I love exploring ethnic neighrborhoods. So far I've been to greektown, chinatown, devon street, and argyle street. Are there any other ethnic areas that I'm missing where I can walk around, go to ethnic grocery stores, get great/cheap ethnic foot, etc.? Preferably el accessible.
Logan Square along north Milwaukee avenue is full of great Polish delis and restaurants. Kurowski's deli is fantastic for kielbasa, meat, etc, for dirt cheap prices. You many want to find someone there that speaks English becuase the variety of keilbasa is mind boggling!
There are lots more amazing Polish delis and stores on South Archer Avenue, check out Bobaks and Gilmart
Pilsen along 18th street. Stop by La Casa del Pueblo just south of 18th street on Blue Islands. Excellent homestyle Mexican food, this is no burrito/taco joint. I think it closed at around 8 or 9 pm so I recommend going early when everything is fresh made. The Mole, tostadas and sopes (yeah, no biggie right? Wrong! these babies are amazing!!), chicken soup, chicken or pork tamales, picadillo platter, enchiladas, pork stew, etc. LOVE IT!
Not accesible via the el but Elmwood Park along North avenue and Harlem avenue is full of great Italian delis, grocers, restaurants, etc.
Andersonville has a few interesting middle eastern stores. My favorite is Middle Eastern Bakery on Foster just west of Clark.
Irving Park Road near Kedzie has several ethnic Eastern European stores and restaurants.
>> Went to Taylor street, but couldn't find any Italian grocery stores/bakeries. Is there another neighborhood in the city where I can find those things? <<
Above, gordeaux mentioned Elmwood Park, along North Avenue and Harlem Avenue. That's right next to the city; in fact, the area east of Harlem and north of North ;) is the city of Chicago.
I don't know of any other city neighborhood specializing in Italian other than that and Taylor Street.
Among Taylor St., and Elmwood Park there are several italian neighborhoods.
Harlem & Grand area (montclair/galewood neighborhoods)
-plenty of Italian Delis, Pasta Shops, Restaurants
Heart of Chicago
-Taylor & Oakley/Western
- pizza, delis, restaurants, Ferrera Bakery, Superior Bakery
....to name a few....
Taylor Street has the following:
Conte Di Sovia, 1400 block of Taylor - Every meat, canned, jarred, cheesed, italian good you could want. homemade fresh Mozz, Riccotta, great selection of fresh Cosa Nostra, Turano and Gonella Breads. Best sandwiches in the area.
Scarfurri Bakery, Taylor, East of Racine - Small, old neighborhood bakery. bread, sicilian style pizza
Ferrara Bakery - Taylor - bewtween Western & Oakley
-Cannoli, Cakes, Cookies and every Italian bakery good you could Imagine
Start at Ashland and start walking east. Your never more than a couple feet away from the real deal....
Belle Plaine is 4100 north, one block north of Irving Park. Ainslie is a block north of Lawrence.
The stretch of Kedzie from 4500 to 4900 north has a lot of options with heavy emphasis on Middle Eastern. The Kedzie stop on the Brown Line is in the middle of this, just short of 4700 north.
The Middle Eastern restaurants and stores tend to specialize according to the country and religious origins of the owners. The little strip mall north of Lawrence has Iraqi, Albanian and Korean live-coal restaurants. Unfortunately, Clark Market, a Korean grocery store that used to be on on Clark Street, closed recently. At the corner of Lawrence and Kedzie is Lindo Michoacan, which is a supermercado with a separate affiliated restaurant targeted to Mexicans from Michoacan. On Kedzie a bit south of Lawrence is Andy's Fruit Ranch, which is Greek owned and grew from a little fruit and vegetable store into a multi-ethnic grocery, produce and meat market.
I like Andersonville a lot. However, it's not overwhelmingly Swedish to the same extent that some of the other ethnic neighborhoods are concentrated. When I think of Andersonville, I think of some Swedish places - I love Swedish Bakery, and Svea and one of the Ann Sather locations are still there - but I also think of some non-Swedish places, like M. Henry, a contemporary American restaurant specializing in breakfast and lunch dishes; Hopleaf, for a bazillion beers and mussels; Pasticceria Natalina, a Sicilian pastry shop; Bon Bon Chicago, the artisanal chocolatier next door to Pasticceria Natalina; and the big Mexican panaderia (bakery) across the street from M. Henry. So yes, Andersonville is indeed very good, but I would hesitate to say it's very Swedish. ;)
Not a neighborhood, but just a side suggestion. I cook a LOT of asian food at home, and love going to asian grocery stores. I make a pilgrimage every few months to the asian mkt on the E side of Broadway about 1 block N of Lawrence. It's in the NE corner of the little strip mall. No way you can miss it. I go there to stock up on staples like jarred sauces, canned curry pastes, coconut milk, and rice / rice noodles, frozen gyoza, shiu mai, and spring rolls etc. Their prices are pretty darn good.
For a wowing experience, although not el accessible (that I know of) would be Super H mart in niles. The place is HUGE, and I mean HUGE. Food Court as well. I could spend two or three hours in there just looking around.
Another wowing experience would be Mitsuwa in Arlington Heights. More of a Japanese twinge to this one, and a killer food court as well. (I get to go to Mitsuwa today as a matter of fact to pick up some sushi fixins for v-tine dinner.) Love Mitsuwa. Again, I know the last two are not easy to get to w/ out a car, but if you like Asian mkts, they might be the best in the Chicago area.
H Mart is located on the southeast corner of Oakton Street and Waukegan Road in Niles. If you have to get to H Mart from the city using public transportation, the most direct way is to take the CTA Blue Line to the Jefferson Park stop and there catch the #226 Pace bus, which goes up Oakton. You'll get off at the Niles post office at that intersection; the post office is at the north end of H Mart's parking lot.
Mitsuwa is located on the northeast corner of Arlington Heights Road and Algonquin Road in Arlington Heights. If you have to get to Mitsuwa from the city using public transportation, the most direct way is to take the CTA Blue Line to the Rosemont stop and there catch the #606 Pace bus, which goes right past Mitsuwa on Algonquin.