Don’t let the name fool you—Peking Tokyo has more on its menu than delicacies from its namesake city. That’s because the cooks draw from other culinary traditions as well, assembling a well-rounded lineup of pan-Asian cuisine. In addition to the Japanese staples of sushi, vegetable tempura, and hibachi-grilled morsels, cooks can prepare Chinese entrees such as fried rice and moo goo gai pan, as well as a selection of Thai dishes that includes pad Thai and curry shrimp.
Led by owner Mike Galderio, Balagio Ristorante unites families and friends around fresh-made pasta, breads, sauces, soups, and a trove of different wines. For lunch, guests can conquer stomach pangs with a selection of salads, signature pasta dishes, or handheld eats, including the 8 oz. black angus burger, served with fresh mushrooms and mozzarella on a brioche bun ($7.95). Evening-time guests, on the other hand, can peruse or origami-fold a dinner menu brimming with chicken, seafood, and pasta entrees. Start with an appetizer of baked eggplant marinara ($7.95) or crispy fried calamari ($8.95). Move on to classic tossed pasta dishes, such as the Hay & Straw spinach-and-egg fettucine ($12.95), or savory chicken entrees, such as the signature scaloppine Balagio-style , served with a side of braised escarole ($12.95). Browse a selection of veal, chops, and steak fresh-cut daily, or kick back with a bottled beer or martini, such as the Midnight in Rome.
Pinkys pays homage to its Windy City location with a vintage tough-guy logo and a menu of Chicago-style polishes and gyros. Daily specials include classics such as catfish strips, a Maxwell Street-style polish, and barbecue-rib tips. Containers of croutons and thousand-island, blue-cheese, or creamy-ranch dressing sit on the side of meaty salads, ensuring that dishes get the partner of their choice, unlike most cops who live on the edge. Diners can round out their meals with a side of sauce or wash down each bite with a milk shake.
Markella's Gyros serves tender meat and poultry in multifarious forms, from its signature gyros to italian beef and a slew of Vienna hot dogs. The chefs pair their American eats with tasty portions of french fries and milk shakes, and the eatery's outdoor patio allows diners to take advantage of free water refills on rainy days.
For more than 30 years, Pop's Italian Beef & Sausage has served up a Chicago-centric menu of beef sandwiches, burgers, and hot dogs. Silence empty-belly rumblings with one of Pop's delectable beef sandwiches ($4.19–$6.35), such as the italian beef, heaped with mounds of succulent, thin-sliced beef soaked in special spices and natural gravy. Windy-city visitors can delight in the classic Chicago hot dog and the savory polish sausage (each around $2.29–$2.99, depending on location), each nestled underneath mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and the looming shadow of oscillating skyscrapers. Other handheld fare includes the meatball and corned-beef sandwiches, which can be upgraded with a variety of extras, including red sauce, sweet peppers, hot mix (all free on sandwiches, extra as a side), feta cheese, and bacon. A fleet of made-from-scratch soups and salads is also available, and includes such options as the hearty cream-of-chicken rice soup and the large garden salad ($2.09–$3.99).
Grady's Grille loads tables with an eclectic dine-in menu of modernized classics inside a family-friendly neighborhood restaurant. Platters of fish or shrimp tacos ($11) satisfy taste buds idling at a delicious crossroads of seafood and mexican seasonings, and the barbecue-chicken flatbread invites a coterie of mozzarella, red onions, cilantro, and chicken breast to party hard with a crispy crust ($9). Hearty, half-pound burgers dress pretzel rolls or buns in a variety of elegant ingredients such as the Grady burger's dapper suit of blue cheese and onion strings ($9.50), and rival gangs of pasta dance through a tasty medley of spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and "Beat It" on plates of penne mediterranean ($9; $12 with chicken). Polished bottles levitate on glass shelves behind the L-shaped bar where drinksmiths dole out glasses of Ocean Song pinot grigio ($7.50) and chocolate martinis ($7).