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Good German, Eastern European or Russian Food in Chicago

Bringing my son to Chicago from Reno. He is a big fan of the above. I use the El a lot and occasional taxis so location is non-specific. Also any recommendations of things he might enjoy. Thanks

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  1. Despite the worldwide hype about its closing & the family retirement sham -- the Berghoff is still running:

    Plenty of borscht, Vareniky, Pelmeni, and Blinchiki here:

    Couple of other option a bit further out, and way less dressy:

    1. I have enjoyed R T Time the several times I have gone, have heard less than favorable things about the Berghoff's reincarnation.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ddfry3

        The German food at the Berghoff was terrible even before they pretended to go out of business. You and your son will be much happier at Laschet's Inn or Resi's Bierstube, both on Irving Park.

        For another variety of Eastern European cuisine, go to Healthy Food on Halsted in Bridgeport, for excellent Lithuanian food. They have limited hours in the evening, so try to get there for a lunch or weekend brunch.

        There are Russian grocery stores and bakeries up on Devon Ave (e.g. Three Sisters), and a wonderful Georgian bakery as well (Argo). Devon in general is worth exploring for its wild ethnic mix (Indian, Pakistani, Assyrian, Israeli, Afghan, ...)

        As far as other things to do, you might want to check the music listings and event listings on metromix.chicagotribune.com for Eastern European items. You don't say when your son will be visiting, but -- for example -- if he's coming in mid-August there's a Ukrainian Days Festival Aug 18-19.

        Have fun and report back if you can.

      2. I like Resi's Bierstube for a very casual meal in the St. Ben's area - on Irving Park. I think they got some new servers in the last 3 months.

        1. Yeah, Resi's Bier Stube is my rec. I had a decent meal at Mirabal on Addison just east of the Kennedy. Anyone been to the Bavarian Haus on Lincoln or the new place in Wrigleyville where Heaven on Seaven was?

          2 Replies
          1. re: amoncada

            I like Bavarian Haus but I prefer Laschets Inn (2119 West Irving Park). For me Bavarian Haus is a little too expensive for what it is. It reminds me a bit of Mader's in Milwaukee. I hate shelling out $20.00+ for roast pork or a sausage plate. Laschets Inn has comparable quality with good selection of German beer, homemade soup/bread, and outstanding spatzle. Laschets is more like a German bar that happens to have good homestyle German food.

            1. re: cheapertrick

              Agree on Laschets Inn. Excellent German food at a very reasonable price.

          2. The Magic Jug, Ukrainian on Irving & Naragansett. Also, Zhivagos for fancier in Skokie.

            1. The Brauhaus in Lincoln Square, Western Brown line stop, is great for German food. They have all the traditional fare replete with live music (although many of the musicians look like corpses).

              Chicago Brauhaus
              4732 N. Lincoln Ave.

              1 Reply
              1. re: croissantanyone

                There's a Ukranian place that I always called The Red Apple (can't pronounce it's Slavic name, but it's sign features a red apple), right near Comiskey, ahem, US Cellular field. I forget where exactly. But they serve a meal called "The Breakfast of Champions" that I highly recommend.

              2. I would echo the recommendation for Brauhaus in Lincoln Square, having enjoyed lunch there not long ago.

                Sadly, my favorite German cafes have closed. My guess is that the food is a bit heavy for modern tastes. The stuffed pork chops at Golden Ox could feed 3 hungry people after a Bear game on a cold day. Zum Deutschen Eck is long gone, as is Schwaben Stube and Heidelberger Fass.

                Some of these restaurants reminded me of Karl Ratzsch's in Milwaukee. That is a compliment. Best wishes.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Greg in Chicago

                  I have to say that Golden Ox was a favorite of mine. While it could be heavy, two people could share the load. During the summer, my sister and I often shared the steak tartar and a bowl of their verison of cold potato soup and we were sated.

                  German food is often thought of as ballast on a plate, but it doesn't have to be.

                  Zum made a mean liver dumpling soup. But the other food was only so-so. I won't miss it as dearly as I do The Golden Ox.

                2. My family loves Czerwone Jabluszko (Red Apple) at 3121 N. Milwaukee for Polish food. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet. Normally, I steer away from those sorts of places, but this is a Chicago classic. Lots of Polish people there of all ages, always a table of police officers. Blah atmosphere, but good food. Different food every time you go, but always something good. Everything's homemade, including the pierogies. The desserts are not usually any good, but when your waitress offers you soup before you start in on the buffet, definitely say yes. Not too far from the Belmont blue line stop.
                  3121 N. Milwaukee Ave

                  1. Thanks for all the help, went to Laschets Inn on the brown line. For visitors this was the perfect neighborhood place. It was fathers days and full of local families. Food and service was great. Spatzle tasted home made and pan fried after boiling.

                    We also tried the red apple for lunch on the blue line. Yes get the soup and the beer on tap. Coming from Reno I hate buffets, but this is a step above. Evtremely clean, spotless restrooms, very attractive inside and the food was several steps aboce the norm.

                    Thanks again for helping us visitors find the real Chicago

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Scooped

                      I say Resi's Bier Stube (pretty much accross the street from Lachets Inn) is better! Gilmart's on Archer Avenue is the best for Polish Buffet...much better than the Red Apple.

                      1. re: amoncada

                        Thanks. Now I have two for our trip next year.