CHIGuide

Where To Eat In Andersonville

Our 17 favorite spots in the neighborhood.

If Chicago is a classroom, Andersonville is the student who’s sitting quietly while other students (i.e. neighborhoods) are cartwheeling around begging for attention. So it’s easy to overlook this area if you don’t live here. But that’s a mistake - Andersonville has some of our favorite restaurants in the whole city. Here’s our guide to where you should be eating.

THE SPOTS

Fiya imageoverride image
8.2

FIYA

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At the center of Fiya’s open dining room is a massive wood-burning oven, which is responsible for most of the dishes on the Israeli-inspired menu. Like an incorrectly calibrated Pandora’s Box, this oven only unleashes good things upon the world: pillowy pitas, juicy whole roasted chicken, and cheesy shakshuka khachapuri. This place is great for a casual lunch and dinner, but also worth checking out for their weekend brunch. Order the Jerusalem Breakfast–a platter for two with 14 different shareable plates, including roasted eggplant, cured salmon, and a flaky cheese boureka that you should selfishly claim for yourself.


For a dinner that feels upscale but doesn’t require closet spelunking for fancy clothes, we go to Jin Ju. This Korean restaurant has been in the neighborhood since 2001, filling its sleek dining space with the aroma of gochujang-barbecued pork ribs, mandoo stuffed with beef and vegetables, and piping hot bowls of kimchi chi gae. And that hearty stew of spicy fermented cabbage, pork, and soft tofu is the best way to thaw out any chin icicles that form during a freezing 20-minute wait for the Clark bus. Though you can eat here with small groups or solo at the bar, the candlelit interior also makes Jin Ju an ideal date night spot.


While some wine bars feel stuffy and intimidating, you can go to Uvae without fear of a pop quiz on tannins and spumante at the end of your night. At its busiest, it has the atmosphere of a friendly neighborhood supper club with a long wine list, good food, and a knowledgeable staff. They can help you find the ideal pairing for anything on the menu, which has dishes like buttery short rib wellington, creamy mushroom maltagliati, and spiced carrots on top of a chickpea-sauerkraut puree that’s best finished via the “lick the plate” method. They also offer Happy Hour seven days a week with $2 oysters and $5 prosecco—but don’t ask us if it’s spumante since we left our cheat sheets at home.


This is one of our favorite bakeries in the city. Lost Larson gets bragging rights not just because they take the extra step to mill their own flour (which is cool) but also because they make incredible breads, sandwiches, and pastries. Their breakfast sandwich is an equilateral triangle of flavor, harmoniously balancing fluffy English muffins, scrambled eggs, and a robust sausage patty. The Earl Grey and citrus sugar on top of an airy afternoon bun will inadvertently cause you to stick your pinky out and start calling crackers “biscuits”. From the house-milled flour to the flavored sugar, Lost Larson's attention to detail makes it worth adding a 7am croissant alarm to your already existing line-up of 6:45, 6:50, and 6:55am ones.


This cash-only brunch spot delivers a respite from influencer ring lights and loaded french toast while highlighting Andersonville’s Swedish history. The quaint wooden space has a couple pieces of Viking artwork, blue and yellow chairs, and a menu with specialties like airy Swedish pancakes topped with lingonberry jam, smoky falukorv sausage, and meatballs with gravy. If you can’t decide what to get, order a combination plate. Not only is it the best way to try a bit of everything, but it also gives you the opportunity to publicly declare you want a “Swedish Tease”.


Kopi is a cafe in Andersonville where you can grab a sandwich, sit on comfy floor cushions, or shop for things like incense, handspun scarves, or wooden chests from Thailand. Our favorite dishes on the meat-free menu are the roasted red pepper and goat cheese focaccia, the Salmon Rushdie (smoked salmon and Camembert between two pieces of fluffy challah), and the Elvis: A grilled peanut butter and banana panini that’s fueling untold numbers of underground school lunch trading rings. Whether you’re looking for a quick lunch or need a place to get some work done, this cozy spot will persuade you to stay for a couple hours, if not the whole day.

It can be a red flag when a restaurant has an all-over-the-place menu full of dishes like lamb leg spaetzle, braised tofu, and beef heart skewers. After all, juggling is hard enough without it sounding like a Vegas buffet. But at Gadabout they do, and everything we’ve eaten here tastes pretty great. Since the space is decorated with furniture from the Brown Elephant, it feels like you’re having dinner in an apartment of a friend who likes old bookcases, fuzzy throw pillows, and vintage violin cases. Come here for some small plates and drinks, and to catch up with the people in your life who like resale shopping.


Middle East Bakery & Grocery & Cafe is (unsurprisingly) a counter service cafe attached to a grocery store, and it serves savory meat pies, falafel, shawarma, and sweets like baklava—with all the breads and pastries made in-house. Come here for a casual lunch or dinner, and then pick up some stuff to go at the bakery.


Head to Bar Roma for great rustic Italian food, and to feel like you just stepped into “Charming Italian Countryside Home” magazine. The space has a lot of wood and distressed furniture, plus bags of flour lying around to remind you that they make all their pastas in-house. There’s an entire menu section dedicated to meatballs, with varieties including spicy BBQ pork and braised beef cheeks. But we like coming here for their pastas—the cacio e pepe is fantastic, and you can’t go wrong ordering whatever pasta is the special for the day.


This is a popular neighborhood breakfast and lunch spot, and the breakfast is what you want to focus on when you’re here. They have everything from soppressata-wrapped baked eggs to cinnamon roll French toast to a corn cake benedict. The space looks a little like a farmhouse, and gets crowded quickly, so unless you get here really early, expect a wait.


It’s impossible to have a bad date night at Vincent. Literally impossible. If a date goes badly here, you need to reevaluate either yourself or the person you were with. Go for dinner, order a nice bottle of wine, start with some small plates (like the chicken liver mousse), and then order the mussels cooked in an orange and hefeweizen broth.


Big Jones is a Southern restaurant serving a lot of old-timey dishes that we really like. You’ll need to get the perfectly-cooked fried chicken, and you should absolutely come for brunch, when they also make beignets.


Before Sushi Mike opened in the West Loop, there was the original in Andersonville. This location has the same quality sushi, just in a more laid-back environment. So come here for sushi that’s good and reasonably priced. Tanoshii is perfect for a weekday dinner or low-key date night.


This bar has one of our favorite cheeseburgers in Chicago. It also has other food that’s a lot more interesting than what you’ll find at your typical neighborhood drinking spot. Order some light and fluffy bao (the pork is our favorite), or one of their enormous salads. But whatever you do, make sure someone at your table gets a burger.


The term “gastropub” gets thrown around a lot, but for us, Hopleaf embodies its true meaning. This place has an exceptional beer selection and a food menu that goes above and beyond what you would eat in an average bar. The delicious cashew butter and fig jam sandwich takes a PB&J and makes it awesome, and you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life. Hopleaf is popular and only accepts limited reservations, so count on it being crowded.


Taste of Lebanon is a casual, cash-only Lebanese restaurant. You can’t go wrong with the hummus, shawarma wraps, or their fattoush salad. It’s small, with only a couple of tables, so the best strategy is to order as much as you can carry and take it all to-go.


This is a welcoming little cafe serving all kinds of soups, salads, and sandwiches. And pie, of course, because with a name like First Slice Pie Cafe, there’d better be pie. It’s really the pie that you should be getting here (if that wasn’t obvious) - either the peanut butter or something more classic like the apple. Eat it there, or get it to-go. Or do both, and have more pie.

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