Deemed by the Miami New Times to have the Best Exotic Frozen Desserts in 2009, Via Veneto Gelato serves up oodles of distinctly flavored gelato and confections to sweet tooth collectives. Score a small dish ($4.59), large dish ($5.50), or sugar cone ($4) packed with 1 of more than 40 frozen flavors such as almond chocolate, Nutella, or tiramisu gelato. The three-scoop waffle cone ($4.99) comes stacked with a toothsome trio such as lychee, pistachio, or Super dulce, which pairs a heroic dulce de leche with chocolate-chips sidekicks to fight against bland, soft-serve foes. Sorbets such as blackberry, mango, and passion fruit nest deliciously in a cup cone ($3.25) and fat-free, sugar-free Doppiozeros such as coconut and strawberry can be whisked out of the establishment in bambino ($2.80), giovani ($3.95), or signor ($6.95) to-go containers. The confectionery also crafts cakes and offers snacks for dessert diners looking to thaw out their palates.
The sounds of revelry drift across an outdoor patio, past Candlelite's martini-glass sign, which casts a soft, warm glow that hearkens back to the eatery's opening in 1950. Regulars in their fourth decade of patronage crowd around thin-crust pizzas, built upon dough made by hand each day, and cheer on athletes on 17 flat-screen televisions. Baskets of golden-brown hand-cut fries sing their cheerful sizzles out into the dining room, where five decades' worth of art and photos leave the exposed-brick walls barely visible. Bartenders slide mugs filled with sudsy caps of Oberon and Hoegaarden down the gleaming bar to thirsty diners and physicists skeptical of a third state of matter.
In pubs across Ireland, the craic, which means enjoyable conversation and gossip, is everything. It's the same at The Curragh Irish Pub & Restaurant, with regular live music, Irish dancing, and live streaming of rugby and soccer matches from around the world. The Curragh's menu relies on its Irish ancestry, with traditional dishes such as corned beef and cabbage or chicken boxty. Beers follow suit, with dozens of Irish ales, including Smithwick's and Guinness, on tap. Whiskeys such as Jameson and Bushmills are also poured through tap-like spigots at the wood-paneled bar. In the summery months, The Curragh's patio radiates with warmth and conviviality, often humming with the cheer and snorted laughter of catered parties.
The private rooms at Lincoln Karaoke act as a lyrical playground for parties of crooning compatriots fueled by audience admiration and refreshments from the kitchen and bar. Sofas cushion spectators as soloists belt out the lyrics displayed on flat-screen televisions, and two additional wireless mics aid in a capella renditions of the theme from Ghostbusters. A range of rooms is available to accommodate groups both small and large, with the biggest rooms seating up to 30 people. A menu of Italian and Asian favorites—such as pizza, dumplings, and orange chicken—sate hankerings and specialty concoctions from Dave the bartender wet parched throats between sets.
At Arabesk Palace, diners munch on marinated Middle Eastern eats, before smoking regular or special-blend hookah flavors. Shareable small plates—such as baba gannouj or grape leaves stuffed with ground beef—awaken eaters’ taste buds more pleasantly than swallowing a recording of reveille does. House-made toasted pita acts as chaperone for the rosemary chicken, which boogies all night with jalapeño and peppers in a spicy-tomato-sauce setting, and broiled beef shawarma crashes the party late with main squeeze tahini sauce. Servers pack hookahs with more than two dozen different hookah flavors, from Safari melon dew to vanilla, so that guests can blow smoke into rings or the shape of their missing car keys. Each week Arabesk Palace showcases the stylings of nationally known Arabic singers.
Occupying a building that sprang up at the turn of the 20th century, the Irish American Heritage Center (IAHC) somehow manages to cram Ireland into one of Chicago’s city blocks. Work from Irish artists hangs in the building’s art gallery, books from Irish authors fill its library, Irish plays light up its 658-seat theater, and Irish food and drinks delight the crowd on the main floor at the Fifth Province Pub. The IAHC also has a knowledgeable staff of instructors, who teach classes on everything from Irish dance and music to Irish language and genealogy.