I'll second Restaurant Row in Wheeling. It's a few miles away, but you have Osteria di Tramonto, Tramonto's Steak and Seafood (dinner only) and Bob Chinn's (superb seafood and pretty much everything else!). There is also places like Pete Miller's, which is a steakhouse with live jazz in the evenings and so forth.
I'm not a huge fan of Di Pescara. I really wanted to like it, but after about five disappointing/average meals and mostly below average service, with meal mess ups (including bringing a meal to the table with the allergen they said they had omitted), I've pretty much given up hope on them.
Morton's, of course, is well known. The location here in Northbrook is as good as any I've eaten at across the country. Stoney River in Deerfield used to be my favorite restaurant in the area, but my last few trips there disappointed me as well. We went there for every big event and used to find reasons to go! I'm going to try another location and start fresh one of these days!
Restaurant Row along Milwaukee is just a couple minutes west, and Rick Tramanto's new restaurants at the Westin at Lake Cook are wonderful.
Osteria de Tramonto and
Tramonto's Steak and Seafood
The Westin Chicago North Shore hotel
601 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Wheeling, IL, 60090
I second the rec for Prairie Grass Cafe - probably the most chowish food in that area.
Other good options:
Timbers (Skokie Blvd, north of Lake Cook) - excellent, but not particularly creative fish and steaks. Plus, they have really good warm cheddar rolls.
Restaurante Abruzzo (Deerfield Mall, Lake Cook and Waukegan) is good red-sauce Italian)
Also, there are a couple of good delis nearby. Neither is stellar, but they are good lunch (or dinner) options:
- Max & Benny's (Waukegan, south of Lake Cook) - huge place with a big menu
- Max's (Crossroads Plaza, Skokie Blvd and Lake Cook)
I wouldn't call Timbers "excellent". I wouldn't call it terrible, exactly; I've just found the food there to be very ordinary. And I'm not referring to the creativity, just that most of their food is no better than you would find at your local Applebee's, Chili's, etc. I've never left there thinking, "Gee, that was REALLY good food!"
The food at Prairie Grass Cafe is very good. But it's one of the noisiest places I've ever been to.
Thanks, bigmamma, for the note about Masck.
Wow. Timbers was where we went practically every Friday growing up. My parents will be devastated. The nostalgia factor probably influenced my use of the word "excellent" (although I had really good soft shell crabs there just last year), but the food was definitely better than Applebee's, Chili's etc.
No use arguing about it now though. Thanks for the info.
A great Italian restaurant is Italian Kitchen. It's a local owned family restaurant. Nothing fancy, actually very informal in an old strip mall, but is it ever good. It has been there for at least 20 yrs. I still can't find a better Veal Marsala anywhere.
If you are on Lake Cook take Waukegan Rd. North. to Deerfield Rd. (about 1.5 miles)
The address is 648 Deerfield Rd, Deerfield, IL (847) 945-2727
Here are recommendations in the vicinity:
From Lake Cook Road, go north on Waukegan Road. Within a mile, you'll come to Carson's. Outstanding barbecue baby back ribs, outstanding prime rib, outstanding steaks.
200 North Waukegan Road
Deerfield, IL 60015
Keep going north on Waukegan Road, and the next major intersection is Deerfield Road. There are two places in the shopping center on the southeast corner. Both are excellent:
483 Lake Cook Road
Deerfield, IL 60015
711 Deerfield Road
Deerfield IL 60015
Two more recommendations are in Northbrook. Go east on Lake Cook Road, and right before you get to the Edens (US 41), turn right. Right before Dundee Road (the next major intersection) are two places worth going to: Prairie Grass Cafe, Sarah Stegner's place (good food from the Heartland, can be somewhat noisy though) and an outlet of Morton's Steakhouse:
Prairie Grass Cafe
601 Skokie Blvd.
Morton's, The Steakhouse
699 Skokie Blvd.
Carson's, Stoney River, and Morton's are all fine steakhouses as well as offering other menu choices (notably the barbecue ribs at Carson's), whereas Masck and Prairie Grass Cafe have a more varied menu.
If you're looking for something a bit more unusual in the fine dining arena, something that will really impress a foodie, you might want to consider traveling slightly further to go to Michael, in Winnetka, which is about five miles southeast of the two places in Northbrook above. You can read the description of my recent dinner there here on Chowhound: