For top-rated Mexican fare that customers rave about, head to Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill for a meal packed with bold flavor.
Fear not you gluten-free or low-fat eaters, you'll have plenty of choices here.
Having trouble finding that family-friendly restaurant everyone will love? This restaurant serves all ages, so little ones are welcome to come along, too.
The large dining space at Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill provides quick and easy seating options for large groups.
Surround yourself with the wonderful weather at your next night out at Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill.
Don't like waiting to be seated? Make a reservation whether it's just you or the whole group.
Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill is a casual spot to dine, so don't worry about being underdressed.
Call Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill for catering if you have a big event coming up.
Meeting the gang for a movie? Pick up some food from this restaurant.
Save some cash on parking when you park in the lot adjacent to the restaurant.
Store your bike at one of the many racks outside of Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill.
Experience the best flavors of Mexico when you try the highly-rated cuisine at Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill.
Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill is an easy choice for anyone looking for a casual meal and great Mexican food.
A delicious Mexican dish is waiting for you at Green Cactus Fresh Mexican Grill, so stop by today and enjoy a yummy meal.
Pentimento captures the heart of Italian cuisine.
Sometimes it seems like it's hard to find something healthy to eat when you go out. This is not the case at Pentimento.
Take a peek at the drink menu here, and make sure to sample something off the list.
Little ones are free to make a mess at this restaurant, where the whole family is invited to dine.
At Pentimento, easily plan a night out with family, friends, coworkers and more — large parties are always welcome, and a private room is available for use.
For no extra charge, utilize Pentimento's free wifi.
Be sure to check out Pentimento's outdoor seating when the climate is right.
Reservations are available for those who prefer to skip the waiting game.
Pentimento welcomes laid-back diners, so there's no pressure to throw on heels or a tie.
Feed the gang at your next get-together with catering from Pentimento as well.
No delivery needed. In and out for carryout.
Looking for quick and easy parking options? Pentimento is close to a parking lot where valet is also an option.
At Pentimento, diners can make use of the safe bike rack.
Meals at Pentimento are moderately priced — most diners spend about $30 per person.
Pentimento has menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner — just pick your favorite meal and head over.
Experience the fine art of authentic Italian cooking when you sit down a meal at the charming Pentimento.
Visit Country House for some true American comfort food smack dab in the middle of Stony Brook's Stony Brook.
This place will leave you feeling satisfied no matter what kind of dietary needs you have.
Find time to peruse the wine list here — this restaurant offers a variety of drink options.
Getting online is easy with Country House's free and convenient wifi.
Weather permitting, come enjoy a wonderful meal outside at Country House.
Take advantage of the lenient pup policy, and bring your four-legged friend to the restaurant.
Business casual dress, tasty food, and a classic atmosphere make this a great place for any occasion.
Catering is also available if you'd like to serve Country House's tasty dishes at your next party.
Short on time? Don't wait for a driver — pick it up yourself.
At Country House, drivers can settle for safe parking in the lot next door.
At Country House, bikers can lock their bikes safely outside.
Our goals are simple. Keep you fed and happy. With outstanding food and drinks priced under $15, we succeed on both counts.
For a meal truly worth eating, the place to go is definitely Country House who serves up the mouthwatering best food in town.
You deserve an excellent meal, so head on over to Country House and enjoy some of the highly-rated American fare.
Lovebirds flock to O Sole Mio for Italian cuisine.
Watching your diet? Stay on track at O Sole Mio, a local restaurant with gluten-free and low-fat options.
A night out deserves a drink to celebrate, and O Sole Mio has the perfect selection of beer and wine to go with your meal.
Bring your whole brood to O Sole Mio, where families can dig in to tasty and kid-friendly fare together.
Worried about taking a big group out for a night on the town? O Sole Mio has you covered with private rooms made for loud parties.
Bask in the sun and enjoy a fresh meal outside at O Sole Mio.
Be sure to make reservations so you can get seated right away.
No need to gussy up for a trip to O Sole Mio, where patrons dress for comfort and fun.
Prefer to dine from the comfort of your own couch? Swing by O Sole Mio for carry out, or have them come to you with delivery.
O Sole Mio will even bring the amazing food from their kitchen to yours.
Drivers rejoice! Valet and lot parking is made simple at O Sole Mio.
For those who travel by bike, O Sole Mio offers bike racks for diners.
The menu at O Sole Mio is reasonably priced, with most items costing less than $30.
Early risers and night owls alike can enjoy O Sole Mio since it offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Stony Brook's Three Village Inn is a luxury B&B that provides guests with tasty meals and relaxing rooms.
The drink list at Three Village Inn has everything you need to complete your meal (and your night out).
Sometimes it's annoying to plan events for big groups, and sometimes it's easy with great restaurants like Three Village Inn helping you out.
Three Village Inn offers patio seating in the warmer months.
This hotel is a popular hotel for those working on-the-go and the business center is just one of the perks the hotel has to offer.
Score free wifi at Three Village Inn and stay connected throughout the duration of your stay.
Best part of the morning at Three Village Inn? A full breakfast, free of charge.
The hotel restaurant is located on-site and includes tasty signature dishes.
The bar in the hotel is a prime spot for after-dinner drinks.
Three Village Inn features a beautiful outdoor patio area where you can enjoy a delicious meal.
Make use of the quick and easy parking near Three Village Inn, including street and garage parking options as well as valet.
Make this next vacation even more unforgettable when you book your stay at Three Village Inn in Stony Brook.
Stony Brook's Robinson's Tea Room serves wonderfully aromatic teas and more.
Let the kids come too! Little ones love the food and atmosphere at this restaurant just as much as their parents do.
Robinson's Tea Room is a casual spot to dine, so don't worry about being underdressed.
If you're in a hurry, place an order for pickup instead.
Impress the diners at your next gathering by calling in Robinson's Tea Room for catering.
Save time and money on parking when you take advantage of the open lot next door.
For great dishes that fall smack dab in the middle when it comes to price, Robinson's Tea Room is a reasonable option for diners of different budgets.
Brunch is the house specialty at Robinson's Tea Room, though you can also stop by for lunch and dinner.
Whether you're looking to perk up or relax, Robinson's Tea Room has plenty of tea to choose from. Start sampling today.
So start your weekend off on the right foot with a delicious breakfast or brunch from Robinson's Tea Room.
So whether you're a pancake lover or egg addict, the homey breakfast options at Robinson's Tea Room are sure to get you going in the morning.
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