By rotating its menus daily, weekly, and according to seasonal harvests, the chefs at Andie's Restaurant ensure only the freshest ingredients to create their light, healthy, Mediterranean?style cuisine. In addition to menu mainstays such as gyros and greek salads, the Zagat-rated restaurant features vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free offerings such as eggplant and couscous dishes that was featured on Check Please!. Each year, the owners and their staff roll up their sleeves to plant fresh tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers in their garden next to flavor-augmenting herbs and singing carrot puppets. Outdoor seating facilitates sunny summertime meals, and an indoor fireplace keeps the intimate dining room cozy and warm in the winter months.
The Moroccan tapestries and dangling lanterns in Marrakech Cuisine's dining area lend almost as much northern African flavor as the cumin, coriander, dried ginger, saffron, and paprika blended in the kitchen. These bold yet balanced spices helped earn the eatery a spot on CBS Chicago's 2010 list of the best Moroccan food in Chicago, where it was lauded as "a must visit Chicago restaurant." The menu highlights several of the country's culinary specialties, including earthenware tajines of stewed tilapia, chicken, or vegetables and house-made merguez sausages that the Chicago Reader calls "delectable." Although the restaurant doesn't serve alcohol, it does allow patrons to bring a bottle of wine or a flask of barrel-aged Capri Sun from home.
Andalous’s brigade of women chefs cooks hearty Northern African fare that has regularly garnered recognition in print and television media. Sprung from the traditions of French and Arabic cuisine, Moroccan dishes permeate heaps of sautéed vegetables with liberal pinches of saffron or swaddle succulent chicken in dainty phyllo dough. The establishment’s BYOB policy, like a preschooler’s dinner party, encourages guests to bring their own bottles to complement meals. As an intoxicating mélange of spices swirls in the air, diners can punctuate evenings with a soothing pot of mint tea or a sweet signature pastry.
The Moorish monarchs of Granada built a legendary palace and fortress known as Calat Alhambra, both to fortify their hold on Southern Spain and serve as center of art and culture. The palace, which has remained relatively unchanged over the centuries, captured the imagination of Chicagoan Dr. Nasar Rustom. He made many trips to the Middle East, North Africa, and southern Spain to obtain artifacts to fill his own recreation of Alhambra Palace, one that serves as a testament to the culture and cuisine of the Mediterranean region.
Dr. Rustom recruited artisans from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Morocco design the interior of his new restaurant. The team built custom gilded doorways, hand-painted tiles, carved the furniture, and created the mosaics found around the multi-level dining room. Rustom went to equal lengths when creating an the menu, full of authentic flavors of kabobs, paella, and seasoned lamb. On top of the food and decor, Dr. Rustom added live entertainment, which includes international music, Latin, Swing, and belly dancing, and even dance lessons sure to charm a date or a stern loan officer .