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Evanston, IL Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendation


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#31 Sweet Willie

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 06:44 AM

We've never been to Evanston, so for our Chicagoland visit next weekend I was thinking it might be fun to spend the day there.

Skip them all & Evanston, seriously, unless you are in Evanston for a reason. It is not that Evanston is bad, there is just better to be had.

Go to the Rogers Park area of Chicago (just south of Evanston). More interesting shops AND restaurants.i.e. the Argyle Street Vietnam section (there is thread in the Heartland forum)
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#32 Alex

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 10:17 AM

We've never been to Evanston, so for our Chicagoland visit next weekend I was thinking it might be fun to spend the day there.

Skip them all & Evanston, seriously, unless you are in Evanston for a reason. It is not that Evanston is bad, there is just better to be had.

Go to the Rogers Park area of Chicago (just south of Evanston). More interesting shops AND restaurants.i.e. the Argyle Street Vietnam section (there is thread in the Heartland forum)

What shops or attractions (and on what streets other than Argyle) would you recommend, other than a visit to guajolote's house? :biggrin:

BTW, I discovered your first eG post in the "Chinatown in Chicago" thread. :cool:

P.S. Hope you had a good meal and a good time at La Shish or wherever you wound up.
Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#33 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 11:07 AM

We've never been to Evanston, so for our Chicagoland visit next weekend I was thinking it might be fun to spend the day there.

Skip them all & Evanston, seriously, unless you are in Evanston for a reason. It is not that Evanston is bad, there is just better to be had.

Go to the Rogers Park area of Chicago (just south of Evanston). More interesting shops AND restaurants.i.e. the Argyle Street Vietnam section (there is thread in the Heartland forum)

Gotta disagree with Willie about Evanston. It's a cute little town--admittedly, less so than it used to be--with some decent stuff to see. It's the home of Northwestern University which is located on the north side of town, directly on Lake Michigan. If the weather's nice, a walk on campus, along the lake, would be a great use of your time. From what I understand, NU is the only university in the U.S. with its own beach.

Evanston's downtown (and other shopping areas) are populated with little shops, boutiques, niche shops, art galleries, vintage stores, used bookshops that you won't find in Roger's Park. Overall, the food shopping is better in RP and the street-level eating is more authentic and more widely-offered, but I think spending a day in Evanston would probably be very enjoyable overall.

Foodwise you might want to try the following places...

Near Main Street...(south Evanston)
Lucky Platter
Campagnola
Piron Belgian Chocolatier
Cafe Express (satellite location)

Near Dempster...(central Evanston)
Va Pensiero
New Japan
Cafe Express (original location)

Near Central Avenue...(north Evanston)
Foodstuffs, gourmet grocery and sandwich shop
Great Harvest Bread Company
The Spice House
Daruma
Prairie Joe's

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#34 Lactic Solar Dust

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 07:28 PM

I do not know if you will be in Evanston on Friday afternoon, but Trio serves a killer lunch for an afordable price only on Fridays from 12 to 1 or 1 to 2 in the afternoon. Trio Restaurant

#35 sumac

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Posted 21 March 2004 - 09:16 PM

If you are in the mood, Bill's Drive-in serves "the" Chicago hot dog. I have heard that Kuni's Japanese on Main St. is one of the best sushi restaurants in Chicago. Also, if you have a car, a really interesting site to visit is The Bahai Temple about 1 mile north of Evanston in Wilmette and on Sheridan Rd. I agree about Northwestern University. It is a beautiful campus and a great place for a long walk.
We had dinner at Trio in November on a Friday night, walked the campus for 2 hours Saturday morning, but then headed into the city for lunch at Frontera Grill, dinner at Blackbird, Sunday dinner at Arun and flew home. It was an awesome weekend and I do think Evanston has interesting things to offer.

#36 Sweet Willie

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 07:39 AM

It's a cute little town--admittedly, less so than it used to be--

Agreed, I believe I’m still disenfranchised with it compared to what it used to be hence my cutting it.

FWIW, many places Ronnie mentioned have reviews here in eG, just do a search.
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#37 Pugman

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 03:05 PM

For weekend lunch in Evanston, it's hard to beat Lulu's all-you-can-eat deal. Big plus; it's not a buffet. For under $15 you get free reign of the menu (with just a few exceptions). Pan-Asian salads, entrees, dim sum, noodles, etc. No, it's not wholly "authentic," but generally enjoyable.

Go to joy Yee's--even if it's just for a bubble-tea. They offer a staggeringly large selection of bubble-teas and other fruit-based drinks. Unlike other many other bubble-tea shops, most of Joy Yee's are made with fresh fruit. There must be a couple hundred drink variations on their menu! The other food is variable, but generally good (and very cheap, given the HUGE portions). The only drawback is the extreme noise level and cramped tables. But, oh those drinks!

Most of the higher-end places like Va Pensiero, Campagnola, Stained Glass, Oceanique don't serve lunch. The major exception, as mentioned earlier, is Trio's Friday-only affair. Although lunch is just a tiny "trailer" for the Grant Achatz show; it's still a blast. With wine and extras, however, this can become a $100/person lunch.

Finally, if you like to cook, try to get to the Spice House. It's a mile or two from downtown, but has an unbelievably amazing selection. Best spice strore I've ever seen (so much so that the CIA at Greystone sells their products).

For spending an entire day, I think you'd enjoy downtown Evanston a lot more than Rogers Park.

#38 Lady T

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 03:40 PM

:cool:

As a recently-arrived Evanston resident, I can certainly agree with the LuLu's and Trio recommendations. Mount Everest has a nice little lunch buffet as well, for absolute rock-bottom prices -- but arrive 11:30ish; the food can get steam-table-itis after a while, no matter how careful the staff is (and it is) about stocking the pans and removing tired stuff. The nice thing about Mount Everest is that they'll let you sit and read, or talk, or keep eating, as long as you like. No hurry at all. Relaxing, yes?

The other nice thing about all three of the above locations is that they're all pretty close to the Davis/Church Street downtown (as distinct from the Main Street, Dempster Street, and Central Street downtowns!) district, where the shopping possibilities are anywhere from dead-cheap to serious-investment, and the people-watching can be priceless. Bookstores. We got bookstores -- but then, bookstores are a terrible vice of mine.

The Baha'i Temple is a seriously beautiful piece of architecture set in some of the most carefully thought-out landscaping you can find on the North Shore, overlooking Lake Michigan -- more and more interesting the more closely you look. If I go there, though, I avoid weekends, when the hordes of tour groups and students rupture the basic serenity of the place and the structure.

:cool:
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-- 2/19/2004

#39 chengb02

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Posted 22 March 2004 - 04:06 PM

if the weather is nice, its definitely worth it to walk around the campus and down to the lakefront. Offers a great view of the skyline and the rocks painted by the graduating classes add to it. Joy Yee's is worth hitting (if you won't be in Chinatown) as is Lulu's...there are Potbelly's everywhere in Chicago, so not sure if you want to do that for a meal. I know there is a Malnati's in the area if you don't have plans to hit a different place for Chicago style pizza. Viva Le Crepe is a nice little spot, I haven't eaten their dinner crepes, but have stopped by on a number of times after a movie or show and I really like their dessert crepes.

#40 budrichard

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 02:27 PM

Kuni's for sushi/sashimi and other things Japanese. Kuni started at Hatsuhana many many years ago and about 20 years ago opened his namesake restaurant. -Dick

#41 adoxograph

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 03:39 PM

My only beef with Evanston is that it seems much better when I can spend money there - not my favorite place when I'm not looking to shop. However, if you have access to a vehicle and want to spend a bit of time outside (provided, of course, there is nice weather) you may want to consider grabbing food to go and heading out of Evanston to the Skokie Sculpture Park. It's a nice snack outside spot.
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#42 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 23 March 2004 - 04:10 PM

Most of the higher-end places like Va Pensiero, Campagnola, Stained Glass, Oceanique don't serve lunch.

Very sad that this is true. It's been a while since I was in Evanston on a daily basis but we used to get lunch from Va Pensiero on a regular basis. I guess there isn't enough business there to warrant being open for lunch. :sad:

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#43 gmi3804

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 06:55 PM

Jacky's Bistro has a nice lunch too. I enjoy the French Bistro atmosphere, and its off-Central-St. location makes it feel more private.

#44 Alex

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 10:36 PM

Thanks to all for the recommendations. I CTA'ed up to Evanston mid-morning Monday and just strolled around the Davis downtown. I was so sated by the previous three days' eating and drinking that I couldn't even bring myself to eat so much as a bowl of soup for lunch. I did, however, stop for a while at Dream About Tea and enjoyed a very pleasant hour or so of reading and green tea. Next visit I think I'd like to do a Baha'i Temple/lakefront stroll/Trio lunch combo.
Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#45 sara

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 09:12 PM

Hi

I'll be spending a week in Evanston this June without a car. Thus, I'd love some suggestions of restaurants and bars near campus. Any price range--high quality food, interesting cocktails, wine lists preferred.

Thanks!
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#46 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 09:41 PM

It's been a while since I spent any significant amount of time in Evanston but I used to live there and it has a reputation for being a dining mecca. That said, the best thing in Evanston, Trio, is no more.

Still, there are some good eats to be had in Evanston. I enjoy The Lucky Platter on Main Street. It's a funky retro-style diner with a solid, relatively untraditional menu. You can get some decent BBQ at Hecky's on Greenbay Rd. Merle's on Benson also offers some decent BBQ, but it's a bit more faux than Hecky's.

I love the gyros, 'greek' fries, chicken breast sandwiches and burgers at Cross-Rhodes on Chicago Avenue. If you're in the mood for a grease fix, I love Evanston Chicken Shack on Ridge, which is fairly close to NU's campus. I think Mount Everest Indian/Nepali buffet on Church is ok but if you have a truly favorite Indian spot, it might not stack up.

Downtown, I think places like Tommy Nevin's Pub and Prairie Moon are both worth a stop-in. Nevins has decent Irish-esque pub food (Guiness on tap) and Prairie Moon does a good job with their casually-upscale, American theme.

Mustard's Last Stand on Central is definitely a place to hit if you want to try an authentic, Chicago-style hotdog. It's near the football stadium.

Some of the best food in Evanston is of the non-restaurant variety. The Central St. business district is the home of Foodstuffs (goumet grocery/specialty shop) which has everything from fresh baked breads to imported cheeses, prepared foods, sandwiches made to order, fresh meat and seafood. Just east of there is Tag's Bakery which turns out great versions breads and sweets. The other direction on Central is home to Casteel and Company, a custom coffee roaster.

A couple other places of note are Piron Belgian Chocolates on Main Street (across from the aforementioned Lucky Platter) and Bennison's Bakery on Davis, owned by Jory Downer who was on the US team which won the 2005 Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie. And while it's not even close to Madison's version, Evanston has one of the better Farmers Markets in the area. It's open on Saturday mornings, beginning this Saturday, May 20.

I'm sure there are more worthy spots and it's likely that some of these places aren't quite like they were the last time I visited them but this is a start, at least. I hope some others will chime in as well.

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#47 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 17 May 2006 - 10:01 PM

One other great place, also on Central, is the Great Harvest Bread Company. In many ways, it's the heart of the neighborhood. They turn great freshly-baked product, and overall selection varies daily. The folks who run the place are very nice. They hook up kids (young and old) with all sorts of tasty samples too!

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#48 chicagowench

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 06:22 AM

Oceanique is a great, elegant seafood place and it's right next to Piron (convenient, no?)
What do you mean I shouldn't feed the baby sushi?

#49 elfin

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 08:05 AM

Ruby of Siam has decent Thai.
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#50 chicagowench

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 08:13 AM

I also really liked Jilly's on Green Bay and Jackie's Bistro right off of central. Little bit father from campus, but accessible via bus.
What do you mean I shouldn't feed the baby sushi?

#51 Tess

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 08:20 AM

I am fond of Blind Faith Cafe but other people think it's hell.

Along non-restaurant lines, if you visit Foodstuffs (very much recommended for a takeout lunch; smoked fish quesadillas are killer) you will be right across from The Spice House (Evanston branch) which is great fun to browse in.

#52 gmi3804

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 09:15 AM

When we visited during its opening week recently, Trattoria D.O.C. (on Main just 1/2 block west of Chicago) was experiencing some service glitches, but the staff couldn't be nicer. The thin-crust pizzas are wonderful (ask them to cook it just slightly more - I like really crispy crusts and think it's better that way) and the calamari salad (we asked for grilled instead of fried) is simple and delicious.

#53 Alex

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 10:53 AM

I had a very enjoyable meal a couple of years ago with Lady T at Chef's Station. I think it's a healthy walk from campus, but someone else will need to let you know exactly how far.
Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#54 hsm

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 11:07 AM

Another vote for The Lucky Platter. And their Thai kale!

#55 sara

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 11:33 AM

This is all so helpful! Oceanique looks lovely--any specifics on good dishes? Any other opinions on the place.

Which of these places are in walking distance of the Best Western?
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#56 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 12:02 PM

This is all so helpful! Oceanique looks lovely--any specifics on good dishes? Any other opinions on the place.

Which of these places are in walking distance of the Best Western?

View Post

If I'm not mistaken, Tommy Nevins and Prairie Moon are directly across the street from the Best Western.

Also, I forgot one other place I really like, Lulu's, which is, more or less, a pan-Asian noodle shop, downtown on Davis St. I've heard mixed reports lately but folks whose opinions I trust still hit it on a regular basis.

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#57 Alex

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 12:13 PM

This is all so helpful! Oceanique looks lovely--any specifics on good dishes? Any other opinions on the place.

Which of these places are in walking distance of the Best Western?

View Post

The Best Western is two blocks from Chef's Station. BTW, David Richards, chef/owner of eG fave Sweets & Savories, was at Chef's Station before opening S & S.

It's also two blocks from the El and Metra stations, which opens up all sorts of dining possibilities. For example, for Vietnamese restaurants, take the El (Purple Line) to Howard, then change to the Red Line and get out at Argyle. (There's lots of info on eG about that.)
Gene Weingarten, writing in The Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

#58 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 12:31 PM

Alex is correct in that there's supremely easy access from Evanston, via public transportation, to Rogers Park, Argyle Street and other adjancent areas which offer great food. If you do make it to Rogers Park, be sure to try the Candlelight which has great, thin-crust :shock: pizza. Not typical Chicago-style by any means but very delicious.

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#59 markh

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 03:22 PM

If you're into wine, check out Dave's Italian Kitchen and Stained Glass. Both are in downtown Evanston...

#60 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 18 May 2006 - 03:35 PM

If you're into wine, check out Dave's Italian Kitchen and Stained Glass. Both are in downtown Evanston...

View Post

DOH! Forgot about Dave's.

BTW, welcome to the eGS, markh! :smile:

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