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A challenge for Chicagoans

I have a group that meets for a monthly lunch club. Every month we pick an off-the-beaten-path spot in Chicago. It is usually some type of ethnic food. There are about 8-10 of us every month who attend. And the person picking usually rotates. We have had some great experiences and found some awesome grub.

But, its my turn and I want to pick a winner. Previous hits have been La Unica (cuban in the back of a grocery store on devon), Taste of Peru, some puerto rican sandwich places, Isla Pilipina, etc.

Idea, thoughts?! I want to pick someplace super unique and great!

Taste of Peru
6545 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60626

Isla Pilipina Restaurant
2501 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

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  1. My immediate thought would be Eithopian. My two favorites are Eithopian Diamond and Ras Dashen. I like it because it is pretty much accessible to all tastes level. Can get crazy (kifta) or tame (chicken/veggie dishes). Fun to eat on a communal platter too.

    1. Well, almost all of your choices are Latin American. So you could keep to that theme, or go elsewhere. If you want to keep to that theme, I'd go to Mundial Cocina Mestiza in Pilsen. It's creative provincial Mexican, and IMHO the best Mexican in the city - but for whatever reason, a lot of people haven't been there. www.mundialcocinamestiza.com Amelia's is similar - it was actually started by a former partner at Mundial - and I don't think there's any spot more off-the-beaten-path than their location on South Halsted in Back of the Yards. www.ameliaschicago.com The Amelia's folks also recently opened another place called Fogon in West Town. www.fogonchicago.com

      If you don't want to keep doing Latin, how about Podhalanka for Polish food? http://chicago.menupages.com/restaura... Or, you could do one of the Asian cuisines, maybe one of the Vietnamese places on Argyle Street, or one of the Indian places on Devon, although I think most Chicagoans have been to some of those. Or, you could do Vermilion, which is a fusion of Indian and Latin. www.thevermilionrestaurant.com

      If you want to get away from ethnic entirely, you could go to Deleece for contemporary American fare in Lakeview. www.deleece.com Or go to Southport Grocery in Lakeview for comfort food. www.southportgrocery.com Both these places are outstanding and neither seems to get much attention except from those in the neighborhood.

      All of these are open for lunch.

      Mundial Cocina Mestiza
      1640 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608

      1549 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60642

      1 Reply
      1. re: nsxtasy

        Another place you can do a fusion of Asian and Latin cuisines is Belly Shack, in Bucktown. www.bellyshack.com You could also try Bill Kim's other restaurant, Urban Belly, but I think it's strictly Asian. www.urbanbellychicago.com

      2. Joong Boo Market
        3333 N. Kimball Ave. Chicago, IL. 60618

        Has an excellent but >tiny< cafe that does Korean right!

        1. San Soo Gab San for Korean BBQ.

          1. Noon o Kabab for Persian (although Reza's does do a pretty large buffet in Andersonville on Sundays that was good when I was there)

            2 Replies
            1. re: jhojati

              Reza's has blanded out, to my palate. Noon O Kebab is better overall.

            2. Sun Wah BBQ off Argyle and Broadway is always a home run for me, especially with large groups. Call ahead and reserve a couple of their roast ducks (even for lunch - if only so they can prepare ahead of time, rather than make your group wait forever for them to come out). Anything with house-cured bacon is usually great, as are most of the specials taped to the wall as you walk in. They are also BYO.

              2 Replies
              1. re: danimalarkey

                You read my mind. After great suggestions and ideas, I picked Sun Wah. Been once and as I was researching realized how fun that could be for the group.

                1. re: Chargenda

                  Great choice and great place to eat! Everything I've had there has been wonderful and we always want to go back.

              2. Does it have to be within the city limits? I had lunch at Kabul House in Skokie a month or two ago, and it was great, with Afghan food that was different from the usual and delicious. www.kabulhouse.com

                Looks like you've got plenty of options!

                1 Reply
                1. re: nsxtasy

                  LOVE LOVE LOVE Kabul House. A must for foodies, BYO, friendly servers, easy parking.