Inside Tiztal Cafe, sunny yellow walls match the eggs that star in the restaurant's heaping plates of breakfast and brunch fare. Diners sidle up to white-linen tables or the long bar to dig into the chefs' take on Mexican morning meals: omelets stuffed with spicy chorizo, crisp waffles topped with pecans, and the signature chilaquiles that helped earn them a feature on Chicago's Best in 2011. Diners would be wise to pair their meals with the eatery's infamous oatmeal shake—says Serious Eats blogger Lindsey Becker, "This shake has something of a cult following…and after trying this glorious mashup of vanilla ice cream shake and oatmeal, you can count me in as a member."
The chef at this neighborhood spot recommends eating his sushi creations without soy sauce, a sign that Ora’s seafood is of the highest quality. For the freshest (and often the most adventurous) fare, opt for the chef's choice sushi platter, which might include the Scottish salmon belly sashimi.
Shinobu Japanese Restaurant sates desires for elegant edibles with a menu of sophisticated flavors, artfully plated. Anchor incisors into the freshest of the deep blue with a medley of masterful maki rolls such as the midori, featuring a mélange of yellowtail, cucumber, avocado, wasabi tobiko, tempura crumb, and wasabi mayo ($10), or the signature shinobu, where shrimp tempura, unagi, cream cheese, and tempura crumb huddle under an umbrella of ebi, scallop, wasabi mayo, and wasabi tobiko ($14). Raw superstars, such as the shiro magura sashimi (two pieces for $5), quell rumbling tummies and prevent abdominal earthquakes, and an entourage of entrees, including the grilled-chicken teriyaki ($10), or the grilled-mackerel saba shioyaki ($12), boast flame cooked tastes and jazzy nicknames, such as "Blaze" and "Sea Hampster." Shinobu Japanese Restaurant is BYOB, so patrons can provide arid palates with their choice of pocketed alcoholic beverages, or choose from available Japanese drinks such as mango or honeydew bubble tea ($4).
Chicago’s red-line train runs nearly the entire length of the city from north to south, dropping passengers off everywhere from U.S. Cellular Field to Evanston. In Edgewater, however, it passes briefly over a small slice of Japan, nestled next to the tracks in a storefront labeled Yokozuna.
In the eatery’s kitchen, chefs craft teriyaki, udon, and other hot Japanese entrees, but their real culinary magic happens behind the sushi bar and whenever someone brings in a top hat and wand. There, they summon flavors and images of Japan with creations such as the Sumo roll, in which they combine the flavors of four types of fish plus shrimp into one hearty maki. They also name sushi in honor of their current home, dedicating one roll apiece to each of the city’s major sports teams.
Although the restaurant evokes so much local pride, the decor remains awash in Eastern flavor, with bright-red walls and murals of kimono-clad figures flanked by cherry-blossom trees. In an extra boon to diners, new specialty rolls and free wine flow on Ladies’ Night every Tuesday, and the restaurant is always BYOB.
At Loving Hut’s 200 worldwide outposts, chefs stand by their mission to serve all-vegan fare made from wholesome, plant-based ingredients. The Chicago branch honors the Windy City’s staple sandwich with their Eden Dog, a vegan sausage topped with pickles, relish, onions, and mustard.
Food critics may not be known for their dance moves, but the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Vettel claims his “taste buds do a little happy dance” at the mere thought of Sun Wah’s Peking duck dinner. But beware: the prized barbeque duck is so popular that diners typically order it when placing their reservation.