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Oct 31, 2007 07:29 AM

New Vietnamese Restaurant in Des Plaines

I've been waiting for Dung Gia (on Northwest Highway in downtown Des Plaines; technically 1436 Miner Street) to open ever since I saw the "coming soon" sign. To my great surprise, it turns out that the proprietors are from Annam Cafe, which was one of my favorite lunch spots when I worked in Evanston. Last night, we enjoyed an excellent spicy squid salad, an appetizer combo platter and lemongrass chicken.

Of course, the menu is not as extensive as one would find on Argyle Street and the prices are not quite as low, but the food is solid and fills a huge void since there are virtually no Vietnamese restaurants nearby (and barely any in the suburbs at all). After two really terrible experiences at Tay Do in Glendale Heights, I had given up hopes for decent Vietnamese food outside of the city limits.

Located across from the Des Plaines Metra station, it's pretty much a bare-bones storefront, so don't be expecting a suburban version of Le Colonial or Pasteur! But the food is fresh, tasty and cheap.

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  1. Thanks for the tip. Have you been to Nam Viet in Edison Park? If so how does Dung Gia rate in comparision? Nam Viet has been closed for weeks now and I am concerned that they may close.

    3 Replies
    1. re: CorinneM1

      I tried going to Nam Viet a couple times, but both times I went on the day that they're closed. IIRC from seeing Nam Viet's menu, the prices at Dung Gia may be a bit lower and they have more of a strictly Vietnamese menu (Nam Viet was more Vietnamese/Chinese). I grew up near the area known as "Little Saigon" in Southern California and got very spoiled on good, cheap Vietnamese food. Dung Gia's food is "authentic enough" (ie, Westernized, but not insipid) to be an enjoyable cheap eats alternative in the N/NW 'burbs.

      1. re: Pugman

        I have only eaten at a Vietnamese restaurant once many years ago. Do you have any suggestions for what to eat at Dung Gia?

        1. re: sparkle7

          The shredded green papaya salad with shrimp (or tofu) is good; the spicy calamari salad is delicious. The Annam Platter is a nice starter since it comes with fresh and fried spring rolls, crispy shrimp rolls and grilled chicken and beef skewers with a sweet spicy sauce. Lemongrass chicken and grilled eggplant are also personal favorites. The menu is definitely geared toward Western tastes (which some may view as a criticism, but the decision is appropriate given the location), so nothing you order should be too "challenging."

          The pho (soup with noodles and your choice of other ingredients) isn't going to win any awards, but still qualifies as acceptable-to-good. I haven't yet tried the catfish cooked in a clay pot at the new location. but I enjoyed it when they were in Evanston.