Zodiac Cafe and Lounge balances a constellation of themed martinis with a Mediterranean-inspired menu of sandwiches, salads, and small plates. Diners design flights of cheese and olives, and chefs stuff grass-fed burger patties with a rotating selection of ingredients. Pints from the craft-beer menu complement edibles, as do 12 martinis that re-imagine each astrological sign as a concoction of colorful spirits. Muted earth tones and wood accents anchor both dining room and lounge to terra firma, and starburst light fixtures and an astrological chart grant insight into Zeus's interior-decorating scheme. After the sun sets on the patio, wander inside to check out the schedule of karaoke, open-mic performances, and sets from local house DJs.
Inside of a charming century-old brick building overlooking Crown Point’s bustling square, head chef Carl Lindskog stays busy crafting combinations of Italian and Japanese edibles culled form the mindparts of experienced edibles. His feasts of grilled seafood, focaccia, steak and pasta grace cloth-clad tables downstairs in Amoré Ristorante, where the vintage bar dating from Chicago's 1933 World's Fair enshrines a heel print from 1930s dancer Sally Rand. Upstairs, Lindskog’s delectable sushi rolls, tempura, and dumplings pair with 109 Lounge’s 34 specialty martinis. Live music frequently fills the air during the evening hours, complementing the chef’s creations with a laid-back attitude that permits smoking and encourages playing hooky from other, less interesting dinners.
Intimo's menu whisks diners to the Italian countryside with a variety of authentic house-made entrees. More than 300 bottles of distinct wines hibernate in the 58-degree walk-in wine cellar. Director Frank Pecora fosters a relaxed, sophisticated atmosphere with dim lighting and sleek, dark wooden accents. Candles flicker atop tables draped in white linens, casting shadow-puppet adaptations of Godzilla vs. Fork and Knife on the exposed-brick walls.
Critics from the Chicago Reader and the Chicago Tribune are mixed on the food at Sawtooth but like the atmosphere. OpenTable reviewers give it an average of 4.1 stars, and 82% of Urbanspooners like the restaurant. Yelpers give it an average of 3.5 stars.
It almost feels like the skyscrapers that surround this open-air rooftop are trying to peer over the tall brick walls that encircle it. Yet the restaurant still manages a sense of intimacy: diners lounge on comfy couches as they sample fish tacos, lobster cheese fries, and Tabasco-honey glazed duck wings.
A jacket that once belonged to Muddy Waters hangs from the wall in this electric blues joint and barbecue restaurant. Buddy Guy does one better than his fellow legend, showing up in the flesh to pull up a stool at the bar or pick at his guitar onstage.