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Vegetarian BDay Dinner

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Hey guys!
So my sister's birthday is coming up and my family wants to take her out for dinner. She loves pizza (not deep dish though, more the brick oven stuff), Italian, or really most things. Not Indian though. She is a foodie, so she has been to/heard of most of the famous places.
Can you think of anything that is:

-off the beaten track
-not too expensive
-vegetarian friendly
-not casual
-a unique dining experience? either a great location or the restaurant does something unique?

Any ideas for where I can take her? I know its a long wish list, but if you can think of something even close, I would love the help! Oh, and we live in the northwest suburbs, so anything there or loop/north chicago would be best. Thank you!

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  1. Twice in the past two months, I have eaten at Sergio's in Itasca, and I think it would fit your needs. I haven't posted much about it here because most folks aren't interested in places in the northwest suburbs, but it's been absolutely terrific. It's on a par with the very best Italian restaurants in the city; I know, because I've been to many of those recently too. Great pasta, amazingly tender veal, and everything else is excellent too. Yes, it's off the beaten path - near where I-290 and I-355 meet, so the location is convenient to the interstates - but it's the kind of place you can drive past a hundred times and wonder if it's any good, but unless you have reason to go there, you just don't know. Once you know, you'll find yourself going back again and again, and bringing your friends. Not too expensive, check. Vegetarian friendly, check. Not casual, check (it's a "business casual" type place in terms of attire). What makes it unique is that Sergio, the proprietor, is always there, and if you like talking about food, he'll spend as much time with you as you like. Ask him about what's good, ask him about how his ingredients differ from those at most places, and you'll find him as informative and entertaining as any dinner guest you could ever have. It's one of those "hidden gems" you never hear about because they don't have a PR firm working on their behalf, but the quality is absolutely top notch.

    Sergio's Cucina Italiana
    280 North Rohlwing Road
    Itasca, IL 60143
    (630) 773-0700
    www.sergioscucina.com

    6 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      Thanks for the suggestion! This would be a the top of my budget, but it's a good option that I'll look into.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        I would suggest Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Co. It is a very unique place and I have not tried anything bad there. I am vegetarian and have tried the vegetarian pizza, veggie salad, bread, and sandwich and they were all delicious and unique.

        It is a nice and cozy atmosphere too and reasonable prices.

        http://www.chicagopizzaandovengrinder...

        It is more casual though but it fits all other requirements perfectly!

        1. re: etoiles

          Wanted to try this place on my most recent Chi trip. My daughter lives near it and said the wait is usually quite long. I also saw from their website they don't take plastic, so just a heads up on both issues.
          Happy Birthday to your sister from this NY (and Chi lover) vegetarian!

          1. re: etoiles

            Thanks for the suggestion! I've been to this place before. I guess I am looking for a place with a little more of a wow factor. And it doesn't have to be italian, but should have some vegetarian options.

            1. re: musicislife102

              I love Sable, which def caters to both veg and non-veg. My dtr (veg, lives in Old Town) has enjoyed Perennial Virant. I've not been there, but maybe that's more along the lines of what you have in mind.
              http://www.perennialchicago.com/menus...

        2. Update: I just found out she actually does want Italian. So, italian, entre about $15, pretty location/view/space, vegetarian.

          1. Balena and Nellcote have both opened in the past year or so, and have foodie cred. Both spaces are beautiful and would have a celebratory vibe. The only suburban Italian I have visited recently has been Moderno, in Highland Park, and I believe this would also fit your criteria. All of these have options within your price range and beyond.

            Balena
            1633 N Halsted St, Chicago
            http://balenachicago.com/

            Nellcote
            833 W Randolph St, Chicago
            http://nellcoterestaurant.com/

            Moderno
            1850 Second St, Highland Park
            http://modernohp.com/menu/