The Best Restaurants In Rogers Park guide image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

CHIGuide

The Best Restaurants In Rogers Park

Our guide to the best restaurants in Rogers Park.

Made up of immigrants, multi-generation Chicagoans, young professionals, old professionals, and “professional” college students in the 29th grade, Rogers Park is home to an incredibly broad range of restaurants—especially when you throw West Ridge (a.k.a. West Rogers Park) into the mix. But with so many places to choose from, figuring out where to eat can be overwhelming. That's why we made this guide. From casual burger places to community staples with some of our favorite bhindi masala to lively Korean spots perfect for your next birthday, here’s our list of the best restaurants in Rogers Park.

THE SPOTS

Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining review image
8.4

Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining

$$$$

2043 W Howard , Chicago
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This casual sit-down spot stands out not just because Khmai is one of only two Cambodian restaurants in the city (Hermosa being the other), but because the food here is fantastic. From starters like lemongrass beef skewers to tangy tamarind chicken wings to entrees like somlar machu kreoung, every dish is packed with exciting flavors. The only downside is that because their menu rotates on a biweekly basis, your favorite dishes might not survive the next purge. Luckily, it’s all delicious, and when combined with their friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere, Khmai is perfect for a lowkey group dinner or date. 


photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Mr. Kabab review image
8.2

Mr. Kabab

We’re not exactly sure who Mr. Kabab is, but regardless, his casual counter-service spot has some of the best Middle Eastern food in the city. Order either the massive combination plate (which includes your choice of shawarma, kefta, rice, salad, and pita), a gyro sandwich, or the vegetarian combo with baba ganoush, hummus, falafel, and dolmas. After your first visit, you’ll find yourself quickly becoming a regular here.


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Important events in 1998: Google launched, France finally won the World Cup, and Taste of Peru opened in Rogers Park. Their ceviche is a balanced combination of squid, shrimp, and corvinha, and comes with sweet potato and choclo that complements the tartness of the lime juice. We also like their arroz con mariscos ( a mountain of pillowy yellow rice and seafood) as well as their lomo saltado with savory skirt steak cooked with onions, tomatoes, and french fries. The cozy space is decorated with Peruvian artwork and only has a handful of tables, but it’s a great BYOB spot for a casual dinner with friends where you can share your favorite bottle of wine.


Colorful K-pop music videos blast from the TV screens inside this always-busy Korean restaurant. And you definitely want to come here with friends, not just because of the party atmosphere, but because the servings are huge. Their crispy popcorn chicken or seafood pajeon make great drinking snacks, but we also like splitting a huge plate of Hawaiian-style kimchi bokkeumbap packed with spam, bacon, pineapple, mozzarella cheese, and eggs. It’s perfect for a birthday party or night out before heading to U-Star Karaoke next door.


Whether we’re looking to set up camp and get some work done surrounded by plants, or just want a place with delicious breakfast, Sol Cafe is here for us. Their menu has tasty dishes like biscuits and gravy or grain bowls, but our favorite thing here is their sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich. It comes with sweet house jam, whole grain mustard for a little zing, and a blanket of cheese with crispy fried edges.


With the combination of charcoal grills, great service, and high-quality meat, this Korean BBQ spot is a must-visit. Woo Chon’s friendly staff is constantly making sure that you’re cooking everything properly, and not only are the marinated meats delicious, but the non-seasoned cuts like samyeopsal and saeng galbi are just as great. Be sure to also order a bowl of their nangmyeon—the chilled broth and noodles are the perfect mid-meat break.


When you walk into this small, casual sit-down spot, you’ll be greeted by vibrant walls depicting the Mexican countryside, an arched ceiling with paintings of birds, and plenty of colorful papel picado. It’s also where you can find some of the best Mexican food in Rogers Park. Restaurant Cuetzala’s menu is full of delicious dishes like juicy carne asada tacos, caldo de res with a light, flavorful broth and tender pieces of beef, or their enchiladas covered in a spicy mole. The space only has a handful of tables, but it’s usually not too busy, so grabbing a spot is fairly easy.


If you’re hungover (or just need some comfort food) the life-giving Korean dishes at Susie’s Noon Hour Grill will revive you. Susie herself is the star of this cash-only spot: a one-woman show where she is the waitstaff and cashier, all while she cooks spicy pork fried rice, hot bowls of yukgaejang, and omelets full of bulgogi, kimchi, and melted cheese. Seating is limited, so it’s ideal for dining solo or grabbing breakfast or lunch with a friend if you can snag a table.


Sometimes splitting a bunch of food family-style is the best way to eat with a group, and one of our favorite places to do that is at Den Den, a casual Eritrean restaurant. Each order comes on a large platter on top of spongy injera bread, along with some on the side for you to pinch and scoop your way through all of the dishes. Their menu has a variety of delicious stewed and curried meats and vegetables, but some of our favorites are the spicy alicha siga with tender beef and potatoes and the fragrant bamia with okra and spinach.


R Public House ticks all the boxes on our very official “Local Watering Hole” checklist: great food, craft beer, and a friendly atmosphere. The dimly lit space has plenty of tables plus lots of seats at the bar. We like their bacon-wrapped dates filled with goat cheese and juicy burgers that come with toppings like onion rings, jalapeño jam, or roasted garlic. But they also have wood-fired pizza with a great charred crust and interesting combinations like pimento cheese and cajun shrimp. This place can get pretty busy, especially on weekends, but a room full of chatty locals is also on our checklist.


Archie’s Cafe is less like a restaurant and more like hanging out at a friend's house where your meal is determined by whatever is in the fridge. Certain nights are devoted to either pizza or pasta, while on the weekends it functions as an all-day cafe where you'll find yourself drinking coffee while eating eggs and bacon, or grabbing a beer with tacos. Regulars constantly fill up the seats, creating a feeling of community with a motley crew of Loyola students and residents who have lived in the neighborhood for decades. Archie's also showcases local talent, so there's always rotating artwork from Chicago artists as well as musical performances until their “midnightish” closing time.


Though wearing 12 layers of clothing is helpful, one of the most comforting ways to deal with Chicago’s winter is by ordering the stewed oxtail from Kizin. The oxtail at this Haitian spot is buttery and covered in a rich, garlicky gravy, which pairs perfectly with fried plantains and rice and beans. We also like Kizin’s tender spicy goat or griyot, crispy, salty pieces of fried pork. The large space has plenty of tables and doesn’t get too busy, so if you’re looking for a place for a low-key dinner with a group, this is a great option. Plus it’s BYOB.


Devon Avenue is home to plenty of South Asian restaurants, like this Pakistani spot that’s been a staple since 1996. This brightly lit, sit-down restaurant is spacious, with plenty of tables, so it’s a great spot for large groups—perfect for sharing their large servings. The crispy vegetable pakora are fantastic starters but then make sure to order some of their grilled and stewed meats. Some of our favorites are the smoky, barbecued chicken boti, the spicy karahi chicken, and their sabri nihari which has a rich, flavorful gravy and incredibly tender beef.


Located in a small strip mall on Clark, it’s easy to miss this cafe and bakery. But don’t make that mistake because they have great breakfast items. Their sweet baked goods like muffins and cinnamon rolls are delicious, but for something savory, definitely order a biscuit sandwich. Our favorite is the Bestest Seller which comes with sausage, scrambled eggs, cheese, herby garlic chive mayo, bacon jam, on buttery cheese biscuits. It works as a grab-and-go spot, but they also have a few seats and tables and a nice shaded outdoor patio.


Honeybear Cafe’s large retro sign might make you think that it’s a simple, old-timey diner. But inside this breakfast spot you’ll find neon signs, eclectic artwork, and everything from pumpkins to pride flags depending on what time of year it is. And though they do have simple egg breakfasts, the loaded, maximalist dishes are why we like coming here. We especially like the waffle chicken sandwiches with spicy honey and cheesy scrambled eggs, or the s’mores pancakes, which remind us why it's perfectly acceptable to have dessert for breakfast.


There are two locations of Bop N Grill in Chicago, and this is the original. It’s a counter-service spot that focuses on two things—burgers and Korean food—and does them both very well. And though we do like their bibimbap or fire chicken rice bowls, you’ll most likely find our hands full of one of their burgers. They’re juicy and loaded with toppings like cheese, kimchi, and a fried egg—which means that things will probably get sloppy, but hey, that’s why some genius invented napkins. Make sure to also get their fries topped with caramelized kimchi and cheese, which somehow manage to stay crispy the entire time you’re eating them.


Gogi has everything you need for a fantastic Korean BBQ experience. You could start with sweet galbi cooked over charcoal, followed by juicy samgyeopsal grilled on a hot plate with a gas burner, and then kimchi fried rice crisped on top of that same plate to soak up the leftover juices. The various cooking methods add an extra layer of flavor to the dishes, and though you can definitely show off your cooking skills, the helpful staff is always on hand to help just in case you might feel like you might cause the fire department to show up. Definitely place a reservation or show up early if you want to beat the evening rush when it’s packed with dates, small groups looking for a late-night meal, and birthday parties.


What makes this South Indian vegetarian spot in Little India special is its dosa, which makes up a giant part of the long menu. Udupi Palace’s dosas have delightfully crispy edges, and come with a perfectly tangy sambar. You’ll find plain versions, ones loaded in place of rice. Since this restaurant tends to be quiet, it’s ideal for a low-key catch-up dinner with friends, or when you’re in the mood for a relaxed solo meal.


Candlelite Chicago’s 70-year-old neon sign is an iconic neighborhood staple that often announces birthdays, weddings, and breaking news like “Billy Got His Wisdom Teeth Out!” But even more iconic than its giant sign is their pizza. The pies at this spacious neighborhood sports bar are incredibly thin and crispy, with an undercarriage that somehow remains airy and chewy. Come to watch the game with friends or maybe once Billy can eat solids again.


Luzzat is a small, casual spot underneath the Jarvis Red Line in Rogers Park with a menu of mainly Northern Indian dishes. And though this place doesn’t have naan, it does have excellent housemade paratha and phulka with ghee. It’s also where you’ll be able to find some of our favorite bhindi masala in the city, and some of the flakiest samosas we’ve ever eaten. You’ll definitely leave with some leftovers for lunch the next day, so it’s a great weeknight option.


We really like Ghareeb Nawaz because everything at this casual Indian and Pakistani spot costs less than $10, which is even more impressive considering that this cash-only restaurant has over 100 dishes. Some of our favorites are their creamy butter chicken and basmati rice or rich, spicy lamb nihari paired with warm garlic naan. Plus, since it’s open until 4am, their large dining area is perfect after a night out when all you want to do is to dive head-first into a bowl of curry.


This spot on Devon has been one of our favorite vegetarian spots for a while. We really like their soft-in-the-middle and crispy-on-the-outside uttapam, the curried-potato-filled dosa is hearty with plenty of heat, and the rich malai kofta is sweet and comforting. Uri Swati’s dining room is very casual and relaxed, filled with TVs, families, and solo diners.

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