Lakeview is home to some of the best easy and cheap restaurants. From various fried chicken specialty spots to great Thai food, nowhere in the city are there more quality places to eat on the cheap. But that’s not all, because there are great sit-down meals that take on the same comfortable and friendly vibes of the neighborhood.
In no particular order, these are the best Lakeview restaurants.
Can an empanada restaurant take over the world? Probably not, but 5411 is trying. What started as a lowly food truck has expanded into multiple storefronts. But you can’t knock it, because the array of Argentinian baked empanadas are great, from a classic ham and cheese to a new-age banana and Nutella. They’re a decent size but only $2.50 a pop, so make sure to try a few.
This is a classic Italian place that’s nice without being stuffy and cute without being overly romantic. You can bring a date, you can bring your friends, or you can try and date your friends while eating dinner here. Mia Francesca’s is a comfortable place that’s ideal for a lot of settings.
If you’re a regular Infatuation reader then you know what we’re about to say. If you’re new here, welcome. Settle in, because we have some great news. Southport Grocery is our favorite brunch spot in Chicago, and we’re not shy to say it’s the best. A side of bread pudding pancakes is a must.
French bistros often get the reputation for being friendly and homey, and places you want to hang. Well, why can’t an American bistro be the same, with contemporary American food instead of classic French cuisine? Short answer: it can, and it does, because HB Home Bistro is the place. It’s a great little place where the food is good and you can bring your own wine, so if that’s not good you have nobody to blame but yourself.
DMK Burger Bar offers exactly what you would expect based on the name. There’s a variety of burgers, ranging from a classic styled after the McD’s Big Mac to a salmon burger, and it’s a very bar-like atmosphere. It’s full of people hanging out, eating burgers, and drinking beers. The milkshakes are also some next level sh*t, so make sure to drink one of those.
DMK is very matter of fact with their restaurant names, because next to Burger Bar is Fish Bar. It would be funny if Fish Bar served pizza, but that’s not the case. Come sit at the counter and indulge in a fried shrimp and crawfish po’ boy.
A neighborhood spot serving sandwiches on homemade baked bread. Panes is the kind of place you have to know is there, because its location on Sheffield just north of Wellington will never be all up in your face. But now you know it’s there, and now you now to go if you’re ever near and in need of a quick bite.
If you’re looking for steakhouse quality food without the steakhouse quality prices, Tango Sur is it. The Argentinian steakhouse cooks great steaks in a dark BYOB space. The fact you can get quality meat and BYOB for less than $50 is a steal.
Look no further than Crisp the next time you’re craving chicken wings. Ever wonder how chicken wings get so tiny? You won’t have that question here, because these are full size wings. The sweet seoul sassy sauce is where it’s at, and you’ll be even happier if you eat them on your couch.
Rather than tell you who has the best pizza, we’ll just continue to point out all of the great pizza places in town so you can visit them yourself. The Art of Pizza is evidence that pizza truly is art. Why anyone pays a ton of money for a Picasso makes no sense when you can spend $25 on a giant deep dish pie.
A real family friendly place that serves a lot of needs. Crosby’s is ideal for when you want to head out and grab a comfortable sit-down meal without it being a big ordeal. There’s something for everyone and a giant cookie skillet for dessert that everyone should share.
There are a lot of good places to grab a burrito or taco on the run, but Nuevo Mexicano is the spot when you want to sit down over some typical Mexican dishes and drinks. Try one of the platos fuertes and don’t be afraid to get pitchers of margaritas with your friends.
More fried chicken, but in a totally different way than Crisp. Roost does Southern-style fried chicken, which means all the great sides like macaroni and cheese and bread pudding are available too. If you’re feeling really ambitious, grab The Brittany sandwich for breakfast – spicy fried chicken on a biscuit with a fried egg and sharp cheddar cheese. Let’s see how ambitious you’re feeling after that.
The fact Big & little’s keeps expanding is proof that god does exist. The funky spot serves everything from burgers and tacos to soft shell crab po’ boys that are top notch. We hope they continue to spread the gospel and french fries with foie gras to the world.
This is the kind of artisanal shop that’s commonplace in Europe and we wish were more commonplace here. If you had a Scripps Spelling Bee-type competition for cheese knowledge, the Pastoral crew would be the heavy favorites. The sandwiches are excellent, and the original Lakeview location has expanded to include a more complete menu as well. Post up at the bar with plenty of food, wine, and cheese.
When we want a sit-down Thai meal in this part of town Andy’s Thai Kitchen is the move. The menu has a ton going on but feel free to order anything because it’s all good. We usually like to sample a bit of each section of the menu, and make sure that includes a soup. Make sure you bring cash too because it’s all they accept, and ATM’s are not in abundance nearby.
We created a dance move, it’s called the bopNGrill. We think you’re going to enjoy it. We also think you’re going to enjoy the bulgogi, burgers, and kimchi fries the next time you’re here.
Do you like extremely loud heavy metal music blasting in your ears while you eat? You better if you’re going to hit up Kuma’s Too. We’ll be honest in that it’s not our first choice of music for setting the mood, but we respect Kuma’s for never apologizing who they are. There’s nothing to apologize when it comes to the burgers either, because they are exceptionally good. All of the burgers are named after metal bands, and the crazy topping combinations could keep you busy for days.
Skip the fancy seafood restaurants with the white tablecloths and the overpriced lobster tails. Instead, hit up Half Shell, a garden-unit place that looks more like a dive bar than a restaurant. But this dive bar happens to have some of the best crab legs around. Post up at the bar, have a couple beers, and keep both the cold and steamed crab legs coming until you’re full.
Lakeview isn’t all carry-out spots and hole-in-the-wall favorites, and Ceres Table is proof of that. The Italian restaurant relocated to Lakeview from Uptown a few years ago, and they’ve been cruising along with quality Italian food the entire time. You can keep things straightforward with the pastas, fishes, and meats, but don’t be afraid to get pizza involved too.
Fahlstrom’s literally doubles as both a fish market and a restaurant, so there’s no surprise that the restaurant portion is serving up fresh fish. And a cereal wall. There’s an entire section of the restaurant devoted to over 35 favorite childhood cereals served with really cold milk. If king crab legs and Chex Mix don’t get you going, then we probably can’t be friends.
A friendly little Asian restaurant in the midst of the Boystown portion of East Lakeview. Want to feel and act like a neighborhood regular? Get takeout or grab a BYOB dinner at Joy’s, because that’s what everyone in the neighborhood is doing.