1. Gino’s East
162 E. Superior Street
Chicago’s pizza is legendary (though despite having lived there during my formative years, I’m a thin crust, no-tomato-sauce girl). But, if I have to eat deep dish with with sauce, I’ll choose Gino’s over the competition. It’s busy on a weekend night but waiting isn’t tedious because the walls are covered with graffiti left by past patrons–makes for good reading. When you order, keep in mind that it’s filling. My friend and I split a small, which is cut into four pieces, and couldn’t finish it.
2. Rose Angelis
1314 W. Wrightwood Avenue
I can’t stop thinking about this place. My friend and I went last Saturday and shared porchini tortellini in a mushroom cream sauce with portobello mushrooms and cranberries; the gnocchi with proscuitto, walnuts and dried apricots (above); tiramisu and a bottle of zinfandel (Terra d’oro). We had plenty of leftovers but, alas, forgot to refrigerate them overnight and will just have to go back. It’s a reasonably priced, local favorite in Lincoln Park and definitely worth a visit.
355 E. Ohio Street (corner of Grand and McClurgh
Croque Madame? Cinnamon Roll French Toast? Salmon Scrambled Eggs? Yolk serves good breakfast and lunch and a kickass cup of coffee. Service is good and efficient, a definite plus for a place this busy, It exists in three locations around the city, including the one listed above. Pictured above is the Croque Madame, which I would definitely order again, though I’ll ask for it without the turkey.
322 S. Halsted Street, Chicago/Take the Blue Line to the UIC-Halsted stop
A family-run cafe at the heart of Chicago’s Greektown, this cafe serves cookies, bread and pastries, including chocolate meringues, baklava and custard-filled bougatsa (above). The front of the shop is managed by a brother and sister while Helen, their mother, manages the kitchen. Tip: The coffee’s not great but I did hear the list of tea read to another customer. Some of them sounded pretty interesting.
659 W. Diversey Pkwy, Chicago
Apologies for the lack of picture: I haven’t seen a crepe Nutella in so long that I ate before I even thought to record the experience. It was the best crepe I’ve had outside France. Next Door Cafe’s space is nice for working, provides wi-fi, serves good espresso and a cool ambiance.