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May 15, 2008 12:52 PM

Tasty restaurants in Bucktown

I'm flying into town on Friday and will be staying
in the Logan Square/Bucktown area. Could anyone
suggest a good place to eat that's not too formal
or expensive. I'm not looking for haute cuisine, but
would like something tasty, unique and interesting.

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  1. My faves are Le Bouchon -- a tiny, but excellent French Bistro on Damen and Armitage; Hot Chocolate -- also on Damen but near North Ave. (great desserts as the name implies, but also good savories), Bueno Terra -- a BYO mom & pop-style Italian on California near Logan Square; Hatchi's Kitchen -- interesting sushi a few doors down from Bueno Terra.

    I'm sure other people will have other suggestions. It is the land of interesting restaurants.

    2 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      Rustik right next to Hatchi's is also one of my favorites. It's a trendy spin on american comfort food.

      1. re: kelgar21

        I had seen Rustik, but I had never gone there. Thanks for the evaluation. I'm looking forward to trying it.

    2. Irazu
      1865 N. Milwaukee
      Costa Rican
      Fonda Del Mar
      Mexican seafood is spotlighted

      7 Replies
      1. re: gordeaux

        A few months ago I had Sunday brunch at Between and loved it. You can read details on my brunch in the topic at I also reported on a brunch at Toast in the same topic, but Toast gets very busy on weekends, with long waits for seating, which is not a concern at Between.

        Incidentally, Fonda del Mar is very good, but the OP should be aware that it's not in Bucktown. It's roughly a mile north and two miles west.

        1. re: nsxtasy

          Sure, the area would not be "called" Bucktown, but I would easily say this is in the Logan Sq./ Bucktown area. If I was in a car and in the heart of bucktown or Logan Sq., I could get to FDM in pretty short order even in the hairiest of traffic. Tasty, unique, interesting, not too formal or expensive in the Logan Sq / Bucktown "area" lead me to think of those two joints. Kcphilbert - if you need to stay in the constraints of imaginary borders between neighborhoods, then FDM may not be your spot. If you can drive for a few minutes (like 5, if you are familiar with some of the better streets to use) outside of one of those imaginary borders, then you may wanna think about it. Also, when someone mentions Logan Square, I always think of the intersection of Kedzie/Logan Blvd, and Milwaukee. FDM is two blocks south, and like 8 small blocks west, and in a car, like 4 minutes. I might be wrong about what is actually considered Logan Sq. I thought that little Statue thing, and the traffic circle and the whole Logan Blvd with the grand parkway in the middle was the actual Logan Square, and the surrounding area was the neighborhood. FDM is pretty close to that. It would prob not be considered IN the Square, but it's so close, I would consider it in the area, easily. That's just me though. I know others like to only say something is in a neighborhood or not. I've never understood that phenomenon. I only use it when talking about a general part of the city to someone who is generally familiar with the city. Oh - definitely not a rant here, either, just explaining where I'm coming from. For what the OP's looking for, if they have a car, I would still say FDM is in the area - easily.

          1. re: gordeaux

            The map of the Logan Square Community on the City of Chicago's Wed Site would put Fonda del Mar at 3749 West Fullerton in the western part of Logan Square.

            For the record Logan Square officially runs from the Bloomingdale Air Line railroad tracks on the south, Diversey Avenue on the north except for a little kink northward at the northeast end, the Chicago River on the east and some angling railroad tracks on the west. At Fullerton the tracks are just west of Pulaski. Some of what is loosely and unofficially called Bucktown lies within the official Logan Square Community.

            1. re: gordeaux

              My humble apologies for mentioning that Fonda del Mar is not in Bucktown. I overlooked the reference to Logan Square that was in the original post (but not in the title). This was my error.

              Another recommendation for the Logan Square neighborhood is Lula. Lula specializes in the use of local and seasonal ingredients, and has a uniquely casual vibe to it. They do all three meals a day, so you can go there for anything from a casual breakfast to a nice dinner. They have a nice outdoor seating area when the weather is nice.

              1. re: nsxtasy

                As we're posting corrections, in response to chicgail's post, Buena Terra is not a BYO restaurant, but they have a decent wine selection and the food is solid, For unique food, I second Irazu for authentic Costa Rican fare and you can't go wrong with Fonda Del Mar either.

                1. re: chucktowneater

                  Chuck, thanks for the correction. You are correct, of course, and I agree with your other suggestions as well.

                2. re: nsxtasy

                  Incidentally, I ate at Fonda del Mar just a few weeks ago, and it was excellent.

                  We had two appetizers - the CALAMAR CON ESQUITES (calamari/squid) and the SOPES DE HUITLACOCHE (mushroom in corn masa boats). We thought both were okay, although not great.

                  The mains we got were all wonderful, though. The MOJARRA AL MOJO DE AJO (garlic tilapia) was great, worth all the work to pick through the whole fish for all the tasty morsels. The SALMON EN CHILEATOLE was very nice; I love when they can cook fish so there is a thin crisp to the outer crust while maintaining the insides moist and tender. The COCHINITA PIBIL (pork) was excellent too.

                  The desserts were also outstanding, perhaps the best we have had at a Mexican restaurant in recent years. The flan del dia was coconut, a subtle coconut flavoring to a very nice flan. The natillas was excellent, using sliced berries as the fruit. And the pastel tres leches was a very nice example.

                  This was also one of those places where making selections from the menu was very difficult, because there are so very many dishes that sound great, and you can only order a few. We would like to go back again soon to try some of the other dishes that we didn't get a chance to have on this visit.

                  Highly recommended.


          2. Second the Lula recommendation. Something pretty special to Chicago, IMO. Not formal, and they have two menus, one cheap, one in the $20 and up range for entrees. Mainly local produce, imaginative, and friendly.