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Jun 11, 2009 12:34 PM

Best chicago food neighborhoods?


My husband and I are planning a move to Chicago (from Brooklyn) and want to buy ($300-$400K) an apt/condo in a relatively decent dining area (want to be able to walk to a few good restaurants, coffee shops, farmers market too ideally). Any recommendations? We'll also be starting a family, so a foodie neighborhood that's not too sketchy is a plus.

If you have any neighborhood favorites, please list them. We'll be visiting soon to check out neighborhoods (which means we'll be checking out the food too!)


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  1. Andersonville! Some great dining, very family friendly, but still in the city.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chargenda

      I had a condo in Uptown for 15+ years and raised my kids there. It's a bit sketchier than Andersonville, which is a very close neighbor. The entire area is worth considering because there are a number of attractions. My condo was a 15-20-minute walk to Clark Street, Andersonville's primary artery. It was also 3 minutes away from Argyle, the "Little Vietnam/Chinatown" area as well as 3-5 minutes from the beach and the lakefront jogging/bike path. You also have proximity to the Red Line train which takes you North into Evanston (20 minutes), South to Wrigley (10 minutes) or Downtown (25-35 minutes, depending where).

      So Andersonville is West of the Red Line, which bisects Uptown which then abuts the lakefront. I don't think you can go wrong in that general area -- definitely worth checking one. Schools are the one caveat - public is not a great option.

        1. re: ferret

          Andersonville or Lakeview - both are good. Lakeview is pricier than Andersonville - both have parking issues..

      1. A little more information, please, because there are several neighborhoods that would meet the stated criteria. Location of work versus el lines (Brown, Blue and Red lines all have some good options) or use of bus commuting could narrow things down. Will you have a car and/or commute by car? If not, do you need easy access to a car sharing service such as iGo or Zipcar? Parts of Lincoln Square and North Center meet all the criteria well providing the Brown line is suitable and are loaded with families with children.

        North Center and Lincoln Square are bounded by the Union Pacific North line on the east and the Chicago River on the west. Montrose Avenue (4400 north) divides North Center from Lincoln Square. There are six Brown Line stops in the two neighborhoods. Lincoln Avenue is loaded with restaurants in both communities while a very diverse set of ethnic restaurants are scattered around. West of the Chicago River are the Irving Park and Albany Park communities, which also have a great range of restaurants and food shopping options.

        1. I highly recommend Lincoln Square. First, it's very accessible to both downtown via the "L" (Western Ave stop and Rockwell/Leland stop) and it's not too far from the highway. Prices are within your range and it's a big neighborhood as far as young families go, with good shopping and nice streets to walk along.

          Best yet, some of my very favorite restaurants in the city: Spoon Thai (my favorite), Rosded Thai, Aroy Thai, Los Nopales and Dorado (both offer very good Mexican), Nhu' Lan Bakery (Vietnamese/excellent banh mi sandwiches). Also, Lincoln Square is also just one mile from Kedzie where you'll find the best Middle Eastern Restaurants, two miles from Devon (Indian/Pakistani).

          There is also a farmer's market Saturday mornings in the summer. The heart of Lincoln Square is on Lincoln Avenue, between Lawrence and Wilson.

          4 Replies
          1. re: BRB

            In addition to Bistro Campagne, Tank Sushi, Chalkboard. And a little bit south of there, Sola.

            1. re: ms. chow

              all good mentions . . . and there's Tallulah, Jury's, near Sola is the newly opened second Fonda del Mar location, and close to Laschet's Inn, Resi's Bierstube . . . we could probably come up with some others I suppose.

            2. re: BRB

              Lincoln Square is also not far from Andersonville (1-1/4 miles West and a few blocks South) just to give you perspective. As you can see, Chicago is full of neighborhoods with lots of appeal.

              Identify what's important to you (highway access, lakefront access) and work from there.

              Andersonville, Uptown and Lincoln Square are the tip of a pretty sizable iceberg.

              1. re: BRB

                The Lincoln Square farmers' market is on Tuesdays. The North Center farmers' market is on Saturdays. Because these are only about a mile apart, they are quite accessible from much of Lincoln Square and the northern part of North Center. I live in Lincoln Square, as noted in my profile, and go to both markets.

              2. Wicker Park/Bucktown/Ukranian Village. Great restaurants, bars, shopping, small groceries (August on Division and W Crossing on North among many). There's the farmers market on Sunday. Close to downtown, close to all major freeways. We love it here!

                1. I second Andersonville. I lived there for years (still live there a couple months out of the year) and think it is one of the best areas in the city in terms of both livability and eatability. Middle Eastern Grocery for hummas and pita and little nibbles, The Hopleaf for beer and mussels, Taste of Heaven for scones, Svea for breafast, the list goes on and on. Plus, it's near transportation, and in the summer it's certainly easy to walk or bike to many of the other great neighborhoods like Lincoln Square.

                  Honestly, unlike Brooklyn, where it seems like you've got big stretches of boring in between the hot neighborhoods, the Northside is pretty much one great neighborhood on top of another.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: lulubelle

                    Having considered Andersonville and Lincoln Square when I purchased some years ago, and it only came down to the actual home I chose, I would agree that both are great neighborhoods for those wanting to be close to food choices. One thing I really like about Andersonville is its proximity to Argyle and Vietnamese food (and Sun Wah). Of course, if I lived any closer to Pasticceria Natalina on Clark, I'd be pretty large.

                    1. re: BRB

                      Thanks everyone! This is very, very helpful. Can't wait to check out all these areas and restaurants.