Traditional Italian-American cuisine in cozy surroundings.
Upscale suburban wine bar with an extensive menu that covers all the bases.
Always-busy suburban trattoria serving reasonably priced yet huge portions of pasta and other standards.
Suburban location for this adult playground offering billiards, video games, and pinball; mostly basic bar food.
First and still considered the best of Emilio Gervilla's tapas restaurants.
Local pizza chain, the birthplace of stuffed pizza.
Suburban outpost of lively Greektown favorite.
Elmwood Park's first sushi restaurant.
Festive, inexpensive crab shacks, popular with families.
Second location of the suburban minichain whose homemade noodles make it worth the trek.
The name would suggest that dumplings are the draw here, but it's the fresh homemade noodles that instantly turn unsuspecting diners into fervent members of the cult of Katy's. There are two untranslated menus plastered on the wall of this suburban strip-mall storefront. The first lists daily specials like spicy beef tendon and cold pork stomach, which can be found in the refrigerator case (or as I like to call it, the chilled organ grab bag); the second lists frozen dumplings—pork and fennel, beef and scallion, fish stuffed—available to go. Personally I can't be bothered with such exotica when I have noodles on the brain, and fortunately the dine-in menu is translated. Stir-fried noodles with dry chile offers the perfect introduction: meat, seafood, and vegetables with a healthy dose of dried red chiles, served atop of a big nest of the fresh noodles. Szechuan cold noodles are just as good, the slow burn of the Szechuan-peppercorn-spiked shredded pork prevailing over the shredded cucumber that attempts to cool the palate. If you must have something other than noodles, the chewy pancake with shredded pork may be the only worthy substitute—even though it's cut to look like a noodle. There's a second location at 790 Royal Saint George, Naperville (630-416-1188). —Kristina Meyer
Down-home, quasi-Texan steak-house chain with two suburban locations.
Oak Brook outpost of this well-trafficked chain of family-style Italian restaurants.
Lombard steak house specializing in . . . big steaks.
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