Good luck finding better beef elsewhere — Longhorn Steakhouse grills their sirloin with just the right amount of sizzle, and fans often hand out five-star reviews to this top-rated steakhouse.
Enjoy a creative, healthy meal at Longhorn Steakhouse.
The bar at this restaurant is fully stocked, so pair your meal with a glass of wine or beer.
Parents appreciate this restaurant's kid-friendly attitude, and little ones are often seen dining out with the adults.
Whether you're coming from work or a ballgame, the dress code at laid-back Longhorn Steakhouse is come-as-you-are.
Don't be afraid to enjoy your food on the go — this restaurant offers takeout for your busy schedule.
A nearby parking lot is readily available for Longhorn Steakhouse's diners.
At Longhorn Steakhouse, diners can make use of the safe bike rack.
Longhorn Steakhouse is creating dishes any foodie will love at around $30.
Night owls will be happy to hear that the restaurant is best known for their evening menu, though breakfast and lunch are also served.
For the be-all and end-all of steakhouses, people can't stop talking about Longhorn Steakhouse. Try it today and judge the sky-high ratings for yourself.
In addition to great service, Longhorn Steakhouse serves up juicy and flavorful steaks. Make your way over to the restaurant today and indulge in a good meal.
Come to Rosewood Family Restaurant for a sandwich and side — this eatery serves American cuisine everyone will love.
Ready for a drink to unwind? At this restaurant, you can pair your meal with something from their full bar.
Having trouble finding that family-friendly restaurant everyone will love? This restaurant serves all ages, so little ones are welcome to come along, too.
Free wireless Internet is also available at Rosewood Family Restaurant, so bring your tablet or laptop along.
Rosewood Family Restaurant goes easy on the dress code — business casual is expected, so no need to squeeze into your finest attire.
Feeling a little shy? Carryout is available.
The restaurant also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of Rosewood Family Restaurant to your next party or event.
Parking has never been easier at Rosewood Family Restaurant, a restaurant located near a variety of parking selections.
Breakfast bites, light lunches, and delicious dinners are all offered at Rosewood Family Restaurant.
The friendly staff at Rosewood Family Restaurant are ready and waiting to cook and serve your favorite American meal.
Rosewood Family Restaurant has something for everyone with great American fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Pop over to Gelsosomo's Pizzeria in Portage for some hop (and highly-acclaimed) 'za, and find out what everyone's been raving about.
This pizzeria also provides alcohol, so diners don't have to worry about bringing their own bottle.
You'll want to time your arrival to Gelsosomo's Pizzeria just right since reservations are not accepted.
Throwing a big party? Count on Gelsosomo's Pizzeria to provide top-notch catering with the same great dishes you love.
Delivery and takeout are both available if you prefer to eat in the comfort of your own home.
Don't fret! Parking options are readily available near Gelsosomo's Pizzeria.
Delicious food doesn't have to be expensive, as shown by the delicious fare coming out of Gelsosomo's Pizzeria's kitchen.
When melted cheese and quality crust is all you can think about, it may be time for a hot slice or two. Experience pizza at its best when you order a pie from top-rated Gelsosomo's Pizzeria.
Craving pizza tonight? Stop in for a tasty slice at Gelsosomo's Pizzeria.
Gelsosomo's Pizzeria's Italian food gets the highest price; come taste why!
So treat yourself to a delicious Italian meal from Gelsosomo's Pizzeria and satisfy your hunger.
Have a relaxed night out at El Cantarito, a local restaurant with homemade Mexican fare.
Don't go thirsty during dinner! This restaurant also offers a splendid drink list featuring wine, beer, and more.
The whole family can enjoy a meal at this restaurant with its kid-friendly fare.
Summer meals will taste even better when you enjoy them on El Cantarito's gorgeous patio.
The restaurant's background buzz is a bit loud, so those seeking low-key conversation are advised to dine elsewhere.
Reservations are available for those who prefer to skip the waiting game.
A catering menu is also available if you're looking to dazzle the patrons at your next shindig.
The food's ready when you are. Come on in or carry out.
El Cantarito is located near a parking lot, which many diners take advantage of.
El Cantarito provides ample space for bikers to store their bikes.
Major credit cards are accepted as a form of payment, so patrons are advised to charge responsibly.
If you prefer casual dining, head on over to El Cantarito and enjoy some Mexican fare in a comfortable setting.
If you're searching for a great restaurant with traditional Mexican eats, look no further than El Cantarito.
Good luck finding better beef elsewhere — Texas Corral grills their sirloin with just the right amount of sizzle, and fans often hand out five-star reviews to this top-rated steakhouse.
Order a bottle for the table if you like — this restaurant has a full bar stocked with the best wine, beer, and more.
The whole family can enjoy a meal at this restaurant with its kid-friendly fare.
Texas Corral is a local restaurant that accommodates both large and small groups.
Those searching for a quiet dinner scene may have better luck elsewhere, as the restaurant tends to get rather noisy.
If you're in a hurry, place an order for pickup instead.
The restaurant has catering services as well.
Restaurant customers can take advantage of the nearby parking options.
Cyclists will also appreciate the plentiful space to lock up their bikes outside the restaurant.
The menu at Texas Corral is reasonably priced, with most items costing less than $30.
For that extra special sizzle, it doesn't get much better than an all-star steak dinner at Texas Corral.
So head on over to Texas Corral for a juicy cut served right to perfection.
Throw 'em back at Clancy's Irish Pub, and quickly grow to love this Irish bar.
Gluten-free, low-fat, and vegan! It's all happening at Clancy's Irish Pub.
Be sure to complete your meal at this restaurant with a drink from the restaurant's full bar.
Sunny day plus appetite equals the perfect time to head to Clancy's Irish Pub.
At Clancy's Irish Pub, you can dine with your immediate family and your extended family due to the easy seating for large parties.
Get connected at lightning fast speeds with Clancy's Irish Pub's complimentary wifi.
Wear what you like when you dine at Clancy's Irish Pub — the restaurant has a chill vibe just right for casual dining.
Catering from Clancy's Irish Pub will take your party to the next level.
Meeting the gang for a movie? Pick up some food from this restaurant.
At Clancy's Irish Pub, you can park quickly and safely in a lot next door.
Head on over to Clancy's Irish Pub first thing in the morning or last thing in the evening — Clancy's Irish Pub is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Friendly and fun, Clancy's Irish Pub is a great place for beer, food, and a good time.
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.