McNamara’s acquaints guests with the culinary traditions of Ireland by crafting hearty pub cuisine, steak, and seafood dishes within a traditional Irish atmosphere. Familiar cuts of beef and salmon rest alongside edible archetypes of Irish culture, such as juicy flanks of corned beef, savory shepherd’s pie, and sculptures of James Joyce made entirely from mashed potatoes. During morning hours, diners revel in traditional Irish breakfasts and modern brunch favorites amid the corner tavern’s eight HD televisions or upon the umbrella-studded patio.
Nothing sets a scene quite like music. At Sabatino’s, violinists stroll around tables playing sentimental tunes, ceding the floor to a house piano player on weekends. Couples can share entrees such as the steak Diane for two, which comes with a sauce that’s prepared tableside.
Inside the 40-seat dining room, a different kind of small plate awaits diners. Recipes sourced from Filipino culinary traditions include pork roasted in vinegar or oxtail slow cooked in peanut sauce. The only thing more welcoming than the homey bites is the warmth radiating from the brick fireplace.
El Tinajon, a cozy eatery on West Montrose Avenue, has a long history of serving up authentic Guatemalan food to Chicagoans. "With two decades under its belt, this might just be the oldest Guatemalan spot in town," wrote Time Out Chicago. There's a good reason for the spot's longevity—fresh, sumptuous dishes laden with what the Chicago Reader called "wonderful seasonings."
The food here tends to be a bit lighter than Mexican cuisine, and the depth of its flavor may be a pleasant surprise if you've never eaten Guatemalan food or interrogated a Guatemalan diplomat about their favorite dishes. Cooks sauté succulent shrimp with ginger and wine, and simmer Mayan chicken stew with imported Guatemalan spices. Crisp curtido salad (a mixture of cabbage, beets, and green beans) tops the enchilada guatemalteca. Food may be the biggest reason regulars keep coming back to El Tinajon, but it's not the only one; there's also live music every other weekend, and a bar stocked with sangria and the fixings for tropical margaritas.
True to its name, 15 dishes on Siam Taste Noodles' menu are made with noodles and offer plenty of taste. Rice noodles soak up the spicy-sour broth of tom yum soup, and glass noodles tumble with egg, baby corn, and mushrooms in pad wun sen. The kitchen also crafts dishes such as chicken in garlic sauce and panang curry, which are some of the most popular entrees as determined by the number of diners who save a seat for them at their table.