Rickshaw Republic – Lakeview, Chicago

Asia is one of the 3 continents I have not visited yet.  However, I have full faith that I will get there, as it is my ultimate goal to set foot on every continent.  Meanwhile, I have been quite lucky to live in and visit big cities both within and outside the U.S. which have great Asian restaurants.

To date, Vietnamese food is my favorite followed by Thai, Malaysian, Chinese and Japanese cuisines.  Last Wednesday evening, I added Indonesian food to my repertoire when I decided to dine at Rickshaw Republic in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.


Rickshaw Republic


Fullerton 'L' stop near Rickshaw Republic


Rickshaw Republic is the only Indonesian restaurant in Chicago at the moment.  And, the great news is that it is located just 4 blocks east and about 1 block south of the Fullerton ‘L’ stop which services the CTA Red, Brown and Purple Lines.


Rickshaw Republic dining space

Colorful dining space at Rickshaw Republic


Rickshaw Republic dining room


Rickshaw Republic is owned and run by the Setiawan family who decided to share their love of their native, traditional Indonesian street food with the good folks of Chicago.


Rickshaw Republic bar

Rickshaw Republic booths

Cozy, booth 🙂


The space at Rickshaw Republic is small, warm, cozy, intimate and inviting.  Guests can choose to sit at tables along a banquet, a couple of small, pretty booths or the counter at the front of the house.

The walls and ceiling are adorned with paintings and artwork which reflect the Indonesian culture and its famous street food stalls.

Another bonus is that Rickshaw Republic is BYOB.  They do not have a liquor license. So, if you are in the mood for libations, don’t forget to bring your favorite party beverage when you head over there 🙂

I met a very dear friend here for dinner.  I figured she would appreciate trying Indonesian food, since she never visited Indonesia during the several months she was living in Southeast Asia.  

Here is how our dinner went down:

First, we shared an order of the special risoles which are croquettes.    Our particular risoles were filled with egg, chicken, peas and carrots.  They were accompanied by the most delicious spicy yet tangy sauce.  Very fresh and flavorful.


Rickshaw Republic appetizers

Special daily Risoles


Rickshaw Republic risoles


My friend ordered the Ayam Penyet which is smashed fried chicken and 1/2 of a cornish hen in tomato and shrimp paste chili sauce.  It was served with a side salad and rice.  Very yummy.

Rickshaw Republic entrees

Ayam Penyet


I ordered the Ikan Balado which is fried tilapia in a traditional sweet and very spicy chili sauce.  A side salad and white rice also accompanied by dish.


Rickshaw Republic tilapia

Ikan Balado


What I especially loved about these 3 fried items which we ordered was that they were prepared in a very light batter. The portions at Rickshaw Republic can seem large when they hit the table, yet the surprisingly light batter allowed us to finish all three dishes without feeling too full.


Rickshaw Republic rice table

Reservations are accepted for the Rice Table menu which includes 10 items. $36 per person


Rickshaw Republic’s menu also includes items that are not fried including satays, dumplings, braised meats, curry dishes, salads and other veggie items.

One special menu option is the Rice Table menu which consists of 10 items served around a large serving of rice. Reservations are recommended for the Rice Table menu which requires a minimum of 2 people and costs $36 per person.  The amount of food is adjusted to the number of people in your party.  The Rice Table is a very traditional style of eating in Indonesian culture.  I will definitely be trying this during one of my next visits here.


Rickshaw Republic decorations


Rickshaw Republic's masks


Rickshaw Republic's puppets

Although I was dining with a friend during my first visit to Rickshaw Republic, I have no qualms about dining here solo in the future.  The space is so comfortable and the staff is lovely, helpful and friendly.  Perfect for some quiet time 🙂

Rickshaw Republic's wall art


Rickshaw Republic's photographs

Rickshaw Republic's paintings

My dining experience at Rickshaw Republic was very nice.  I am so happy I discovered the delicious flavors of Indonesian cuisine right here in Chicago.  Can’t wait to return with friends or solo.

Rickshaw Republic is located at 2312 N. Lincoln Avenue.  For more information, visit www.rickshawrepublic.com.

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA  Red, Brown or Purple Lines to Rickshaw Republic.  Save on gas.  Avoid traffic, road rage and parking.  Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!