Load up on meatballs and marinara at Alberto's Restaurant, and find out for yourself if the five-star ratings are up to par.
Whether you are looking for a healthy or gluten-free meal, you can find both at Alberto's Restaurant.
Beer, wine, and more are also available from this restaurant's extensive drink list.
The perfect place to take the kids, dining out at this restaurant won't cost you a sitter.
Enjoy wifi here free of cost.
Whether you have a large or small group, Alberto's Restaurant can accommodate both.
Bask in the sun (or moon!) light when you dine on Alberto's Restaurant's outdoor patio.
Between the music and the crowds, be prepared for a lot of noise at this restaurant.
Reservations are recommended for those on a strict schedule.
The dress code is strictly casual at Alberto's Restaurant, so come as you are (and as you are comfortable).
Carry-out is also available for those who prefer to enjoy this restaurant's cooking from the comfort of their own home.
Alberto's Restaurant can also cater your next party; call today for details.
Alberto's Restaurant provides easy access to an adjacent lot.
Alberto's Restaurant is a prime location for cyclists to park their bikes and enjoy a bite to eat.
What's your favorite meal of the day? Chow down on breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Alberto's Restaurant and taste test your way through the menu.
For a lovely Italian night out, look no further than Alberto's Restaurant.
If you're craving a taste of Italy, come on over to Alberto's Restaurant and check out the flavorful menu options.
Find all of your favorite traditional American dishes in one place at Village Tavern and Grill.
Health nuts will love Village Tavern and Grill for its gluten-free and low-fat menu options.
This restaurant also operates a bar, so a round of drinks with dinner is not out of the question.
If you're in need of a booster seat, this restaurant's got you covered. This is a great spot for the whole family.
The patio seating at Village Tavern and Grill is perfect for those warm summer days.
Bring your laptop here and tap into the complimentary wifi.
A relatively loud restaurant, this is not the place for a quiet night out.
Village Tavern and Grill does not accept reservations, so it doesn't hurt to be fashionably early.
Village Tavern and Grill is known for serving great food, and they are able to serve it at your next event with their excellent catering.
This restaurant offers carryout for your convenience.
The neighboring lot provides free parking to guests.
Village Tavern and Grill offers safe bike parking outside.
Village Tavern and Grill may cost you a little bit more than some spots, but this deliciousness is fairly-priced (and well worth the few extra bucks).
When you're feeling hungry, head on over to Village Tavern and Grill and indulge in a tasty and innovative American dish.
For a classic American dish, head over to the casual establishment of Village Tavern and Grill.
Village Tavern and Grill has been highly-rated by restaurant-goers, so stop by today and see what the hype is about.
What time is it? Time to grab one of American's favorite dishes at Red Apple Pancake House.
Whether rocking a gluten-free lifestyle or looking for something low-fat, this place will serve you just what you need.
Tots and tykes will be right at home at this restaurant with its kid-approved food and ambience.
Red Apple Pancake House is a great location to host a group dinner.
Planning a special night? Call ahead to reserve a table.
Shake off the stiff workday duds at Red Apple Pancake House — attire is casual.
If you're strapped for time, take out food from this restaurant.
It's time to gather up the party people. Serve them great food from Red Apple Pancake House.
Going out can be expensive. That's why we have our own free parking lot, so you spend your money on more fun things.
Red Apple Pancake House offers outdoor bike racks for cyclists.
Red Apple Pancake House accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and all major credit cards.
The breakfast dishes at the restaurant really bring the crowds in, though lunch and dinner are also served.
When you're craving a true American classic, such as a burger and fries, make your way over to Red Apple Pancake House.
So enjoy a casual lunch or dinner at Red Apple Pancake House and indulge in some America-inspired cuisine.
You deserve an excellent meal, so head on over to Red Apple Pancake House and enjoy some of the highly-rated American fare.
Bulldog Ale House serves tasty American-style cuisine.
Don't be alone on gameday, come have a great drink and great fun.
Tots are more than welcome to dine with their parents at this restaurant.
Free wireless Internet is also available at Bulldog Ale House, so bring your tablet or laptop along.
Dine out in the open during Bulldog Ale House's summer season when patio tables are available for use.
Your group can sit comfortably at Bulldog Ale House, a local restaurant.
Be prepared to raise your voice, though — the restaurant can get noisy.
The restaurant can get full to bursting on a busy Friday or Saturday night, so the safest bet is to call ahead for a reservation.
Bulldog Ale House offers an informal dining experience for those who are allergic to jackets and ties.
Bulldog Ale House can also cater your next party; call today for details.
Can't stay at this restaurant long? Pick up and go home.
For drivers, a nearby lot is available for use.
Bulldog Ale House offers a nice selection of mid-range cuisine, so you can expect a meal there to cost about $30 or less per person.
Conveniently charge by major credit card when cash isn't an option.
When you are ready to try a new restaurant for lunch or dinner, make your way over to Bulldog Ale House for tasty American fare.
When you're in need of a casual night out, head to Bulldog Ale House and enjoy some great American classics.
Manhattan Club is serving up American favorites with a tasty tweak.
For conscientious eaters, Manhattan Club has plenty fresh and healthy items on the menu.
Manhattan Club is fully loaded with TVs for your viewing pleasure.
Children are more than welcome to dine at this restaurant, where there's something for everyone on the menu.
The large dining space at Manhattan Club provides quick and easy seating options for large groups.
Sit back and enjoy the restaurant's live music, or take your table out on the dance floor.
Fridays and Saturdays really bring in the crowds, so make sure there's space for you by calling ahead for a reservation.
If you're strapped for time, take out food from this restaurant.
Looking for something delicious to serve at your next party? Manhattan Club also offers catering.
For drivers, a nearby lot is available for use.
Bikers can store their bikes safely while they enjoy a meal at Manhattan Club.
Dining at Manhattan Club will set you back about $30 per person on average.
Whether you're hungry first thing in the morning or prefer to eat a little later, Manhattan Club is conveniently open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The next time you're craving a burger and fries, Manhattan Club is the place for you.
For a classic American dish, head over to the casual establishment of Manhattan Club.
If cooking isn't on the agenda, the perfect pie awaits you at Gianario's Pizza, where customers praise the pizza like no other.
Enjoy a low-fat or gluten-free meal at Gianario's Pizza, a local favorite.
Youngsters are more than welcome to join mom and dad at this pizzeria.
Catering is also available if you'd like to serve Gianario's Pizza's tasty dishes at your next party.
For those in a rush, the pizzeria lets you take your food to go.
The only thing tastier than our food and drinks is the free parking.
Make use of the luxurious bike racks at Gianario's Pizza.
Prices at Gianario's Pizza typically stay below the $30 mark, so you can afford to bring along a friend or a date.
So come taste the pizza at Gianario's Pizza for yourself and see what all the ratings buzz is about.
Find out how many slices you can eat! Gianario's Pizza's pizza comes with high ratings and a low-key vibe, so take your time enjoying your pie.
Gianario's Pizza serves up fresh and tasty pizzas each and every time, so head on over today and enjoy some good pizza in a casual ambiance.
So next time you want to spend some time with your favorite people, why not top the experience off with a pizza pie or two from Gianario's Pizza?
Siu mai: small pork dumplings. Each has a thin wrapper that needs to be delicately pleated by hand. Easily, they’re one of the most labor-intensive items at Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago, where each weekend this Chinese restaurant serves 80 different varieties of classic dim sum snacks.
This little fact about the siu mai is one of many surprising stories I learn from Eddy, the chef at Phoenix, where he also handles a million other tasks to keep the restaurant running smoothly. When I first came in, he was waving at a group of regulars while on the phone haggling with a seafood vendor.
“What we are serving in this restaurant is what we are eating in Hong Kong. ... It’s very typical,” Eddy says.
In 1996, Phoenix was one of the first restaurants to introduce dim sum to Chicago. Its customer base has grown over the years, and today, even with other dim sum restaurants up and down the block, you’ll find long lines winding out the door on any given Sunday.
Sound intimidating? It doesn't have to be.
Here's our guide to dim-sum dining, with a few tips from Eddy.
On the weekend: order dim sum off a cart
On weekends and special holidays, the wait staff winds traditional dim sum carts around tables, lifting lids off stacked steamer baskets to reveal the enticing contents. Should you see something you like, they leave the basket on your table and put a checkmark on your bill (it’s tallied at the end).
Phoenix is one of the only dim-sum restaurants in Chicago that still uses these carts. When I ask Eddy why they keep them, he says “tradition.” Not only to impress the tourists who come in, but also to let Chinese-American customers share this bit of culture with their kids.
Hot tip: if you want to experience the pushcarts without the crowds, head over on a Saturday, which tends to be less busy than Sundays, Eddy says.
On a weekday: order dim sum off the menu
Cartless weekdays offer a quiet, more peaceful atmosphere for ordering off the paper menu, which you can find near the hostess stand. Don't be intimidated—the menu has pictures; it has numbers; it has names written in both Chinese and English. And best of all, you need only point to what you want to have it brought out from the kitchen.
So what should you get?
“Everyone has their favorites,” Eddy says. The most popular dishes with Westerners are ha gao (shrimp dumplings) and siu mai (pork dumplings mentioned above). Kids gravitate toward the crunchy, easy-to-grip shrimp rolls and sweeter fare, from mango pudding (pictured above) to custard rolls.
Foreign travelers, especially those from Latin America, and adventurous eaters alike seem to love the chicken feet (pictured at bottom-right of top photo), a more exotic dish consisting of skin and tendons. While all these dishes are traditional, the chefs can tweak the recipes to accommodate for special diets or food allergies.
When diners are new to dim sum, Eddy encourages them to experiment. He’ll point out a few of the more popular dishes; if there’s something they don’t end up liking, it can easily be swapped out for something else. This way, by the second or third visit, diners will have a better idea of what they like.
And don't forget the tea
At dim sum, the tea is equally important to the food. Phoenix serves three different types: green tea, white tea, and brown tea. “Each one has its own usage,” Eddy says. While we talk, we drink jasmine tea, which is good for getting rid of toxins.
You can show your dim sum know-how by obeying proper tea etiquette. When your teapot is out of water, prop the lid off to the side. This signals to the wait staff that you need more hot water.
Eddy pours more tea and tells me to tap my fingers lightly against the table when the cup is nearly full. “When your friend or host fills your tea, this means ‘thank you’,” he says. “It’s part of the custom.”
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
I had no idea what to expect upon arriving at Elizabeth, the Michelin Star winner from Chef Iliana Regan. But an unmarked, unremarkable storefront between a tire shop and a sporting-goods store certainly wasn’t it. With few exceptions (Schwa, most notably), Chicago’s upper-echelon restaurants boast exteriors that match their illustrious River North and Restaurant Row addresses.
But as it turns out, Regan has no taste for that sort of superficial flash. She dons no chef’s whites. She displays no awards. She does not raise her voice to the Gordon Ramsay–level roar or even the Rachael Ray-ish rollick that TV cameras eat up.
Instead, this northwest Indiana native quietly built her reputation as someone who hunts for frogs and spears them herself. Someone who has suffered tick bites and poison-ivy rashes foraging for wild flora. Someone who has penned an essay on intensity for Lucky Peach and once themed an Elizabeth tasting menu after those violent and visceral A Song of Ice and Fire novels.
So yeah, I was kinda terrified to eat her food.
I’d never done a tasting menu before. And I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a picky eater, but I’m not a particularly adventurous one either, particularly when it comes to meat. (I can barely look at plated octopus without shivering.) I’d heard that Regan once served edible ants. Which are, like, bugs.
My nerves were calmed upon walking into Elizabeth, though. Austere yet charming, the whitewashed space was accented by light fixtures made from bare tree branches; dining chairs draped with faux-fur slipcovers; a chef’s counter armed with Elder Scrolls and Vikings Funko Pop! dolls. It was all in support of the season’s menu theme: vikings.
There were two options: land or sea. Or, as the first in a delightful succession of servers explained it, “Imagine a viking ship has reached the shore. One group goes on land to look for food, the other into the sea.” My friend Erin and I opted to order one of each to share and, despite my trepidation of certain meats, placed no restrictions on what we would eat. (You can arrange for some allergies and dietary needs in advance.) We wanted to go all in.
After the amuse-bouche—a surprisingly complex roasted whey carrot dressed with goat’s-milk cheese and edible flowers—came our first courses. The land dish was … a bowl of rocks. The server assured me the top “rock” was actually a baked potato coated in edible clay. But it was very convincing as a rock, so I bit in with trepidation. As Erin ate the rest, dipping it into the cheese and butter puddings it was served with, I forked into her langoustine with lingonberries. (Pro tip: don’t try to tear off the claw without looking. You will stab your finger on a spine.) So far, so very good.
As the servers continued to weave their culinary narrative, I realized there was an unmentioned character in their tale—Elizabeth itself. The restaurant is small, seating about 16 or so, and the kitchen is wide open. It was impossible not to get caught up in what was happening back there, particularly when sous chefs were wielding brûlée torches and “plating” on gorgeous pieces of handmade pottery. And the line between front and back of house was practically nonexistent. One moment, you’d see someone in the kitchen stirring and slicing; the next they’d be presenting your next course or clearing your table. (Chef Regan included.)
This created an unexpected intimacy, one that removed any hesitation when asking about a particular dish. It’s clear the teammates take a deep yet quiet pride in their collective work. They spoke warmly about where ingredients came from, excitedly about the preparation techniques used. They always used “we” or “our,” never “me” or “Chef Regan.” (Again, Chef Regan included.)
Over the next few courses, there were so many charms. An herb-rolled, soft-boiled quail egg served in an actual nest; impossibly chewy seaweed bread darkened by squid ink; a cauliflower-mushroom soup that Erin about died over. I was particularly fond of a course called Barnyard: headcheese dusted with beet powder, paired with a collage of root vegetables and flavored puddings reminiscent of something out of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.
And that’s the thing. Never in my life would I have thought that I’d be fond of headcheese. I would have probably never eaten it if it weren’t for this meal. But it was fun to break out of my culinary comfort zone.
The other surprising thing? How full we were, considering it was a tasting menu. By the time we were served the entree courses—rare lamb medallions wrapped in swiss chard and pickled fish in a sauce of its own bones—we were taking deep breaths between bites. I’m pretty sure they were the only two plates we didn’t completely clean.
We managed to buck up for our “one-and-a-half” dessert courses, as the server put it. (The “half” was a palate-cleansing sorbet.) Our favorite was Under the Sea, a spongy coral-seaweed cake so realistic looking it prompted me to ask the server just how much of it we could eat. “All of it,” she said. We complied.
Maybe, as a writer, I’m just a sucker for a good story. But I was enchanted by Elizabeth, both in backstory and in not knowing what was coming next throughout the culinary adventure. And while I probably won’t be buying headcheese any time soon, I’m excited to see what Chef Regan has up her non-chef’s-whites sleeves next season.
Shop Chef Iliana Regan's tasting-menu experience at Elizabeth Restaurant:
Watch her explain her approach to fine dining:
As useful as WD40 and much more edible, coconut oil is a powerhouse. In fact, just one jar of the stuff can replace several household staples, from kitchen ingredients to baby wipes. Here’s how to substitute it for 16 total items in 3 rooms of the home:
1. Coffee: Coconut oil is a reputed energy booster. Swallowing a spoonful or two in the afternoon can be a healthful alternative to a cuppa.2. Coffee creamer: Emulsified and poured into coffee, it’s much tastier than (and probably just as nutritious as) that bulletproof stuff.3. Butter or oil (when sautéing): Coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for cooking on the stovetop, especially at high heat. Try swapping it in when making stir-fries, scrambled eggs, or pancakes, especially if you like a very mild coconut flavor.4. Oil (when baking): The oil imparts a delicious je ne sais quoi to baked goods—even boxed ones. Use it to give from-the-box brownies an upgrade, and you’ll dream about them for days.5. Condiments: Drop it into quinoa or oatmeal for added nutrients and healthy fats. You can also put it on top of sweet potatoes instead of butter!
6. Moisturizer: It works on your body and your face. It’s naturally SPF 4, so it offers a bit of protection from UV rays, too.7. Leave-in conditioner and anti-static agent: Rub a small amount between your hands and smooth them over your hair to control flyaways.8. Lip balm: It soothes sore, chapped lips, and other skin irritations.9. Eye-makeup remover: Rub it between your fingers until it liquefies, smear it on your lids, and wipe it off with a cotton pad.10. Face wash: Add a little water and rub it in your hands until it foams.11. Hand and foot cream: Massage it into cracked knuckles, or slather it onto your soles and stick them into socks for an overnight soak.12. Shaving cream: It’ll give you a smooth shave, plus additional moisture for your skin.
13. Ouchie ointment: Dab it on cuts and scrapes, which will benefit from its antimicrobial properties.14. Anti-itch cream: Coconut oil reduces itching from bug bites, and helps to calm sunburn, eczema, and cradle cap.15. Diaper cream: A layer on baby’s bottom guards against (and soothes) diaper rash flare-ups.16. Baby wipes: Simply mix it with hot water and pour it over a stack of paper towels that you’ve cut in half. Keep the towels in an airtight container so they stay moist.
Check out more coconut-oil coverage:
Oil Pulling Whitens Your Teeth and (Maybe) Makes You Invincible
The Five Best Uses for Coconut Oil You’ve Never Heard Of