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May 20, 2014 09:59 AM

Casual but really good Lakeview eating

In Chicago for three nights early next month - Know the "big deal" restaurants but really want not to leave where we are staying which is in Lakeview area --- Looking for suggestions - happy to walk but not downtown - thx

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  1. I reside in Lakeview and currently my favorite venues are Senza and Ceres' Table. Senza is on the expensive side and a bit dressy, so probably not a great option for what you are seeking but Ceres' Table is reasonably casual, moderately priced and has outstanding food, beverages and service.

    Other good possibilities in Lakeview would be Bar Pastoral (wine bar with great cheeses, meats and comfort food), Dryhop (microbrewery with upscale bar food), Deleece (American) and Bites Asian Tapas (variety of Asian small plates) - Bites has a beautiful outdoor patio is the weather is nice and such friendly staff and owners. For Japanese I would look into Ani; a new venue - I have not made it myself but heard great things from a friend I trust. For a snack or quick lunch 5411 Empanadas is good. El Nuevo Mexicano or Mixteco Grill are the best Mexican venues I have tried in Lakeview.

    For brunch Kanela Breakfast Club, Bites Asian Tapas, Deleece and Southport Grocery are all good options.

    For cocktails I would recommend consisdering Barrelhouse Flats.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gonzo70

      I'll second several of these recommendations. Mixteco Grill serves terrific contemporary Mexican cuisine; it's BYOB so if you want to drink, bring something (or buy something at the liquor store kitty corner at that intersection). Deleece is also consistently outstanding, not only for brunch, but also for dinner; the food is creative contemporary American. It's also reasonably priced - all the time, and especially for their $25 three-course prix fixe dinner specials on Mondays and Tuesdays. Both accept reservations including on Opentable. Southport Grocery is great for breakfast/brunch (bread pudding pancakes! adult pop tarts!), but they don't take reservations and waits to be seated can be lengthy on weekends between 9:30 and 1:00.

      Also worth considering are Andy's Thai Kitchen and TAC Quick, for Thai food, and Bakin' & Eggs for breakfast/brunch.

      Also, depending on where you are staying in Lakeview, there are adjacent neighborhoods that may be walkable to other great food places: Uptown to the north, Lincoln Square to the northwest, and Lincoln Park to the south.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        If you do venture to Lincoln Square-ish, then I'd add Spacca Napoli, a great Neapolitan pizza spot with a very nice outdoor seating section. Great pizzas, nice vibe.

        1. re: ferret

          Speaking of pizza, don't miss our delicious local specialty of Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Lou Malnati's may be the best in the city, and has a location at the intersection of Wrightwood, Sheffield, and Lincoln. That's generally considered to be Lincoln Park but just a few blocks south of the southern border of Lakeview. Phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your deep-dish to bake.

    2. For coffee and Austrian pastry, Julius Meinl at Addison and Southport. And maybe a bowl of goulash and Spaetzle.

      ...Then when I typed "Southport" I thought, I really have to mention Tango Sur, a little mini-trip to Argentina.

      1. I really like Senza, Big & Little's, Andy's Thai Kitchen, Chilam Balam, Wood and El Nuevo Mexicano. Senza is the most expensive and dressiest of the bunch, but I've been dined there dressed in a shirt and slacks with no problem. FYI, Andy's Thai Kitchen is cash only but is BYOB.

        If you're willing to go slightly west, Bad Wolf Coffee makes the most awesome pastries I've eaten in Lakeview. Their caneles are highly addictive.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sunbrace

          >> If you're willing to go slightly west, Bad Wolf Coffee makes the most awesome pastries I've eaten in Lakeview. Their caneles are highly addictive.

          Shhhh!!! Let's keep it a secret! :)

          Just kidding. Seriously, Jonathan Ory at Bad Wolf Coffee has some of the most awesome pastries I've eaten anywhere. Yes, the caneles are heavenly - and they come out of the oven at 10 a.m. every day (except Tuesdays, when they're closed). So you can go the first half hour they're out and they're still perfectly crunchy on the outside and warm on the inside. His kouign amann is equally amazing; I've had it elsewhere, but it wasn't until I had his that I truly understood just how great that particular pastry can be. His paris-brest is also terrific. (All are every bit as good as at that famous bakery in NYC!) Don't be surprised when you get there and see that he only sells half a dozen kinds of pastry on any given day; they are all THE BEST.