Chicago’s Neighborhoods: Comfort Food, Ethnic Dining, and Fusion Cuisine Part 1

March 29, 2009

Now that spring is here (it snows during spring, too!), I’ve decided to collect the contact information of my friends’ favorite foodie hangouts so I can pull up this list from my Blackberry when the need arises.

3424 N. Southport Avenue
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 528-2220

Originally recommended to me by my colleagues at Filipinas Magazine, our visit one winter evening turned out to be a gastronomic delight. Described as LATINO FUSION CUISINE (think Cuba, Spain, Brazil meets the Philippines), our menu selections that day showcased a delicate blend of influences… But I’m not spoiling your appetites. Just make reservations early!

Some of the appetizers and entrees that we tried — aside from the delicious mussels — were:

Fried Calamari – Seasoned with a blend of dry roasted Philippine sea salt and black pepper served with sambal cocktail sauce

Pork Tenderloin Bicol – Lean pork tenderloin stuffed with shrimp, bacon, coconut and pineapple served with jasmine rice, seasonal vegetables and peppery adobo glaze

Zarzuela – Rustic Catalonian seafood dish with shrimp, mussels and scallops cooked in a saffron, white wine and roasted tomato broth served with grilled baguette

3800 N Pulaski Rd
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 545-7427
The best baby back ribs — and the best barbecued foods in Chicago, according to Ron Salazar. This is on my wish list!

Reviews can be found here.

Neighborhood: Cragin
3100 N Cicero Ave
Chicago, IL 60641
(773) 685-4241

Ron Salazar found another place for me to try (he likes to record these nice finds in his Facebook, lucky me!).

“Another great find on Chicago’s Northwest side…From a YELP, “…this place is amazing. All sorts of Argentinian and S. American delights. …They have Argentine soccer stuff, food, EMPANADAS, groceries and . . .WINE. Delicious wine from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and all over S. America …The staff is v. friendly and so enthusiastic about their Argentinian culture and country. A real GEM!”

Some reviews can be found here.

6363 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60646
How to get there: Click here.

My husband’s favorite place. It’s really like an old-fashioned drive-in restaurant with a genuine car-hop service (if you want to eat inside your car). In Chi-Town, you don’t use ketchup for your hotdogs, honest. For vegetarians, look for their tempura-like veggies. Yummy!

731 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60661
(312) 207-5299

This is where I didn’t dare take the Oyster Shots, but maybe someday I will! As one of the first intimate restaurants that the Siap family took me to in Chicago, the sushi here is absolutely divine! Aside from the owners and staff who exemplify exemplary customer service, of course.


Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Cuisine
4661 N. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625

Padma Mangharam Siap brought me to one of her favorite restaurants in Chicago. If you like Persian cuisine, this is the place for you. I especially like their chicken in pomegrante sauce.

We are conveniently located right across the street from the CTA Brown Line Kedzie Ave. station and one block south of Lawrence and Kedzie Ave. and have ample street parking as well as parking available next to our Take-Out/Delivery Kitchen.

739 N. LaSalle Avenue
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 573-1510

The first Spanish tapas bar in Chicago that Ron Salazar and the Siap family introduced me to. I know that Shana Siap loves this place! Talk about pitchers of Sangria. Wowowee! I enjoyed the tapas. One diner commented that some of the tapas were quite bland. I disagree. The tapas were very flavorful and not too salty. I think Filipinos will enjoy their menu offerings! This is another restaurant wherein you must make reservations.

25 W. Davis Street
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 398-2400

My husband’s colleagues at United Airlines invited us to this charming tapas restaurant in Chicago’s Northwest suburbs at Arlington Heights, 10 minutes from our home. I enjoyed the Paella!

Portillo’s – Rolling Meadows, Illinois
1900 W. Golf Road
Rolling Meadows IL 60008
(847) 228-0777
For more locations, click here.

There’s a LOT of ULTIMATE hotdog places in Chicagoland. No ketchup, please! The attractive dining atmosphere makes it convenient for families to gather in huge groups. Sometimes, I just want to eat their decadent chocolate cake or munch on their salads.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge