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Jul 25, 2007 07:48 PM

Good restaurants near great lakes naval station

going to a boot camp graduation and spending the weekend any suggestions for really good chow fare?

Thanks in advance
Philly hound

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  1. You have one place that raises above all the others for about a 20 mile radius. If you want to go somewhere special and amazing for your graduate to enjoy their accomplishment, this is it:

    Bacci's Trattoria
    30 North Genesee, Waukegan, Illinois 60085
    Telephone: 847 623 3121
    Lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
    Dinner Monday through Saturday, 5 p.m. until 9 p.m.
    Evening reservations recommended.

    **This place not only has a great menu of Italian dishes, the steaks and mushroom appetizer is not to be missed!

    Ok, here is a rundown of the rest:

    Right by the Great Lakes base area itself (North Chicago), there is absolutely NOTHING!
    Lake Bluff is no better, 1 mile to the south, so don’t waste you time looking.

    Waukegan (1-2 miles) has the best nearby options:
    • Tacos Del Rey De Oro- easily the best Mexican food in the area
    • The Dog House- for great diner style food and hot dogs
    • Hussies – Great bar to drink and great bar food (Big pub style burgers etc.)
    • Quonset- A decent thin crust pizza place
    • Leno’s Subs- great subs and sandwiches

    Gurnee (6 Miles northwest)
    • Monkey Dish is new – I haven’t been yet, but I’m told it OK
    • Giordano’s Pizza: the best deep dish pizza available in Lake County
    • Backyard Steak pit – good steak- really nice onion ring loaf - ala Hackneys style
    • Ichiban- a decent Japanese steakhouse (cook at your table place), its been here for years and is showing serious signs of wear and tear not pretty but tasty.
    • Kaiser Pizza - Gurnee (for burgers and decent thin pizza)
    • Lou Malnattis – also very good deep dish Pizza, but its take out only at this location.
    • Almost every known US chain – Uno’s, Applebee, Ruby Tuesday, Olive Garden, and the list goes on and on.

    Lake Villa and Round Lake (10 miles northwest)
    • Scott Dogs: Great hot burgers etc, but it’s the Argentinean empanadas’, flank steak and chef made soups that really shine here.
    • Lomeli's Rotisseria - Round Lake (excellent Mexican food- grilled/rotisserie chicken & outstanding burritos and tacos)

    Libertyville, Vernon Hills and Mundelein (8-10 miles west)
    • Tsukasa – Vernon Hills is the best Japanese steakhouse in the area
    • Mickey Finns – Best burgers in Chicago, everything else on the menu is decent.
    • Frank's for the Memories- Mundelein (best wings this side of Buffalo)

    IMO: Places here are starting to get to the edge of too far for “local” but offer a great many excellent options:
    Lake Forest, Highland Park and Highwood (15-20 miles south), Wheeling (20 miles southwest) and Kenosha, WI 15-20 Miles North. If you’re interested in driving, this far just let us know and many of can reel off lists that would make your head spin!

    • Gino’s East in Libertyville
    • El Norte – Gurnee location

    Lastly, this area does loosely fall into a previous Chowhound thread: But the target area on the thread is a bit wider than the Navel base.

    9 Replies
    1. re: abf005


      I agree with most of your recommendations, although I personally have not tried all of them. I have been to Lomeli's 3-4 times since it opened and think it is excellent for simple Mexican fare. IMO, the absolute best Mexican food in the area is El Jaliciense in Round Lake Park. They offer a more extensive menu and the food is just outstanding.

      1. re: markwarren

        Thanks!! I'll have to give El Jaliciense a try, up until now I had never heard of it, Do you happen to have the address?

        Oh yeah, here are two more DO NOT GO TO's:

        Salutos Pizza & Pasta, Gurnee, IL
        Tony's Paisans Ristorante Italiano, Gurnee, IL

        Both are absolute garbage.

        Franks For the Memories
        645 E Hawley St, Mundelein, IL 60060

        30 N Genesee St, Waukegan, IL 60085

        Dog House
        2632 Washington St, Waukegan, IL 60085

        Hussey's Downtown Tavern
        110 S Genesee St, Waukegan, IL 60085

        Quonset Pizza
        2602 Grand Ave, Waukegan, IL 60085

        Leno's Submarine Shop
        1828 Grand Ave, Waukegan, IL 60085

        Monkey Dish Bar & Grill
        5572 Grand Ave, Gurnee, IL 60031

        7105 Grand Ave, Gurnee, IL 60031

        488 N Green Bay Rd, Waukegan, IL 60085

        Lou Malnati's Pizzaria
        45 St W Co Hwy, Grayslake, IL 60030

        Backyard Steak Pit
        1818 N Grandwood Dr, Gurnee, IL 60031

        Ichiban Japanese Steak House
        5340 Grand Ave, Gurnee, IL 60031

        Kaiser's Pizza & Pub
        1801 N Il Route 21, Gurnee, IL 60031

        Scott Dogs
        895 E Grand Ave, Lake Villa, IL 60046

        Tsukasa of Tokyo
        561 N Milwaukee Ave, Vernon Hills, IL 60061

        Mickey Finn's Brewery
        412 N Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville, IL 60048

        1. re: abf005

          Hey abf005,
          I'm in Lake Forest currently and would be thrilled if you felt like 'reeling off' some good spots, as you mentioned in your earlier post! Thanks.

          1. re: mistermonster

            No problem! I'll get to work on a list...Keep your eyes peeled!

            1. re: mistermonster

              I really like Holly's American Bistro in Lake Bluff/ Forest. Nothing too over the top - steak frites, sandwiches, etc. Frites are tasty! Salads looked good, but I stuck with fried things. We had a very nice server

            2. re: abf005

              El Jaliciense
              224 E Main St

              Main St is also Rt 134 - The restaurant is easy to's on the east side of the street, just north of another Mexican place called La Fuenta (old HIlary's BBQ). Parking is bad, but the food is good :)

              1. re: abf005

                Mangia in Kenosha is the Best Spot North of Lake Forest.

                1. re: snowlion

                  I agree Mangia is very good, but IMO Bacci's is better and closer too!

                  1. re: abf005

                    BAcci's and Monkey Dish are now closed but Green Town on Genesee Street and Saje Cafe are knocking some socks off. Both have live music on weekends.

          2. OK, several years later and I too am heading to Great Lakes for graduation. Any thoughts on good meals for a hungry sailor (and his parents)?

            10 Replies
            1. re: sagestrat

              Lake Bluff is the next town south of North Chicago, where Great Lakes is located. There's a new restaurant in Lake Bluff that's FANTASTIC. It's called Inovasi. The food is outstanding and the price makes it extremely reasonable. I wrote a long detailed report on my wonderful dinner there recently, and posted it on Chowhound at The restaurant's website is

              Highwood (8 miles away) also has quite a few decent places, including Gabriel's ( ) for upscale Italian-French food, Froggy's the French bistro ( ), La Casa de Isaac ( ) for Mexican food, and the Curry Hut ( ) for Indian food. But Inovasi is better than all of these, and it's only 2 miles from the base.

              Inovasi Restaurant
              28 E. Center Ave, Lake Bluff, IL 60044

              1. re: nsxtasy

                Thanks. Inovasi definitely sounds like the winner. I appreciate the help. The others will be great too as we'll be there a few days.

                Inovasi Restaurant
                28 E. Center Ave, Lake Bluff, IL 60044

                1. re: sagestrat

                  I believe Bacci's is now closed. Sorry. For less atmosphere and money, Noodle Bar in Lake Bluff is good eats. It is across the street. Great little hamlet and very reasonably priced. Service is good, but the space is tight. If you get a window seat, you better be pretty thin in order to try to leave the restaurant. They pack em in!

                  30 N Genesee St, Waukegan, IL 60085

                  1. re: barbara66

                    I've got one for you! If you like pizza, I recommend trying Silo Restaurant in Lake Bluff, approx. 5-7 min from base. If you like authentic Mexican food, the atmosphere is dead but the food is AMAZING: El Fuego. You'll have to google/call for directions but I HIGHLY recommend their food. El Fuego is approx. 5 minutes away from base. Another great place for food and beverage is Aleks' bar & grill. They have amazing food all around and the hospitality is equally great. Good luck!

                2. re: nsxtasy

                  Be expected to make reservations a couple months in advance for Inovasi. If you are interested in Italian, I recommend Francesca's or Battaio (locally/family owned). Both are within 15 min from the Naval base and have very good, reasonably priced food!

                  Inovasi Restaurant
                  28 E. Center Ave, Lake Bluff, IL 60044

                  1. re: MalenkyKoshka

                    >> Be expected to make reservations a couple months in advance for Inovasi.

                    That's absolutely NOT necessary. For example, right now (Wednesday afternoon) Opentable shows openings at Inovasi for a table for two this Saturday at 6:00 and 8:00 (although not in between), and any other night of the week (including Friday) is wide open. Except Sundays, when they're closed.

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      Really, cuz I just checked directly with them and they said their weekends are pretty booked for the next 2 months. Weekdays are another story. This thread is for places to eat for graduation weekEND for the Great Lakes Naval Base. If you are going with family after graduation, your group size is going to be closer to 4 or more. If you go for two, you will not have as much of a problem obviously. But yes, expect to have to make reservations in advance as they are booked.

                      1. re: MalenkyKoshka

                        Tables for 4 are also available this Saturday for 6:00 and 8:00 (not in between); next Saturday (May 28) they appear to be fully booked; and availability is wide open for the three Saturdays after that. So yes, you're right, it's possible that they fill that far in advance on that one particular weekend, but not at other times.

                        As a general rule, of course, it never hurts to make a reservation as far in advance as you can, especially if there is an event going on that could make reservations difficult.

                        1. re: nsxtasy

                          Lake Bluff also has a MicroBrewery - food is okay, but the beer selection and quality is excellent. Lake Bluff Brewery. If you like IPA, it is a great place to stop in.

                          1. re: barbara66

                            Oneof the Brewers works at Pasquesi Home and Garden. So you can check out the local garden scene before or after his Brewery. This is the first year for the Brewery and I hear they sell out each batch very quickly.

              2. What about Trattoria Pomigliano?