Had a lovely Valentine's Day dinner at Crofton on Wells. They used their regular menu, which we much prefer to the overpriced prix fixe of most holiday dinners. The staff was very nice, although our waitress seemed a little distracted and was obviously friends with the couple sitting next to us. The food was superb. My husband, who is a crab cake connoisseur, said that theirs was the best he's ever eaten. His venison was so tender that he compared it to a sashimi. They have a lot of excellent choices for vegetarians too. The prices are very reasonable considering the quality of the food and the restaurant's location. The portion sizes are perfect - not too huge so that you leave stuffed and uncomfortable. We can't wait to try it again.
This is a great little sandwich shop, and once you are there, you feel like you've found some long lost friends. The people who take your order (probably the owners) were warm and welcoming. The gentleman was eager to tell his story and very proud of his food. I don't eat much meat, so I tried the tofu sandwich, which comes with Creola sauce and some fried plantains. Traditional, no. Tasty and welcomed by non-meat eaters? Definitely! I washed it all down with the canned pineapple soda - different yet tasty! We also tried their new goat cheese empanada. It was so good, we ordered another one to take home, along with the guava and cream cheese pastelito (like an empanada too). They were delicious. This is a great, casual restaurant for some delicious Cuban food in a friendly atmosphere.
Above-average quality sushi at very reasonable prices. Bonus: they offer some Korean dishes, and they even provide the banchan that is most typically provided at Korean restaurants. We had the udon, which had a rich, flavorful broth and thick, chewy noodles of the perfect consistency. We ordered the version with tempura shrimp, and it was delicious. The sushi is not very innovative, but if you like straight-up fish or simple rolls like spicy tuna or salmon, I can't remember having more fresh fish anywhere. We also had a yummy roll with tempura shrimp that packed quick a spicy kick. They brought some orange slices to complete the meal, although they did offer us ice cream too. A solid choice for tasty sushi with a Korean twist.
I've wanted to try Enoteca Roma for a while, and I was not disappointed. One great thing about this place is it takes reservations. There's a decent amount of seating in the warmer months with the patio, but the actual interior is tiny, maybe only a half dozen tables. We did not have a reservation, and since the wait was 30 minutes and we were starving, we ate at the bar. I'm usually not much of one for eating at the bar, but this was actually fine. The bartender was swamped because there were a lot of bar diners and he was filling liquor orders for the whole restaurant, but the service was still fine. Enoteca Roma seems to offer just a few things, but many options on them. For instance, they have polenta, but you can order about 6 different sauces on it. I don't know why more Italian restaurants don't serve soft polenta. I had the roasted tomato and mushroom topping, and it was fantastic. We started with the bruschetteria, which is a choice of four different bruschettas. You get two of each selection, so we had 8 total pieces. They were all very good. My husband had the cervo pasta with venison bolognese as his entree, and he loved it. It comes in two sizes, and my husband, who is a big eater, was satiated with the smaller portion. I'd say only order the bigger one if you want leftovers. For dessert, my husband had the panna cotta trio, and I had the chocolate raspberry torte. Both were superb. Enoteca Roma was fantastic and I can't wait to go back.
Magnolia Cafe is one of our favorite restaurants in the city. We probably go more for brunch than dinner, but both meals are excellent. It's a little more than you'd pay at other restaurants, but we feel like the quality of food and atmosphere are worth it. This brunch we started with the raspberry muffins, which were fantastic. It's a lot of food when you order the muffins and an entree, but they are so good, it's worth it. I had the delicious pancakes - crisp along the edges but fluffy in the middle. It comes with a good sized portion of fresh fruit too. My husband ordered the pulled pork benedict special. Their breakfast specials are fantastic, and we highly recommend them, especially for the carnivores. My husband usually gets the corned beef hash special, which he said is the best corned beef he's ever had, and he's quite a corned beef hash connoisseur. During the nicer weather, they also have a pleasant outdoor seating area in the front of the restaurant.
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Good, dependable Mexican food with a nice outdoor patio. We arrived a few minutes late for our reservation, but were seated immediately. We were even able to switch to an outdoor table with no problem. We've been here many times, and it never fails to serve above average Mexican food and drinks at reasonable prices. I decided to deviate from the usual margarita and opted for the mojito, which was actually pretty good. The chips are thin and crispy and the salsa tastes very fresh with the right amount of heat. My enchiladas suizo was served piping hot and it all tasted delicious. Another plus is that they take reservations.
Great place for lunch or carry out. Extremely fresh ingredients and a more authentic, varied menu than your typical casual Turkish restaurant. The Jajik (cacik) yogurt sauce was extremely tasty with chunks of cucumber and garlic. My husband's lamb kebob plate had lean, tender lamb chunks served with rice pilaf and a big, fresh salad. My falafel plate (a special during our visit) came with a hearty serving of hummus and the same huge salad. Didn't experience the inside dining atmosphere, because we sat outside to enjoy the nice weather.
My husband and I had a completely different experience for the same meal. My pineapple mojito was great, his margarita was just OK. His crab cake appetizer was just OK, and my seaweed salad was delicious. His kobe rib eye entrée was superb (it should be for $68), and the accompanying fries with spicy mustard were fantastic. My sushi (spicy tuna and the special salmon roll) were just OK. My husband loved his Japanese pumpkin cheesecake, and my chocolate mascarpone cake was just OK. I liked the racial diversity of the clientele, even though there were a lot of "see and be seeners" too. The atmosphere is really innovative and swanky, but sometimes it's hard to hear over the screeching of the fashionista-wannabes. Our unpretentious service was bordering on overbearing, but it was never a problem. It would probably be a good place to take out-of-towners you are trying to impress, but otherwise there probably isn't a reason for Chicagoans to go more than once.
We used to frequent El Tinajon many years ago, but had a few bad meals and stopped going. Under the new owners, the place has blossomed. The menu is extensive and innovative. You can order standard Mexican fare, but for the more adventurous, there are many Guatemalan choices. My husband loves Chiles Rellenos, and he said El Tinajon's is the best. They also have an assortment of delicious flavored margaritas. In the warmer months, they offer a pleasant sidewalk dining space.
Frasca is a great upscale pizza place. This was my second visit, but my first to sit inside. The patio is great for warm weather, but the interior of the restaurant is pleasant and interesting too. There is a nice selection of wines and we were happy with our choices. We started with the delicious fondue, which seemed like a small portion, but filled us up quite a bit. My husband and I both chose the build-your-own pizzas. The ingredient list a somewhat limited, but they have some interesting items from which to choose. I highly recommend the oven-roasted tomatoes. The crust is a bit chewy, but I like it better than some other nouveau pizza places where the middle of the crust is soggy and undercooked. A nice choice if you are in the neighborhood, but also definitely worth the trip.
Excellent Vietnamese food. The service was very eager to please, to say the least. We started with the shrimp spring rolls which were delicious - fresh tasting with a great balance of flavors and textures. We ordered three entrees and it was plenty of food and we had leftovers. My husband said the Portabella Beef with Asparagus was one of the best Asian beef dishes he's ever had. The Sate Shrimps were also outstanding. Finally, we had the Curry Chicken. Although it was fine, it didn't have that special flair that the other two dishes did. The hot Vietnamese coffee was thick and sweet, but the Black Forest cake disappointed. Overall a fabulous addition for Vietnamese dining in Chicago.
I was really looking forward to Campagne because I had heard so many great things about it. I'm not sure if my expectations were out of whack, but I think the food is pretty average. The best thing about Campagne is the atmosphere and location. I haven't found a more pleasant atmosphere for French dining, but I think there is better food elsewhere for less money. However, if you are in the neighborhood or are more into setting than food, this would be an acceptable choice.