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Jun 12, 2008 12:23 PM

Tasty things in NW Chicago area?

Happy to say that work brings me back to Chicago next week! I'll be staying at Hotel Indigo (what's that place like?) in Palatine/Rolling Meadows, but as always, am willing to range for worthy places. Things like Ethiopian (never tried it), good Mexican (liked Flamingo's last time), BBQ, maybe a brick oven pizza place, whatever... I lean away from trendy new spots where I am supposed to be seen drinking a $20 martini- I just want good, interesting food, whether it's in a swanky place or a decaying strip mall. Recs for B, L & D would be great!

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  1. If I was in Palatine, and had a craving for some killer Char Grilled steak tacqueria offerings:
    356 Lee St
    Des Plaines, IL 60016
    (847) 298-3393‎
    This place is a DIVE, and it isn't open late. It doesn't have to be. They rake it in during the lunch hour. I would go at peak times to ensure fresh off the grill juicy char grilled skirt steak. I'd go with steak only. Maybe barbacoa if you want something a little more rich. Chicken is just ok. Go with the steak. This is not your average griddle fried chuck steak that most places slop out to the drunk crowds. This is like steak you'd grill up at home on your own outdoor grill for tacos.

    Indian Food lunch buffet:
    India House in Buffalo Grove. A little nicer - um actually it's a LOT nicer than your basic hole in the wall "cabbie joints" for Indian food. It's interesting enough. They have never had anything good and spicy (hot) when I've been there, but the food is generally always pretty good.
    228 McHenry Rd
    Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
    (847) 520-5569

    All I can think of for interesting and good around there that I've been to. Probably a bunch more from others...

    2 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      Nice- that Taq sounds great. I live in a dead zone for good Mex, and I'm a sucker for tasty skirt steak with some pico. It's very important to me to have a list of good places, as I'll be there a couple of days with someone that points out the car window and says "Look, there's an Applebees!".

      1. re: lagniappe

        Sorry. Forgot the name: Las Asadas.
        If you dig on tasty skirt steak, this is your joint. Remember, at peak times, the steak will be fresher. They don't have a chopped pico de gallo, but a blender green salsa, and nothing else. It's usually pretty decent.

    2. So to sum up the food offerings in this area of Chicago: a taqueria and an Indian buffet. Now there must be a few more good places out there...

      1 Reply
      1. re: lagniappe

        Your question was pretty vague and you received some pretty vague responses.

        There are three excellent Thai places in Arlington Heights which is up the rail from where you are staying in East Palatine. Alt Thai is probably the best of the three but Gumbrai Thai and the Bangkok Cafe are so also quite good and reasonable.

        There are about eight other restaurants including a tapas bar all along the tracks in Arlington Heights on NW Highway,

      2. Yanni's Greek restaurant in Arlington Heights is soooo delicious! It is our favorite Greek restaurant in the city and we have tried many others (including those in Greek town). I highly recommend it if you want Greek food.

        3 Replies
        1. re: etoiles

          Their menu looks great! Of course, everyone in the meeting looked at me when the greek music started playing... I think I'd go for the taramosalata alone.

          1. re: lagniappe

            If you are gonne be near Yannis, you absolutely MUST go to Mitsuwa. It is an absolute must if you don't have a decent sized Japanese mkt where you are from. They have food stalls for you too. Plan on at least getting a bubble tea from one of the stalls, some mochi from the freezer, and a pkg of pocki stix or gummi candies, and walk through the aisles. I would recommend it for lunch in a heartbeat. Plenty of food to try from the stalls. Also a bakery and ice cream shop in there. It's not HUGE, but it's decent sized, and worth walking around for half an hour or so. If you go for lunch, watch for the refrig sushi section getting restocked by the sushi chef. Some really good, fresh fish can be had for cheap if you go at the right time.
            Mitsuwa Marketplace
            100 E Algonquin Road
            Arlington Heights, IL 60005

            Also right down the street from there is a Johnnies beef. A very good representation of the classic Chicago sammich. I'd get a combo with hot peppers. Many say Johnnies is the best beef in the city.
            Johnnies Beef
            1935 S Arlington Heights Rd
            Arlington Hts, IL 60005
            (847) 357-8100

            Further North (but not far) on Arl Hgts Road is Chowpatti. Never been, but heard VERY good things.
            1035 S. Arlington Heights Road, Arlington Heights, IL 60005-3138
            (847) 640-9554

            1. re: gordeaux

              I agree with the Mistuwa suggestion. I eat there often for lunch during the week and stock up on snacks for work at the bakery and market. Not only does the food court offer Japanese cuisine but Chinese and Korean as well. It's the perfect place to go whether you are craving sushi, cold soba noodles, steamed buns, or bim bim bap. As a word of warning though, the food court is cash only.

        2. The above replies comprise very good recommendations for the Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and Arlington Heights area! I would add a few more:

          Le Titi de Paris ( ) in Arlington Heights offers wonderful French cuisine in an elegant but casual setting. It's one of the very best restaurants in the Chicago suburbs, IMHO.

          Fuego ( ) in Arlington Heights has very good, creative Mexican food. Maybe not the very best in the entire Chicagoland area, but a significant step above your conventional Mexican places offering enchiladas, carne asada, etc. They have excellent mole, including their "mole of the week". Try it!

          Stoney River ( ) in Deer Park is a steakhouse. I'm not sure whether their crab cakes are still on the menu, which is too bad because they were as good as any in the entire Chicago area. I love their coconut-infused Chilean sea bass. Their coffee-cured filet is excellent (and I normally dislike anything coffee flavored). And they bring these puffy rolls to the table that are fantastic!

          Walker Brothers ( ) in Arlington Heights and in Lake Zurich has breakfast specialties including their spectacular, puffed-up cinnamony apple pancake.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nsxtasy

            It's like you guys are psychic- I'm back in Chicago again this week! I may be hitting Stoney River, as the execs along for the ride have declared a longing for a steakhouse. On my own, I might have gone in search of a Pho shop, but oh well. Le Titi De Paris looks great- I may have to steer us in that direction. I end up having to pretend to stumble across these places when I'm traveling with management. It would probably be bad form to show that I usually schedule my appointments to end up near restaurants I want to try.

            Thanks for all the good suggestions so far!

          2. In downtown Palatine Mint Julip is really good open for lunch and dinner also Gianni's for dinner in downtown palatine

            1 Reply
            1. re: cabo91

              I think I went to Gianni's on a previous trip- do they have a dessert they refer to as "fresh tiramisu"? I thought it was pretty good, traditional old-style Italian. One of those places where they bring you the big entree after the salad, and then hand you this big bowl of pasta with marinara. It always makes me think that I am some different species than their usual patrons, if they can put all of this away in one sitting. I'll probably end up going back again at some point for more Italian comfort food.