Taisan Chef does a Chinese dumpling justice, and diners come here to enjoy a five-star meal.
Take your pick of beer, wine, or other beverages offered on this restaurant's menu.
No need to splurge on a babysitter — tots will be right at home chowing down at this restaurant.
Taisan Chef has a large dining room, making it easy to seat large parties.
The restaurant accepts reservations, so you can get around the busy crowd.
Not a popular place for dress-up dining, most Taisan Chef patrons come in casual attire.
Catering makes it easier to organize any event, and Taisan Chef will ensure that it is delicious.
This restaurant will bring your food right to your doorstep if you prefer to make it a night in, or swing by the restaurant yourself to carry out your meal.
Drive up and park. No meters or machines required, just easy free parking.
If your preferred mode of transit is of the two wheel variety, you're in luck — there's tons of bike parking outside the restaurant.
Taisan Chef accepts major credit cards, including Discovery and AMEX.
So pay Taisan Chef a visit today and treat yourself to come upscale Chinese fare.
You've definitely found your Chinese place with Taisan Chef's scrumptious eats.
All your favorite culinary influences await you at Taisan Chef where a fusion of Asian-style dishes are ready to win over a wide range of taste buds.
Next time you're searching for a mellow meal out, Taisan Chef is here to serve a beautiful blend of Asian-inspired fare.
Go beyond just beans and rice at Mi-Hacienda, and fill up on Mexican food that delivers a star-studded performance (according to fans' out-of-this-world, lip-smacking reviews).
Keep your diet in check at Mi-Hacienda, a local restaurant with gluten-free and low-fat menu items.
This restaurant diners can also take advantage of the many drink options offered here.
No need to splurge on a babysitter — tots will be right at home chowing down at this restaurant.
The large dining space at Mi-Hacienda provides quick and easy seating options for large groups.
Not a popular place for dress-up dining, most Mi-Hacienda patrons come in casual attire.
Need to get out of the house? Order and pick up from this restaurant.
That's right! Mi-Hacienda will bring their delicious food to your house for any occasion.
Whether you're heading to Mi-Hacienda for lunch or dinner, parking is always free in the adjacent lot.
Meals at Mi-Hacienda usually set you back about $30 per diner.
Mi-Hacienda accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and all major credit cards.
Taste why Mi-Hacienda's Mexican food is highly-rated by all who dine there.
If you have had a long and hard day, swing by Mi-Hacienda and enjoy a Mexican meal in a laid back environment.
If you're searching for a great restaurant with traditional Mexican eats, look no further than Mi-Hacienda.
Visit T.G.I. Friday's and indulge in some good old-fashioned American cuisine.
Your body is a temple, so why not opt for healthy food that also tastes great? T.G.I. Friday's serves shockingly delicious vegan, low-fat, and gluten-free dishes.
Pick your poison and toast your evening — drinks are also served here.
If you're in need of a booster seat, this restaurant's got you covered. This is a great spot for the whole family.
Shake off the stiff workday duds at T.G.I. Friday's — attire is casual.
Through their catering service, T.G.I. Friday's can also set out a delicious spread for your next party.
You can also grab your food to go.
We're nicer than our competitors. We have free parking in our own lot at no charge to you.
Bike parking is also available outside the restaurant.
Prices at T.G.I. Friday's are moderate — most diners plunk down about $30 per meal.
Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, T.G.I. Friday's is a great dining option for any time of day.
Indulge in all of your favorite American classics with a trip to the definitive standard in town at T.G.I. Friday's.
So enjoy a casual lunch or dinner at T.G.I. Friday's and indulge in some America-inspired cuisine.
The gas-filled, sky-faring vessels known as zeppelins captured the imaginations of engineers, artists, and storytellers around the world. They also less famously inspired Lithuanian dumpling masters, who borrowed the vehicle's name for their meat-filled creations. While the aircraft landed permanently because of their impractical nature, their culinary counterparts took off, creating an iconic local cuisine. Old Vilnius Cafe's chefs import the recipes for these golden delicacies, expanding American palates with staple Eastern European flavors. They also treat visitors to a huge array of dishes from across Poland, Lithuania, and Russia, pan-frying potato pancakes and boiling vats of hot beet stew. The intrepid explorer of their vast menu even can find beef tongue hidden among their specials, which they can pair with cool Lithuanian beer poured directly into the mouth from a comrade’s hands.
After a meal, guests can visit the souvenir shop, which features books, music, and crafts from the proprietors' native lands. There, they'll also find glittering bits of Baltic amber, the former tree sap turned jewel prized for its rich color.
Rosati’s Pizza's history dates back to the early 1900s, when a recent Italian immigrant named Ferdinand Rosati moved from New York to Chicago with the dream of opening a restaurant. His first attempt was modest—with Ferdinand simultaneously fulfilling the duties of chef, server, dishwasher, and host—but quickly gained popularity for its crispy-thin-crust pizzas, originally served as complimentary appetizers. Encouraged by the public's response to the pies, Ferdinand and his son, Sam, decided to focus their efforts on opening a true pizzeria.
Today, at Rosati's Pizza locations across the country, plumes of heat swirl above piping-hot pies concocted from handmade sauce and dough. A smattering of toppings cling to five crust options—crispy thin, double dough, Chicago-style, pan, and superstuffed—as well as hide from their hungry predators inside hand-rolled calzones. Homemade lasagna and fettuccine alfredo battle for the top pasta spot, and fried chicken, baby back ribs, and fried-shrimp dinners work together to distract diners from hard-to-resist buffalo wings.
Fresh from the oven every time, the insanely-cheesy slices at Jet's Pizza have Downers Grove visitors hooked on five-star reviews.
Cautious diners will appreciate the low-fat and gluten-free fare at Jet's Pizza.
The pizzeria doesn't let you book your table ahead of time, so expect a first-come, first-served policy when you visit.
Fancy-schmancy attire is not required; in fact, guests are told to keep things casual.
Delivery and takeout are both available if you prefer to eat in the comfort of your own home.
Catering is also available if you'd like to serve Jet's Pizza's tasty dishes at your next party.
At Jet's Pizza, you won't have to worry about circling the block multiple times to find parking.
Prices are a bit on the higher side, so this might be a good pick for a special night out.
Who doesn't love pizza? And who doesn't love pizza with great ratings? Jet's Pizza is home to some of the best slices in the neighborhood, so order a hot one today.
The pizza at Jet's Pizza is filled with endless flavors, so head on over today and enjoy a slice or two of yummy goodness.
Cindy Espinosa has cooked almost every dish on the menu at Nellie’s (2458 W. Division St.), the Humboldt Park luncheonette she co-owns with her husband, Pablo. Yet she’s never attempted mofongo, a dish of mashed fried plantains that’s a Puerto Rican tradition.
“I see it being made,” she said. “I know how it’s made, but I’ve never tried it.”
It’s easy to see why. The cooking process, which I watched unfold in Nellie’s kitchen, is pretty involved, with a lot of hand-mashing and frying. “It’s more of a Friday-night dinner type of thing,” Pablo said. “You might eat it once a month at home.”
Yet the final result—a dome of fried plantain that diners can moisten with a dip into housemade chicken broth—is worth the work. Here’s how Cindy and Pablo’s cook, Carmen, makes it.
Carmen first peels and chops green plantains, the same fruits used in the restaurant’s jibaritos and tostones. According to Pablo, the restaurant goes through a crate of about 50 green plantains every week.
Then Carmen tosses them into a deep-fryer with some chopped tocino, or pork lard. When the lard has cooked down to a salty, crispy crunch, she dumps it and the plantains into a type of mortar and pestle called a pilon. “Every Puerto Rican household should have one,” Cindy said. The pilon’s concave bottom is what gives a serving of mofongo its distinctive dome-like shape.
In Puerto Rico, you see “all types of sizes” of pilon, Pablo said. That includes some as large as a butter churn, which sit on the floor. Nellie’s is a tabletop model, about 6 inches tall, wooden, and covered in carvings. It makes only one portion of mofongo at a time, which can make things hectic for Carmen on a busy weekend day. (All that mashing “takes an arm,” Cindy said.)
Making mofongo to order gives the staff flexibility to tailor each serving. For instance, Carmen can leave out the tocino to make a vegetarian version of the dish. (Both Espinozas have been vegetarian for a year and a half.) Other versions on the menu include iterations with shrimp in place of tocino or with a mound of chicken, shrimp, or steak nestled inside the dome. Mofongo can also be a side order to fried chicken (chicharron de pollo) or fried pork.
I get to sample the classic, main-course version.
The mofongo dome appears next to a small silver tureen filled with housemade chicken broth for dipping. There is still a big chunk of meat and bone floating in it, as well as a big, soft carrot that I devour, savoring its umami flavors. Moistened with a little broth, the green plantains lose their fibrous dryness to become melt-in-your-mouth comfort food; the bits of tocino provide an occasional kick of salt.
I send a mental thank-you to Carmen’s arm for providing this food. I hope it was worth the work.
Photo credit: Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon
To many Chicagoans, the neighborhoods south of Roosevelt Road seem to be a culinary wasteland. To Jimalita Tillman, Chicago native and executive director of the Harold Washington Cultural Center and Performing Arts Theatre (4701 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.), fine-dining opportunities definitely exist on the South Side—if you give them a chance.
Because many of these restaurants depend on word of mouth, Tillman said, the advertising budgets of their more northern competitors often trump their oral marketing, and so she often spends “all day” giving South Side restaurant recommendations to area visitors and theater-goers.
“There are many great places [to eat] throughout these areas,” she said. “It really depends on what you’re in the mood for.”
And if you're in the mood for a little musical and cultural Chicago history to pair with your meal, you don't have to travel far from the landmark arts center. The Harold Washington Cultural Center, in the former location of the historical Regal Theater where the likes of Ella Fitzgerald once performed, is right in the heart of the Black Metropolis—a region marked by the culture and Southern-inspired music scene that developed during the Great Migration. Today, Bronzeville is still flavored with leftovers from its swinging past.
To savor alongside your meal, we paired each of Tillman’s restaurant recommendations with a few musical, historical, and cultural tidbits.
4655 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Chicago, IL 60653
It’s the quick and personable service that makes this gourmet hot-dog eatery a standout, Tillman said. Of course, Chef Cliff Rome serves the usual Chicago-style hot dog, but it’s the varied wiener and burger options he creates that color H-Dogs’ menu with the fine-dining flair he perfected while studying in Paris. The Healthy Hound—a grilled veggie dog with sprouts, roasted peppers, red onions, and cucumbers—sits alongside salmon burgers, turducken sausages, and portobello-mushroom sandwiches without the least bit of tattletaling or fighting over who had the mustard first. Sweet-potato or truffle fries complete the gourmet-on-the-go experience.
Bite of History: The gourmet hot-dog diner sits in a historical building that was once known as 47th Street Marketplace. Before a 2010 fire destroyed the building, it was considered a symbol of the revitalization of Bronzeville and housed Tillman’s Spoken Word Cafe—one of the original hosts of HBO’s Def Poetry series hosted by hip-hop artist and actor Mos Def.
2. Pearl’s Place
3901 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60653
“I’m a breakfast head,” said Tillman—as are many in the crowd of diners waiting to get inside for brunch on any given Sunday. The kitchen cooks up a mix of Southern and soul food—yes, there’s a difference—but Pearl’s Place sprinkles it with the right amount of creole flavor. After sampling Pearl’s juicy yet crispy fried chicken, sautéed salmon croquettes, or all-day breakfasts of vegetable omelets or homestyle pancakes, it seems only right to finish with a bite or two of peach cobbler or sweet-potato pie.
Bite of History: The interior decor, with album jackets and vinyl records lining the walls, features a photo story of the neighborhood’s jazz and blues history with jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Lena Horne—all of whom graced the stage at the Regal Theater during Bronzeville’s musical heyday.
3. Norman’s Bistro
1001 E. 43rd St., Chicago, IL, 60653
The bistro’s entrees—including vegetable confetti ravioli, smoked cranberry salmon, and the Great Duck burger—offer an upscale taste-bud experience at “South Side prices,” Tillman said. From the food to the decor, presentation is an art in this sleek and classy spot featuring creole-inspired American food with a Brazilian flair. In the exposed-brick, art-filled wine bar, sommeliers pour from an extensive list of wines. Separate from the dining room, the intimate setting of the bar creates an ideal spot for the happy-hour crowd.
Bite of Culture: On Sundays at 9 p.m., the bistro hosts a live jazz jam session. Or make an appointment and walk over to Gallery Guichard—housed in a turn-of-the-20th-century Italiante row house—to peruse its African-diaspora art and blown glass, sculptures, and photography by local as well as international artists.
Photography by Andrew Nawrocki.
Clockwise from top: Birria in action—rich, briny consommé and tender goat meat, stewed for hours with bay leaves, cinnamon, and other spices. // Ceramic bowls absorb the birria's heat, keeping the broth warm throughout meals. // When Rick Bayless recommended Birrieria Reyes de Ocotlan to "Esquire" magazine, he described the eatery’s birria as "full of flavor, incredibly homey and satisfying."
In Ocotlán in Jalisco, Mexico, the temperature rarely dips below 40 degrees. That's mild by Chicago standards; however, when the Reyes family immigrated 2,000 miles from Ocotlán to Chicago, they brought with them a recipe that would prove thoroughly compatible with the colder weather. That recipe is birria—a savory stew made by simmering goat meat for hours with herbs and spices. On a cold day in mid-March, I made a trek across town to the family's Pilsen restaurant, Birrieria Reyes de Ocotlan, to taste it myself.
As soon as I entered the eatery, I smelled the warm, rich aroma of simmering goat meat. Goats were also present in the decor: miniature replicas decorated shelves and cupboards, and a mounted goat head kept watch over the booths, a toothpick dangling humorously from its lips.
After I ordered birria at the counter, a server presented me with three dishes. The smallest held pickled onions and lime wedges, which are traditional birria condiments, and an oblong basket cradled warm, fresh tortillas. The largest bowl brimmed with rich, briny consommé, chopped onions and cilantro, and hunks of tender goat meat.
The first spoonful of broth tasted bright and smoky with hints of ancho peppers and cinnamon. I separated a piece of goat meat with light pressure from my spoon. Leaner than beef, the meat still had pieces of bone inside, which infused the meat with the flavor of their marrow. The crisp onions and fragrant cilantro stood out against the birria's savory elements to create a harmony of flavors that was especially comforting on a cold day.