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Which is a better foodie/restaurant/bakery area- Lincoln Square or Andersonville?

Hey all,

I'm in the process of looking to buy a flat, and am having a really difficult time deciding between two. One is literally right next to Lincoln Square on Claremont Ave., the other is right next to Andersonville (I think it's like 2 blocks to Clark) on Winnemac. Of course, the majority of people would not let food be a big deciding factor in choosing to buy a house... but alas, I'm a bit more obsessed than the average joe, and I know I can rely on my fellow chowhounds to help me with advice on which is a better location, foodwise. On that same note, this is a flat for investment purposes as well, so while I do believe both areas will appreciate/rise in value and are up and coming (not sure which will do better, though), I also want to know what you guys think will have better development, in terms of food locations, etc.

Thanks in advance for the help!

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  1. Both are good areas with a lot of variety and quality in the food scene. I think Andersonville may get a slight edge for its non-restaurant food places (e.g. Pasticceria Natalina, Swedish Bakery, Bon Bon), whereas Lincoln Square may have a slight edge in its restaurant scene. But basically, I would call it a toss-up.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nsxtasy

      What about considerations of current and/or development of places to get groceries? Whether it be a large grocery store, produce market, fish market, cheese store...?

    2. I think Andersonville has a leg up on the culinary scene.

      1. Honestly, I'd go for the one in Andersonville. I lived in Andersonville/Uptown pretty much all my life and recently moved up to the Ravenswood area (within walking distance of Lincoln Square. - maybe 5 blocks)

        The thing about the Andersonville flat (especially if you are 2 blocks west of Clark on Winnemac) is that you are close to Andersonville and it's scene. Excellent to decent restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores. BUT you'd also be within striking distance of Lincoln Square. You could walk there when it's nice. And before the Distance Police get to me - yes, you can. I have done it a million times. It's about 1.5ish miles. Or you can take the Lawerence Bus or the Foster Bus.

        I like Lincoln Square. I think it's charming and a little more less crammed with people on the weekends. But I do think Andersonville has more to offer.

        1. I've lived in Lincoln Square for a little over two years and looked at both Lincoln Square and Andersonville when purchasing my home. You can't go wrong with either one - I think they're both excellent for dining. One very nice aspect of your proposed Lincoln Square location is its proximity to the L.

          Lincoln Square has some amazing Thai restaurants -- Spoon Thai is my favorite Thai restaurant in the city and one of my few favorite restaurants in the city. Aroy Thai, Sticky Rice and Rosded are also very good choices. Nhu' Lan Bakery is a great new addition to the Lincoln Square neighborhood, serving up great Banh Mi sandwiches.

          You'd also be very close to Pizza D.O.C., Over Easy Cafe, Cafe Selmarie (assuming it ends up staying in the hood), and really not so far from Bistro Campagne, Tank Sushi, Jury's, the Grafton, etc. I also like the ease of access to the wonderful Middle Eastern restaurants on Kedzie and the Korean BBQ places up Western/Lincoln/California.

          Harvestime is very good for interesting groceries and very nice produce. There's also Provenance (formerly Bouffe) and The Cheese Stands Alone, both of which are excellent for cheeses, sometimes Red Hen breads and a few other gourmet items.

          Andersonville on the other hand can be less accessible to the L, but also has some of my very favorite restaurants in the city: Sunshine Cafe, Pasticceria Natalina (maybe the best bakery I have ever tried) and Hopleaf.

          I also really liked the one meal I had at Anteprima. There's also Swedish Bakery, which I think is ok, not great. I haven't been to Fiasco yet. Andersonville is certainly closer to the Broadway/Argyle area, which is a slight advantage.

          Overall, I'd say you can't go wrong with either choice -- I find myself frequently walking to Andersonville. Lincoln Square is a little closer to the expressway, Andersonville slightly closer to the lake, Lincoln Square a little closer to the L.

          I believe both areas are appreciating very nicely and I also see substantial restaurant/food expansion in both areas. This is probably not surprising given their proximity to one another.

          1. Andersonville was once Chicago's Swedish community so you still have a bit of that along Clark---Swedish Bakery, a deli, Svea, and whatever's left of Ann Sathers that hasn't been ruined by "modernizing" the menu. At the same time, Clark is now a major Middle Eastern strip so you have good restaurants (Reza's, Andies', the Algerian crepe place at Foster & Clark whose name I do not know, a couple of Turkish places) as well as Middle Eastern Bakery and Grocery (Foster just west of Clark), an ace source of spinach pies, hummos, warm pita, baklava, good olives, fat dates, etc.. There's also Pars Grocery for Persian goodies. Meanwhile, the north end of Andersonville segues into a Mexican neighborhood and you have the outstanding Edgewater Produce and several Mexican bakeries with good bread. You can also walk over to Broadway to Mei Shung and Pasteur or down to the Argyle area for Vietnamese and Thai. Andersonville is one of the best food areas in the city.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Querencia

              I agree that Andersonville is a very good neighborhood with lots of food choices. However, to call it "one of the best food areas in the city" is an unrealistic stretch, IMHO, and really depends on your criteria. If you think mostly in terms of cheap ethnic foods, yes, it's very good indeed. What Andersonville lacks is much in the way of higher-end restaurants - fine dining, steakhouses, seafood restaurants, etc. If you take these other categories into consideration, I think you could make a case that some other neighborhoods (e.g. Bucktown/Wicker Park, River North/Mich Ave/Old Town) have a lot more to offer.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                nsxtasy- not to pick at you but, the words "cheap ethnic foods" just rang wrong with me. I don't think of dinning in Andersonville as being all that ethnic nor cheap.

                Andersonville is a neighborhood vs. being the downtown/Viagra triangle focus of the other places you mentioned. FWIW: both have a special place in my heart and each fulfill a unique & different dining experience.

                Here's my 2 cents on OP's original question; The Swedish Bakery alone would give Andersonville the edge over Lincoln Square in my book, but IMO the housing options are slightly nicer as well. When I lived there 13 years ago, I loved the scene and pretty much everything about being there.

                1. re: abf005

                  The places recommended by Querencia in his/her post above are all ethnic and all on the inexpensive side. In other words, "cheap ethnic foods". Yes, there are some places in Andersonville that are not as inexpensive, but you don't have a lot of higher-end "finer dining" places there, certainly nothing like the selection you can find in some other parts of the city.

                  I am not criticizing Andersonville as a place to live, or its food choices. It has a lot to offer in the way of food. Furthermore, it's conveniently located, because it's easy to travel to lots more food neighborhoods, all the way from the greater downtown area to Evanston. I just think calling it "one of the best food areas in the city" is a bit of hyperbole (again, depending on your criteria).

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    I don't think it's possible to call any area "the best food area". It depends on the individual. All areas have their advantages and their drawbacks. You wouldn't want to live somewhere where your only options were high-end (or maybe you would). Conversely, you wouldn't want to live somewhere surrounded by only holes in the wall (or maybe you would). Again, just depends on the person.

                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      One last word; A hyperbole would be if Querencia had stated "it IS the best food area in the city". But being as Querencia stated that it is "ONE of the best", I think we should just let it slide.

                      I'll wager that we would possibly agree that Andersonville is in fact, one of top 10 neighborhoods in the city to dine out and experience diverse types of food that are generally pretty darn good, and I know we agree that its not a "fine dining" or white tablecloth enclave either! Which for me living there at the time was perfect to have as my neighborhood options.

                      As for the expensive places you refered to, I'd rather dress up and trek into downtown for those places than live on top of them, but thats just me~

                      1. re: abf005

                        Thanks, guys!

                        Yesterday I went to Lincoln Square to explore, since I'm much, much more familiar with Andersonville. Went to Spoon Thai (delicious, everything people said it was!), and Provenance (formerly Bouffe), where I bought the best Comte I have ever tasted. I usually don't go for Comte's, since there are so many varieties and so many possibilities to be subpar. But this... wow. I've been to The Cheese Stands Alone (where I highly highly recommend the Aged Appenzeller...incredible cheese), so no need to go there.

                        All in all, despite what my logical head says, especially being that its proximity to the Evanston/red line, Argyle places and other types of food is superior and that Hopleaf/fav. bakeries are there, my gut is leaning towards Lincoln Square. Perhaps it is the fact that it seems less of a "scene" to me, or perhaps it is because it is so much more unexplored and seems more exciting... still a toss up, but we'll see what happens!

                        Thanks again!