If Chicago is a car, Edgewater is the middle seat. Andersonville and Lake Michigan always get the windows, and Edgewater is stuck in between, with nowhere else to go. But this small neighborhood has plenty of places worthy of your attention. Here are the best places to eat in Edgewater.
Nothing about this wine bar’s food or vibe is like anything else in Edgewater. The space is dark and small, and seems like a better fit for downtown. There’s a similar story with the food: it’s an upscale small plates menu, with dishes from different regions of Europe. So you’ll find a coq au vin, tarts from Germany, and pastas. The food is excellent, and the interesting wine list is designed for you to mix and match wines and food from different countries. Income Tax is ideal for grabbing a glass of wine and some dinner by yourself, or for catching up with friends.
Mango Pickle is a small neighborhood spot serving Indian food, and it’s good enough to warrant a trip up to Edgewater. Classics like chana masala and samosas are some of the best we’ve had, and the less traditional dishes like pork belly and lamb sliders are equally excellent. The brightly decorated space is cozy, with an outdoor patio that’s great for a casual dinner.
It isn’t immediately apparent that you’re in a Southern restaurant when you walk into Pearl’s - the decor doesn’t hit you over the head with a theme, and the large TVs seem like they’d be more at home in a sports bar. But Pearl’s does Southern food very well, serving a mix of Cajun classics like po’boys and jambalaya, as well as excellent barbecue. The barbecue is the real star, so be sure to get the pulled pork, ribs, or smoked chicken.
Herb has some of our favorite Thai food in the city, and needs to be in your rotation if it isn’t already. It’s a small BYOB restaurant, and the menu is prix fixe, but you get to pick your dishes and how many courses: you can choose three courses for $38 or five courses for $58. You can count on whatever you select being flavorful and bright, with lots of lemongrass and lime, and even simple-sounding dishes are sleeper hits. The spicy fish soup is fantastic, with a light but super spicy coconut broth, and even the boring-sounding “grilled tofu” is delicious, with roasted ground chili, shallots, and mint giving it lots of flavor. During the meal the chef will probably come to your table to make sure you’re happy, and luckily you won’t have to lie.
This all-day cafe has a liberal arts college vibe going on, and we generally expect to find people from Greenpeace canvassing outside. The menu is typical cafe stuff, with lots of sandwiches, salads with quinoa, and plenty of pastries. We have a love-hate relationship with The Growling Rabbit: the space is great for grabbing a leisurely lunch or getting work done, but service is a little too laid back if you’re in a hurry. Still, it’s useful to know about if you’re in the area.
Every neighborhood should have a dependable casual sushi spot, and Indie Cafe is Edgewater’s. The sushi here is affordable, and they have you covered when the craving for Americanized sushi rolls hits. There’s a Thai food menu as well, and while it’s not the best we’ve had, their massaman curry is satisfying, and they have solid noodle dishes as well. There’s also a great patio area, for when it’s warm out.
This no-frills Korean spot has some of our favorite chicken wings in Chicago. They do fine takes on other Korean dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi, but the thing you should be ordering here are the jumbo wings. They’re huge, perfectly crispy, and served with a ginger glaze that tastes delicious and manages to never make the wings soggy.
While technically a bakery, we think of this place as more of a neighborhood coffee shop: they have great coffee, and it’s perfect for posting up with a laptop and getting some work done. The space is airy with a minimalist Ikea-feeling decor that some people might find uncomfortable, but it works. On the bakery end, the goods are made on premises and they’re fantastic. They have a stellar cookies, savory scones and quiches, and house made granola that makes a great yogurt parfait.
Lickity Split6056 N. Broadway St.
Lickety Split is a retro-styled sweets and ice cream shop that makes its own frozen custard fresh everyday. They have tons of candy that you forgot existed, like Neccos and Cow Tales, and antique metal signs decorating the space. It’s pretty theme-y and none of this stuff is actually vintage, but it’s still a charming spot. Also, the frozen custard is really good.