Great Food in Wrigleyville- Is My List Complete?
My boyfriend is about to move to Wrigleyville from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and I'm trying to put together a list of good restaurants in the area for him. I looked around the forums and tried to put together a list of places recommended by multiple people, but I'm sure I missed some good places (and possibly included bad ones).
I'm especially hoping to find more good Mexican recommendations- he loves Mexican food, and he heard that there's not much good Mexican in Chicago. I'd like to prove him wrong, if possible.
The Raw Bar
I'm not sure that the best food in Chicago is to be found in Wrigleyville, and probably not the best Mexican, but if he's willing to step away from that area on occasion he can find some AMAZING food. Just for starters, on Sundays there's the Maxwell Street Market - an outdoor area with all sorts of vendors - this is where you can find the much ballyhooed eyeball taco, as well as more prosaic and delicious hand-made tortillas filled with freshly grilled meats.
New Maxwell Street Market
548 W Roosevelt Rd, Chicago, IL
<he heard that there's not much good Mexican in Chicago>
You're kidding, right? Chicago had great Mexican restaurants long before there were any in most northern cities! Chicago has long had a thriving Mexican community in the neighborhood of Pilsen, and it has not decreased! There are wonderful Mexican restaurants (not talking high end/pricy) all over town!
Maybe someone should look at these three threads that offer a good start on Mexican food in Chicago:
Best Mexican Restaurants: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/463572
Trip Report (Bombon, Casa de Samuel, Taqueria Aguascalientes, Sol de Mexico & Chicago Hospitality): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/443514
Hi Liz. I know Chapel Hill very well and I think your boyfriend will find that Wrigleyville feels like a bigger version -- lots of people partying and drinking beer while cheering on the local team. :-) (not that there's anything wrong with that!) Wrigleyville has a lot of restaurants, some pretty good but others that stay in business because of their location...
TAC, on your list, is really excellent though. Be sure to ask for the Thai menu translated by Erik M, and also check the board for daily specials.
Other places you might want to add: Matsuya, an old standby for Japanese; the Duke of Perth, for fish and chips and scotch, Tango Sur, Argentine on Southport.
Here's an old thread asking about the same neighborhood. It's a few years out of date so check that everything mentioned is still open.
I hope he will get out and explore as many other neighborhoods as possible, too -- having a restaurant as a destination is a good way to do that. Here's a link to a list of places that might help him get started:
that's a very spotty list. you really only want to eat at giordano's for the pizza but that's it. chens and cozy noodles are average (tac quick is good). tuscany has better italian than the places you have there, although mia francesaca is decent. erwin's is supposed to be pretty good but i haven't been there
everyone above is right, chicago has great mexican food.
I moved to Wrigleyville from Manhattan almost a year ago and I have been rather dissapointed by the dining options in the neighborhood. I find the options in other parts of the city far better.
As for your list, Wakamono on Broadway is a great option for Sushi. The whole area is filled with very mediocre pubs but if you are in the mood for bar food, I find Kirkwood's to be a solid option. I am yet to try TAC but I've had Chen's and I wouldn't recommend it. In terms of Asian delivery, I would opt for Joy's instead. The other day, my wife and I went to a Mexican place on Broadway called Mariachi which was fine. I know that Chicago has great Mexican food but none of it seems even remotely close to us. If you head about 2-3 miles north you will find a number of Vietnamese places (on Argyle). And if you head even further north, there are many great Indian places (on Devon). Hope this helps.
Liz--I moved from Wrigleyville about 9 years ago to Chapel Hill and loved the neighborhood. I agree with what has been said about Matsuya for sushi--great food for a good price. Penny's Noodle Shop on the corner of Roscoe and Sheffield under the El tracks is a great option for Thai. There are several Penny's Noodles Shops now, but this is the original. For great Chinese food it is very easy to get to Chinatown (south near McCormick) via the Red Line or to the other Chinatown on the northside of town.
The place alot of people like, but I found to be hit or miss was Reza's for Middle Eastern, but that was further north than Wrigleyville.
For Italian, there are many options available. There used to be a great restaurant on Southport (1400 W) and Roscoe called "The Red Tomato"--great wine list and good selection. Mia Francesca is good, but there are alot of other places around there. I agree with the recommendation for Tuscany's. Outside of Wrigleyville is Anna Maria's Pasteria--it is owned by two sisters--one is the chef and the other is the
Duke of Perth is a wonderful place to go for pub food and has the most amazing selection of single malt scotch (before it became hip). It has a great outdoor garden too. My husband and I went there alot on Friday nights for the all you can eat fried fish (and for me an icy cold pint of Woodpecker cider). Another bar we liked was Justin's on Southport. It too has a great outdoor garden (and a television if you want to watch sports).
The Bagel is an excellent choice and has the best egg bagels--very crowded on the weekends though. Other breakfast options are: Nookies on Halsted (the one in Wrigleyville and not the one in Lincoln Park) and Ann Sather's on Southport or on Belmont.
Erwin's is good for contemporary cooking. Another really nice place (I don't know if it is still open) is Cornelia's (corner of Cornelia & Halsted). There used to be a branch of "Heaven on Seven" on Clark Street too--if he likes Cajun food.
For Mexican, there are alot of little shops up and down Clark, Halsted and Broadway--some are mediocre and some are good. It is just a matter of trying them out. There is a place on Halsted towards Addison--pink building (my husband and I named it "the Pink Palace") and it had great food--delicious margaritas. If your friend likes tapas, Emilio's on the corner of Clark (towards Fullerton) is good. Prefer Emilio's over Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba which is a tourist trap.
Your boyfriend can always pick up a copy of Chicago magazine which has a thorough listing of places (the magazine can be found at Border's) and dining options are also available online at www.metromix.com.
There are many wonderful places to dine outside of Wrigleyville that are affordable too. Summer time is the best time to explore all the different neighborhoods in Chicago. The ethnic areas all have great restaurants and are fun to explore.
Hope this helps.
Ooops! Red Tomato is closed now, but according to metromix.com, the owner renamed the place "Redder" and it has received good reviews. Heaven on Seven is closed now, but he can always go to the one on Michigan Ave or Wabash. Another good Italian place is Angelina's Ristorante on Broadway and Addison. The Taco & Burrito Palace #2 that was in Wrigleyville is closed, but there is one Halsted towards Fullerton.