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Seeking Retro Tiki (Chef Shangri-La? new Trader Vics?)

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An old family favorite, Beyond the Reef on the southwest side, closed a few years ago, and I'd like to find an old-fashioned (i.e., 60s/70s-reeking) "Polynesian"/Tiki bar and restaurant in the Chicago area, one that serves Chinese food.

I've heard about Chef Shangri-La in North Riverside, but a few reviews I read on Yelp indicated bug/cleanliness issues. Has anyone on here had any experience with this place? Heard that Hala Kahiki in River Grove is fun, but they don't serve food, apparently.

Any other recommendations?

Also, any news on Trader Vic's supposedly reopening?

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  1. re Chef Shangri - La -
    I posted this on a different board back in March. There were no responses that defended their food other than appetizers:

    "Been there once on New Years Eve oh I don't know - 5 yrs ago. Is this the worst Chinese food in the area, or was it my mistake for judging it on a New Year's Eve? Haven't been back, but I do notice the parking lot being full on Sat / Sun. The stuff we encountered on that New Year's Eve was bad enough to make me write a note on the back of the check. I may have used the phrase "worse than a La Choy can" in said note."

    1. I live near Chef Shangri La, have been there once. It's high in the 60s/70s kitchsy chinese atmosphere but food is just so-so. The food is ok, not bad but certainly not good Chinese food. They also have a big selection of the "Tiki Bar" drinks. Based on cars in the parking lot, it seems like they do a good business.

      1. Trader Vic's will be reopening inside the new Elysian condo building. The Elysian is still being built, with an opening slated of 2008 (no idea as to beginning or end of the year, from the looks of it...they still have quite a ways to go). It is located at the northeast corner of State & Delaware.

        1. We've gone to Chef Shangri-La a few times in the past 2 years and the food is ok if you like your Chinese food fried. The atmosphere is definitely worth a visit, if only to have a drink in the bar. I think the reason the parking lot is always so crowded is the popularity with the more geriatric set.

          I haven't been there, but I've driven past Tong's Tiki Hut in Villa Park (on Roosevelt). Maybe that would work?

          1 Reply
          1. re: arwool

            Tong’s is a fixture that’s been there for many years, we used to go to Tongs quite a bit back in the mid 90's, and if my memory serves me correctly, it was pretty good then. But in 94’ we moved back into the city and unfortunately I haven’t been back since. So, I can’t give a current rating of how it is now, but I doubt much has changed. Places like that can remain frozen in time for an eternity. Speaking of frozen...

            This past weekend my dining companions & I visited the Tiki Terrace in Prospect Heights. http://www.thetikiterrace.com/ The service was very kind and competent, the place had a very nice atmosphere (small cozy and well themed). The drinks were pretty good and inexpensive, and the entertainment was OK (they had a 3 person Polynesian dance show that was a little hokey but cute) reminded of my Hawaiian trip with all the old folks yelling “Aloha” every couple of sentences.
            Unfortunately the food at the Tiki Terrace was really awful!! The steak, chicken, and pork tasted as though they came straight from a Sam's Club or Costco's frozen freezer section. The pulled pork was the worst and not even edible, one of two steaks in my group was sent back to the kitchen for poor quality reasons, and the replacement was not much better. Sadly, food is not the highlight of this establishment; otherwise it might be a fun place to hang out. All I can say is that it was not Chinese or Hawaiian food, and that’s for sure!