Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Apr 9, 2011 05:51 AM

Restaurants in and around Deerfield Il.

I will be in Deerfield Il. the week following Easter and am looking for places to eat in Deerfield and neighboring communities. I have a car at my disposal and am not looking for a particular food, just good food. Thank you very much!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. --Carson's Ribs--good. Probably the best option in terms of 'Chow'-type food because all of the 'nice' restaurants went out in the square. If you like cheese-laden potatoes, make sure you get those as your side. I no longer eat meat, but my family has tried ribs all of the country and still swears by Carson's. Oh man: I don't even like slaw--but theirs is exceptional.

    --Trax--this restaurant, as expected, is along the metra tracks. It is a local 'hot-spot' for many (but probably because other restaurants--Stony River & Red Star--recently closed) and is nice to eat on the roof if the weather is good. Personally I do not think the food is anything unique.

    --Italian Kitchen-Mom & Pop italian restaurant. A lot of movies have filmed clips there. I like the homemade atmosphere although the service can be slightly slow.

    --Max and Benny's--somewhat in Deerfield (technically not really) but amazing sandwiches and salads of the Jewish variety.

    --Barnaby's Pizza--this is not far from there and is pretty good.

    Lou Malnati's--Ok, upon mentioning Barnaby's I am reminded to mention there is Lou's in Buffalo Grove.

    --Blind Faith Cafe--this is kind of far, in Evanston, but it is one of my favorite options: as a vegetarian. The vegan chocolate cake is my favorite ever.

    Of course there are some good restaurants in Wilmette, Evanston, and closer to the city, but those are the ones I can think of near Deerfield. Of course (and some Chow members will disagree, as usual), I would urge you to stop by Deerfield Bakery. I have gone on many 'Cupcake Crawls' (and except for the cupcakes of Molly's Cupcakes) Deefield is definitely my top overall bakery. The smiley-face cookies are the best.

    Molly's Cupcakes
    2536 N Clark St, Chicago, IL

    7 Replies
    1. re: GraceW

      I forgot--for seafood:
      Bob Chinn's--on Milwaukee Ave

      Jimmy's Charhouse is near there too and Wildfire and Tramanto's, but I would not particularly opt for them over the 'legit' nice restaurants (esp Michael in Winnetka) that nsxtasy mentioned below--if you want an upscale dinner.

      Jimmy's Charhouse
      1413 Peterson Rd, Libertyville, IL 60048

      1. re: GraceW

        >> I forgot--for seafood:
        >> Bob Chinn's--on Milwaukee Ave

        This is in Wheeling, just west of Deerfield. FWIW, I'm not particularly fond of Bob Chinn's, as I find their preparations rather uninspired and often overly dependent on garlic to the exclusion of any other flavorings. Granted, the seafood there is always fresh. I just find Mitchell's way better.

        >> Jimmy's Charhouse is near there too and Wildfire and Tramanto's, but I would not particularly opt for them over the 'legit' nice restaurants (esp Michael in Winnetka) that nsxtasy mentioned below--if you want an upscale dinner.

        Thanks - I think it all depends on what you're looking for. The contemporary American and French places I mentioned are extraordinarily good, and unusually creative. Michael and Inovasi are my two favorite restaurants in the Chicago area, the places I keep going back to again and again when I want to show off the best we've got. But if you're just looking for a good steak - and there's nothing wrong with that - then all of these (along with Morton's and Ruth's Chris, in Northbrook) are good recommendations, places where you can get an excellent steak. IMHO Carson's is as good as any of these for steaks.

        One other place in Wheeling deserves a mention. Cooper's Hawk has a winery in southwest suburban Orland Park, and has three more locations in the Chicago suburbs, including one on Milwaukee Avenue in Wheeling. The wines are very good and so is the food. You can sample any of the wines for free in the tasting room adjoining the restaurant (and of course they're available for purchase). The markups on wine in the dining room are much less than the standard 2.5-3.0 at most restaurants; for example, the Malbec they sell for $20 in the tasting room is only $28 in the restaurant. The food is rather creative American bistro fare. Reservations are strongly recommended.

      2. re: GraceW

        If old-school Italian is in order, head for Marcello's in Northbrook, 15 mins. south of center of Deerfield. I know it's a bit of a sacred cow, but Italian Kitchen is really tired, with a frowsy dining room, spotty service, and mediocre food.

        Another sacred cow, in case it comes up: Cherry Pit in downtown Deerfield, for breakfast. Yuck. Better you should go across the street to Deerfield's for a chocolate-frosted raised donut and some good coffee, and call it a day (or head to Rhapsody for a terrific omelet or banana-bread french toast!)

        1. re: gregger77

          gregger77 is all wet when it comes to The Cherry Pit because The Cherry Pit hasn't even been in business for nearly 5 years.

          1. re: Mobiusring

            Sorry, I meant "Kevin's Place," aka "the old Cherry Pit" which is what 99% of Deerfielders call it. (We also still use outdated monikers like "Sears Tower.")

            1. re: gregger77

              Well, since you know it's called Kevin's Place I guess you know of its existance. I am convinced that you haven't eaten there lately. Kevin's is an institution for a reason. KEVIN! He provides, especially, a warm, friendly, good place for a family to have a great weekend breakfast. And no other person is more dedicated to the community than Kevin. He's a treasure.

              Kevin's Place
              808 Waukegan Rd, Deerfield, IL 60015

              1. re: Mobiusring

                You make a good point...we often "replay the tapes" from old restaurant visits, without bothering to go back and see what's new/different. I should stop in and give it a new try. Another example: I haven't been in to the new SuperDawg on Milwaukee in Wheeling, even though it's been open for well over a year now. Why? Because I decided when I last visited them 15 YEARS AGO (at Central & Devon) that the food was only so-so. Time to try them again.

      3. For an upscale dinner, I recommend three outstanding restaurants in nearby towns. Michael in Winnetka is casual in style, but with delicious higher-end contemporary American food. This is my favorite restaurant in the entire northern suburbs. Inovasi in Lake Bluff is also casual and very reasonable in price, and also turns out delicious contemporary American food. 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. I have previously posted reports on dinners at all three of these restaurants on Chowhound:

        Michael -
        Inovasi -
        Carlos -

        The barbecued ribs at Carson's are excellent; they also have very good steaks and one of the best prime ribs in the area. I love the cole slaw too!

        For our delicious local specialty of deep-dish pizza, Lou Malnati's has locations in Highland Park (east of Deerfield) and Northbrook (south of Deerfield), but both are carry-out and delivery only. For dine-in, you'll need to go a little further. Malnati's has a location in Buffalo Grove (thanks GraceW), a couple towns to the west, or you can go to Pizano's in Glenview, a couple towns south.

        For seafood, Mitchell's Fish Market in Glenview is outstanding. The seafood is very fresh and I love some of the preparations, such as the kung pao fried calamari appetizer and any of the entrees "shang hai style" (steamed with ginger and green onions). They also have some nice sampler platters, and even the salads are excellent.

        For a casual French bistro, consider Froggy's in Highwood ( ) or Cafe Central in Highland Park ( ).

        If you're a pastry fanatic (like I am), there are two nearby bakeries that are wonderful: Three Tarts in Northfield ( ), and Gourmet Frog in Highland Park ( ). Do NOT go to Deerfield Bakery, which is absolutely dreadful! In the discussion on pastries in the Chicago area ( ), I ranked Three Tarts and Gourmet Frog the top two out of 20 local bakeries in the city and suburbs, and Deerfield next to last.

        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.

        1. Good recommendations here...just a note of caution to consult with your concierge/desk clerk before heading away from Deerfield as right now we have some paralyzing construction along certain main arteries (esp. Lake-Cook Road)!

          Second Carson's -- a local favorite and won't require much of a drive.

          Second Mitchells -- Always good selections, and consistently great service. Comfortable atmosphere.

          Any of the recommendations in Highwood, which is our little "restaurant haven" about 15 mins. away, would be easy to navigate on a weeknight. A very easy drive is Lovell's in Lake Forest , immediately north of Deerfield on Waukegan Road. It's a much-loved local spot; famous family (think Apollo 13) makes the history interesting. Fine steaks, seafood, upscale but not stuffy. Check it out:

          Not mentioned for breakfast, another local "fave" (especially for power breakfasts) is Eggshell Cafe, but it is on Lake-Cook so you only want to access it via Pfingsten. Ask for directions. Easier because it's right in town (next to Trax) is another fave breakfast spot, Rhapsody Cafe, which offers better variety but not quite as pretty a room.

          For a quick breakfast stop...I agree, Deerfield's is indeed a conventional bakery but I will argue to the death that for a breakfast stop, nobody nearby beats their donuts and danish! (No one will kick you out of the coffee room for bringing Deerfield's to the gang.)

          2 Replies
          1. re: gregger77

            >> (No one will kick you out of the coffee room for bringing Deerfield's to the gang.)

            That's another way of saying that the only way anyone would eat their crap would be if you gave it to them for free. Come on, be serious - their stuff is no better than the ordinary baked stuff you'll find in your local Jewel or Dominick's. It's really, really mediocre. And there's no need to settle for mediocre with a couple of the best bakeries in Chicagoland nearby.

            Speaking of Jewel and Dominick's, there are some other options for food stores nearby. Sunset Foods is a local chain of grocery stores that's a little bit more upscale (and slightly more expensive) than Jewel and Dominick's. Some of what they have in the deli department is pretty darn good. Foodstuffs is another local chain, this time of small gourmet shops featuring various prepared foods. It tends to be somewhat pricey and their stuff is inconsistent, some of it very good, some of it undistinguished. And there's also a new, ENORMOUS Whole Foods at the intersection of Waukegan Road and Willow Road.

            Eggshell Cafe is fairly good, for what it is, just not all that unusual. The breakfast stuff is just okay, nowhere near as good as Walker Brothers, though. Don't even bother with their awful imitation of the Walker Brothers apple pancake. The omelets and stuff are okay, similar to what you get at other breakfast places. Their lunchtime sandwiches and salads are pretty good. Oh, and they do get busy (just like Walker Brothers).

            Oh, and I've been to Lovell's for dinner, and thought it was just okay, not bad but not particularly great either. Again, if you want a really nice dinner, you'll find far better food at Michael, Carlos, and Inovasi (and Inovasi will be significantly less expensive than Lovell's, too).

            1. re: gregger77

              Gregger77, I agree. Not that my novice palate counts for anything--compared to Nsxtasy's--but yes, I adore Deerfield's and Lovells is a good Lake Forest recommendation.