Hoosiers visiting north shore area
Our family usually stays in the city and we have plenty of favorites but we will be in Highland Park/Deerfield/Lincolnshire area for one night. Any and all suggestions encouraged for adventurous eaters -- Saturday night and Sunday brunch.
That area has many excellent places but it all depends on what you're looking for. Many of them are more conventional, while others might be considered adventurous. I'll start with the more expensive places, then go through less expensive places, and finish with a few additional suggestions for brunch.
I recently had a dinner at Michael, in Winnetka, and it was absolutely spectacular in every way. If you enjoy contemporary new American cuisine with a French accent, served in a casual atmosphere, I highly recommend it. Read my complete report:
Another excellent casual fine dining place is Gabriel's in Highwood, which is sort of Italian and French. Froggy's next door for casual French is excellent as well.
For fine dining in a dressy environment, Carlos in Highland Park is still excellent.
There are lots of excellent steakhouses in the area. These include Carson's (also great barbecue ribs) in Deerfield, Stoney River in Deerfield, Morton's and the Palm and Ruth's Chris in Northbrook, and Wildfire and Fleming's in Lincolnshire.
Prairie Grass Cafe in Northbrook has excellent new American food but it can be very noisy and crowded. It's a good choice for brunch though. www.prairiegrasscafe.com
For French bistro, go to Cafe Central in Highland Park or to Miramar in Highwood. www.miramarbistro.com
For Indian food, the Curry Hut in Highwood is a good choice.
For regional Mexican, there's La Casa del Gordo in Highland Park.
Players Grill in Deerfield is a sports bar restaurant with excellent fresh seafood dishes, as well as barbecue ribs and other stuff:
Chicago deep-dish pizza tends to fall into two categories: double-crust "stuffed" pizza, and single-crust "pan" pizza. The best places have locations in Buffalo Grove, just west of Deerfield:
If you don't have a lot of time, order your pizza ahead, as it takes 30-45 minutes to bake. You'll find menus on their websites.
For brunch, Allgauer's in Northbrook offers a sumptuous buffet. www.northbrookallgauers.com
Walker Brothers Original Pancake House is a great place for brunch/breakfast. They are known for their wonderful apple pancake as well as the exquisite stained glass which adorns the restaurant. There's a location in Highland Park. Beware long waits at peak weekend times (10-1 Sundays). www.walkerbrosoph.com
Also see above regarding Prairie Grass Cafe for brunch.
Those restaurants are located in Wheeling, is not exactly Highland Park/Deerfield/Lincolnshire, the area the OP was asking about.
If you want to consider Wheeling as well, then you might want to also add Le Francais (fine dining) and Hackney's (burgers). You could also add Bob Chinn's (seafood) but Mitchell's Fish Market in Glenview is better and more convenient to Highland Park/Deerfield/Lincolnshire.
I forgot to include the following website links in the above post:
Gabriel's - www.egabriels.com
Carlos - www.carlos-restaurant.com
Carson's - www.ribs.com
Stoney River - www.stoneyriver.com
Morton's - www.mortons.com
The Palm - www.thepalm.com
Ruth's Chris - www.ruthschris.com
Wildfire - www.wildfirerestaurant.com
Fleming's - www.flemingssteakhouse.com
Cafe Central - www.cafecentral.net
Curry Hut - www.curryhutrestaurant.com
Other places that are less pricy, but very good local hang outs include:
Italian: Restaurante Abruzo in northbrook and Franchesca's Hole in the wall. The hole in the wall is cash only but a northbrook staple.
Next door to the hole in the wall is Charlie Bienlicks ( I may have spelled that wrong), but also cash only. Many feel that it has the best burgers on the north shore.
Hot Tamales in highland park is very good and if it is nice out you can dine outside. They have traditional mexican fare along with things like pumkin tamales. The food is nice and reasonable there.