In a new weekly series, Summer in Chicago, Eater is highlighting places to eat and drink—sometimes lesser-known spots—in different neighborhoods for when your out-of-town friends come to visit. This week: Lincoln Square.
Bistro Campagne [Photo: Barry Breischen]
Summer in Chicago – the season that makes all those awful winters worth it. Also the season that out-of-towners pounce on our metropolis, eager for all the deep dish and hot dogs they can stomach. But not this time, tourists. Every week, Eater will provide a list of the different places throughout each neighborhood and break it down into categories—the famous, the hidden gems and more—to guide your summer culinary journeys and arm you against the typical tourist traps.
Famous: Bistro Campagne
Address: 4518 N. Lincoln
The low-down: A charming and rustic French eatery featuring local and organic ingredients, Bistro Campagne has been a Chicago favorite since its opening in 2002. The escargots in garlic-Pernod butter and the macaroni gratin are perfectly rich, while the roasted chicken is moist and tender beneath a crispy skin. Request to sit in the garden.
Under the Radar: Restaurant Sarajevo
Address: 2701 W. Lawrence
The low-down: While Bosnian food may not be at the top of your list, this authentic BYO will open your eyes to the tastes of Bosnian culture. Try the cevapcici (skinless beef and lamb sausages stuffed into fresh pita bread), white fish filet and the Bosnian feta cheese for the best of Sarajevo.
Café: The Grind
Address: 4613 N. Lincoln
The low-down: A cozy, independently owned coffee shop with great quiche and even better cappuccinos. Go early to grab a table if you plan on lounging or using the free WiFi.
Brunch: Café Selmarie
Address: 4729 N. Lincoln
The low-down: Although you’ll smell the delicious cookies and cakes coming from the kitchen, everything from the smoked salmon scramble and croque monsieur to the brioche French toast more than satisfies any brunch craving. Try to save room for dessert.
Lunch: Costello Sandwich & Sides
Address: 4647 N. Lincoln
The low-down: The oven-baked sandwiches are made to order, whether you try the typical Italian grinder or the Subpocalypse (a ciabatta roll topped with smoked turkey, ham, capicola, jalapeno bacon, cheddar, pepper jack, pepper rings and chipotle ranch). If your belly isn’t up for nuclear war, the daily soups and chili are delicious as well.
On the Go: Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen
Address: 4750 N. Lincoln
The low-down: Over 40 varieties of sausages, freshly butchered and cured in-house, make some of the most delicious snacks in the city. Other gourmet specialties from goulash and blintzes to farmer’s spaetzle and chocolate delicacies line the walls of this European-style shop. If you have enough time, check out the roof top beer garden and cool off with a German or Polish beer.
Pub and Grub: The Grafton
Address: 4530 N. Lincoln
The low-down: The quintessential Irish pub, The Grafton offers authentic beer-battered fish and chips, homemade beef & Guinness stew, and bangers, beans and mash. If you’re feeling something more American, the grass-fed burgers are excellent also. Located next to the Old Town School of Folk Music, you’ll probably catch some live music as well.
Cocktails: Tiny Lounge
Address: 4352 N. Leavitt
The low-down: This neighborhood spot offers the relaxed atmosphere of a local joint with the chic hand-mixed cocktails of any downtown bar. Classic cocktails are a staple but the seasonal drinks are the real specialty.
Thai: Opart Thai
Address: 4658 N. Western
The low-down: No need to stick with the typical Pad Thai here – even though it is excellent. Authentic Thai means spicy, sour and sweet in every dish, from the Pad Kratiam Prik Thai (garlic and white pepper sauce with your choice of protein) or the peanut sauce lover (peanut sauce with sautéed cashews, white and green onions and your choice of protein). Don’t forget that it’s a BYOB – and for your tastebuds sake, bring something very chilled.
Greek: Barba Yianni Grecian Taverna
Address: 4761 N. Lincoln
The low-down: This traditional Greek restaurant features meat-heavy favorites like gyros and giouvetsi (baked lamb) and excellent vegetarian options like mousakas (layers of eggplant, zucchini, potato, grated cheese, topped with bechamel sauce). It’s low key and family friend, so try it for a relaxed night out.
Sushi: Tank Sushi
Address: 4514 N. Lincoln
The low-down: The fish is always fresh and the service always excellent, so the real challenge at Tank is narrowing down its extensive menu. Try some of the signature maki, like the Ocean Sundae (shrimp tempura, cream cheese, avocado, tobiko chili sauce, scallions, sesame seeds, tempura crumbs topped with wasabi tobiko and ikura) or the Orange Crush (rock crab meat, asparagus, avocado, masago mayo, spicy sauce and sesame seeds wrapped with salmon, topped with wasabi tobiko and ikura).
Pizza: Pizza D.O.C.
Address: 2251 W. Lawrence
The low-down: Arguably some of the best thin crust in the city, D.O.C. uses fresh ingredients (think arugula, eggplant, prosciutto and artichokes) on their wood-fired, brick oven pizzas.
Dinner (BYOB): Goosefoot
Address: 2656 W. Lawrence
The low-down: One of the city’s most highly regarded new restaurants, Goosefoot delivers plump seared scallop, duck breast and tender angus beef in a multi-course tasting menu. Chicago Tribune’s Phil Vettel says there is a “palatable joy” to the food that’s impossible to miss.
Dinner: Due Lire Vino & Cucina
Address: 4520 N. Lincoln
The low-down: Due Lire’s Italian menu features contemporary twists (and changes often), but the homemade pastas – especially the risotto and tortellini – and varying antipasti are always cooked and seasoned to perfection. Start with the involtini Napoli (with eggplant, zucchini, smoked mozzarella and tomatoes) for a fresher take of the usual eggplant parm.
Address: 2324 W. Giddings
The low-down: Even after the heaviest of meals, you’ll somehow make room for this rich, creamy and uniquely flavored gelato. Sample as many as you like, but settle on the Mediterranean sea salt caramel or the amarena black cherry swirl.
Eater intern Alison Kessler contributed this article.