Bluff and my husband LOVES the deep dish chicken broccoli alfedo pizza .... YUM! They have a lot of other specialty pizzas and made to order typical pizzas too.

                                                                            3. Actually, I like RJ's Mexican pizza. Bill' Pub in Mundeleing gets too smoky for me; the one on Washington screws up our order at least 30% of the time.

                                                                              Pat's - too many noisy obnoxious kids. We actually had kids throwing peanuts AT US and the parents did nothing. Didn't really care for Kaisers or Wayne's.

                                                                              Where is Gurnee Pizza?

                                                                              I've been to the Barnaby's years ago, but if I'm going to travel that far, I'd opt for a different cuisine.

                                                                              FYI, my tastes lean toward Aurelios - we're trying to get them to open one up in Lake County.

                                                                              I'm just not a deep dish person - although my husband is - but you're right about the Gino's & Uno's - they were awful!!! And I liked the ones downtown.

                                                                              Thanks for your thoughts.

                                                                              1. KMD,
                                                                                I'm surprised you liked RJ's since I find it smokey, loud and full of kids too. But if you liked the pizza, I guess you liked it! I went there this fall and was very un-impressed in fact I wrote up my experience on one of the Chowhound pizza threads.

                                                                                As I said on Pat's, Bills etc., they are all just BASELINE OK, nothing more. I don't think anyone gets too excited about any of them, but their not awful either. Sorry one of my kids beaned you at Pats! You know us parents go to these places because they are supposed to be kid friendly ; )

                                                                                Gurnee Pizza is on Delany, just north of Hwy 41. Again, its just OK.

                                                                                Jimmy's/Jimano's is about my favorite in Gurnee in my book. I hear The Quonset in Waukegan is supposed to be good, but I have not verified.

                                                                                Aurelio's? I wish! But for something closer to that style wouldn't Rosati's or Jake's be a better match?

                                                                                At least Lake County is not like being stuck in BFE somewhere with only a Papa Johns or Domino's to choose from.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: KMD

                                                                                    Sorry about that.

                                                                                    BFE is a less offensive old school way of saying Bum F*@% Egypt or "out in the stix", "middle of nowwhere" etc. I'm sure you get my drift.

                                                                                1. Ever been to the Brat Stop on Highway 50 in Kenosha?

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: kappyjak

                                                                                    Oh, yes, I was there years ago. But there is (was?) a place just south of there, I think it's Taste of WI (kind of hokey name). We were there for breakfast & it was VERY good. When my parents lived in WI, they went there quite often for lunch as well & were very pleased with it.

                                                                                  2. Yes many times!! Great brats & cheese fries that can stop your heart cold.
                                                                                    Everything else is fair, but late night is retro 70's-80s bands and wild party crowd.

                                                                                    1. A few people have mentioned the Vine of Grayslake and I just wanted to give a brief review. We finally tried it this past weekend and I have to say I was kind of disappointed. Don't get me wrong - it is GREAT to finally have a more "upscale" restaurant in Grayslake but I felt the food was overpriced and the four of us tried quite a few menu items and nothing wowed me. Our waiter was pretty slow and not so friendly and at least 2 items from each course (cold plates - hot plates - drinks - desserts) were not available! I thought this was crazy considering it was a Saturday night and we were there at 6pm. I realize the restaurant is new so I'm hoping they improve these issues. I did really enjoy the feel of the place, the interior was really nice and cozy. I don't see myself returning anytime soon - at least not until they improve the menu/service.

                                                                                      1. Regarding THe Vine in Grayslake. My husband and I went for a second time, since we thought most likely there would be improvements from the first (it was right after they opened). Once again we were also disappointed with the food orders. The drinks were good ($$$). The plates are very nice, but for the price ($8-15)per, we would have gotten a little more by way of derssing up the food better. One of the items was shrimp and chorizo skewers. They came out luke warm on burnt toothpicks on each in little plates of 4, not marinated or served with any type of sause (a little squirted on the plates woudl have been cute)or even a pico digallo,,,they came out dry on little sprigs of bulk greens. DO NOT EVER order the cheese plate...it was $13 and consisted of what any person would have in their fridge...very boring. After this, I doubt I will ever go back. Too bad for Grayslake.

                                                                                        1. I have the best kept secret in Lake County, Johnny's Chophouse in Antioch, yes I said Antioch! They use Allen bros. steaks aged 30 days. My wife always orders the filet, and I can't remember a better New York, except for Gibsons downtown. It has become the only place we go to eat. The atmosphere is cozy and relaxed and the rooms are decorated with black and white photos from Antioch's past. I brought a group of friends there and had BBQ ribs that fell of the bone. At a table next to us, a guy had a lobster tail bigger then my friends steak. The prices were reasonable for the quality you get. Definetly, a must see for frustrated diners in Lake County.

                                                                                          1. Any preferences between the Curry Pot on Washington versus Bombay City on Grand? Haven't been to either yet, trying to pick one for dinner tonight.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: KateOC

                                                                                              My girlfriend and I consider Bombay City to be one of our favorite new Lake County discoveries. Having had Indian food in various places around the world, I can honestly say Bombay City delivers the best I've had in the United States. Every time we've gone, we've had not only a good meal, but very friendly and generous service. Dinners from the menu are terrific, but they also have a great lunch buffet and another terrific spread on Sunday nights. Cost effective, delicious, and all you can eat. The bar is well-stocked and the drinks are well-poured. On our first visit, which was early in our relationship, the family was apparently so taken with our googly-eyed mutual absorbtion that they GAVE us a very nice bottle of wine. The people who run Bombay City seem to truly care that they deliver a warm and satisfying experience. Don't miss this place.

                                                                                            2. My wife and I will be checking out Johnny's Chophouse in Antioch this evening. For local steaks in a pinch, we have been going to the Backyard Steakpit since we moved to this area of Lake County in 1985 and I'm totally surprised I've never heard of Johnny's Steakhouse till reading this message board.

                                                                                              1. Follow up to my previous post as to checking out Johnny's Chophouse in Antioch.
                                                                                                Atmosphere was warm and friendly. Service was a bit slow and not "paced" very well. It was not very busy so I'm at a loss as to why.

                                                                                                I had 2 glasses of their house red wine... really nice what ever it was.
                                                                                                We started out with an appetizer, Saganaki which was very good. That's a do over.
                                                                                                One of their specials was prime rib for 26 dollars so I ordered that. My wife ordered the bbq baby back ribs.

                                                                                                For 26 bucks the prime rib was small and too much gristle. It was by no means worth 26 dollars. My baked potato was not done.

                                                                                                My wife's bbq ribs were way way over done. Most restaurants boil or steam their ribs before placing under the broiler... these were boiled to the point of falling off the bone in a bad way. Sauce was very generic and gummy.

                                                                                                In short, for prime rib in this area I'll continue to stick with Backyard Steakpit.
                                                                                                I am not sure how the other steaks would be at Johnny's Chophouse and we may go back some day, but I'll definitely not be eating any of their steaks.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: CWP

                                                                                                  Thanks for the follow on, I was thinking of trying out Johnny's in the next few weeks, but this and a few other reviewson some other sites have me doubting.

                                                                                                  I agree about the Backyard steak-pit, way back when I started this thread, it was one of my 5 local picks for decent steak. I also enjoy Jimmy's Charhouse from time to time.

                                                                                                  For upscale steaks; how does the Limelight on Milwaukee & Washington rate? I've heard it was expensive, but not much more.

                                                                                                  1. re: abf005

                                                                                                    Um. I think Limelight is gone, Stevens is in that space now. If I'm not mistaken, it's been that way for a couple of years.

                                                                                                    1. re: ChipSet

                                                                                                      Your right! I forgot. Either way, I've never visited.

                                                                                                2. To be honest with you we haven't been to the Limelight yet. We are always on a watch for a new place to eat, but admittedly northern Lake County has traditionally been difficult.

                                                                                                  We go to Jimmy's Charhouse from time to time as well. So far the experiences have been pretty good.

                                                                                                  One place that I haven't seen mentioned is a place not very far from Johnny's Chophouse... opposite side of the street and just a bit further south. Mark's Wunderbar (that's the correct spelling for them). It's German food. The usual basic German staples. Sauerbraten is pretty good. It's a hit or miss there sometimes on overall goodness, but we still go a few times a year. Be prepared for some of the waitresses (or waiters) to be a bit rough, for lack of a better word.

                                                                                                  Thanks for the tip on the Limelight. Although we do try to stay in the reasonable range where prices are concerned, I wouldn't mind finding that one spot close that grabbed our attention.
                                                                                                  One thing we have noticed and maybe other's can shed a bit of light on this too is the decline of a few places in the past few years. We have been going to both these places for a good 20 years, give or take.
                                                                                                  One is Best Hunan there in Vernon Hills across from Hawthorn and the other one is Dover Straits there in Mundelein.
                                                                                                  Best Hunan being the most recent. It's almost like they reverted back to something not much better than "Chinese take out with tables".
                                                                                                  Here's my short list of our local haunts.

                                                                                                  Jimmano's for thin crust.
                                                                                                  Italian Ovens on rt.45 for thick crust.
                                                                                                  Backyard Steakpit for local steaks
                                                                                                  Mark's Wunderbar for quick down and dirty German.
                                                                                                  Lovely Thai on Washington across from college for local Thai.
                                                                                                  Hayashi Japanese Restaurant in Gurnee for Sushi for lunches.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: CWP

                                                                                                    So funny to find this posting today -- my husband and I (Boston-based hounds) visited a friend in Gurnee last night, and the prospects didn't look that great for dinner. We were kinda resigned to heading for chain food when our friend mentioned there was a Thai place nearby. We hit Lovely Thai and had a very nice meal. The service was quite friendly and the food was pretty good. Not the best Thai I've had, but certainly far better than mediocre. The drunken noodles were tasty, as was the eggplant dish -- lots of yummy fermented soybeans!

                                                                                                    1. re: litchick

                                                                                                      I have been going there for a little over a year, a lot of times for lunches though on occasion my wife and I will go for dinner. For a neighborhood haunt I've been happy so far. Most of the time I get Masamun pork or the "ole standby" Pad Thai chicken with a piece of roti bread.

                                                                                                  2. Whoops... saw someone did mention Marks' Wunderbar in an earlier post.

                                                                                                    1. Everyone has their own opinoins, likes and dislikes, so I guess everyone's comments have to be taken with a grain of salt! No pun intended! Personally, I wouldn't order a glass of water at the Wunder bar. My last vist, we had sub par service and sub par German cuisine on cheap chairs. The chairs were a problem because we waited over 45 minutes for our food. Our waitress was kind enough to inform us that the place is going out of business and she didn't know how long it was going to be open. I am still convinced that anyone who doesn't try Johnny's out is wasting $30 in gas to go to the city, when a great steak is right around the corner.

                                                                                                      1. German restaurants are becoming a thing of the past in the Chicago area. Too bad. I think part of the problem is that not many want to put in the 80-100 hours/week it takes to run a successful reataurant. Statistics have shown that restaurant work and/or bartending is not conducive to living a long life.

                                                                                                        Dover Straits seems to have been in a gradual decline for years and those health code violations a few years back probably didn't help. Last time I went it looked like the carpet hadn't been cleaned in years.
                                                                                                        Always liked Best Hunan and still go there for business lunches, but last time, a group seated behind us was complaining bitterly to the waitress about the food. Ours was fine,. Picky eaters I guess.
                                                                                                        I'd be willing to give Johnny's Chophouse a try, but falling-off-the-bone ribs is a bad sign.
                                                                                                        The Vine misses the mark. Grayslake is a family-oriented town and needs an upscale family restaruant more than an upscale singles place. If high prices and mediocre food don't put them under, the first time they do something to tick off the city or a neighboring business owner, they'll be gone.

                                                                                                        BTW the Glenn in Glenview is only 40 minutes away and the Yardhouse, www.yardhouse.com (turn your speakers down!), is excellent, but is so busy, that service suffers. That's the kind of place we could use up here.

                                                                                                        1. Steakluver had a lousy experience at the Wunderbar, but did not say when that was. The place did change hands a few years back and had really declined badly before the change. I hope that history has not repeated itself. As CWP said, it can be hit or miss, but we have had some decent meals there.

                                                                                                          1. We tried out the Red Sun on Grand Ave. in Lindenhurst this evening for Chinese food.

                                                                                                            If you're looking for a full service restaurant with alcoholic beverages, this isn't the place. It's not what I call a "Full Service" eating establishment. You order your food from the counter, pay for it and then go sit down or order it to take out. Self serve on sodas.

                                                                                                            Having said the above... We had an order of Beef and Pea-pods, an order of shrimp fried rice and a couple egg rolls.

                                                                                                            Egg rolls were unimpressive, but passible.
                                                                                                            My wife got a bowl of egg drop soup, said it was sort of bland, but she scarfed it down to the bottom, so I take that as a sign the soup was not bad.
                                                                                                            The Shrimp Fried Rice was pretty good. I've had better, but no big complaints.

                                                                                                            The beef and pea-pods was average, but too much cornstarch was used and the sauce was pretty thick. Pea-pods were fresh and numerous as were the water chestnuts. Meat was tender, but cut too thick for that type of dish. There was more than enough food of just the beef and pea-pods for two people.
                                                                                                            Overall goodness was a little above average and we didn't walk away feeling like we didn't get our money's worth.

                                                                                                            The short of it is that if you're looking for atmosphere where you are waited on and want cocktails...this is not your place. If you are looking for a last minute place to eat and Chinese comes to mind, it will do...either take out or eat in.
                                                                                                            If anyone has tried any of the other dishes, I'd be interested in hearing their thoughts.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: CWP

                                                                                                              CWP; Glad you kind of liked it, I sort of feel the same way; it's good, has reasonable prices, is decent tasting, but not stellar. Lake county still makes me miss my places in the city in a big way in this dept.

                                                                                                              Dishes I have enjoyed are the Kung Pao Chicken, Mongolian Beef and the pork fried rice is decent. I think I mentioned above about the egg rolls not being too good.

                                                                                                              And your absolutely right, I forgot to mention above that this is a very informal mom & pop, order up at the counter kind of place. But given the options around here I have to say it's about as good as I have found, and that if a better place were to come along I would be one happy camper. But until then Red Sun is my pick.

                                                                                                              BTW: they also deliver to the local area, which covers most of western Gurnee.

                                                                                                              1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                I really try to keep my opinions to just comparing like places here in northern Lake County. I know there's soooo much better beyond our borders, but it's still a challenge to continue to find those few places that may exist which you can go to on a regular basis. The family style chains just don't cut it.

                                                                                                                Has anyone been to Tang's in Grayslake lately? We use to go there religiously in the 90s after they first opened up and then all of a sudden they took a turn for the worse. It wasn't a case of just one bad experience, but quite a few back to back. We've been leary the past few years.

                                                                                                            2. Had lunch at Tangs last year. It was OK and friendly, but not as good as Best Hunan in VH. I wonder if Tangs is under new ownership. I picked up carryout there about 6 months ago and guy at the register looked Korean. Got Tang's carryout delivery a couple of months ago and while good, quality is down slightly as one order was wrong; spicy MaPo Tofu turned into some other tofu & vegetable dish. The order taker probably misunderstood or wrote it down wrong. I'm not aware of a better Chinese place in Grayslake though, are you?

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: dinosaur

                                                                                                                Back when we use to frequent Tang's, at least once a week, sometimes 2 if we did carryouts, there were two younger gentlemen there that seemed to be running it. We were on a first name basis when we went. Unfortunately I have forgotten their names.

                                                                                                                Then one evening my wife and I went and there were a couple of older oriental gentlemen who just stood there doing very little. We didn't see our usual hosts. The service suffered that evening. It did not detour us from going again and a week or two later when we went, it was the same thing. Service and food both had deteriorated once again and this time it was pretty unacceptable.
                                                                                                                I remember joking with my wife about it to the effect that those original younger guys probably borrowed the money from the older guys and when the place started showing profit, the older guys stepped up somehow.
                                                                                                                Anyway, the last time I've been there was about 4 years ago for carry out of fried rice. I was pretty much leery of anything else.

                                                                                                                I have yet to find any other place in the Grayslake area. As of present the places I've been: Tang's in Grayslake. Yao Yao's (don't get me started on that place). There was a place right at the corner of Rollin's Road and 83 in Round Lake Beach a few years ago by the Ace Hardware. We only went once. I am of neutral opinion of them.

                                                                                                              2. Chinese restaurants (at least good ones) are near and dear to my heart. The closest decent one, in my opinion, is Best Hunan in Vernon Hills. But if you're willing to take a drive, even into northern Cook County, the very best I've had outside of Chinatown is Golden Chef. It's at the very southern end of the Milwaukee Avenue restaurant row in Wheeling. The building looks like an old pancake house and the decor isn't much to write home about, but their food is outstanding, the portions are huge, and it's a very friendly place. Everything is fresh and high quality.

                                                                                                                1. DrGail,

                                                                                                                  I've never been to GC, but a number of waitresses @Chinns raved about it. Can't seem to get my husband there. Oh well.

                                                                                                                  Tried Tang's about 4 yrs ago and we were unimpressed.

                                                                                                                  Didn't care much for Silk Mandarin. Gosh,guess we'll have to meet up w/friends in Chinatown. Or, make our own seared tuna at home.

                                                                                                                  1. For Chinese, the best I've had outside of Chinatown (and I'm a Lao Sze Chuan regular)is Royal Cantonese at the corner of 45 and 83 in Vernon Hills. They'll customize any dish how you like it (for spice, substitutions, etc.). Really good potstickers and orange beef. Also the only place outside of Chinatown where I've found salt and pepper squid. Also, a full bar and great service.

                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                    1. re: KateOC

                                                                                                                      KateOC: I can't tell you how many times I've driven past Royal Cantonese and wondered about it. Based on your recommendation, we'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the tip!

                                                                                                                    2. Check out Lake Forest. The Grille on Laurel and Western is nice, fairly upscale great atmosphere - great bar and try Southgate Cafe - they have terrific menu, wonderful desserts, and a decent bar, too. King Ma in LF is good for Chinese. Nice inside and they have takeout as well. Sort of a long drive but worth it if you have a hankering for better-than-average Chinese. Quiet, small dining area.

                                                                                                                      1. Well, if you're going to talk about Lake Forest as an option, you can't leave out The Lantern for absolutely the best burgers on the North Shore! (with Hackney's being a close second)

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: KateOC

                                                                                                                          The Lantern! Of course - don't forget the trains! If you are a train set buff you will love the display, and now with the LF smoking ban, the smoke will no longer waft through to the restaurant from the bar.

                                                                                                                        2. I was driving thru Half Day last week and was wondering if anyone has the latest on Flatlanders and the Half Day Inn?

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: dinosaur

                                                                                                                            Don't know anything about the Half Day inn, but my Flatlanders experience was much like going to a RAM, Max & Ermas or All-stars bar & grill.

                                                                                                                            It was OK nothing special, overpriced 8+ burgers type of place.

                                                                                                                            Do yourself a favor and make the trip to Mickey Finns instead.

                                                                                                                            1. re: dinosaur

                                                                                                                              Went to Flatlanders for lunch...not bad, but nothing really great. The Half Day Inn, if that's the 'oldest bldg' in Lake County, we were there @4 yrs ago w/friends. It was AWFUL!!! If anyone has had a better experience, let me know.

                                                                                                                            2. Alight since you all ventured down to the LF area the absolute best sandwich place in all of Lake County is Tony's Subs on 1480 Waukegan Road in Deerfield.

                                                                                                                              1. It's been years since I have been to Half Day Inn. I use to eat lunch there at least 2 or 3 times a week when I worked in that area and for lunch I enjoyed it. If nothing has changed in the past 5 or 6 years then for a lunch it was pretty decent.

                                                                                                                                1. I just read in the paper that the Half Day Inn is closing. They're knocking it down to build another strip mall or something. Apparently it doesn't matter that it's "the oldest building in Lake County" because we all know we need another strip mall complex!!!! We used to eat there sometimes, years ago. The upstairs was nicer than the downstairs - the food was ok, but we ordered a pizza once but they were so heavy on the garlic we couldn't eat it. Yuck - we haven't been back since.

                                                                                                                                  Has anyone tried Holly's Bistro in Lake Bluff? I heard about it and drove past it once, while going to the beach there, but have never tried it. It looks kind of cute.

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: orchid1

                                                                                                                                    It's a shame that the food at the Half Day Inn took a turn for the bad and double shame they are tearing down another old building that had some character to it in lew of another strip mall.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: CWP

                                                                                                                                      Are you sure that they're building a strip center? How could they have room with Philly G's as close as it is. I know that place does a pretty good business, so I doubt that's going away and there's certainly no signs of it closing. It could also be that the owner of the Half Day Inn wants to retire and no one is interested in taking over the business. I would imagine that it would take a lot of money to maintain a building that is that old. I live right near there and it's sad to see how they've let it fall into disrepair. If it's the "oldest building in Lake County", think about it...that's pretty darn old. If the business was thriving with good food and a pleasant atmosphere, I don't think it'd be closing.

                                                                                                                                      Flatlander's is nothing to write home about.

                                                                                                                                      Our favorites are Firkin and Mickey Finn's both on Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville.

                                                                                                                                  2. They were supposed to close Sept 1, but got a 6 month extension. Gilardi's is the only thing that's gonna survive that corner.

                                                                                                                                    It is being raised to build the new VH Town Center development. It's supposed to be high end shops and condos.

                                                                                                                                    1. Holly's Bistro has some good food and notoriously slow service. I had a lobster bisque that was cold - can be somewhat pricey for what you get, but word around the campfire is that they have improved since my first visit. Brunch is recommended.

                                                                                                                                      1. Long thread but so far I have seen no mention of The Wine Knot in Kenosha. We have been there 3 or 4 times and have had innovative dishes. My favorite part though is drinking the flight of wines... it's not too far and its a fun spot
                                                                                                                                        http://www.wine-knot.com/ they have live music sometimes too.

                                                                                                                                        1. Hi. Just joined this board. We live in Buffalo Grove but we spend a lot of time in the Gurnee area. I wanted to second the vote for Hayashi Japanese restaurant on Grand avenue. The salad dressing is so good that my college student daughter makes a special trip up there every time she comes home to pick some up. The sushi is very good (even my vegetarian husband has some that he likes there).

                                                                                                                                          There's also a good Italian restaurant on Butterfield - Mambo Italiano (http://www.themamboitaliano.com). It's in Mundelein, but it's really only a short trip from Gurnee.

                                                                                                                                          If Milwaukee Avenue in Lincolnshire isn't too far, don't forget Egg Harbor (http://www.eggharborcafe.com) for breakfast or lunch. They have several locations in the Chicago area.

                                                                                                                                          There's also Walker Brothers' Original Pancake House (http://www.walkerbrosoph.com) - those German and apple pancakes are awesome!

                                                                                                                                          1. I'll try to make a more substantive contribution to this blog another time, but the link to Mambo Italiano given by tktchr is wrong. It should be (http://www.themamboitaliano.com/). It's the backslash at the end that makes all the difference.

                                                                                                                                            1. Appears that the above links to Mambo Italiano are including a parenthesis in the link so they are not working. For those trying to access their site, type in the link, but make sure there's no parenthesis. The slash at the end makes no difference.
                                                                                                                                              I'm attempting to relink below but it may be the message board that is adding the parenthesis.


                                                                                                                                              Yea..that worked.

                                                                                                                                              1. One restaurant not mentioned yet, but definitely one that merits a visit is Karma. It's located at 510 East Route 83 in Mundelein. That's the corner where Route 45 goes East and Route 83 goes West. If it looks like it's the restaurant for a Crowne Plaza Hotel, you're at the right place. Don't be fooled though. This is an elegant world class restaurant with a romantic ambiance that serves Pan Asian food. Their Web site at http://www.karmachicago.com describes the details better than I can. Let me just say two things. The wine list, though not extensive, is well paired with the cuisine. Also, I've ordered the Tempura Whole Striped Bass with fermented black bean sauce both times I was there and each time the entree was wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Barrylev


                                                                                                                                                  We've been to Karma # of times...enjoy the food, but the managemen/service kind of stinks. For being in a Crowne Plaza, I would think the hours would be more extensive. We arrived shortly before 2pm on a weekend and the host (when he finally came out), said the kitchen closes at 2 - and that was that!

                                                                                                                                                  We have also been unable to dine there due to private parties.

                                                                                                                                                  It really kind of ticks me off, because I do like the food. Oh well!

                                                                                                                                                2. To All,

                                                                                                                                                  Yesterday, we tried 545 N in downtown Libertyville. They're on Mke Ave, just south of the tracks. First off, they are open for lunch on Sundays (not too common for a non-chain).

                                                                                                                                                  They have a decent wine list, the food seems prepared to order and is what I'd call American with some SW Amer & Middle Eastern influences.

                                                                                                                                                  The decor is very pleasant - exposed brick, a nice bar, lots of windows. There are @7 investor/owners. We chatted with one of them - they've been open @4 months. And the really great thing, is since all of Libertyville went non-smoking, you don't have to worry about where you sit.

                                                                                                                                                  If you haven't been, I'd suggest you give it a try...I'd be curious to hear other opinions.

                                                                                                                                                  Bon Appetit!

                                                                                                                                                  1. WOW, we broke the 100 post mark!! It now takes me 2-5 seconds for this thread to load in my browser its so long! Thanks for all the great contributions and lets keep it going my fellow Lake County chowhounders. I know there are still more stones to be turned over out there!

                                                                                                                                                    I sorta have a thing for dinners and spotted the Ironhorse in Round Lake yesterday as I got off my train, anyone ever been there for breakfast or lunch? Currently my picks for the two best dinners are both in Kenosha: Franks & the coffeepot, would be nice to have something closer.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                      The one place that I like to go to is J.W. Plateks in Richmond. It is still (after eighteen years with the same owners) run as a Wisconsin Supper Club. Good steaks, decent drinks and above average desserts. It may seem off the beaten path but really isn't that far from Gurnee.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: abf005


                                                                                                                                                        We used to live in RLB & frequently went to the Iron Horse for breakfast. It was sold during the time we lived there - 96-2002; but didn't change much. Good solid breakfasts - ALWAYS locals. Biggest complaint was the smoke - maybe that's changed?

                                                                                                                                                      2. If you mean "diners", I'm partial to Full Moon on Hwy 41, especially for their chocolate shake and egg lemon soup. My family has been going there for more than 20 years. Also, we frequest Grandma V's in Mundelein. Their homemade soups and philly cheese steak sandwich are my faves.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I can echo the comments about Full Moon -- as diners go, it's one of the best. Their pea soup is a favorite of mine, and their gyros as very good as well.

                                                                                                                                                          We went to Royal Cantonese last night, on KateOC's recommendation. The decor was delightful and the service was good, but I was only moderately impressed by the food. The meats were tender and well-cooked, but the deep-fried items (eggroll, etc.) tasted and smelled rather greasy. I still vastly prefer Best Hunan (for close-by) and Golden Chef (when we're willing to drive a distance to get the very best).

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DrGail

                                                                                                                                                            I also tried Royal Cantonese recently based on KateOC's positive report. Overall, it was a disappointment. Very greasy and bland eggrolls -- which are marketed as a specialty. Unimpressive dumplings. Excellent salt and pepper scallops. Serviceable Singapore noodles. Ok Hunan Pork. The orange beef arrived cold to the table (with the batter on the beef still in a doughy state). We explained the problem to our server, who apologetically removed the dish. But she returned with the same dish several minutes later -- "reheated." Now we had warm "doughy" orange beef. I cut my losses and decided not to complain further. Service was friendly and efficient. Like DrGail, I greatly prefer Best Hunan. Perhaps I will try Golden Chef some time soon.

                                                                                                                                                          2. Highly recommend Curry Pot in Gurnee and Bombay City for Buffet lunches on weekends for Indian food..

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soniya7777

                                                                                                                                                              We went to the Curry Pot once & enjoyed it (even my husband). Does anyone happen to know if you can BYO?

                                                                                                                                                            2. Hmmm, I think the world is slowly forgetting what a diner really was and what the experience was like, sort of like the fading experiences of going to a drive in theater or visiting a real Amusement park like Riverview vs. a sanitized theme park like Great America or Disney.

                                                                                                                                                              Places like the Full Moon, Triangle, Blue Bay, Avalon, Grandma V’s & the In-laws are not exactly what I would consider "diners" at all, but rather full service "family style restaurants". Full service "family style restaurants" generally are lovingly run by a single family and have 10 page menus full of stuff that is reasonably priced, they have great soups & pies, large quantity sized dishes, but none of which are ever really memorable or amazing. You get into a large comfy booth, they cook in back somewhere and they tend to be open all day, if not all night.

                                                                                                                                                              By contrast when you go to a diner, you sit on a floor mounted swivel stool at a counter and get to watch a short order cook work the grill in front of you from less than 10 ft away. The counter and grill are the center of the place and there is no real dinning room. Since seating is limited, it’s efficient for quick turnaround, and perhaps there are a few booths on the exterior walls but the main action is really at the counter. The menu generally consists of only breakfast, lunch and a special of the day or two, the food is homemade. It’s the kind of place where waitresses have names like Flo, and a cooks name is Jack and if you go more than once they all know your name. The food is pure and simple, not influenced by today’s low carb, low fat, trans fat scares and trends. Food is prepared the way our grandparents ate since the first diner opened in back the 20’s and has a menu that’s probably never changed since either. I’m talking real butter on buttermilk pancakes as big as your plate, fresh bacon, and hand squeezed OJ. Franks Diner & the Coffeepot in Kenosha are exactly this kind place, frozen in time and true treasures; they have the best eggs, pancakes and burgers you’ll ever eat and least I forget, its all costs only a few bucks, unlike a $20+ sub par breakfast like what you get at the Wildberry or Walkers Bros. Oh yeah, and most diners usually close by 2 PM and most don’t do dinners.

                                                                                                                                                              The best example of local diners here are both in Waukegan; Juan’s Chuck Wagon on Grand and The Dog house on Belvedere (which is the better of the two), and again Franks Diner & the Coffeepot in Kenosha are diner perfection with Franks being a perfect 10 on the Diner scale.

                                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                The diner in downtown Grayslake fits that description exactly. It is always locals with a few new town people that have just found it. It was bought by the long time waitress,Joyce, from the owner about seven years ago. She has done the place proud and it shows. The waitress's are snappy (ala debevicks) but not rude. The food is good, hot, and plentiful. I don't get there as often as I used to when I lived in Grayslake, but they still know my name and kid around just like I come in everyday. Very worth a try, but be prepared to wait if you go at prime time for breakfast. I'd give them a 9 on the Diner scale.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fooddave

                                                                                                                                                                  Fred's Diner Inc
                                                                                                                                                                  (847) 223-9776
                                                                                                                                                                  225 Center St
                                                                                                                                                                  Grayslake, IL

                                                                                                                                                                  Joe's Rock N Wave Diner
                                                                                                                                                                  (847) 838-9283
                                                                                                                                                                  25125 W Grass Lake Rd
                                                                                                                                                                  Antioch, IL

                                                                                                                                                                  Jessie's Diner
                                                                                                                                                                  (847) 688-0585
                                                                                                                                                                  1101 10th St
                                                                                                                                                                  North Chicago, IL

                                                                                                                                                                  I found three local listing that I have nver been to, I am assuming Fred's is the place you (fooddave) spoke of right?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm surprised no one has mentioned The Townee Square Restaurant in Libertyville. Their food is fresh, fast, reasonably priced and delicious. By far my favorite breakfast in the area. Try the veggie skillet. They are right across from Firkin.

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                  Ok, I know what you mean and agree. There are very few old school type diners left. I've heard raves about Fred's from my Grayslake friends, but haven't been there. The only place I've been to anywhere around here is Sarki's in Evanston (unfortunately no longer owned by him) where my husband has been going all his life. The only other genuine old school diner I've been to in my life then is Becky's in Portland, Maine (but that's for another board).

                                                                                                                                                                  And, as long as you brought up the waitress, Flo: Kiss my grits!!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KateOC

                                                                                                                                                                    Alright, you all have got me curious, and since I'm hungry and Fred's is pretty close, off I go!! I'll report back in just a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the recommendations.

                                                                                                                                                                3. Alright, we just back from Freds.

                                                                                                                                                                  This was exactly what I was looking for, I'd give it a 9 on the diner scale. Loved it, wife and I had a good time here. Had a great $5 breakfast, bottomless cup of jo and got that fun snappy diner style service, place is a real throwback to a 60's environment with smart remark hall of flame on every wall to boot! Thanks!!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'll have to go check Fred's out soon. I'm getting hungry thinking about some good ole fashion dinner food.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. My wife and I just returned from dinner at Yuri's of Japan. We are thrilled to say that we survived the experience. I know that any restaurant experience will vary from visit to visit, but on this Saturday night our experience was terrible and there is not likely to be another.

                                                                                                                                                                      While not the most important aspect of a restaurant, the ambience at Yuri of Japan reminded me of an industrial caferteria. Admittedly, we were expecting a sushi restautant and Yuri is a Japanese grill-top restaurant that sells raw products and tempuras. I can't speak to the grill fare, but the raw products left way too much to be desired.

                                                                                                                                                                      My wife ordered a nigiri combination. She asked the waitress what kind of fish she'd get. The waitress told us that it was chef's choice, so who knows. Well, after having had it served to us and even having tasted some of it, we still don't know what it was. I ordered a 12-piece sashimi combination, and while I didn't actually count, I will give them credit for giving me all 12 pieces.

                                                                                                                                                                      The fish, both the sashimi and the nigiri looked and tasted pallid. My wife, who introduced me to sushi some years ago, and loves it, could not finish her entree. She then ordered a tempura in the hope of getting something decent to eat. The tempura was tasteless and none of the pieces looked like they were dipped in batter as the bottom of each piece had no batter. I am also pretty sure that onion is not supposed to taste like carrot.

                                                                                                                                                                      To be sure, the prices were a lot lower than those of Sake Zake (we live in Grayslake), but the prices did not make up for poor execution.

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Barrylev

                                                                                                                                                                        Barrylev; I unfortunately have to agree with you that Yuri is not very good anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                        When they first opened up I went and had a rather disappointing meal, but I wrote it off to opening jitters.

                                                                                                                                                                        A few months later, a couple of my neighbors starting raving about the place and convinced me to go again, and my next several visits were pretty good, coupled with the fact they had stolen away Nino who was one of the chefs from Ichiban (on Grand), who I'd always liked.

                                                                                                                                                                        But after a few month hiatus and shortly after this thread started, I went back again and damn! The quality had started to slide again and I was once again extremely disappointed, and I haven’t been back since and most likely wont ever be.

                                                                                                                                                                        Now as a rule, I think most Tappan style Japanese places are rip offs, the owners of these place are such cheapskates, and that really sort of bugs me anyway. My experience is that most of these places serve select grade meats, which are thin skimpy cuts, have small plate portions and that they hit you with huge price tags. And dont get me started on that stupid chicken broth they call a "soup" that has only three or four lost strands of noodles huddling together against the wall of the bowl for warmth!

                                                                                                                                                                        They usually nickel & dime you to death, and then really stick it to you with extra plate charges and expensive kids meals. I usually try to rationalize that it’s more about the “experience” and “entertainment” factor of having someone cook at my table and make the onion go ‘choo-choo”. But I mean really, the profit margin at these places is scandalous! 1/2 Lb of rice, 1/4 lb of meat and toss in a few veggies’s at $30 a plate!!! It’s not like I’m in Tokyo, or should have to pay what they would charge if they were serving me there!

                                                                                                                                                                        I guess I’m pretty sick of the whole Japanese restaurant thing anyway, the thrill is gone, and unless something starts to change with those places, I doubt I’ll be visiting very many in the future anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                          What kind of change would favor in your decision in going to Japanese Restaurants?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dlckdqja

                                                                                                                                                                            Here are a few:
                                                                                                                                                                            1) Use prime or choice grades of beef vs. select for the steaks, we know when its Jewel counter meat!
                                                                                                                                                                            2) Stop charging that silly $8 - $10 dollar per extra plate charge on kids.
                                                                                                                                                                            3) Serve American sized portions at those prices, 2-4 oz of select grade meat mixed with veggies at $20+ per plate is an obvious rip off.
                                                                                                                                                                            4) Be more creative & inventive! Every Japanese restaurant in this area is locked into just about the same menu, none offer the creativity that the city restaurants or others around the country seem to have, ever watch the original Iron Chef? Very creative cooks from Japan.
                                                                                                                                                                            5) Once you go why go back the experience is unique but sterile and canned, little improv and spice to keep it interesting would nice, it is positioned as a show or experience.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. Hayashi (in the west Grand Ave retail corridor) has been mentioned here earlier... it's consistently good. I'm partial to the sashimi and sushi but my wife will sometimes get hot food (last time, teriyaki salmon). Friendly service (typically, young Japanese waitresses but with nametags like "Susan" or "Jane"). The place is small, and only 4-5 tables handle more than 2 people, so expect a wait if you come at a busy time. We went early last week (5:30pm) and had a brief wait; at 6:30 there were several parties waiting.

                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChipSet

                                                                                                                                                                          Regarding the "Japanese" steak house places...my husband & I gave up on Yuri over 1/2 yr ago. They just got "too much" in our face (I realize it's interactive cooking), but we couldn't even carry on our own converstaion. We've been pleased w/Hayashi, especially when they cutloose their outside "wine assistant/consultant" whose name I won't reveal here - they definitely overpriced themselves at that point; but after a few years, the prices seem to be reasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                          Additionally, most of these places are not actually Japanese people...they are Korean. I can't figure out why, but I know that Yuri & Hayashi both have Korean management/owners/servers. Just an FYI.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. We gave 545 North (on Milwaukee in downtown Libertyville) a try the other night. I really wanted to give it a complete rave review, but unfortunately have to stop a bit short of that.

                                                                                                                                                                          The atmosphere is great; it is beautifully appointed and comes across as a sleek city place dressed down just a bit to suit the suburbs. The service was also excellent. Their menu is limited to fewer than a dozen entrees, which isn't a problem for me (although it may be for some people).

                                                                                                                                                                          My martini was excellent, and they have Stella Artois on tap (which is always a plus for my husband). On the recommendation of our server, we split a Caesar salad that was very good, although we found out when the bill came that we were charged $3 extra to split a $7 salad. (That was one demerit.)

                                                                                                                                                                          I had the barbecued wild salmon, which was very tasty, well-prepared, and a substantial portion of fish. No complaints at all, and well worth the approx $20 it cost. My husband had the roasted half chicken and, while it was very good, he groused (no pun intended!) about it being the smallest chicken he ever saw. (That was the only other demerit.)

                                                                                                                                                                          All things considered, though, we will definitely go back so we can try other items on their menu.

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DrGail

                                                                                                                                                                            I have to give a couple of thumbs up to Scotts - not your average "dog" house. Homemade everything - brats, Italian sausage - wide range on the menu. I get the feel that on every visit I'll be tempted to try something else on the menu. Ask for the special Merkts cheddar with your fries - while they'd like to have that as their lead cheese, many folks like the generic cheese sauce you find at most dog joints.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Fellow Chowhounders; for some of the best hot dogs and much, MUCH, more in Lake County, you have all got to check this place out:

                                                                                                                                                                            Scott Dogs
                                                                                                                                                                            895 E. Grand Ave., Lake Villa (847) 356-6600

                                                                                                                                                                            This IS absolutely a destination restaurant in Lake County. I know you’re probably thinking; What for hot dogs? So please, keep on reading.

                                                                                                                                                                            From the outside it’s in a newer strip mall, a non-descript looking place with not so good parking, an end unit next door to a car dealership. Then you walk into this family run establishment that first shows you a sports theme and you think; OK, clean, big place seats about 50-70, but still a hot dog joint with a nice steady crowd. I mean after all, they have all usual hot dog stand menu stuff; Best kosher hot dogs, handmade hamburgers and Krono’s Central Gyros.

                                                                                                                                                                            But then you see a few unique items, as far as I know, this is the only place north of the Downtown Ricobenne’s where you can find a real deal Chicago Southside style breaded steak sandwiches, Chicago steakhouse quality salads and several hearty homemade soups.

                                                                                                                                                                            But that’s not all, you also get this world class chef (Chef Scott) with an Argentinean family who love and run the restaurant with him. Together they serve up killer chimchurri steak sandwiches, an out of this world flank steak sandwich, and handmade empanadas to die for!

                                                                                                                                                                            On my two recent visits over this last week and half, I’ve had some amazing unique specials, several Argentinean dishes. IMO: Its really an amazing restaurant wearing a hot dog stands clothing!

                                                                                                                                                                            Turns out they were recently featured on ABC Hungry Hound, both the review & video are located here:
                                                                                                                                                                            Review: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?sect...
                                                                                                                                                                            Video: http://dig.abclocal.go.com/wls/podcas...

                                                                                                                                                                            And if after watching the video you not intrigued, something is definitely wrong with you!

                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                              Hi, all. I don't get why Scott Dogs hasn't closed. I think it's awful. My husband and I went there several months after they opened to let them work out any kinks in food/service, and we were not impressed with our food. In addition to our mediocre dogs, we ordered an empanada, hoping to enjoy an authentic specialty since the owner's family is from Argentina, and it was nasty, greasy and cold and "off-tasting." I developed a whanging headache 1/2 hour after eating there.
                                                                                                                                                                              I wasn't too surprised when I read they flunked one of their health inspections last year.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Last night I experienced the brand new Bacci on Genesee, in downtown Waukegan. What a treat! The atmosphere is very "cozy" and feels very "Chicago"; wood floors, exposed brick; tight seating. The place has a very nice large bar that runs half the length of the restaurant, and for summer they have outdoor patio seating with bistro tables all set up already for once we get there.

                                                                                                                                                                              The food; I had the best steak I've ever had in Lake county, this was an 18oz piece of Prime grade Rib steak (they called it a french cut) perfectly crusted and cooked to the exact temp I requested, it certainly rivaled anything I've had in downtown Chicago. My wife ordered the chicken Marcella with a pasta that although it isn't made in house, was very good and perfectly cooked al dente and the sauce was outstanding. The bread, oil & Parmesan were all very fresh and good as well. Bacci has a short wine list, but all the labels are good picks and resold at very reasonable prices.

                                                                                                                                                                              All in all Bacci is a very worthwhile treat! Call ahead, they as they are already gaining a reputation with the Downtown Waukegan crowd and it shouldn't be long before the long waits begin.

                                                                                                                                                                              I also noticed that across the street a sign on a very newly remodeled building was announcing: "opening soon Bistro 17". Yeah!!

                                                                                                                                                                              Is Waukegan looking to tap into some of that unfulfilled desire of us folks living in quality restaurant deprived Northern Waukegan, Lake Bluff and Gurnee? Are they trying to become the next Highwood? Only time will tell.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. One Steven of Stevens' should be ashamed. Coming from Carlucci, he should know better than to try and pass off sirloin as tenderloin, my friend (a butcher) was apalled, as was I! Ordered a $90 bottle of red which was served to us colder than a white should be. Lucky the martinis were good and big, or we would have nothing good to say about this disappointment!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. Just browsing for some food up here in Lindenhurst. I think I've tried just about everything. Not impressed with The Full Slab's ribs, but the sides were pretty tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I will second the reccomendation of Scott Dogs in Lake Villa.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I haven't found any good Chineese, but will be heading to Chopstix in a few minutes. Their Pork Fried Rice is pretty good. The best pork fried rice I've had since moving here was at Ming Toy's in Waukegan. I know it got a bad wrap earlier in the thread, but try their pork fried. MMMM. Don't eat there, though. It should be looked at as a take out place. A rather dingy and to be quite honest, smelly, place.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for listening.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Decided to try Red Sun instead of Chopstix. I'm sticking to choptstix when I'm in the mood for pork fried rice nearby. The pork at Red Sun was very fatty and in long strips. The flavor was very bland. I had a couple of egg rolls, too. ok gut filler...that's about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    For pizza I'm still looking. Been to a few...RJ's, Backstage Grill, Salutos, Gurnee Pizza, haven't tried Kaisers. Not really anything to write home about. Have tried Giordanos. Is this really the best of Chicago deep dish pizza? I am a thin crust lover, so I shouldn't be too critical, but I was not impressed at all. Would love to find a thin-crust pizza place WITHOUT that damn cracker crust. What is that? I just want a nice firm yet chewy dough...it can't be that difficult.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: portisphish

                                                                                                                                                                                      The best of Chicago deep dish pizza I maintain is Lou Malnati's. They have a couple of carryout locations. Red Top plaza on 21 in Libertyville, the strip mall with the Full Slab (bleugh) on 45 just north of Washington, and I don't recall if their Highland Park store is a sit down or not, at first and central. Their biggest restaurant is in Buffalo Grove at Buffalo Grove Rd and Lake Cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I made my maiden voyage to Scott Dogs (http://www.scottdogs.com/) over the weekend and I was very impressed. I had to try the italian beef which is roasted on site. That sandwich melted in my mouth, the peppers were a crunchy delight and the bread perfect. I also ordered a sausage to go, but the wafting smells forced me to eat my cajun sausage right there. This was one of the best tasting sausages in recent memory. Very spicy, and covered with some of the tastiest cole slaw I've had since Hackney's. I will most definitely go back there! Lots of menu items to try out still!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: portisphish

                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah the state of good Chinese food in Lake county is amazingly B-A-D! I have posted several times that Red sun is somewhat acceptable (by Lake County standards) and that several most of the main courses are decent; the kung pao, Mongolian beef & pork lo mein for example, but I have also stated here that the egg rolls are lousy as well and honestly I also don't care for the rice or soups. Guess there's not much I can about it in this area.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Years ago my family and I were very big fans of Chopstix and for at least 7 years we were almost weekly customers there. We used to enjoy the egg rolls, fried rice and a great dish called warriors beef that was a kicked up version of Mongolian beef that was outstanding. Then about three years ago something changed, the food was off and all of the dishes we liked were suddenly awful, last year I went back for lunch in hopes that the quality had picked up but alas, my hopes were dashed when they brought out burned warriors beef and a bland soupy kung pao...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Pizza? So you don't want a cracker crust eh? Your not from Chicago are you? Well it sounds like your after a hand tossed dough then, almost NY Style, so give Wayne's on Rt 45 & Washington or Wapaghettis in Vernon Hills a try, the thin crusts there are both and hand tossed for that almost tough & chewy texture that reminds me of a NY style pie, one of these might be what your after.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Giordano's- is one of three of the top "stuffed pizzas" in the area, the other two are Nancy's (which closed down here 2 yrs ago, but other locations exist) and Bachino's which IMO is about the best stuffed in Chicago period. As to Lou Malnati's, well they have a strong following, personally I cant stand the pallid grey sausage manhole cover they use on the pizza's, and that ruins the whole pie for me. Now that being said, Lou's is a classic Chicago deep dish pizza place and is almost certainly not what you are after, especially since they use a crumbly butter-crust dough and do not hand toss their pies.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. To get back to the original request, here are a couple of suggestions we've been consistently happy with: Oliveri in Antioch for Italian--more ambitious dishes than most other Italian joints around here; and Bombay City in Gurnee for Indian. Bombay City offers extremely fresh, made to order dishes and has an upscale atmosphere for a nice evening out. Fabulous variety of Indian breads, drinks and desserts as well as entrees--with good vegetarian selections, too. For pizza, I'd suggest Jimanos for deep dish. We also like Potesta's for ricotta filled calzones.Italian Ovens has good calzones of a different type--super cheesy and heavy but great.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Went to the new sushi restaurant "I love Sushi" on Rt. 45 between Gages Lake rd and Washington on the east side of the road in the new store strip, for lunch today.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Now mind you...I am by no means an authority on Sushi and my experience has been Hayashi Japanese Restaurant in Gurnee where I have been going to at least once a week for lunches the past few years. I've kept things simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I had a combo dish that had about 4 or 5 different Nigiri, California roll and it came with Miso soup and a small salad. All in all it was good. Presentation was a bit more elaborate than Hayashi but quality was about the same. I like Hayashi's Miso soup better as it's a bit more flavorful. I think my bill was about 15 dollars for one person without tip. That was the first time I ate there and wanted to try a variety of what they had. I'll go back, but will pick and choose less next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                          The menu has decent descriptions of things for people like me that like the sushi basics without going off into what I refer to as the more exotic entrees.

                                                                                                                                                                                          It'll be a repeat for me but I won't give up Hayashi.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: CWP

                                                                                                                                                                                            With so many responses I did not want to go through all of them to give you my recommendation: Bacci's Trattoria in downtown Waukegan a block south of the Gurnee Theater is absolutely great. We have hosted several dinners there in the last 3 months and the food has been wonderful especially the pastas. A good deal of money has been put into play here. They have their own web site so I suggest checking out www.baccis-trattoria.com. You can view their menu etc. Good luck. Don

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I can't believe nobody mentioned The Shanty, any time of day they have great food, great service, great prices! If you want pizza Quonset or Kaisers, Kaisers has good ribs and sandwiches too, try the high rollers for something lighter. Szechuan Palace in Antioch has the best egg rolls around, its mostly carryout but I have eaten there too its usually pretty quiet. Steaks? Jimmy's Char House, don't waste your time anywhere else...Johnny's has poor quality and slow service, Backyard is too expensive for what you get. If you want good fish try Double Eagle in Antioch, they also have a great steak sandwich and Sunday breakfast! Is Zsa Zsa's still around? I haven't been there in a couple years, it was pretty good though.Fairmont shores on fox lake, damn good food, family environment. There's an italian place in Vernon Hills just west of Hawthorne mall,Portofino's, very good. Honorable Mention; Steven's, Tony's, Giordano's (for deep dish), The mexican restaurant on 176 in Libertyville west of Milwaukee is pretty good too.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Well, I'm glad to see you were happy with Scott Dogs. I am going to try either Kaiser's or Wayne's Pizza tonight. I'll let you know what I think, but I can't say my hopes are very high.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I do have a reccomendation for mexican, and that is tacos el norte in Round Lake. I think it's round lake. It's on the road that connects the 45 and the 183. Across the street from Dominics. There is a pet store across the street, too.I have been to several of their locations..one in Gurnee, and one near my work in Des Plaines, and this little one in Round Lake is the best. I missed the taco shops from San Diego and this place does it just right. Try the Carne Asada (steak) tacos with onions, cilantro, and guacamole ONLY. Squeeze some lime...add some hot sauce and you're good to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: portisphish

                                                                                                                                                                                                Personally, I'm not a fan of El Norte, I find them to be very inconsistent from day to day and on several occasion were quite disgusting. The killer for me, was the time they served a walnut sized tumor/puss clod in my steak taco at the Gurnee location... There were other minor instances of grossistes that I can recant with some of my other visits to El Norte, over a 5 year period but that was to be my last.

                                                                                                                                                                                                For a much better Mexican alternative I recommend Tacos El Rey DE Oro at either of the two locations in Waukegan (on Washington) or Libertyville (on Milwaukee Ave).

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                  My husband's coworkers LOVE the guacamole at El Norte in Round Lake Beach, but I'll never go back. I've eaten there twice. The first time was 7 years ago; the food was mediocre, and I got a big headache afterwards. My husband dragged me there again about a month ago, and this time the food again very, very boring. Bland, overcooked. Seriously, I have had zippier food at Taco Bell. The food at Rancho Nuevo in downtown Round Lake is consistently good. I would much rather go there.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I too made my maiden voyage to Scott's Dogs for lunch. I got there just after 12 noon, no line and maybe about 6 - 8 people in the place. I ordered a Chicago Style dog and a Cajun sausage. The service was very slow. I waited a good 10+ minutes for my food with no one in front of me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                First let me say that the dog was outstanding and ranks up there with some of the best I've had. The Cajun sausage however was a big let down. The topping/fixings was good, but the sausage itself was not even close to being a Cajun style sausage and was unimpressive for me. It was more like a "hot link" and just because something is spicy does not make it Cajun. I was born and raised in the Cajun culture of Cameron Parish, La. (yes... the same Cameron that Hurricane Rita wiped out) and I still make the Cajun style sausage that I we made when I was growing up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Due to the numerous things on the menu, I will go back and I did see a few things that I want to try. Hopefully the slow service I experienced was a fluke.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I'm with you, it is one of the best hot dogs in Lake County. If I had to list my 5 favorite hot dogs in Lake County, the list would look something like this:

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1) The Dog House - Waukegan
                                                                                                                                                                                                  2) Scott Dogs - Lake Villa
                                                                                                                                                                                                  3) Big Bites - Antioch'
                                                                                                                                                                                                  4) Scotty's - Round Lake
                                                                                                                                                                                                  5) Cuz Cuzine (Home Depot) - Gurnee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh man.... Cuz Cuzine in Home Depot.... I can't walk out of there without grabbing one...
                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree,... if I were to make a list, I think it would be similar to yours for Lake County.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. It's been a LONG time since I lived in the Gurnee area! There was FIORE's pizza which I thought was great and I don't know if it exists anymore or where it was specifically? And then I remember a restaurant that was on the way to Great America (aka Six Flags) that had all kinds of kitschy things inside it. I don't remember the food at all but I do remember the doors to the bathroom were large pics of an Indian Man or Woman. Does anyone remember the name of this place? I lived in Lindenhurst and the plaza with the grocery store had a restaurant at the end that never was any one thing for long. I think at one point it was called Cindy's?? And l remember Yankee Doodle Chicken in Waukegan! I'm sure it doesn't exist anymore but for a poor little Korean girl it was heaven! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Since my first post to this thread there have been a few notable new places and a shifting of a few old ones so here is my updated list of favorite Northern Lake County establishments:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1) Bacci's - Waukegan (Best Italian & steaks in Lake County)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      2) Lomeli's Rotisseria - Round Lake (excelent Mexican food- grilled/rotisserie chicken & outstanding burritos and tacos)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      3) Mickey Finn's - Libertyville (best burger in Lake County)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      4) Scott Dogs- Lake Villa (amazing steak sandwich & soup)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      5) Frank's for the Memories- Mundelein (best wings this side of Buffalo)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Honorable mentions:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Taco's Del Rey De Oro - Waukegan
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fred's Fine Diner - Grayslake
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Dog House - Waukegan (hot dogs)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Kaiser Pizza - Gurnee (for burgers)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      FYI: I heard a rumor from a very reliable source that Tony Paisan's (Gurnee) is closing down within the next few weeks, I guess serving lousy overpriced food can eventually sink the ship!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Has anyone tried "El Michoacan" in round lake beach yet? they just opened last month I think...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. No one has mentioned THe Deerpath Inn in Lake Forest. Their restaurant is very nice for a fine dining experience and they also have a small pub for more casual fare.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        There are some lovely restaurants in Long Grove also, off the top of my head I can't remember any names. Sorry!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greeniiiiz

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The main reason that Long Grove, Buffalo Grove, LF, Wheeling & Highwood etc. are not really mentioned much in this thread; is that these are mostly recommendations for Chow in the far northern Lake County area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The plentiful & fine establishments in Northern Cook & Southern Lake County's seem to get plenty of attention on their own, while the spots up here are still far and few between, and are more infrequently noticed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Those of us who live way up here in Gurnee, know all too well that a myriad of great options abound; starting at 15-20 miles south of us...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Also in Highland Park off Deerfield Rd across from the police station is BLuegrass


                                                                                                                                                                                                          Very good food, I had Pecan Coated Tilapia Flash-Fried, Topped A Wild Mushroom Sassafras Sauce, Cajun Grilled Shrimp and served With White Jasmine Rice And Green Beans

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. You should try these. They should be around a 30 minute or less drive for you.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Twin Oaks in Wilmot WI, great food, good service (I highly reccomend the rack of lamd. the herb crusted salmon and the duck appitizer). Wine Knot in Kenosha. Cute romantic cozy good food Great service.Honada for sushi and japanese grill soooo very good. Have you heard BOB CHINNS is opening in Kenosha early fall 2007. Last but not least you shuld forward this thread to Carlos of Carlos's in Highland Park the french restaurant, he lives in lake county and last time we visited Carlos's he mentioned he was thinking of opening a restaurant close to his home. Oh we can only dream.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: T. Perez

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Does anyone in the Gurnee area make a 5-alarm burger? Something with jalepeno's, spicy mayo, and spicy cheese among other things?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Please, give me some direction.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ltkettch17

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not that I know of, unless one of the darn chains offers it. I do know for a fact that in Downtown Kenosha; Franks Diner has what you seek and it is amazing! They were also recently featured on Food Networks "Diners, Drive-ins & Dives" for their notoriously excellent "Garbage plate" for breakfast, but everything they do at that place is really good:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Frank's Diner “Order What Your Want ... Eat What You Get.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                508 58th Street
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Kenosha, WI 53140

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mon.– Fri. 6 a.m.– 2 p.m.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sat. 7 a.m.– 2 p.m.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sun. 7 a.m.– 1 p.m.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: T. Perez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                My wife and I went to Twin Oaks not to long ago. Really nice place. We both had the Svickova – Bohemian Style Beef. Portion was pretty good. Enough to bring some home.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Decent wine list and pricey compared to anything else in Northern Lake County/Southern Wisconsin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. I'd move Yuri of Japan to the top of your list...I love that place...ate dinner there last night in fact.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also worth the trip:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1) RJ's in Lindenhurst (family food, good bar, in the summer you can sit in the gazebo!)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                2) The Full Slab (Third Lake at Washington and 45) the BEST BBQ in Lake County
                                                                                                                                                                                                                3) Scott Dog's in Lake Villa...a little pricey but good Chicago Style called "Scott Dog"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                4) Szechwuan Palace in Antioch. Full lunch special: soup, egg roll, rice, huge entree and tea for 5.75. It's enough for three meals for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                5) Main Street Custard shop in Antioch...cute, sandwich/bagel coffee kind of menu. GREAT MOCHAS


                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: girlygirl5252

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hello girlygirl!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm with you on #3 Scott Dogs but I haven't tried #5 so I'll have to give it a go. But you know, once upon a time I did have Yuri on my list, and up at #4 even!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But, right now I feel that the quality had been so inconstant from visit to visit that I felt I compelled to drop them from my personal list of recommendations. So, I'm sorry to disagree, but heres why;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When Tony first opened the place up I was very excited to have such a nice option nearby, but from the start the food just missed the mark of being as good as either Ichiban or Tsukasa, so I stopped going, but I will say that the service and the hospitality have always been great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Then for a very brief time early last year I had starting visiting again and found that things had improved quite a bit so I started going very frequently, and I even went so far as to list it here when I started this particular thread. But, unfortunately it didn't last, noting that my last two visits were awful! And now I have stopped trying with these guys. I'm glad you had a good meal, post back and let us know if it continues to stay at that level and then maybe I'll give him another shot based on the feedback.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'll share some of my thoughs:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Sake Zake has some of the best Sushi I've had, and the staff is very kind and helpful.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Full Slab is a fun place to go, food is decent, wait staff is attractive, atmosphere is loud and festive.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Rudy's has great Mexican, and I love the Coke in the glass bottles from Mexico (real sugar not corn syrup)!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - The Vine is a nice quiet place to relax with a big group of friends at the back table. A big group is great because you can sample more dishes without over-eating. Nice to see an up-scale place in Grayslake!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lawn boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oh that reminds me! I've noticed a place on Rt 45 about 1/2 block south of Washington called "I Love Sushi".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Honestly, I'm not a big fan of Sushi so I'll probably never go there, but for those of you who are fans, I thought you might like to know and maybe one of you could post a review with your thoughts on it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Greetings, a newbie on this board here, from the Lake Cook (south Lake county) road area.... but well traveled... this is a great thread, with lots of good information and some great ideas...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A few comments about places mentioned above....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There was a comment here about Bistro Kirkou in Lake Zurich... its gone... something else took its place, but I don't know the name. Has anyone been there recently?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But why anyone would go there rather than D&J Bistro for bistro food stuns me. D&J is top quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If Bistro isn't your thing, then maybe a pan-Latin cafe might do the trick. Julio's Latin Cafe, on Rt. !2, less than a mile from D&J is fantastic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As I was reading through the thread here, I was amazed that noone had mentioned KARMA in Mundelein, but well along the way, there were some comments about it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Let me add some thoughts. My first visit there made me think I had found nirvana. Great food, competent service, a very nice room, and an exceptional menu. This had to be about 2-3 years ago. Since then, I only got up there one time, but the experience was so different, I could never imagine going back. The food was mediocre (can't remember what we had), but both I and my wife were very, very disappointed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In Mundelein, our favorite place, don't laugh, is "Franks for the Memories", not only for the hot dogs - Buffalo style, Salen's hot dogs! - but definitely for the chicken wings. My wife is from Buffalo, and when the Buffalo bug hits, its off to Franks. The wings are great - a bit expensive for my wallet, but worth it - and the franks are great, just not Chicago style. Go for the hot wings, but you have choices at Franks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And since we're talking about hot dogs, I will end my diatribe with thoughts on Scott Dogs. I went there after seeing or reading something about them and finding myself at a travel baseball tournament in the area earlier this year. Went in and thought I was in heaven. We loved the place, and the people working there. The people were nice, wanted us to try the homemade soup, and served us like they cared that we would be happy with our order. Tried the empanada,- it was good, not great, but for a hot dog stand, it was exceptional. The Italian Beef was memorable, and we tried one of the specials - this was a few months ago, so I can't remember what it was - but it was good. Certainly, from this perspective, worth another try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, finally, please excuse me, let me say one thing about another post.... There's a mention of the Deerpath Inn and of restaurants in Long Grove.... well, the Inn is a great place, but probably best if you're over 80 and interested in watercress sandwiches. They could have the best watercress in the county.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And the Long Grove restaurants (in the historic area) are in a similar way... too cutesy for my tastes, oriented towards my grandparents and their generation (I have a son in college, by they way). The original poster describes them as "lovely." They may look lovely, but their menus are boring, there's nothing at all interesting about the food, the preparation, or the service, and they are not oriented towards foodies. Unless you have the earlier generations with you, feel good about staying away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sorry about the rant....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: echoch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    +1 Karma Srry Didnt catch your post echoch. You are spot on with Karma.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: echoch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The new version of Bistro Kirkou is called Bistro 22. I have not been there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As far as D&J, I am a long time patron of the establishment and have been very disappointed by my last two meals there. Not only has the food been mediocre, but the service as well. Very sad because nothing faltered even at the peak of construction on 12 & 22. My family and I have decided that from now on we will get our French bistro fix at Barrington Country Bistro. We dined there about a month ago and everything was simply wonderful. It was not our first time dining there either. All our meals there have been spot on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. For tacos and burritos I would go to either El Taco Parado (SE corner of Lewis & 120 wkgn)Be prepared to take home as there is no where to sit and eat. If not there La Toluca Restaurant (Washington & Butrick) Nice place to sit and have a good Mexican meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sammie's (120 & Route 83 Grayslake) good hotdogs and Gyros

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Karma has great panamerican food and an excellent lounge (510 E Rte 83 Mundelein).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Tavern (Milwaukee Rd DT Libertyville) Has the best steaks and fish in Chicago Metro Area. Some what on the pricy side.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Shanty in Wadsworth off of Wadsworth and 41 has great steaks and sea food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bob Chins has great food. (Wheeling IL Milwaukee ave) Great Steaks and Sea Food.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JXD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        " El Taco Parado (SE corner of Lewis & 120 wkgn) "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Don't you mean Jackson & Rt 120? Theres a Walgreens, city park and Home Depot at Lewis & 120.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've drive by a window stand looking place at Jackson & 120 about a dozen times in the last few weeks and I still haven't been able to hit them when they're open. They sure keep some weird hours there if it's the right place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Man, does the food pretty much suck up here. Granted, I've only been up here a year from the city, the best place which I've eaten at is Scott Dogs. That's not to say that I prefer fast food, because I don't, but its one of the only places which I can say that if I were in the city, it would last.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Red Sun....horrible, worse than mall Chinese.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Chopstix...edible at best
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Scott's in Round Lake....how some compare this to Gene and Jude's is a joke.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        4. Tony Paisan's...I actually liked this place. Granted, it was expensive, but if someone is going to spend six bucks for a hot dog, fries, and drink at Scott Dogs, spending fifteen to twenty on pasta isn't so bad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can also second that it has closed, due to bankruptcy per my very reliable source. Our course, having a monthly rent of 15 grand is difficult to keep up with.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5. Sammies...not a fan.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6. Tacos El Norte....I liked the mole enchiladas, but everything else was pretty weak.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7. Kaiser's...only had the pizza, and it was bad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        8. Don't know the name of the sushi place on Grand in Gurnee, as I don't like sushi, but my wife, who does, thought it was garbage. The one good thing for me, is that I discovered pickled ginger, which I like.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        9 Tsukasa of Vernon Hills....decent...like the ginger sauce on pretty much anything, but its more of a group outing kinda place, for the show.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        10. Double Eagle....decent pizza, better than Kaiser's, and they seem to have a pretty decent breakfast.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        11. Pat's pizza..pass
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        12. Italian Oven's in Round Lake...decent at best.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        13. Lou Malnati's of Grayslake I believe, Lou is Lou.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hear Reflections is really good, but I haven't been. Always looking for new places, but so far seems like a culinary wasteland. I'm sure there are some good places south of 60, but trying to overturn any potential stone by me, Lake Villa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, I've heard a place called "Little Italy" is good in Antioch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: howiehandles

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah Red Sun really stinks now. I don't know what came over me, they seemed ok when they first opened, but now its just like the rest of the crap in Lake County. There still is no good Chinese in town period. Chopstix sucks too, and the Plum Garden in McHenry is frighteningly horrible - STAY AWAY!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Kaisers: ok pizza, better burgers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tony Paisan's: I won't miss him. Bacci's in Waukegan has completely satisfied all my cravings for great Itialian.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Grand Ave Sushi: it was either Ichiban (by the Amish Furniture store) or Haiashi (by Dominick's) either way, neither one is much to rave about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Scott's: when you over an hour away from Gene & Judes, and have been stuck living in Lake County for over 5 years, I think your mind starts to play tricks on you.... No its not nearly as good as G&J, but for Lake County it's not bad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. I cannot believe I found ths board. HEAVEN! I live in Gurnee and am so FRUSTRATED by the chain restaurants and offerings. This does NOT reflect the Gurnee of 2007. I was so angry that we have to go OUTSIDE of Gurnee for anything decent, that I wrote to our last Mayor asking him to try to get better restaurants and stores into our community. I hate spending all my money outside. LOVE LOVE LOVE Karma... who would have thought such a find would be in Mundelein... we've been going there for many years.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There is NO decent ethnic food. Forget Chinese... and if we want decent pizza... Bills does have good thin crust, but we have to go to The Silo in Lake Bluff for pan pizza.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm new here, and so happy to see that we are all together on this.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it's time to write to this Mayor....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And... as far as Gurnee Mills is concerned. They should level the place and start all over .. what a dump! Bring in outlet stores like the ones north of the border, and some good restaurants as well. AM I DREAMING????!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AiredaleHugs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Try living in Fox Lake - NOTHING here but bars. No fine dining. Glad I found this site.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. We tried the Monkey Dish in Gurnee. Not a big fan. Monkey bread was good, but the rest of the food was mediocre. Atmosphere was LOUD. I think they had kareoke or a live band playing in the bar area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            McCarthy's in Vernon Hills is good. (Old John's Garage) Modern Irish Pub. We liked it. I can't remember what we had, but we've been there a few times and it was always good. I do remember the deep fried cheescake for dessert! Yum!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They are also opening a Moe's Mexican Grill on Dilleys in Gurnee. Looks like it will be a Chipotle type of restaurant. We are HUGE Chipotle fans, so I really hope so. Also, if you like Chipotle, Q'doba in Kenosha is comparable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for pizza, alot of the locals prefer Quonset in Waukegan. We have found Kaisers to have soggy thin crust pizza. We prefer Jimano's for the price and specials and Giordano's for deep dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My personal favorite for Italian is Portofino's in Vernon Hills. Pricey, but delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have heard great reviews about the Firkin in Libertyville, but have not yet eaten there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fogcutter on Grand and Rt 45 is a hidden gem for great food. It is definately a hole in the wall dive bar atmosphere, but they are open for lunch and dinner and have prime rib on the weekends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Wildberry in Libertyville for breakfast. Always crowded but well worth the wait. When they offer it, the pumpkin pancakes are fabulous!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jillybear66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Moe's: I personally couldn’t care less if they ever open or not, I ate at one a few years ago in another state, and I can tell you; it's just more faux-Mex chain garbage, which I guess means it will be perfect for Gurnee! I remember being confused by Moe's claim to be a Southwest grill, but quite frankly I didn't see a single item that I recognized as being from Texas, New Mexico or Arizona or for that matter grilled. It's certainly nothing I would recommend to anyone on this board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to respectfully take issue with the whole Chipotle thing, sorry but I'm cursed like that, and I cant hold in such opinions. I have a very low opinion of all the national faux-Mex places especially Chipotle, Baja Fresh, Q'doba Grill & Taco Bell, because they're all horrible! I'll never understand why someone is willing to wait in lines to eat such drek, when the really good stuff is usually just around the corner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In Gurnee, as we all know, we have very limited access to good food, BUT we do have two major Mexican communities that co-exist on either side of us; Round Lake & Waukegan. And if you want to throw in Mundelein since it's pretty close, make that three. Anyway, with over 60+ Mexican restaurants in Waukegan and another 20 or so in the Round Lake area that makes for quite a sizable Mexican restaurant presence. With that many options I cant fathom why anyone would drive to up to Kenosha for any faux-Mex fast food crap, I think that’s just crazy~! When I go to Kenosha, it's for Tenuta's, Frank's or The Stonewall Grille!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lake County really has some very decent Mexican; for example: In Waukegan: Taco's Del Rey De Oro is about the best, but Los Compadres, El Ranchito Michoacano, El Dorado, El Famous Burrito and even my least favorite the venerable Tacos El Norte. There is also a new place that just opened on Genesee St by the theater that is supposed to be more upscale called Mi Fiesta, but I haven't been there yet, maybe next week. In Round Lake the LoMelli's on Cedar Lake Rd is outstanding, and their sister restaurant Rancho Nuevo Mexico is very good as well. Any of these are much better options than any chain place could ever hope for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Chains!! Boy, they really make my blood boil! And why the heck doesn't Gurnee have a Portillo's?? Now that's a chain I would get excited about for Gurnee. With almost every chain known to the suburban mall crowd and middle America and yet no Portillo's! It's a complete mystery to me, sorry I digress...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                > And why the heck doesn't Gurnee have a Portillo's??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There's one in Vernon Hills, not too far away.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nsxtasy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah I know but it's still 20-25 mins too far, it would be nice to have something I actually like in Gurnee for a change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jillybear66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Been getting pizza from Kaiser's for years, and missed them a couple of stretches when they were closed (once from a fire, the other I don't remember why). Never had soggy pizza from them - it's the crispy-think crust style - but maybe because we pick up rather than wait for delivery? We like the spicing of their sausage too. We prefer Bill's North for dine-in; Kaiser's doesn't have much atmosphere. But the Kaiser's pizza to go is consistently good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. I am also a big fan of Chipotle and one is finally coming to Gurnee. Last I heard it was scheduled to open in around the end of the year. Chipotle mentioned it on one of their shareholder conference calls due the use of "green" building techniques they are piloting in this location. I haven't had Moe's but frankly nothing beats Chipotle so I will anxiously await their arrival. I don't typically have much appreciation for chain restaurants, especially the ones that are "fast food", but for Chipotle I make an exception. I agree with the original poster about the lack of quality options in Gurnee and I have been searching since moving here in January. Chipotle will be a nice filler for those nights we don't feel like cooking or don't want the hassle of eating out at a sit-down restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: travels77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I too am anxious for Chipotle to pop up. I went as far as emailing them to find out any details about one coming to the area. Unfortunately, whoever responded had no knowledge of any new store opening in Gurnee. I only hope this person is not privy to such information. On their website you can offer suggestions for new locations so just in case one isn't in the works...I gave Gurnee a great review!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jillybear66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What possible review would that be? That we ARE chain central? That Gurnee has no personallity to go along with no city center? What would that letter look like?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dear Sirs or Madam,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We have almost every national chain in America, and our town Mayor and townsfolk have no absolutely no interest in supporting local business!! So please bring your XYZ chain to Gurnee, home of 5 soon to be 6 Starbucks, 6 McDonald's and almost all the possible variations of the Bennigan's theme (TGI Fridays, Applebees, Ruby Tuesday, Max & Erma's, Chilies, Uno's Chicago Grill) and the sandwich chains (Potbelly, Quizno's, Subwaste, JimmyJohns & Panera) are adequitly represented as well! Yes sir, it's a very exciting time to be alive in Gurnee, and the the only thing missing in this town is you and some good taste!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jillybear66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chipotle is definitely on the way to Gurnee (sorry abf005). On the Gurnee village website I read about a hearing Chipotle had with the village regarding getting approval for a wind turbine which would exceed the normal height restrictions for accessory structures. I guess they really are trying a "green" approach for this location.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: travels77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm feeling "green" just thinking about it alright! It's to be expected, I will probably never see a white tablecloth place in this burb, much less a genuine Mexican place or Taqueria, so

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        After some thought I came up with the following list. Chains missing from Gurnee:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Qdoba grill, Baja Fresh, Bennigan's, Houlihans, Famous Dave's, Big Bowl, Any Lettuce entertain you places, Portillos, Texas Roadhouse, Hooters, Little Caesars, Ron of Japan or Benihana, PF Chang's, Corner Bakery, Fudruckers. It's probably less than 25 away from having every chain, but here is the list of places you can look forward to arriving here over next several years as our franchise friendly village continues to grow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Soon to open:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Moe's, Chipotle, Brown's Chicken, Starbucks (new Rollins Rd),

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. We moved here 10 years ago, as well, and we've been looking for good restaurants ever since. Haven't found a decent Chinese restaurant, although Royal Thai in Gurnee is fairly good and very consistent. Same sad plight goes for Mexican. We had a couple of good meals at El Ranchito Michoacano and then had several awful ones and haven't been back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We tried Bacci's in Waukegan this evening and were disappointed. Lovely dining room, but the food was a bit bland, they ran out of bread and two of the salad dressings, despite not being very busy, and the service, considering the price point, was rushed. Our favorite of any restaurant in the area, by far, is Ristorante Bottaio in LIbertyville. Wonderful menu, service and food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: whamil8083

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Monkey Dish pretty much blows, oversalted and soaked in fat in lieu of seasoning. May as well be a chain. My ahi carpaccio was covered in gross cream sauce and seemed to have been prepared several hours ago. Even the less gourmet concerned at the table were dissatisfied with their sandwiches and steaks. The decorations are just kind of ugly, and our waitress was indifferent. I live right up the street, and i won't be back.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On a more positive note, I can't believe no one's mentioned Tina's Italian Bake Shop, hidden in the corner of that mall at 21 and Washington (the one across washington from Steven's and Tacos El Norte). They close at four every weekday, two or three saturday and are closed Sunday, but there are few places I'd rather eat lunch, especially as a person who doesn't eat beef, chicken or pork. A smaller menu, but delicious specials that change daily and everything tastes fresh. Desserts are really tasty and not oversweet, and the staff are friendly and efficient.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyone else have some recommendations for pisco-omnivores? It's either tacos or lovely thai (never had a good meal at royal and it's a lot more expensive). what's the word on sushi thai across from CLC?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: whamil8083

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm very surprised you had such an off experience at Bacci's, Did you complain to the owner (who is always there)? What did you order? And what time of day/evening did you go?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know I went to Bottaio's many years ago, but it was so unmemorable that I struggle to this day trying to remember if I was really there!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Hi there,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Has anyone been to Green Basil in Vernon Hills lately? I seem to remember that place being pretty decent. Nice atmosphere.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also ate at Bombay City recently and found it to be a nice choice to have in our area. I think it was a pizza joint a long while back.. off of Grand just past the 41 exit. Went for dinner and not the buffet. Service was good and prices were in line with Lake County. I am always amazed at how much more it costs to eat out up here compared to when I lived in the city! AND the choices are much less...maybe that's why prices are high - no competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I have to second the choice of Tina's Italian Bake Shop. Awesome sandwiches and homemade cannoli. Really nice, relaxed atmosphere for a lunch date.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DH and I recently discovered a good new option for pizza -- Rumor's in Fox Lake. We got a small stuffed and it weighed 14 pounds (and was tasty)! The chef/owner has won multiple awards while he was working for the Carmen's chain. Rumor has it (ha ha) that his ribs are good too, but we haven't tried them yet. Note, we did get our pizza to go. The atmosphere is kind of lacking -- regular bar flies playing pool with country music loudly blasting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As for BBQ, we tried Herm's in Antioch recently. We got the rib tips and pulled pork. I thought the tips were overcooked and tough. The pulled pork was too fatty for my taste, too. I know the Full Slab in Grayslake seems like it's trying to hard, but I still think the BBQ was better there. I love the choice of multiple sauces. Order whatever you get without sauce and experiment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KateOC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Carmen's has to be my favorite stuffed pizza. I got hooked when I lived in Evanston and haven't really found anything as good since I left. I will definitely give Rumor's a try although Fox Lake isn't really as close as I would like it to be...it is still closer than Evanston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: travels77

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              For stuffed pizza, there's a Giordano's in Gurnee. And I don't think the pizza is all *that* different between Carmen's and Giordano's. (FWIW, I like Giordano's better, too.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Have never had a bad meal at Portofino's in Vernon Hills or Binanti's Tast of Italy II in Antioch. And both have nice atmospheres. I also like Karma, in Mundelein; very good! The Tavern in Libertyville is great; as is Firkin's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Am going to try Gridley's Grille in Long Grove next week (83 and Gilmer); it's supposed to be very good! We shall see.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sms847

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We went to Gridley's a few years ago. I can't remember what the rest of the family had and whether they liked or disliked, but I had the "pistachio encrusted salmon" and it was not that good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Please let us know how it turns out for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Someone PLEASE explain to me what I am missing at Rudy's Mexican in Grayslake. It tastes to me like every other store front taco joint in Lake County. I have found it no better. I agree about Rancho Nuevo in Round Lake being the better option in western Lake County and of course many better ones in Waukegan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You do realize that Chipotle is owned by McDonald's and it is their attempt at Mexican don't you? As a Mexican I actually find it offensive. Your "Mexican" food options...Burritos or "tacos" in flour tortillas, geez! Neither of which existed in Mexico until they were "invented" in Texas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lamaca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rudy's is homemade Tex-Mex, which is very different from the multitude of Taqueria's and Faux-Mex Americanized chain garbage places in the area. As far as taste goes, not as good as many of that style in Texas, but not bad either. The best things there are not the tacos & burritos, but the homemade mole and enchiladas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I completely agree with you about Chipotle being offensive, but as an Americanized Hispanic of Texas origin myself, I feel compelled to state that Texas is not the anti-Mexico! In fact, it was Spanish then Mexican before the US acquired it through war settlements. So the Mexican population that has always been there (as with New Mexico, Arizona & California as well) such as my family, cook authentic Mexican cuisine style of the area, it’s just a different variation, as would Michoacán or Mexico City styles would be. One based on local ingredients and the immediate influences, such as Indian and later on, even German settlers and cowboys. I'm not saying that the white settlers that came later didn’t commercialize the cuisine and morph it into something ugly, and sometimes not even close in many cases, but deep in the those states still reside some amazing places that hold true to their Spanish roots.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Chipotle on the other hand is an enigma to me anyway. The place was the creation of a college guy who liked the Mission style burritos of San Francisco, then he moves to Denver and opens up a place that become an instant success, in spite of Denver having it's very own locally famous smothered green chile burritos! Therefore, Chipotle was born as a chain having neither San Franisco roots nor Denver style.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was not slighting Texas' roots! I'm well aware of the history of the region. I was taking offense at what Chipotle deems to be Mexican food. Soft, flour tortilla tacos & burritos. Neither of these are traditional Mexican food items (rather south-western or Tex-Mex) and yet they are at the center of the menu of this "Mexican" restaurant chain. Although new chains in Mexico have now been introducing them as Tex-Mex food. I have taken people to Chipotle as an interesting anthropological and cultural experience, not for for the food. Our guests from Mexico used to be fascinated by the concept. They are no longer since McDonald's has since opened Chipotles in Mexico.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will go back to Rudy's and order the mole. Last time, I tried one of their combination platters and it was just average. Nothing in it seemed to have been prepared any differently from other local store-front taquerias. To me home-made means that they make their own mole. I would be astounded if they actually did this - I wil inquire. All the other similar places use mole paste from a jar which they then fry and mix with broth to make the sauce. If they indeed make their own mole, that alone would make them a find.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lamaca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lamca, no offence taken. However, it seems like your still separating out Texas & the Southwest US from Mexico, which has that tinge of that Rick Bayless/Diana Kennedy purest stuff that has always bugged me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I’m guessing your being from Mexico anything on this side of the border inherently “feels” less Mexican, but trust me, if you get around the into the deeper parts of Southwest (and not the cities) very much you’ll see its still very old Spain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the daughters running Rudy's had told me that the grandmother makes the mole; So I assumed it is made from scratch at that point. Keep in mind; I give the place a 3.5 out 5 in terms of food, good, not great. I’d rather go to Del Rey de Oro in Waukegan anytime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chipotle- Taco Bell meets Starbucks: end of anthropological and cultural experience… LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      great analogy regarding Chipotle, it is totally the combination of Taco Bell & Starbucks..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I never thought of that analogy! Taco Bell and Starbucks is perfect!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I have had some very good Mexican food in San Antonio, TX. Truly amazing tamales de rajas and some of the best pozole I have tasted. And, I do like Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy...they do good research! However, I do not look down on any cusine. I simply think that Mexican food evolved differently once those borders were established in new Spain. The regional cusines in Mexico are also quite varied.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The first time I went to a Chipotle (6 or 7 years ago, they had just opened) they asked me what kind of tortillas I wanted. I said what do you have? They said "soft" or "hard". I laughed so hard! It told me all I needed to know about the chain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Could you tell me where exactly is El Rey de Oro in Waukegan?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: lamaca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Tacos El Rey DE Oro
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1605 Washington St
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Waukegan, IL 60085 (847) 599-0600
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Sun-Thr: 7am-11pm Fri-Sat: 7am-4am

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Located on the south side of Washington St, 1 blk east of Lewis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Chipotle: I'm surprised they don't offer wheat wrap and sun-dried tomato wrap burritos to go along with the bol...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: lamaca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Can we get away from Mexican cuisine for a little while (although I really like Rudy's with the coke from Mexico made from real sugar not corn syrup).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here are some good places to check out:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Cafe Pyrenees, in Libertyville, great French food with out being too pretentious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Firken, also in Libertyville, not your typical bar food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Fat Man's Inn, best Philly Cheese Steak sandwiches in Chicagoland, (and beautiful waitresses)!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            - Quonset, best pizza in Lake County.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lawn boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This Philly Cheese Steak sandwich you speak of, is it the real deal? And worth the drive up there.?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have not found a decent Philly Cheese Steak sandwich in the Chicago area since Dontis Deli in Naperville closed down about 15 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not sure where you are driving from, I wouldn't come from Naperville for it. But if you are ever in the area, I'd drive an extra 20 minutes for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Several locations in Lake County but the original on 41 and Milwaukee is the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lawn boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We go up to Wisconsin/Milwaukee alot so we pass through the area(we actually live out further southwest of Naperville). I am always looking for a good Philly Steak. Thanks for the reply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's not in Lake County, but Chasers in Niles has a great philly grinder. In fact all of their grinders are fabulous. The best sandwiches I have ever had. Great skirt steak sandwich, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. This thread continues to live!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Couple of new hot dog places:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Country Dog on Rt 120 east of 45 in Grayslake. Anybody tried it yet? Any relation to the well-regarded Country Dog on Quentin Rd?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dont't know the name but a new place opened at the corner of Washington and Hainesville Rd in Round Lake. Competent hot dog, horrible greasy undercooked fries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dinosaur

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The thread continues. But we've tried to improve it from hot dog places to places like:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -The Vine
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Care Pyrenees
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      - Sake Zake

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dinosaur

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Unturned stones breaks 200!! Wow, I never dreamed I'd start a thread that would be so active! Thanks everyone!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hot dogs: I'm always looking for that "real" city stand quality dawg, but can nver quite satisfy the craving. Please let us know how Country Dog rates, and keep posting the good ones. I noticed the other day that the Dog House in Waukegan was flying the Vienna hot dog banner on the building now, which must mean they changed brands of meat, too bad they some tasty unique hot dogs there for awhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fatman: I’m not a fan of anything there, and I can assure you it’s not a genuine Philly sandwich for anyone from Philly to go eat! The best Philly in Chicagoland is Philly’s Best, there are currently three Chicago locations: www.phillysbest.com (lousy website, but it has the locations) with a few more planned to open next year, ahh but's thats down in the great city and nowhere near ol' Gurnee...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ive tried Phillys Best, unacceptable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have several good restaurants for you to try.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 - Firkins on Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville - great food, great beer, great atmosphere
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 - Thai Noodle Cafe on Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville - great Thai but not much atmosphere. We do carry-out a lot. They have great Pad Thai and Spicy Crazy Noodles.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 - Big Bowl on Milwaukee Ave. in Lincolnshire. It's a little bit farther for you but it's worth the drive. Their Kung Pao Chicken with noodles is excellent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If Philly's Best doesn't bring you close to home, then Fatman will really disappoint you!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Fatman is one of those typical Chicago Italian beef + cheese (not white American or wiz), green pepper & onion kinda places, not even close to the real thing. At least Philly's Best has the meat, cheese & rolls shipped in from Philly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is too bad Chicagoland is such a wasteland for such a great sandwich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm curious;
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  swsidejim, I know we've been trading posts for a long time with each other, ranging from pizza & BBQ to this, so what am I missing? Why is Philly's Best unacceptable to you? In your opinion, where do they fall short?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I had a Philly from there, and it just seemed "dry", and not as juicy, and flavorfull as some of the good cheesesteaks I have had. Perhaos they do not use enough oil when the beef is on the flat top grill with the onions, In a pinch they are ok, but I have pretty much stopped ordering cheesesteaks in Chicagoland because I have been disappointed to many times. The same actually goes for an Italian Beef sandwich at many spots. I stick to the well known ones, Johnnies, Carms, Al's, Paul's etc, and do not try others unless they come highly recommended by trusted sources.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Fair enough, I've been going to the Philly's Best on Belmont for well over 15 years and haven't ever had a bad one, and thankfully, I have not had your unfortunate experience of the meat being dry! Not good. Maybe if you find it in your soul, you might consider giving them one more shot, but I know how it goes when a place fails on the first or second try, I just never want to go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Anyway, back to Lake County North:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Went to the Dog House on Belvidere, they have definitely switched over to jumbo Vienna hot dogs as their standard for about $3. I still don't get why those goofballs insist on putting ketchup on the "Chicago Dog". It's just moronic to have ask for a Chicago style dog and say "hold the ketchup". Anyway, the hot dog was still good, with fresh cut veggies, a fresh poppy-seed bun and plenty of celery salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      On Saturday night my wife and her usual dinner group of 5 pals gave Park St in Mundelein a try. Apparently they all gave it pretty good reviews and said it was very nice inside. Meal-wise, she said they all went for the seafood entries and that it was fresh and tasty, but that the side dishes were unimpressive. One of the ladies proclaimed that the Caesar salad was excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Drove by the new Mi Fiesta in Waukegan for a looksee; looks the exact same as the previous two (La Finka & Casa De Samuel) Mexican restaurants that were in the same spot, with only a handful of people at the bar (that looked like the staff), so I passed on going inside for now, I think I'll wait until I hear some reviews about it first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: dinosaur

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Country Dog is pretty good. I would go back. The place on Washington and Hainesville Road is called Big Jack's. The beef isn't too bad for this area. The prices are a bit high.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. 2007 KCBS BBQ & Comcast Chili Challenge Events!! At Lambs Farm in Libertyville:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cubby Bear Presents...Barn Burner BBQ
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lambs Farm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Friday & Saturday, October 19 & 20
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fri 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm, Sat 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This event is free to the public for spectators.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chili: http://www.lambsfarm.org/images/Chili...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BBQ: http://www.lambsfarm.org/images/KCBS%...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So if you love great BBQ I hope to see a few of my fellow BBQ lovin Chowhounders there! I'll be the one flying the Bad-2-da-bone colors (spectating, not competing!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Lamb's Farm Production Center
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            14245 W Rockland Rd, Libertyville, IL 60048

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Don't forget!! Tonight & Tomorrow starts the KCBS BBQ contest in Libertyville at Lamb's Farm. We only get BBQ this good once a year around here so don't miss it!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If my memory serves me correctly; didn't the BBQ team "Cancer Sucks" from Naperville win the Lambs Farm event last year? And then go on to win the "superbowl of BBQ" the Jack Daniels invitational afterwards? I could be wrong, but I seem to remember reading that somewhere on one of the BBQ blogs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Yao Yao's in Waukegan, IL is a very good chinese food restaurant. It's newely renovated, clean and the staff is good. I would have to say that Yao Yao's is just about as good as PF Chang's in food quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Glad I found this thread, new to Midwest and my wife and I can't stand the lack of good food in Gurnee, Thanks for all the recomendations. As for phillysbest is it the real deal? Being from Philly the lack of a cheesesteak is driving me mad, an if it is all like any from home I would drive the hour to get it, but don't want to waste my time. As for couple's sit-down I would have to say that Cafe Pyrenees in the best so far. The Tavern impressed the first time, then when we returned with friends, not so much. Thanks for the Chinese food updates also, I agree everything here is really bad, and guess I'll just give-up, so sad 'cause in Philly there were good cheesesteaks and Chinese in every neighborhood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bildan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Welcome to Lake County.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've been to Philly and had the real thing, and I think that Philly's Best is about the closest thing you'll get in Chicago to the real deal. According to the owners, the meat (rib-steak), bread and cheeses are shipped into Chicago straight from Philly. Yeah sure there are detractors out there, but I haven't seen better or heard of a better alternative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One note before the Fatman thing comes up again on this topic, Fatman uses skirt steak (I just called and checked with the owner) not Italian beef like I posted earlier, but its still too tough for the right feel, so while it may be a good "steak sandwich with cheese", it isn't an authentic Philly, period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chinese: it's the damnedest thing, you cross Lake-Cook road and all of a sudden there isn't a decent Chinese place for miles. I went to Naperville the other day to visit a pal and he took me to some hole in wall place that blew away anything we have up here, I don't get it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Try Bacci's for great Italian, Mexican is an easy hit here too, Taco's Del Rey, Chapala & Mi Fiesta are all good, Pizza & burgers also abound up here with Kaiser's & Mickey Finns as stand outs. For serious steak, right now its gotta be either Steven's or Baccis, but I understand a new upscale steakhouse is being built across the street from the Genesee theater and should be opening up sometime early next year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I am sometimes by Lake-Cook, and am desperate for decent Chinese, It is my impression that consensus would be to go to Golden Chef? I'm going to try Scotts Dogs tonight, hope the empanada's live up to the hype!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bildan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Scott Dogs! Very good empanada's, made by the grandmother. Try the Skirt Steak sandwich, one of the best I've ever had!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Haven't been to the Golden Chef, but it sounds interesting though; I guess the owner is some sort of nutritionist and her husband is the chef. Please post us the outcome. I seem to remember Yen Yen in Buffalo Grove being decent

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Empanada was good, similar to my wife's grandmothers. Some of the best take-out I've had in a long time, burger was big and juicy, chilli cheese fries were way too big to finish(but real good), did not have the Skirt Steak, but I will next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bildan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My wife and I went to Scott's Dogs today for lunch today. I had the skirt steak sandwich and she had an Italian beef with cheese and sweet peppers.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The skirt steak sandwich is a do over for me. Skirt steaks normally are a tough piece of meat but it appears they run it through a tenderizer of some sort but until you bite into it you can't really tell. It came on a toasted french bread bun which was not the tough type of bread. It had fried shoe string onions on it. Though I have had better skirt steak sandwiches, none were in the Lake County area that I recall. A definite do over for me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            My wife liked her Italian beef sandwich. Her only comment was that you had to pick at it with a fork or your fingers as it was a bit too big and cumbersome to pick up and normally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CWP

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              CWP- Glad you enjoyed it! I agree, that skirt steak is unbelievably tender, and your wife is right, those guys at Scott's don't believe in small portions!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I drove by Scott's on Grand in Lindenhurst, and I see they are no longer there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dinosaur

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yep, they closed a few months ago. The company I used to work for used them for catering. The catered food was pretty good, but the in-store food was hit or miss from what people in our area said. The owner was supposed to be from Argentina, but I had the worst empanada of my life there. We went there once and never went back after we saw online that they flunked their health department inspection. I always prayed over my work-catered food after that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I visit Mexico 1-2 times per year and had a very difficult time finding the same flavors I crave from those trips in the Gurnee Area. After a lot of searching I finally found the place, and I don't see it mentioned in this thread (although there are 220, so I could have missed it). San Gabriel Mexican Cafe (http://www.sangabcafe.net/) in Bannockburn at Half Day and Waukegan. Nice and very clean atmosphere, excellent staff, and the closest you can get to real Mexican food without actually visiting the country. This is not your normal Lake County Mexican restaurant where you have your choice of burritos, tacos and enchiladas that all taste the same. Each dish has it's own wonderful, authentic flavors. My favorite is the molcejetes, served sizzling hot and full of wonderful taste! Give San Gabriel a try if you haven't already. I suggest reservations on the weekends as the Lake Forest/Deerfield locals have figured out what gem they have in their back yard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Newsflash: I was recently informed by a good friend that there is a new "Chicago Red Hots" place under construction in the old Noodles/Marble Slab place on Grand Ave next to the Amish Furniture Store. This could be a nice addition to the neighborhood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      She also informed me that in spite of my warnings she tried the new Moe's Southwset Grill on Dilly's and thought I was right: it sucked! I love having her as a friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. My wife and I went to Binanti's Taste of Italy in Antioch this evening. I think we found our new favorite Italian Restaurant in Lake County.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We had the bruschetta for an appetizer and although I am more use to having balsamic vinegar in my bruschetta, their version grew on me fairly quick.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My wife had a salad, which salads are salads for us no matter where you go.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had the soup of the day which was New England Clam Chowder and it was one of the best, if not the best I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Two kinds of fresh baked bread with I think a marinara sauce and a seasoned olive oil was served. Great bread... almost addicting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We each had the braciolle and one serving was enough to feed 3 people. It was served with a pasta dish and both were outstanding. We brought home enough to feed us tomorrow for lunch and dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For dessert I had a cannoli, which was o.k. I was trying to keep dessert light and it hit the spot well enough.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My wife had the tara mi su, which I tasted and it was a bit dry and seemed to be missing something. I think I will opt for one of the other desserts next time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had two glasses of the house pinot noir wine and being that I am no wine connoisseur, it was pretty damn good to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Earlier this summer we had checked out the place in Waukegan, Bacci's I think the name is. I much prefer Binati's for all around dining comfort, atmosphere and food. Bacci's wasn't bad, just not our cup of tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I love this discussion board -- my husband and I eat out every Tuesday night, and I regularly scan through the new listings for any places we haven't tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In Wauconda (which is only about 20 minutes from Gurnee), the new place on Bang's Lake has finally opened. It's called The Dock, and is on the north side of Route 176 as you're coming into Wauconda. We checked it out a few weeks ago, and were impressed. They have a broad menu. The waitress talked us into having meat (filet for me, pork chops for my husband) after telling us that one of the owners is a meat purveyor. She was right -- the meats were wonderful and very reasonably priced. If you're in the mood for steaks or chops, give it a try and report back. (They also have Stella Artois on tap, which always makes hubby happy!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A few folks have wondered about Firkin in downtown Libertyville. This is one of our very favorite places. It has an awesome bar, and combined with the decor reminds me of some funky (but fabulous) place you might find in Bucktown. They share a kitchen with the Village Tavern, and their food is definitely a cut above what you would expect -- many of their dishes are quite original, and it's always well prepared. The emphasis is on sandwiches and appetizers, but there are entrees as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DrGail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We had our wedding rehersal dinner at the Tavern (wed at Independence Grove) and it was PERFECT. The Firkin is one of my favorite spots to go and have a fun meal with a wide variety of beer to pick from. I grew up near LaGrange/Oak Brook, so I am used to many and varied options - Gurnee is almost like punishment sometimes!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Quonset has decent pizza, though I do like Kaisers the best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If I get Chinese, I order from Great Panda, which I think is much better than Yao Yao, but still standard delivery fare. I LOVE Gridley's in Kildeer...whoever had a bad experience must go back...such great variety. But still such a hike form Gurnee. :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I wish they'd build some Greek up in Gurnee...as well as some authentic Italian. Salutos has some great pasta dishes, and is good for atmosphere (especially the bar area), but the food is pretty standard. The rolls are delicious, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They are building a Buffalo Wild Wings in old Lakehurst, which I think officially seals the deal on every major chain. They are also building a drive-through Potbelly's there, which I cannot complain about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I would love, love, love some more options for Greek, Thai and Italian, though. I refuse to go into Friday's, Chili's, Uno's, Applebees, etc. etc....if the food wasn't irritating enough, the idiot shoppers at Gurnee Mills are enough to make me want to stab myself in the eye with my fork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: BethMc2007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ah - one more - for faster fare, try Froots. There are just a few springing up here an there, but they do have tasty, unusual wraps and delicious smoothies. Great hearty soups in the winter. I recommend the wasabi wrap, as well as the ham and brie.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also - Egg Harbor in Lincolnshire. It's a hike, but DELICIOUS!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BethMc2007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yikes - my apologies - ONE more - Anastasia's in Lakehurst. Greek-owned, they have a WIDE variety of family style food, as well as some authentic Greek dishes. Their egg lemon soup is TO DIE FOR. They even deliver!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BethMc2007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hear you Beth, traversing Grand Ave at this time of year could drive you to drinking, I know it does me... which puts me at the doorstep of Cafe Pyrenees located at 137 & Milwaukee. They have by far the best selection of wine in the area, and they also have decent (not mind blowing) French food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For Italian, I’ve said it before the only really good option is Bacci’s in Waukegan located on Genesee, about a ¼ block north of Washington. I’m not sure who posted above and, it was a miss for them, but its still much better that the rest of our options in this area, and to me, Bacci’s is the closest to being a city quality establishment that we have. IMO Saluto’s is just awful, with zero redeeming attributes from a Chow perspective, I hate the food, and the bar is ok but nothing I’d go out of my for, since its limited to beer with a crappy wine selection and has a smoky sports bar atmosphere, which is a shame, its only a few blocks away from me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Greek, Anastasia’s – I think you hit the only thing left in the area. Two or three years ago there used to be a place called Oceania that had quite a good selection of Greek dishes. Anyway they are gone now but the tradition of the annual Greek Fest that they were either a part of, or the coordinators of, still continues every spring. So keep your eyes peeled for the signs after we start to thaw out in spring. I have on good authority that Anastasia’s has a really good thin crust pizza reminiscent of Father & Son’s in the city, but I haven’t had a chance yet to verify that claim.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Another SANDWICH PLACE? Geeze, I thought Potbellys by the Dominick’s on Grand was enough of that chain! How many ridiculous sandwich chains can one town support?? It’s not like any of them are that different or unique; Honey “half” baked ham, Sub-waste, Queasy-no’s, Paranoia’s, Pot “head/beer” belly, Jimmy “go to the” johns, The “never” Fresh Store, “Ain’t no” Einstein’s…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh my little boring Vile-age of Gurnee, the land of redundant and bad chains.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. After writing about The Docks in Wauconda, we decided to revisit. Despite a new chef, the steaks and other items are still very good. Right now, they are offering some wonderful deals: on Mondays and Tuesdays, entrees are buy-one-get-one-free. Beers and martinis are also half-price Monday through Thursday. They're doing it to build their business, so I'm not sure how long this will last.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. One place I haven’t and absolutely should have mentioned long before is Burt's Deli in Libertyville.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you desire (or in my case, MISS) going to one of those old time small Jewish delis of the past, the kind where you walk up to a meat case deli counter and order deli to go or sandwiches made fresh on the spot, be it a fresh sliced corned beef, pastrami, or salami with fresh baked bread (rye, bagels, bialys) and a few choice sides like potato salad, and chopped liver, etc. then this is the place for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hidden behind a Baker Square right off of Milwaukee & Greentree, its tucked away in a little two window storefront on the south facing side of the strip mall, where its been since the mid 70’s. It is still the absolute best (and only) deli option nearby, without having to schlep all the way down to Highland Park or Skokie for a good deli fix.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Now that’s a sandwich place worth driving out of your way for!! Hey, and I even like this guys name too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Burt's Deli
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  114 Greentree Ctr
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Libertyville, IL 60048 (847) 367-9687

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. The Tokyo Bowl, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    121 E. Town Line Rd. (847) 549-6310

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just had a really tasty lunch at The Tokyo Bowl today, now I've driven past this place for many years (at least 10) and now really I regret that I had never "swooped in" and made time to try it before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's a small two window storefront sitting in a mini mall (sandwiched in between a White Hen and Rosati's' Pizza) seating is limited and it has a very sparse decor, like I really give a crap! What I mean is; Hows the food? Well, I Had the chicken teriyaki lunch special for $6 and added in a few Tempura shrimp to the plate, total damage was under $10. The shrimp was very good, I liked the rice and egg roll allot, and although I liked the chicken it was slightly overdone, but overall I was happy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also had very nice, warm and friendly service, and at these very reasonable prices, and most importantly decent food I will be back. The Japanese hip hop music was fun to listen too as well!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Got a new Vienna Hot dog and Italian Beef place opening near the Waukegan/Gurnee border called "Big Joe's" I think. Looks like it might be a good lunch spot!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The Genesee St mini mall (across the street from the theater) is nearing completion and I am being told that a very nice upscale white tablecloth Steakhouse is going in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yesterday I noticed that the exterior of the new seafood/bbq grill place at the corner of Grand & Sheridan also looks almost complete,. next year could be a fun year to be in this area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In case anyone is into Mexican food I've been Taco tasting pretty much every place I can get to in our area, so far, here are about 12 of the 25 or so results: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/456329

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My hands down favorites so far are:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Tacos Del Rey De Oro - both Libertyville & Waukegan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      La Azteca Pizzeria & Taqueria
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Mi Fiesta

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hi there everyone! I have two suggestions
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Tacos el Norte (Pretty fast service, great Mexican food) Gurnee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Its kind of far from here, but Ruffolo's pizzaria in Kenosha (Really great pizza; interesting food but its a while before you get it.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. If you've been following this thread for very long then you probably know that I've often posted about the lack of good really Chinese restaurants in Lake County and that I especially dislike the few that are in and around Gurnee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Last week, I took a drive though Mundelein to go to lunch, and got caught by a really long freight train on Hawley st. While sitting in the traffic back up I looked around, and noticed that right across the street from Franks for the Memories (which is only the best Buffalo Style wings in all of Chicagoland) there was a new little Chinese restaurant called the Dragon Star. Realizing that my lunch time was now limited (thanks to the train) I figured what the heck, and pulled out from the traffic and went in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's a little hole in the wall place, designed to be carry out, but they have a couple of tables to sit if your so inclined. The place has the typical open kitchen and 8X11 framed pictures of Chinese food dishes hanging over the counter and on one of the walls. A big stack of menu's sit on the counter and extremely friendly counter help that turns out to be the wife & husband team that own the place greet you as you walk in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        All the food is really great except for the egg rolls, which weren't so good, but out here, I'm willing to make a few concessions!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The owners tell me they've been open about a year now, and that they are from the East coast - NJ area, and it makes total sense, since this place really reminds of some of the carry out places out east that I've visited with the same tastes & textures.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Since that first visit, I've now been back three times and it's been delicious every time. So far I've experience the Kung Pao chicken which is nice and spicy with lots of POW! The Mongolian beef, and tasty Lo Meins both beef & pork. The pork fried rice is the one of best I've had anywhere in a long time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So if your dying for some good city style carry out Chinese, or if your a displaced East coaster looking for a Chinese restaurant that will remind you of home, then this is the place for you:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dragon Star
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        666 East Hawley St
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Mundelein, IL 60060
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (847)837-8868 or (847)837-8866

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sun-Thr: 11 am - 9:30 pm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Fri-Sat: 11 am - 10:30 pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. New to this site and glad to see it as desperate for new places to try!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Quite disturbed to see that Yuri of Japan used to be in the top 5 and someone even suggested putting it back at the top. It isn't Japanese food that they serve so what is it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We lived in Tokyo for 2 years so we were thrilled to see a Japanese restaurant located so close to us. We went in for the Teppanyaki special and for $100 for 2 people we got chicken noodle soup and fried rice with sugar in it. What is that? When we complained we were told that is how American's like theior Japanese food. Sorry, don't think so!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Well here it is 2008. I haven't really found anything to scribble about but did hear that "Italian Ovens" on Rt. 45 is under new ownership. Am interested in someone confirming this and if so a more up to date opinion of the food there now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: CWP

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Has anyone tried Full Slab Ribs lately? It in just north of Washington on 45. Great ribs and a great atmosphere! The attractive wait staff is a good thing too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lawn boy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We went there a few months after they opened up and it was the last time. I thought their food was average and over priced for what it called "bbq".
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I will have to admit that they are in tune with most other restaurants in this area when it comes to bbq.... just not worth the money.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The wait staff was good but that's not enough for me to go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Glad to see this thread is still going. Any opinions on Oliverii North vs. Binanti's Taste of Italy? I've been to Oliverii and thought it was very good. Thinking of trying Binanti's for a change.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, has anyone been to the new martini bar/tapas place in Antioch? A friend tells me it's fantastic but couldn't remember the name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. One more -- rumor has it there's a new place called "The Lake House" in the strip mall at Grass Lake Road and Deep Lake Road in Lake Villa. Anypne been there yet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: KateOC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We went to Binanti's in Antioch last night. I had the "Shrimp Italiano or Italian Shrimp" fettuccine and once again it was enough to feed an army. It was really good. My wife had the Lasagna and said it was good as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Will have to check out Oliverii North. I've never been there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CWP

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Speaking of Italian foor, has anyone tried "That Intalian Place" in Graylake on 83? I always drive past it but haven't tried it. Supposedly it is pretty good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Northern Lake County - 2008

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hello again fellow Gurnee and surrounding area chowhounds. It's been awhile since anyone posted to this thread and this year has seen quite a bit going on around us. So here’re a few updates from what I’ve seen and heard and more importantly, experienced!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hot dog joint news:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  While Pete’s may be my favorite new dog stand out of the crop of newly opened places this past year, my all time area favorite still remains the ever so dumpy, but oh so tasty Scotties in Round Lake. That being said:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sneaky Pete's on Gages Lake Rd & Rt 45; Decent food, Pete seems like a great guy and is very friendly; I hope they stick around for awhile since that location has changed hands a ton of times over the years. He’s remodeled, painted and cleaned it up so that it now looks safe enough to eat at! I had the Gyros, Pete makes a wonderful Tzatziki sauce, unfortunately he is using Corfu brand Gyros (IMO they are way too greasy) but he chars them and slices them up real nice. The chili dog was very tasty and the hot dog was the real deal Vienna with the natural casing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Country Dog’s hot dogs – Rt 120 near Rt 45 (the red caboose next to the Arby’s); It’s a little cute seasonal railroad car themed hot dog stand (this is their 2nd season I believe). The hot dogs are Vienna but of the skinless variety and not the more authentic natural casing type (which are vastly superior with that signature “snap”). The Maxwell Polish came on a huge Gonnella roll with grilled onion and mustard, the roll was too large, and it took away from the sausage and since it was a charred Vienna brand link it lacked the true flavor of the Southside anyway. This really made me regret that the Maxwell St Depot in Waukegan had not been able to survive, what a loss that was. Anyway back to the Country Dog, cute, more theme than substance, nice place to eat with the kids outside or if you’re passing by, not a top tier dog joint by any means.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Big Norm’s - Chicago Red Hots; Yuk! What more can I say? The hog dog was served on stale bread, the fries were triple re-fried (dark & oily and dry) and the beef was lousy, I just left thinking my money was wasted eating here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Genesee Inn restaurant – Genesee St Waukegan; This place gets my award for the stupidest staff combined with worst hot dog in the entire Chicagoland metro area, that’s right; ITS THE WORST! These boneheads serve up their hot dogs with lettuce, tomato cubes, ketchup and relish; it basically looks like a hot dog taco from Taco Bell! When asked what the hell is this? I ordered a Chicago style Hot Vienna dog, they said “sorry, buts that’s the way we do it in Waukegan, how did you want it?” I pointed at the proudly posted Vienna signage that graces both the counters & front windows and said”like that” to which they replied “oh, so that’s a Chicago dog? Sorry we don’t make them like that here”. I’m flunking these guys for not even being able to look at a picture and reproduce a simple hot dog, but I’m also warning anyone who is a true hot dog lover to avoid the Genesee Inn restaurant like the plague! Bottom line is, they don’t belong in the hot dog business, period!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Big Jacks – on Washington & Hainsville Rd; Yet another Chicago Red Hot’s dawg joint that opened up last fall, I just haven’t had a chance to hit this one *yet*, stay tuned.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Old Chicago Red Hots – Grand Ave, Gurnee; Opened right before Mothers day, again, I just haven’t had a chance to hit this one *yet* either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  NEWS: I just heard SuperDawg! Is coming up to Wheeling this year, should be interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mexican food:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mi Fiesta- Waukegan closed its doors right after New Years, last week yet ANOTHER new Mexican place opened its doors in the same spot, other than that, I don’t know much else about them yet. For anyone keeping track this is the 5th attempt in 3 years; La Finka, La Casa de Samuel, Mi Fiesta and now the new guys. I’m thinking the location is cursed from being a successful Mexican restaurant no matter who opens it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  La Huitzoquena - Waukegan – another place that closed after the New Year, I guess the unfriendly service and mediocre food just turned out to not be the winning combo they had hoped for. Eating here was akin to dining at a Mexican Ed Debevics… Last month another new Mexican Taqueria opened in its place, but I haven’t been in yet to see how the new management is yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Puerto Rican:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Sabor Borinqueno Puerto Rican Restaurant -226 S. Sheridan Road Waukegan (847) 249-7021 Waukegan has upped the area ethnic cuisine ante with the addition of a Puerto Rican Restaurant. Sabor Borinqueno is a nice family run place with truly tasty and authentic Puerto Rican food. The family did a great job of getting the place cleaned up and seems to have already built a steady stream of diners who appear to be visiting it regularly already. Opening up this restaurant right next to the Puerto Rican Society was a great call for Waukegan, which has a large Puerto Rican population, up until now had no food that was representative of this large group or its culture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  New arrivals:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Key Lime Cove – I couldn’t do it. I went in and looked at the menus and thought “wow what a cool place”. There is a Grill upstairs and a sort of food court with Pizza & hot dogs mixed in with arcade games downstairs. When I walked up to the counter, that $$$$ feeling of eating at Great America hit me full on and I backed away, and left. Sorry Famous Dave or Skipper Dave, or whichever “Dave” you want to be today, it just didn’t look Chow worthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Moe’s- I’ve been hearing back from a few friends that agree with me this place sucks. Funny, I warned most of them, but they didn’t listen and went anyway, and now they say I was right…Go figure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Pacific Wok – Kenosha/Pleasant Prairie- http://www.pacificwok.com/ Looks like a chain but it not, there are only two locations; the other is in MN, but boy have they really nailed down a corporate look and image for themselves. For those in the know it’s a cross between a Starbucks & Tokyo Bowl (a Cali chain thing). But the food is actually pretty GOOD! It’s Asian influenced rice and noodles in a bowl with teriyaki or yakitori sauces and grilled chicken or beef and veggie selections. If you’re up in the area shopping or at Woodman’s be sure to sample it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Not exactly new, but I finally got there:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Johnny’s Chophouse- Antioch; whoever said this place was not good, you need to go back or get another hobby! And whoever recommended it kudos, you’re awesome, thanks!! I have a new favorite steakhouse in Lake County. These guys serve Allen Brothers steaks!! Yeah, that’s the same meat packing house that sells to Tramonto’s & Gibson’s for example. And they are actually the ONLY steakhouse in Lake County that even has Allen Bros. meat. I talked with the owner and he said he is working to make the food even better as he is seeing the clientele to support such high end products have become his regulars, and you can count me among them now. The other amazing thing about the food was the prices! I had a Cowboy cut steak (Chicago bone in ribeye) wine, soup and sides for under $50. Downtown Chicago steakhouse steak in Antioch, it’s a must hit for serious steaklovers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Royal Thai- Gurnee; Took the family, had a nice meal, nothing special, but for the money I’d rather go to the Thai Noodle Café in Libertyville instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bombay City- Gurnee; Nothing to get excited about, I felt like it was a cumin palace, everything my wife & I had was overdone with cumin to the point of being gross. We won’t be back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hayashi- Gurnee & I Love Sushi – Third Lake; Everyone always seems surprised that I’d not been to either of these places, but I’m not a sushi kind of guy, and to go to a sushi place, and not get sushi seems a bit silly to me. But I went to both of them anyway. I did landlubber specials and in fact liked them both about equally. My only complaint is that I felt it was a little bit on the pricy side for what I got, but that to me just seems to be a traditional Japanese restaurant thing, so I’ve come to accept I’ll be getting raped at the table (or sushi counter) by them no matter which Japanese restaurant I go to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Places that have either lost it, or just never had it, but I gave them one more chance anyway:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Jimano’s Pizza; we all know change can be uncertain as to what the outcome may bring, sometimes in restaurants it can be a good thing but most often it’s not. For whatever reason, last year Jimmy’s became Jimano’s. And the slow decline that had barely been noticeable until recently, has reached the point they’ve lost my family & I as customers. In spite of my having been noticing little inconsistencies, I had continued to still get the occasional pizza from here, after all, convenience does play a small factor in at least some of my eating, well, every once in awhile it does anyway. But the last couple of orders from here have gotten notably worse, greasy/oily, chewy cheese not melting and gooey, cheaper crust dough’s that stay soft and don’t crisp on the bottoms & center, sausage going bland, less flavor overall. Sad to say, they are totally off my list now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tacos El Norte – Round Lake; Remember I’m the guy why braves every Taqueria in the County? When it comes to this place I have a most unnatural fear of what I’ll get served, so why did I even bother? The taco test. It was the one and only place left in Round Lake left to hit, so in the name of good journalism I had to do it. Last time I was there I was served a huge tumor in a taco, so why did I think this time would be any different? It wasn’t. This time it was a ¾” fat clot with little artery tubes sticking out… Never ever again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Stevens Steakhouse; I’ve mentioned before just how bad this place sucked on my New Years visit earlier this year, but just so that you fellow ‘hounders may be spared the pain and expense of this failure to deliver and joke of a restaurant, I will say it again; avoid Stephen’s Steakhouse. Next to the Waukegan style taco-dog at the Genesee Inn restaurant, this may be the next foulest thing to have passed across my lips this year. This place is god awful expensive, serving up Sysco choice grade meats at premium dry aged prime steakhouse prices, a night here sets you back about as much as a night at Gibson’s without any of the taste or service; you’ve been warned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Update!! Tonight I made this my dinner stop, and what a great stop it was too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Big Jacks – NE corner of Washington & Hainsville Rd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This place is OUTSTANDING! These guys now fill my needs for several "Best of Lake County" food categories, and I haven't even gone though the whole menu yet! So far I'm awarding them Lake Counties:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Best hot dog
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Best Italian Beef
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Best French Fries
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm also giving them an outstanding Burger award too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Given tonight's success and by looking at that menu, I'm pretty sure there will be some other things on that menu that will also make me a very happy man and deserve mentioning here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Big Jacks
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    507 N Hainesville Rd, Round Lake, IL 60073

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Hello! I am new to posting in this thread, but have been reading it for awhile since we moved here to Round Lake Beach last December. The food has been quite disappointing in this area to say the least. We went to Big Jack's last week and WOW it was really delicious. We have tried most of the places mentioned and this place has the best chicago dog, italian beef and FRENCH FRIES that are to die for. Really good stuff and worth the splurge when you want this kind of fare. The only downside is they don't have "chicken fingers" for my picky daughter so we get her something from someplace else, but Big Jack's food is worth that inconvenience :) Haven't tried their burgers yet, but will do so on the next visit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sneeky Pete's has a really great chili dog, their tzatziki sauce is very nice along with their grilled chicken gyro.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The reviews of the other places we have been to thus far, are pretty much in line with the opinions already posted here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Our main frustration is that we are NY style pizza die-hard fans and we have tried so many "thin-crust" places that have been complete garbage. We have tried Quonset, Mike's, Jimano's, Rosatti's, Italian Ovens and few other's I can't remember the names of and I just don't get how the cardboard crust can be considered "good" by anyone. The sauces are too sweet, or too "canned" tasting, the cheeses like unflavored plastic, or way too salty. Frustrating! We are going to drive about an hour away to a place called "Great Lake" pizza that was featured on the news. The guy makes his own dough by hand, only offers a handful of pizza choices and uses organic ingredients and it seemed like they have the nice, crisp crust with the slight chewiness to it we have been craving. Anyway, just our 2 cents, and thanks to all the posts and recommendations in this forum, they have really helped us!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shimmerchk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        shimmerchk, I totally agree with you on the pizza! I cant stand the pizzas in this town any longer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And to make matters worst, the other day, I tried to order a Giordano's thin crust 16" sausage & pepperoni but canx the order since they wanted $28 delivered!!! That's beyond OUTRAGEOUS, its pure lunacy. The same goes for Lou's around here too. I just cant, and won't do it anymore, neither of them is that good to justify that kind of cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As to NY Pizza, I grew up in Rogers Park and Edgewater, and have always ordered in from Giggio's NY Style pizza. I go to both the Uptown location on Broadway, and the Evanston location on Davis to get my NY fixes. IMO, When it comes to NY pizza all you need is a great pepperoni, and Giggio's is the king, since they make their own (you can watch them use this cool pepperoni machine that stamps them out fresh)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Avoid the Starbucks looking place in downtown Highland park, they keep 5 types of pizzas sitting out and reheat it when you order, plus they have all kinds of BS foo foo toppings on them to. It has the wrong look, feel and taste for a real NY pizza place as far as I'm concerned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nice to see you hit Big Jack's, I think it's one of the best things going around here, and I really hope they are successful and stick around for a long time.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I do have a little sad news on the dining front; Bacci's Italian in Waukegan (which may have been the best Italian in Lake County) has temporarily closed it's doors due to "partnership issues". It is still unknown and unannounced as what will happen next with the space or if it will ever reopen again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just when it looked like things were turning around in Waukegan they've run into issues with both Hussey's & Bacci;s closing. Unfortunately this means that as of now, there are no real good eating options in Downtown Waukegan whatsoever.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Johnny's Chophouse is the best steak in lake county. I have ate there over 20 times and every time it has been superb. The steaks and ribs are amazing. I moved from the city and was as yourself sad that there was no good restaurants. Their ambience food and service is 5 star. website is johnnyschophouse.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You have togo there. The owners are also in the restaurant business in Antioch for 35 yrs. They previously owned the Las Vegas but now they gave it to someone else in the family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: angopal13

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have to also sing the praises of Johnny's, went there last week for the first time due to abf005's endorsement, was there again last night for take-out. It is absolutly the best steak in Lake County, and one of the best I've had in my 2 years in Chicagoland, not really impressed with the sides and the soups are just ok, BUT who cares 'cause the steak's are perfect! One question for angopal13, are the ribs worth not getting a steak for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Chinese-Chans in Gurnee is very good. Great eggrolls and fresh food. Mexican, try Las Palmas in Lindenhurst.Great food! I heard Bob Chinns is good for seafood. I love Wildfire for just about anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ventura Hwy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chinese-Chans??? Never heard of it, where is this place? Please dont tell me it's in the mall....
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Las Palmas in Lindenhurst =I have to really disagree, to me it's MAJOR Gingo-Mex GARBAGE. If you want great Mexican go to Waukegan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bob Chins: Very good seafood (about the best outside of Downtown) & fairly decent steaks.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        bildan & angopal13: Glad you like Johnny's!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Let me the next of many to recommend Binati's in Antioch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          WOW. Seriously some of the best italian food I've had in a WHILE.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For starters, their calamari was excellent. I highly recommend it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          For mains I had the bracciole which was out of this world ridiculously good. My sweetie had the spaghettie with house sauce (rose sauce) and shrimp which she also loved. We will definitely be back again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll chime in with some tips of our own when I think of some!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bake's Bar on 45 in Lindenhurst/Grayslake (right across from Lake Co. Fairgrounds) has had some very tasty dishes the few times I went, and I haven't seen it mentioned yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Waukegan:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So the other night I'm driving through Waukegan on my way to get fresh Anaheim green chiles at Lewis Fresh market, and I’m thinking “boy, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve had dinner down here”. I decide to pass through downtown Waukegan to take an inventory of the damage that losing my dining dollars had cost this community. Since this summer I’ve spent most of those dollars predominantly in western Lake County at Big Jack’s and many of my other newest finds. So here’s the report;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You know the old saying about taking 5 steps forward, but then taking 10 steps back? That's how I would describe the restaurant & bar scene in Waukegan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Step forward; after the new year the last restaurant to open downtown this year was a place called Sabor D Queno, a Puerto Rican restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Step back; In late spring, the city began a summer long construction project on the street and sidewalks along Belvedere, Sheridan and Washington streets, all simultaneously! Thus closing down almost all the ways in and out of downtown, but mainly cutting off easy access to Sabor D Queno, I'm sure it's killing the business

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Steps back; Madison Ave celebrated the New Year by have a “closing party”, after decades it was finally closed. Up and comer Bacci's suddenly closed due to partnership problems, and from the looks of things, it’s gone forever. Los Volcano's closed for God knows what reason, making it the 4th unsuccessful Mexican restaurant in a row to attempt to operate at the very same location. During the summer, the investors for both Jack’s Steakhouse in front of the Genesee Theater and Jack’s seafood & grill, (that dumb lighthouse building that used to be a Wendy’s) pulled out and appear to have walked away from finishing the build outs altogether.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Step forward? On the bright side, Subway is still thriving and has a banner proclaiming $5 footlong sandwiches, better call ahead if your trying to catch a show at the Genesee its one of the three remaining operating restaurants left in downtown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Step waaaay back; The bar scene has gone to part time status; Hussies closed in spring and then reopened this summer as Green Street. The Bistro is now on some kind of weird hour schedule that doesn’t seem to include most weeknights, and due to construction, there’s no parking anywhere near the Burgundy room. I guess I won’t be taking my drinking dollars to Waukegan anymore either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The little city of big dreams is just plain depressing and ugly, so I leave hungry and hope that Taco's Del Rey on Mexican row on Washington & Leno’s can survive the food glut.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. If you would like a very good eggroll and very good Chinese food check out Chopstix

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They are located at: 2140 E. Grand Ave. in Lindenhurst

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jalessi

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chopstix, I guess there's no sense in me saying it twice, here is my last post regarding that place:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But fear not Northern Lake County chowhounds, all not all is lost!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have been raving about a carry out place in Mundelein called The Dragon Star for almost a year now, and so far every neighbor, friend or co-worker that I've taken or received feedback from, have all loved it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Unfortunately, the one sore point on the menu is the egg rolls, but all the other dishes, appetisers and soups are stellar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In fact, IMO it not only BLOWS away Chopstix, but pretty much anything else I've tried in Northern Lake County or Kenosha County for that matter as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. One step forward again for Waukegan...for now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The restaurant formally known as Bacci's has reopened with one of the former chefs at the helm making the same dishes and keeping the "boat afloat". It's name is Compari.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I went in the other day after voting downtown at the early voting center and had lunch. To tell you the truth I couldn't tell the difference between the old Bacci's and the new Compari, and that's a good thing!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The dishes and menu were virtually the same the sauces, pastas, meats, and even the wine list was intact from the previous iteration. The only difference was that it has an all new staff and the place had a new coat of paint and wall trimmings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Overall this made very happy, as previously I had considered Bacci’s to be one the better Italian restaurants in the northern Lake County area and now it’s back...well sort of anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bistro17, closed down and was sold off a couple of months ago has reopened. The new owners are foolishly keeping the much maligned name, which pretty much brings back the memories of about a dozen failed attempts at first being a bistro/diner, then a ghetto hip hop club, then a jazz bar and lastly, a really suckbag place to sit at an empty bar while the whole town was torn up for summer construction projects. Supposedly the new owners are from Wicker Park and know what they are doing, only time will tell on this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Elsewhere in the county area;

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The best news going right now is that some of the best BBQ in Chicago is now found right here in Lake County!! Big Ed's on Martin Luther King Blvd in North Chicago is cranking out some amazing barbecue. If you haven’t gone, you owe it to yourself to visit and experience the best pulled pork anywhere, along with some excellent rib tips, brisket, sides and desserts as well. It’s a clean new friendly place that will have you returning frequently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also not to be forgotten, Big Jack's in Round Lake Park is still making the some of the best beefs and Italian sausages, not much new to say about them other than they just celebrated their one year anniversary and business is thankfully going strong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2-3 weeks ago now Gurnee got the crowning achieving of YET another chain restaurant at Gurnee Mills; Chipotle, and a green one at that. The lines around the store on opening day were all the way out to the Chilies & Toys-R-Us parking lots. I can’t believe how pathetic and tasteless my area neighbors are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A new Italian restaurant has opened in the space that used to be Tony Pisan's at Washington & Milwaukee in Gurnee, it's always dead when I drive by and I haven’t been in yet, but if anyone has feedback I'd love to know what’s going on in there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The other day I made a trek all the way down to Wheeling to eat at the Pita Inn, why on earth cant we get one of these up here?? The food is just so simple and delicious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. It's not much to look at but the family-run place, Taqueria Michoacan, on Cedar Lake in Round Lake Beach has been a regular place for us since it opened. We're quite happy to return to this place often.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We tried the just opened Long Feng on Rollins in Round Lake Beach and found the food rather bland, unfortunately. We almost always try a place twice, especially after it's had a bit of time to settle in, so I'm eager for other opinions of this place. Better than Silk Mandarin or Panda, though, simply because the egg rolls AND spring rolls are handmade, no doubt about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wondered if anyone has tried Lovely Thai Restaurant in Grayslake and what they thought? I have complany coming next month who LIVE for Thai food and I'd hate to disappoint but would prefer to stay as local as possible - any recommendations appreciated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Big Jack's is ALWAYS a request, our kids enjoy it, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Pricey but memorable Chicago-style pizza can be had at any Lou Malnati's, our local of course is the Third Lake/Grayslake location on 45. Never disappointed!! Our suprise local fave thin crust pizza?? LILY'S at the corner of Washington and Cedar Lake!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks so very much, I'm enjoying my newfound place for eatery reviews!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Has anyone noticed how the actual Gurnee mall has redefined "food court" down? Not that any food court is a destination, but there used to actually be FOOD in them. What they've done is hang big signs in two places-- one, where there's a Starbucks, that's ALL, the other where there's a Ruby Tuesday's (which, as a standalone sitdown restaurant is hardly a typical food court spot, but at least it has food) and a Jamba Juice (which is not, to my mind, food unless your teeth are wired shut).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Again, this is not a culinary loss, but it is just silly that they claim to have a food court and it doesn't even rise to the level of including a Sbarro's or Panda Express.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Morton Arthur Eaton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Our family has become big fans of the food and service at Rainforest Cafe, which you don't mention. I'm wondering if something changed in the last two weeks since we were last there? thanks

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fhmom2two

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gurnee Mills: Food courts? Rainforest Cafe??? You can’t be seriously looking for food options in those pitiful places and blogging it about on Chowhound, can you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    After 16 years of living in the restaurant hell that is Gurnee, I am flat out SICK AND TIRED of seeing Corporate chains as the only available nearby restaurant options. Ugh! I shudder at the very thought of going to any of these Corporate chain restaurants, as they all truly insult my dining intelligence. Clearly, I’m not the target audience for any of these places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Honestly, what’s the difference in the menu options between the Rainforest, Ruby Tuesday, Applebee’s, TGIF's and Max & Erma’s? Burgers with different toppings? Salads with different dressings? Select grade steaks at choice grade prices soaking in different marinades?? What? It's all the same crap at ridiculously bumped up prices offering me what? A different "theme"? As if that makes any damn difference as to the mediocre tasting crap they put on a plate; on MY plate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Every one of these places offers the exact same experience, from the above named to Red Lobster, Chilies, Uno’s Chicago Grill and Olive Garden etc.; it’s always the same experience:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1) I can always count on getting hit with 20-60 minute waits, and being handed a stupid pager!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2) $6 beers and $8-10 bar drinks… while I wait
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3) $8- $12 appetizers… while I wait
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4) Virtually the same menu and quality regardless of which chain I’m at, but I can expect to pay $9 to $20 for any entrée
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5) Waiters with lots of cute buttons (flair), junk crap glued to walls with fake pictures of past patrons who’ve never even dined at that location.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you’re doing the math, dinner at one of these places generally cost an average of $20-$40+tip per person with 2-3 hours of time invested, and it’s NEVER as good as eating at a real quality restaurant outside of the mall area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For example; dinner at Johhny’s Chophouse in Antioch on RT 83 is a 20 min drive, there is rarely a wait longer than 15 mins, and they have equivalent food prices ($15-$40+tip per person), BUT you’re getting Allen Brothers Prime & Choice grade beefs! Fresh cooked soups and chopped salads and they even have house specials to mix it up, step it up or save you a few bucks. Total time for diner including the ride back home; 2-3 hrs. So it’s a wash, and well worth the extra effort. If not Johnny’s, then the Backyard Steakpit on Grand or Compari in Waukegan all fall in the same price range and are way better options.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I hope this crappy economy drives most of the chains out, and I’m sure they will close at the first sign of tough times anyway, they’re heartless with no real loyalties to the community. If maybe there were only 10 chain options instead of the 150 clones we now have, who knows? I might even venture out to Dennys…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bravo, Burt, Bravo!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Couldn't have said it any better myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. My wife and I went to Kawa (sushi and stone grill) in Grayslake last night and, despite some issues with the layout (and the lack of clientele - I always feel bad for that), the food was very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For my entree, I ordered the "sushi deluxe" which was various cuts of fresh fish (tuna, salmon, yellowtail) over sushi rice and then a spicy tuna roll with the requisite miso soup (best I've had and my wife concurred) and salad. The fish were good in size and wonderful in taste. Fresh as you can seemingly get this way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also tried the "Rock Shrimp Tempura" appetizer - shrimp tempura in this delectably rich and creamy mustard aioli. Absolutely stunning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My wife went a little bit off the beaten path by ordering their version of pad thai (w/chicken) and a California roll (her personal favorite).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The pad thai was very good as I had a little sample. There were wedges of something on the top that neither my wife nor I could surmise as to what it was. I was certain it was tofu, but my wife had the idea in her head it was some sort of sweet cheese. Either way, I could have eaten an entree of just this mystery topping. Turned out it was omelette cut up in interesting triangular pieces. Now, I hate eggs. Despise them, in fact. I can deal with french toast and will eat the small pieces of egg in Singapore Noodles or pad thai, but this was out of this world good. For a hater of eggs to like what they served said something to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The only low point was the service. It wasn't terrible, just a bit all over the place. Asked for a fork for my wife for her pad thai (she feels chopsticks are pretentious and delights in mocking me for using them) twice to two different busboys before getting one. And the waiter was a bit lax, however, he appeared to be the only one dealing with six tables of customers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But for the food, I recommend Kawa highly. Also, if you like something a little more "home-y", nearby is my wife and my favorite local sushi place I Love Sushi. Their sushi is the best thing, while the entrees are just good. They do a lot of specialty rolls but my favorite their tends to be anything with spicy tuna and the Godzilla roll.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Kawa Japanese Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  100 S Atkinson Rd, Grayslake, IL 60030-7817
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Contact Phone: (847) 548-3838

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I Love Sushi
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (847) 543-1234
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Grayslake, IL 60030

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Gurnee's yellow rose, the Rhapsody Cafe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A month ago, as I was driving around Gurnee, feeling genuinely exasperated about the lack of non-chain restaurant options from which to choose, I remembered that a brand new restaurant had just opened up in town, and I decided to give it chance, I'm glad I did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ever heard the phrase "watch out for the quiet ones"? Rhapsody Cafe is one of those quiet places. To date I haven't seen any print ads or coupons announcing its existence. The signage is subtle and the location is remote. Rhapsody is tucked in behind and to the rear of the loathsome Moe's & the Golden Corral. The fact is, after only a few months in business, it's starting to gain some momentum, but very slowly, and very quietly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rhapsody Cafe is a family restaurant with a large menu, at first glance it seems very reminiscent of many of the Chicago area Greek style family restaurants. But the difference is that the entrees are a bit more... shall we say "upscale"? Yes! I definitely think so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The basic menu (http://www.rhapsodycafe.com/menu/menu...) covers options such as your typical breakfast fare, you know, eggs done 20 different ways, the usual omelette's and pancakes etcetera. But the thing I noticed right away was that there is an obvious chef's flair and classy touch put on just about every menu item, which carries through on to the creative and healthy sandwiches all the way through to even the burgers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the evening diner, the dinner menu offers much more. The upscale and slightly more pricey options begin to show that Rhapsody isn't just trying to be yet another family restaurant in town, but that Rhapsody is really trying to offer Gurnee diners something they've never before experienced in town; QUALITY.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    On my first visit, I experimented with both menus, and from the dinner menu I had the shrimp scampi appetizer and from the basic menu I ordered one of Reynaldo's Gourmet 1/2 lb burgers (pictured below).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Everything was really, really, good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Being as it was late in the evening the owner Ramon came over to my table to check on me & my food, we ended up sitting and talking about my favorite subjects, food & wine. He explained to me that his goal is to put out the best quality food and use the best possible ingredients while keeping things reasonably priced, which seems straightforward enough for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My next two subsequent visits were as equally impressive as the first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the second visit I took the entire family for breakfast, which was delicious and satisfying, the kids loved everything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And then last week, I went in for a light dinner, and tried one of the soup and 1/2 sandwich specials, again, everything was great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rhapsody Cafe is by far the best restaurant going in town right now and I for one, truly hope Ramon succeeds. And in spite of the dull and dumbed down Gurnee chain pallets that will ultimately be making up the bulk of his clientele, I hope this place can find its niche and be with us for the long haul, much like a yellow rose standing alone in the middle of the baron Texas dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rhapsody Cafe
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1475 N Dilleys Rd
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gurnee, IL 60031
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (847) 623-6200

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rhapsody Cafe Gurnee
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1475 N Dilleys Rd Ste 15, Gurnee, IL 60031

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rhapsody Cafe....been there a couple times. Once for lunch and once for breakfast. The atmosphere is nice and more upscale than the chains. I thought the lunch menu was somewhat limited to only a few choices for burgers, sandwiches and salads. I ordered the corned beef sandwich for St. Patty's Day....needless to say it was the toughest piece of meat I have ever tried to sink my teeth into. It was actually inedible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I was determined to give them another chance and went there a couple weeks later for breakfast. Lots to choose from on the breakfast menu. I ordered a skillet and my husband ordered eggs benedict. Both were very good, but we had to wait longer than we should have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also talked with Ramon and was impressed that he was genuinely interested in his patrons. I too hope he succeeds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jillybear66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In re-reading my post, I have to say, perhaps I'm overstating just how good Rhapsody Cafe really is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        So I'll put it in this perspective: By GURNEE standards, its the best Gurnee has to offer. By City standards ... its just good or OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jillybear66

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've also enjoyed Rhapsody - been there a few times. The cuisine is more interesting than one might expect for the location.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On an earlier visit we noticed part of the menu had been pasted over. The reason: it had a "Mexican" section, but were enjoined from offering Mexican food because Moe's has an exclusive on Mexican (quote-unquote) cuisine in that shopping center. So instead of a "chile relleno", they have a somewhat different take on stuffed (poblano) peppers... interesting grains instead of rice (barley? i think)... and fresh vegetables.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And I agree wholeheartedly on Ramon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: abf005

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I am so going there tomorrow for breakfast!! If I like it, I"m treating my hubby to breakfast there this weekend. We haven't found a great breakfast place since moving here a year and a half ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KristieB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I ate breakfast at Rhapsody this morning. I found the eggs benedict with asparagus and artichoke to be very good. Though with coffee and a side of bacon the $18 tab is a bit more than I would pay for a frequent outing. The food was great, the atmosphere pleasing and the waitress all you could ask for. And the owner checked on me several times. I found my outing to be an enjoyable experience and will certainly return to this establishment if only for the great coffee and the well prepared eggs benedict.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Has anyone tried the new Korean BBQ place that just opened on Route 60, just west of Butterfield in Mundelein? I think it's called Blue Korean. I hope it's good - I'd be so excited to have a good Korean place close by.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: KateOC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Did not know of it. Thanks for the tip, and if you get there first, please post back to us how you liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bhickman's post about Kawa looks very intriguing, and its on my short list of places to try sometime soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KateOC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I go often for lunch (I think its full name is like Blue Roof or Blue Willow). It has great kim chee, all made in house....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: KateOC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry I left you hanging people. Actually went to Blue House Korean in May. Definitely a win for Lake County. Really good Korean BBQ. Great atmosphere, more upscale than the mom and pop Korean in the city, but not as pretentious as Woo Lae Oak in Arlington Heights. Mine and my husband's absolute favorite thing about the "decor" has got to be the "Easy Button" on the wall by each table - basically a button to page your waitress when you need something. That cracked us up. We went with 2 other couples -so total of 6 people, which is as many as their table seat, by the way. Then we totally over-ordered. Everything was good, the only dish that we all agreed was less than stellar was the Korean "bacon". The other pork and beef dishes we had were tasty. Let's support this place and keep it open in a somewhat challenging location on Townline Road.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. There are the following sandwich places within a 2-3 mile radius in Gurnee:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Subway on Grand (great America)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Subway on Old Grand
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Subway in Walmart
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Subway in Gurnee Mills
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Quizno's on Delany
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jimmy John's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dominick's deli & fresh store
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Jewell Deli

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now either sliced bread is indeed the greatest thing ever or people in Gurnee are about the least creative people on the planet! My money is on the later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Either way, guess what new restaurant is coming to Gurnee??!! Yep, you guessed it, another sandwich sub shop!! Woohoo!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This time it's Jersey Mikes. They are opening in the recently closed Quizino's spot that was on Grand in between the Starbucks and Panda Express. They are a 350+ chain franchise, who according to its website: http://www.jerseymikes.com/history.asp) claim to do things very differently from the competition; i.e. they bake their own fresh bread in store, and use fresh quality ingredients. Yeah right! It still sounds like everyone else around here to me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What gets me, is that the real places like Leno's & Tony's Subs are also concidered "sandwich shops". They dont need to bake the bread in house, they just buy the best bread: Gonella. And they dont run around telling every one how "fresh" the ingredients are, and then just have fresh shredded lettuce to show for it. Instead, they pile on the meat and have original sandwich combinations, tasty oils with high quality meats that simply kick butt! And the cost? I can eat at Tony's for about $1 more than Subway, and for about $1 or 2 less than Panera or Jimmy Johns.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Anyway, that's the scoop. Jersey Mikes grand opening should be next month as the construcion looks to be mostly complete and they seem to be affixing the "flair" to the uniforms and mounting the last bits of their cookie cutter corporate image junk to the walls.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I've never posted on this site before but I've been skimming this thread for a little bit now I'd like to recommend the Narabee in Mundelein

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  it's a Japanese/Korean fusion restaurant so they have sushi and traditional as well as modern Korean cuisine. It's not particularly pricey especially for what you get. I haven't been so adventurous as of yet but you can even have a Korean barbecue where you basically get raw ingredients that you then cook at the table yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  additionally, you get an assortment of small side dishes (about 6 banchan, they're called) that come with the entrees which range from kimchii to chili anchovies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Narabee Japanese & Korean Fusion Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  50 Oak Creek Plz
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mundelein, IL 60060

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Kaisers Pizza Pub in Gurnee has a really good thin crust pizza. Also, on Wednesday and Thurday they have all you can eat pizza. The only stipulations are that you purchase a drink and you cannot take a doggie bag home. If you're closer to Mundelein, there is one located there. There is also one located in Kenosha, WI.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. We just returned from dinner at Rhapsody Cafe on Dilley's Road. The food was excellent, and the service was very good too. The ambiance isn't necessarily heavy-duty romantic (in part because they serve breakfast all day), but their BBQ chicken was very moist and tender, and the citrus reduction on the fish special (and also available on the menu-based sesame crusted tuna) was fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks, abf005 for putting us onto this place!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Casa De Isaac's in Highwood. The best Mexican in Lake County!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jenbluedog

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Soon to be joined by Wholly Frijoles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wholly Frijoles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3908 W Touhy Ave, Lincolnwood, IL 60712

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Sorry, but you're in Gurnee and "authentic places" can't seem to exist in a place that loves Big Chains. Even restaurants that start authentic get watered down according to population. You'd have go into the city for real stuff. But here's the best I can do. Big Ed's BBQ and Hillery's. You want great Southside cookin', go to North Chicago. You want authentic Mexican food (sorry, it's almost all Durango-style) you'll have to go into grittier places. In other words, if you see too many white hipsters, chances are it's not authentic. Supermercados and smaller Mexican grocers usually have the little cafe in the corner run by a vendor who rents the space. Brush up on your Spanish because he/she doesn't speak much English and the signs may not have an English expanation. If you want authentic "Chinese", you'll have to settle for Korean. Vernon Hills has a handful of decent Korean and Korean-owned "Japanese" restaurants that serve Korean, Sushi and standard Asian dishes similar to Chinese. Otherwise, even the Chinese restaurant owners go to Chinatown for food (I've seen them). Many of the sushi restaurants in VH are Korean owned and have a Korean menu. There's a small Filipino grocery store in Round Lake and Gurnee (around Greenleaf, if they're still there) that has a little cafe. There is no set menu. Sometimes they'll cook fish. Sometimes they'll cook lumpia. There are a few Indian restaurants that just opened. Reflections in Lake Villa is Polish owned and they have a small home-cooked Polish menu. On Grand ave. In Lindenhurst, there's the Swedish Cafe. Small menu, but good salted pork, omlettes and potato pancakes. Similar to the Mexican store vendors, ANY ethnic grocers usually has a little guy making food in the corner. Mundelein, Rt. 60 has a Russian deli that sells made food. Diana's/Orlando's in Round Lake - food is standard fare, but they have a quaint retro-styl soda shop with ice-cream and shakes. There's a Greekfest anually off of O'Plaine in Gurnee. Go there and buy a load of homemade Greek food. Same with Serbo-Croatian fest off Grand in Lindenhurst. In fact, look for ANY fests, Taste-OFs at schools and churches - better than the large fests that only has pizza vendors. Otherwise, you'll have to either go into the city or befriend ethnic friends and eat at their homes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Hey Guys,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            if you like a good breakfast and live in or near Gurnee you must try the Point Pancake House at the corner of 41 & 21. There's new owners and let me tell ya - 'this place rocks! Best eggs benedict ANYWHERE, and I've had them damn near everywhere. What I love is you no longer need to drive 4-5 miles south to L'ville or V.Hills to get a decent breakfast. Not only is the place clean (it used to be filthy...at least the bathrooms) but they have excellent pancakes and use real blueberries, not the pie filling crap previous management used to serve. There's a lot of new items not on the menu, you have to look at the board when first walking in, or hope a server offers them up. Oh one more thing - they have this stuffed french toast which is out of this world. Its stuffed with cream cheese (i think) and raspberry sauce and they top it with bananas and more raspberries and whipped cream. We love this place and now my fiance makes me take her here almost every weekend. Get here early or on the later side to avoid the wait on weekends. I'm surprised there's not much said about this joint but i guarantee you'd love it!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ptsai

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How far from Great America are they?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Howdy! We moved up here to Lake County 5 years ago from Texas and have enjoyed finding new regional food as well as our home comfort food! Here are some of our favorites and if you haven't been to Wauconda lately - c'mon by - there are new fantastic restaurants here!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Best Burger / Dog Joint - Bulldogs on Main Street in Wauconda - just opened May 2010 - their goal is to make the best burger! Fam also loves the "baconater dog" and the garlic parmesean fries are to die for! My fav is the Santa Fe wrap - I always take home half it's so big (and I fill up on those amazing fries) it's seasoned chicken, mango, feta cheese, lettuce and tomatoes with tomatillo salsa on a huge pita-like flatbread!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Best Japanese - Bento Cafe in Hainesville on 120 at Hainesville road next to Subway - the kids LOVE their miso soup, chicken terriyaki, gyoza, and the hubby says their sushi is fresh and well prepared - even the kids eat the shrimp rolls - price is moderate - lunch is more reasonable and quantity is plenty! They also have those fun Japanese sodas with the marble in them for the kids.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Best Authentic Mexican Food - La Familia in Lakemoor on 120 between Darrell and Lily Lake
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              (this from a girl who grew up in El Paso, Tx and usually makes her own Mex food because I can't find the "good" stuff)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This place is a steal of a price - you can order everything al la carte and it is plenty to eat! My fav's are the gorditas - SO hard to find even in parts of Texas - these lightly fried sopas are filled with your choice of meat and everything is good - I usually choose the al pastor and teh hubby is brave with the chorizo - they also have pizza and a kids menu with kid stuff - it is a hole in the wall - but they'll put cartoons on for the kids when we come! They also deliver! WOW! Chili Rellenos are super good and hot, tortas, tacos, carne asada, fajitas, tamales, empanadas, chiliaquiles, tostadas, I mean what don't they have! Dinners are under $8!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Best Thai - Lovely Thai in Grayslake on Washington - just found this place last week - WOW - the lunch special was excellent - your choice of app, soup and entree just 7.95! Soup was outstanding - both hubby and I drank our bowls - best pot stickers - ever - so good - I had the basil leaf with ground meat and hubby had the yellow curry - for dessert we tried the thai custard - it was the perfect ending and like a "comfort" food - can't wait to go back and dig into their interesting menu! Also two doors down was a wine store we bought some fun beers and wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good Chinese - ok I admit - I haven't found "best" yet. The best of the good is Green Garden in Lake Zurich on 12 next to Walgreens - close to Cuba intersection - used to have a lunch buffet - but now they have great lunch specials - consistently good - excellent soup.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Other "ok" places are Golden Dragon in Fox Lake on South Rollins - problem here is sometimes they are are fantastic and sometimes they are lower than average. Panda in Wauconda gets us a quick fix - but it's all the fried stuff that's good here, We were EXCITED to find China Court in Mundelein delivers to us - WOW - but again - sometimes great and sometimes just ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We are still looking for the best pizza delivery to our house - so far we choose Dominos and in the land of pizza - that's just sad! We've even found Giordano's in Fox Lake delivers here - but by the time it gets here it's a little cold and we have to cut it and just not the same as being in the restaurant. and it's SO expensive!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Anyway - would love to hear best pizza delivery to Wauconda - there is a new place in town - opens this week for dinner only - Slyce - we also like Panhandlers - but they don't deliver.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Green Garden
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1241 S Rand Rd, Lake Zurich, IL 60047

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lovely Thai Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1144 E Washington St, Grayslake, IL 60030

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I have tried all restaurants mentioned on this post and I have a new favorite. Captain Porkys at the corner of 173 and 41. They used to be on Sheridan in Zion (I hear) and they are very casual, most people order and carry out the food. They have the BEST selection of fresh fish that I have seen in Lake county!!!! I think it is family owned, all the employees seem motivated for success. They also have pulled pork in juices, beef brisket, roasted chicken, alligator, fresh tuna, grilled or pan fried (cooked to order as everything is prepared in full view), RIBS TO DIE FOR, and the side dishes.............. new orleans style greens, smashed garlic potatoes, herb roasted potatoes, french fries, black eye peas, corn bread, biscuits, sweet potateo fries, jambolaya, rice, and then deserts, baklava, pudding, fruit pies, fresh squeezed lemonade and more. These are just some of my favorites, they have many more selections with sandwiches and dinner plate servings. They are located next door the The Shanty (made famous from the TV show Diners, Drive Inns and Dives). Shanty is good but CAPTAIN PORKYS is FANTASTIC!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: snowlion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  One note: Captain Porky's and Shanty are at 41 & Wadsworth Rd., not 41 & 173.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: snowlion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Do they serve "adult beverages"? Didn't see any listed on their website.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KMD

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think so. It's mostly to-go orders, plus they sell fresh seafood from a refrigerator case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I just realized that no one has mentioned Antijito's at the corner of Jackson and Washington in Waukegan. They serve Honduran food and very traditional. You can get fresh papusa's there for $1.25 each and they are fantastic! They also have fresh home made guisado's on the weekend and fresh nacatamales in season. The ambiance is spartan (like a hot dog stand) but they do have 5 or 6 tables. No Jalapeno in Honduran cuisine. They also have the traditional Honduran desayuno (breakfast). The plate comes with avocado, black beans, feta like cheese, home made fresh butter like fresh heavy cream, and eggs anyway you like. You can get the fried onions with egg the traditional way. Sometimes they serve the tiny sun dried beef ribs. Very reasonalbe prices, maybe $6.00 for the plate. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: snowlion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      correction, the name is Antojito's Hondureno corner of Jackson and Washington in Waukegan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: snowlion

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks so much for the recommendation! My husband and I ate there last night, and we really enjoyed it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I had a combo dish of 1 pupusa (delicious!) and 1 taco (rolled up and fried, like a taquito; also very good). My husband had carne asada (great!). The refried beans that came with his carne asada were outstanding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Others should be forewarned: The menu is entirely in Spanish and our waitress only spoke a few words of English. But we got through it with pointing and miming.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We recommend this tiny but yummy place!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. No one has wholeheartedly recommended Wayne's Pizza on Highway 45 in Grayslake yet, but you have to get their "Double Decker" pizza, so it's not for the thin-cruster. The Double Decker is some of the best pizza I've ever had in Chicago, and I'm not the only one who thinks so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I tried "I love Sushi" once, also on 45 in Third Lake, and I thought it was very good, was surprised to find such a good sushi place up here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've also been to Bake's once and it was good, also on 45 in Grayslake. Only one person mentioned it, probably because the locals might be keeping it a secret. It's a dive bar, and totally down-to-earth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: kashby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We started going to Bakes after the state rescinded the smoking ban. Finally!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a small place, and yes, mostly locals. Tony owns/owned another place I believe in Lake Zurich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They really have a rather extensive menu for a "sports bar". Lots of wonderful seafood, and moules. Very generous portions. Every day they have a specials list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They have a huge assortment of beers...that said, if you're a wine person, do yourself a favor...on Sundays & Mondays, you can BYOB - try Wine Knows on Washington just north of CLC - and there is no corkage on those days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you're not a huge sports fan, avoid this place on heavy Chicago sports dates...it gets crowded & loud. But otherwise, a great place for some pretty darn good food. Certainly beats all the 'chain' restaurants in the area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Also, I'm not a huge fan of Lovely Thai Restaurant on Washington in Grayslake. But I'm a bit of a Thai snob. People seem to like it, though, and it might be the best option in the Grayslake area if you don't want to go to Libertyville.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Lovely Thai Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1144 E Washington St, Grayslake, IL 60030

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Have any new gems opened in the area? We'll be visiting relatives June 24-27. We love ethnic food or food that's unique to the Chicago area.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: nonprophet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As a matter of fact, nonprophet, there are a few new ethnic entrants in the area. Wholly Frijoles recently opened on Grand Avenue across from Great America. We were there a few months ago and they were still working out the kinks in their service, but it's the same upscale Mexican menu served at their very popular Lincolnwood location.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Also, Himalayan chose Waukegan (on Grand just east the Route 41 overpass) for their third area restaurant. The menu is mostly Indian food with a few Himalayan dishes mixed in. We love Indian food and frequent this place quite a bit; there's nothing IMO that compares with it north of Devon Avenue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wholly Frijoles
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3908 W Touhy Ave, Lincolnwood, IL 60712

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Himalayan Restaurant
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              8265 W Golf Rd, Niles, IL 60714

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DrGail

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We like Himalaya too. Try the chicken momo - fantastic!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One caveat: once I had mattar paneer there, and I think it had a prepared sauce. It was a dead ringer for the chicken makhani sauce at Jay-Ho in Round Lake. We quit going to Jay-Ho because everything on the buffet had a strange sweet whang to it, and we think it must be prepared sauces, the way cheapo jarred spaghetti sauces are sometimes sweet. Too bad. I hate having to drive to India House in Buffalo Grove for passable Indian food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: nonprophet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You are also in luck to be visiting at that time, Taste of Chicago opens 6/24! Enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nonprophet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you are willing to consider southwest Lake county, Barrington, and like Greek food, I would suggest you try Kyriaki, which recently opened on Northwest Highway.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a family owned gem with a simple but varied menu that serves really authentic, and tasty, Greek food. They have grilled specials on the weekend, traditional basic Greek dishes- like Moussaka, souvlaki, saganaki, and baked lamb and chicken, but also some more exotic dishes I wasnt familiar with. We had a cold spread Appetizer with pita- it was much too large for two- and the two main courses- including a dish new to us served in a pot with a lamb stew and Greek rice over the top. The menu description didnt do justice to the dish and i cant remeber the name- sorry. It was excellent. Fresh veggies on the side were generous and tasty, as were the roasted potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Desserts were amazing. Baklava with sour cherries as well as the traditional walnuts and honey was amazing. The custard dessert special was like a Greek flan- excellent and again very generous in servng size.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We met the owner/chef, his wIfe, daughters etc. In this small, relaxed restauraunt. Prices were reasonable, there were also sandwiches on the menu, and we enjoyed the food service and atmosphere. Worth a visit if you like Greek food in a family enviornment without pretensions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Thanks for the suggestions! We're going to check out Himalayan and Kyriaki, and we'll stop at Scotty's for Chicago dogs before we head up to Chicago. We'll be staying at the Hilton/Magnificent Mile for two days. We're going to miss Taste of Chicago, but are excited about taking the water taxi to Chinatown. We've created quite a list of Chicago Area Chowhound-recommended restaurants to visit while we're downtown. Thanks, everyone!