SKIP all of what is listed below: I just remembered... Carson's Ribs.
Even if you don't want ribs, the chicken is great. The salad is great. The cheesy potatoes are amazing--oh and nothing beats the coleslaw (and I don't even like slaw).
For Italian Food, Cheap large portions... Italian Kitchen
For All-american food.. Red Star
Also all-american (fancier maybe).. Player's Grill
Also all-american Diner & local-feel... Kevin's Place
For amazing burgers, shakes, fries, super chicken...Dear Franks
For Subs and shakes... Tony subs
For a fancy dinner... Stony River
For Japanese.. Kegon
For breakfast type food... George's What's Cooking?
For Jewish food/deli... Max & Benny's
For German food... Kuhn's
To be honest, I would say, if you don't stop by Deerfield Bakery and buy yourself something sweet for breakfast or for a snack, then you probably can't say you had the full Deerfield experience.
648 Deerfield Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015
What's Cooking Restaurant
6181 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60659
808 Waukegan Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015
Grace has a lot of good thoughts above. She mentions Stoney River, which I like a lot, but I wouldn't recommend it for a fancy dinner. Stoney River is a casual steakhouse, so it's great for a casual meal. I like their steaks (they have a coffee-crusted filet that's excellent, and I hate coffee) and their seafood (they have a Thai-inspired preparation for Chilean sea bass that's yummy), and they bring great little rolls to the table. www.stoneyriver.com
If you want an upscale dinner, I would recommend three other places in the vicinity instead. All are in nearby towns; there's nothing really upscale in Deerfield itself. Michael in Winnetka is casual in style and reasonable in price, but with delicious higher-end contemporary American food. This is my favorite restaurant in the entire northern suburbs. www.restaurantmichael.com Inovasi in Lake Bluff is a new restaurant which is also casual and reasonable, and also turns out delicious contemporary American food. www.inovasi.us Carlos in Highland Park is very high end serving French cuisine - the only public restaurant in Chicago's suburbs in which jackets are required for gentlemen - but they recently introduced a 3-course prix fixe menu for $40 every night, which is a great deal. I loved it when I ate there a year ago. www.carlos-restaurant.com I have previously posted reports on dinners at all three of these restaurants on Chowhound:
Michael - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/351457
Inovasi - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/687962
Carlos - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/489069
She also mentions Carson's, which I like a lot also. Their barbecued ribs are excellent, as she mentions; they also have very good steaks and one of the best prime ribs in the area. I love the cole slaw too! www.ribs.com
I think Deerfield Bakery is dreadful. If you're a pastry fanatic (like I am), there are two nearby bakeries that are wonderful: Gourmet Frog in Highland Park ( www.frenchrestaurantschicagocatering.com/12-bakery.html ), and Three Tarts in Northfield ( www.threetartsbakery.com ).
For breakfast, go to Walker Brothers Original Pancake House. Their huge puffy cinnamony apple pancake is sublime! Depending on where you are in Deerfield, either the location in Highland Park (just east of Deerfield) or Lincolnshire (just west of Deerfield) may be closer. www.walkerbrosoph.com
You'll find lots more recommendations for the Deerfield area in these topics:
Deerfield on a Wednesday night - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/563919
WORTHY RECOMMENDATION FOR THE DEERFIELD AREA - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/360966
Wedding dinner suggestions around Deerfield - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/493922
Dining recs for Deerfield/Highland Park - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/445724
Hoosiers visiting north shore area - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/395248
4 days in Northbrook area - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/519955
Wheeling Chow? - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/381573