Start with the calamari and save room for the fresh catch at Westmont's Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen — this Westmont seafood spot has quite the selection.
The chefs at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen know how to prepare tasty, gluten-free and low-fat meals.
This restaurant also provides alcohol, so diners don't have to worry about bringing their own bottle.
Have a few picky young eaters in the family? Not a problem at this restaurant, where the food and ambience are perfect for family dining.
Big family? No problem. Bring the whole gang to Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.
Enjoy wifi here free of cost.
Warm weather brings out Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen's highly coveted patio seating.
The restaurant can fill up quickly, so reservations are recommended.
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen's business casual policy makes it the perfect place for a number of occasions.
Meeting the gang for a movie? Pick up some food from this restaurant.
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen is known for serving great food, and they are able to serve it at your next event with their excellent catering.
Score parking in the lot adjacent to Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, a local restaurant.
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen makes bikers feel at ease with the multiple storage racks outside.
Treating yourself doesn't mean breaking the bank, come taste the great dishes Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen has to offer.
Conveniently serving three main meals a day, the restaurant is a great place to eat at any time of day, but is best known for its evening menu.
For the freshest catch in town, make your way over to the highly-rated Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen.
Deemed "pizza of the year" every year by Papa Passero's' loyal fans, this deliciously-cheesy pizza will have you reaching for seconds, thirds, and even fourths.
You'll find a wonderful selection of drinks from this pizzeria's full bar to top off your meal.
Little guys and gals will also love dining at this pizzeria, which offers a family-friendly environment (and menu).
Wifi here is on the house.
Papa Passero's will be able to accommodate your large party.
Whether it's just you and a date or you're bringing the whole gang, it's best to call ahead and make a reservation.
Show up in sneakers or a suit at Papa Passero's, where dining in comfort is of utmost importance.
The pizzeria has catering services as well.
Delivery and takeout are also available. You'll be knocking down our door to pick up your food, or we'll be knocking down yours.
Free parking is available for patrons who dine at Papa Passero's.
Most items on the menu are reasonably priced, so expect to spend around $30 per person at Papa Passero's.
All major credit cards are accepted, including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.
Everyone's talking about Papa Passero's. Find out why when you treat yourself to a delicious pizza pie.
Just because Papa Passero's is quick and easy doesn't make it any less tasty. For some of the most highly-rated pizza in town, swing on by today.
Why not keep it casual tonight? Head on over to Papa Passero's, where you can enjoy a delicious variety of pizza and a casual, care-free atmosphere.
Pizza is a food staple that is done right by Papa Passero's.
The fresh, homey fare at Tap House Grill harkens back to traditional pub cooking while incorporating some nouveau cuisine elements.
Cautious diners will appreciate the low-fat and gluten-free fare at Tap House Grill.
Follow the game or the news from the TVs in the bar.
At this restaurant, everyone will find something they love — kids included!
Make the most of the warm summer months by dining outdoors in Tap House Grill's beautiful outdoor seating area.
Tap House Grill is a good restaurant to dine with a small or large group.
Enjoy wifi here free of cost.
Interested in eating out over the weekend? Keep in mind that the restaurant gets swamped on Fridays and Saturdays, and service may take longer than expected.
Keep it casual at Tap House Grill — the restaurant is laid-back and patrons dress accordingly.
For those in a hurry, the restaurant lets you take your grub to go.
Free parking is available for patrons who dine at Tap House Grill.
Make use of the safe and efficient bike parking at Tap House Grill.
Menu items at Tap House Grill tend to be mid-priced, so expect to plop down about $30 per person to dine here.
Tap House Grill has great food, a large selection of beer, and even better company. Stop in today!
When you are ready to try a new restaurant for lunch or dinner, make your way over to Tap House Grill for tasty American fare.
Find something for anyone at any time with American food from Tap House Grill.
For an exceptional menu of American food that is highly-rated by all who try it, call Tap House Grill today.
Mai Thai Restaurant's top-rated Thai dishes are a cherished staple among serious diners.
Gluten-free and low-fat are not one in the same, but this place serves them both.
Unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail with your meal — this restaurant has a wonderful selection of drinks to accompany your dinner.
Parents appreciate this restaurant's kid-friendly attitude, and little ones are often seen dining out with the adults.
Impress your friends and invite them to a party to remember at Mai Thai Restaurant.
Don't like waiting to be seated? Make a reservation whether it's just you or the whole group.
Love the food so much you want to serve it at your next soiree? No problem — Mai Thai Restaurant offers catering.
This restaurant offers you the ultimate convenience — in-store seating, carryout, or delivery.
Pull into one of the many parking spaces nearby if you choose to drive to the restaurant.
Mai Thai Restaurant offers various parking options, including bike parking.
Mai Thai Restaurant is creating dishes any foodie will love at around $30.
When you're ready to take your Thai fare up a notch, the all-star menu at Mai Thai Restaurant is waiting.
For Thai that steps up to the plate in an oh-so-casual setting, Mai Thai Restaurant is where you want to be.
So keep it casual this weekend with a fabulous Thai meal at Mai Thai Restaurant.
For traditional and innovative Thai food with endless flavor, head to Mai Thai Restaurant.
Built to evoke the spirit of an open-air European marketplace, Standard Market celebrates the possibilities of fresh, artisanal foods. Thanks to relationships with small farmers and producers throughout the Midwest, the shelves stay stocked with products that are either grown or crafted within 300 miles of the store. Even the selection of more than 200 cheeses favors American products, a fact that appealed to the Chicagoist when it named Standard Market one of the five best cheese shops in Chicago.
This local fare appears alongside items imported from abroad, but the freshest products of all are the ones made in-house. In the bakery, staff prepare more than 35 kinds of artisan breads from scratch every morning. Elsewhere, butchers dry-age beef, make their own sausages, and smoke their own bacon. The display cases even showcase pastas made from scratch with a pasta machine imported from Italy via giant slingshot.
In addition to celebrating artisanal ingredients, Standard Market also features a casual grill area where visitors can enjoy a quick meal made using the same meats and produce found on the shelves. Hearty burgers, hand-tossed pizzas, and meal-sized salads help keep hunger pangs at bay before visitors move on to inspect the shop's selection of more than 500 wines and 150 beers from every corner of the world.
For tasty veggie-friendly fare, head over to Shree Restaurant.
Quit fat and gluten at Shree Restaurant, where low-fat fare and G-free offerings are the norm.
With this restaurant's wide selection of refreshments available, you can tap into the drink menu early in the evening.
This restaurant is kid-friendly, so little ones are welcome to tag along.
Access the Internet free of charge via Shree Restaurant's complimentary wifi.
Make plans ahead of time and reserve a table to avoid the wait.
No need to dress to the nines here — Shree Restaurant's policy is business casual, so guests can dine in comfort.
Hosting a swanky shindig? Call up Shree Restaurant for their catering services.
This restaurant accommodates your schedule. Pick it up yourself or have it delivered to your door.
Valet service is offered in the lot next door, where patrons can choose to park their own vehicles as well. When the lot gets busy, diners can turn to street parking.
Shree Restaurant's diners can store their bikes safely at the rack around the corner.
Your tab at Shree Restaurant will generally run you about $30 per person.
Eat your way through the day at Shree Restaurant — diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner here.
So for food that is not just vegetarian but also delicious, Shree Restaurant has you covered.
For traditional and authentic Indian food, look no further than Shree Restaurant.
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.