Mexican restaurant from longtime Frontera chef Enrique Gomez.
Cozy Naperville Italian featuring classics such as chicken Vesuvio and pasta with clams.
Traditional Italian-American cuisine in cozy surroundings.
West-suburban Czech restaurant serving soul-satisfying comfort food.
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.
The chef at Taiwanese-owned Fabulous Noodles prepares amazingly good renditions of Cantonese classics like beef with bitter melon over wok-blistered chow fun noodles or lo bak go
, panfried turnip cake studded with nuggets of crispy cured pork. Yet he also has the chops to switch gears and deliver a rock-solid version of northern-style vegetarian chicken (marinated tofu skin rolled and filled with bamboo shoots and shiitakes) or Hong Kong-style wonton noodle soup, as well as chop suey and kung pao. The former co-owners execute an almost identical menu equally well at Noodles Delight (853 E. Nerge, Roselle, 630-307-1010, noodlesdelight.com
). —Rob Lopata
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
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