13 Great Lakeview Restaurants. How Many Have You Tried?

The extreme number of restaurants in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood is dizzying.  I have eaten at a great many of them.  In identifying the best of the lot, I narrowed down the list, based on consistency, uniqueness, and, honestly, lack of the “stroller-set.”  I won’t apologize for that last criterion.  So, here I give to you “13 Great Lakeview Restaurants,” in no particular order:

*Click on restaurant names for more information and directions

1.  Ceres’ Table – This bright spot on N. Broadway is serving up really fresh, regional Italian cuisine.  You cannot go wrong here.  Small plates, pizzas and brunch are all lovely.  This salmon eggs benedict rocks.  Their breakfast potatoes are the best in Chicago.

 

 

Ceres' Table brunch

Salmon eggs benedict

 

2.  Wood – Chef Ashlee Aubin (Salero) always hits the mark with his creative and hearty menu.  I love the brunch here but dinner is a winner, too.

 

Wood's brunch menu

Shrimp ‘n grits

Wood in Lakeview

 

3.  Crisp – If it’s tasty fried chicken you’re craving, this spot has you covered with Korean-style wings, bibimbop and more.  Get their “Seoul-Sassy” sauce.  This place is truly addictive.  Can you say “cheat day?”

 

Crisp in Lakeview

Seoul-Sassy Korean fried chicken

 

4.  Rickshaw Republic – This is one of Chicago’s only Indonesian restaurants.  Bonus!  It is as cute as a button, decorated to resemble traditional Indonesian street stalls.  Colorful, intimate, tasty. Enough said.

 

Rickshaw Republic

Rickshaw Republic in Lakeview

 

 

5.  DryHop Brewers – This brewery and kitchen is serving up dishes inspired by their hop-centric ales.  It’s a totally chill spot to hang out and enjoy one of Chicago’s 6 Best Burgers.  Bonus!  Bring in a growler and take home some of the delicious craft beer.

 

Brunch at Dry Hop

Those fries were incredibly hot and crispy. Loved the aioli that came with it!

 

6.  Chicago Diner – Are you looking for a vegan/vegetarian place?  Well, this Lakeview restaurant has been serving up those special dishes since the early ’80s.  That’s impressive!  You can even buy vegan cakes to-go!  Need catering?  Done!

 

Vegan burgers at The Chicago Diner

Buddha’s Karma Burger

 

7.  Cafe El Tapatio – A family-run, Mexican place which has been in business for 40 years.  It’s colorful and festive.  I love the ceviche here.

 

Cafe El Tapatio in Lakeview

Love the fresh ceviche here!

 

8.  5411 Empanadas – If you can’t jet off to Argentina, you can stop by this cozy spot around the corner from the Landmark Century movie theater.  They specialize in housemade savory and sweet empanadas.  They also have locations in Wicker Park and The Loop.  Follow their food truck around town, if you must eat on-the-go.

 

5411 Empanadas

5411 Empanadas in Lakeview

Banana-nutella empanadas

 

9.  Fahlstrom’s Fresh Fish Market – I love the whole retail/dine-in concept.  This place fits the bill perfectly.  Choose a seat in the main dining room or in the bar/retail market up front.  Then, try and choose from the many seafood options from around the world.  

 

Fahlstrom's Fresh Fish Market

King crab roll and potato pancake. Yum!

 

10.  Kuma’s Too – The original Kuma’s Corner in Avondale gave birth to this second Lakeview location just steps from the Diversey ‘L’ stop, along the CTA Brown Line.  They specialize in burgers inspired by heavy metal bands.  I love the “Plague Bringer” burger.  It has enough garlic and hot peppers to ward off the flu and Satan.

 

Kuma's burgers

The “Plague Bringer” burger

 

11.  Del Seoul – Do you like Korean street bbq?  Me, too!  Head to this spot for some great tacos.  The blackened tofu taco and the chili-sesame shrimp taco are stand-outs.

 

Del Seoul's tofu taco

Del Seoul’s blackened tofu taco

 

12.  Wilde Bar & Restaurant – This cozy Irish pub with leather-laden booths and a couple of fireplaces is one of the coolest places in town.  Whether you are looking to curl up with a book, watch the big game or dig into one of the best chicken pot pies in town, you can’t go wrong here.  As warm and inviting as Wilde is on the inside during the winter months, it’s flower-filled sidewalk patio is a great hang in the summer.

13.  New England Seafood Company – It’s a taste of the Boston waterfront in Lakeview.  If you like luscious lobster rolls, clam chowder and other fresh seafood plates, this retail/dine-in spot is just 1 block from the Paulina ‘L’ stop, along the CTA Brown Line.  Bonus!  Make sure to check out their changing weekly specials.

 

New England Seafood Company

Taco Tuesday at New England Seafood Company

New England Seafood Company in Lakeview

Lobster roll!

 

Do you have a favorite restaurant in Lakeview?  I would love to hear all about it!  Leave a comment.  

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to these “13 Great Restaurants in Lakeview.” Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!