Seven Suburban Restaurants - Unexpectedly Delightful

Chicago Splash Magazine food reviewers have discoverd that really great food can be found not only in Chicago, itself, but in unexpected suburban strip malls.  It would be easy to pass these by and never enjoy the really great food they offer.  And then there is the parking – lots of it for free.

These restaurants offer wonderful food, a surprisingly pleasant ambiance and prices that are more moderate than similar restaurants in the city.


Mesa Urbana – Northbrook


Mesa Urbana

Chicago Splash Magazine reviewers Leon, Barbara and Joel visited Mesa Urbana, unobtrusively located in a small shopping center on Milwaukee north of Lake in Northbrook.  It would be very easy to pass right by it, and what a shame that would be.  Stepping inside early on a Wednesday evening, we discovered a Chicago feel in this suburban restaurant.  The décor was charming, the food and service were fantastic, and as the evening grew later, the restaurant was completely filled.


Shakou – Libertyville



The North Suburbs of Chicago can never have too many sushi joints.  There are so many, that they can all become a blur quickly.  However, we now have a clear standout - Shakou, the hottest sushi restaurant in the North Suburbs. The restaurant was started by friends and now owners. Aleks Dupor, Adam Garvanian and Ed Hartigan. There are locations in Libertyville, Barrington, and St. Charles, with a fourth location in Park Ridge, opening some time this summe


Nando’s Peri-Peri – Oak Park


nando's Peri Peri

The popular African Portuguese restaurant, Nando’s Peri-Peri, known worldwide for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, recently opened in a new location April 30th, 2016 at 1138 Lake Street, Oak Park, Illinois. This location is one of two in suburban Chicago, the other being Naperville. Chicago areas include:  Clyborn, Lakeview, Wabash, and the West Loop, with additional locations in Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia


Max and Benny’s – Northbrook


Max and Benny's

During the years that my husband and I have lived in the Chicago area we have seen many delicatessens come and go.  As we sat at Max and Benny’s enjoying a lovely dinner with our friends, Kay and Bart, we recounted some that have come and gone.  Kay and Bart have been frequenting Max and Benny’s Deli-Bakery-Restaurant for more than ten years, and believe this deli is just the best in Chicagoland.  It boggled our minds to realize that the this restaurant has sustained wonderful food of high quality, lots of variety, great wait-service and many more events for thirty years.  Happy Birthday!


Primo – Geneva



If you believe that food is not just fuel for your body, but art, and that the dining experience is as important as what you eat, then you need to drive immediately to Geneva, IL and go to Primo, the new restaurant from Chef Alain Roby, famed proprietor of All Chocolate Kitchen.  And you should do this as soon as possible, before it becomes so popular that you can’t get in.


Deka – Wheeling



First impressions are everlasting. When my husband and I went for dinner to Deka, a French Brasserie in Wheeling, we were initially delighted by the simplicity and elegance of the dining room. Beautiful oil paintings by local artists appear on every wall adorning the white-tablecloth tables. Navy drapes with crystal beading add to the restaurant’s allure. Romantic background music played soothingly in the background


Prairie Grass – Northbrook


Prairie Grass Cafe

On a cool summer evening we walked past a native plant and fresh herb garden toward the doors of Prairie Grass Café. The restaurant’s amber polished wood interior glowed underneath giant shaded chandeliers suspended from a track-lit warehouse ceiling. The dining room resembled a spacious manor hall filled with tables and edged with cozy booths in front of huge half frosted windows that looked out onto a violet sky above shimmering cottonwood trees. Several wide-screen monitors continuously displayed dazzling photos of garden blooms, prairie flowers, and water lilies. No intrusive music filled the space


With pleasant summer weather, exploring new areas and new restaurants can be a rewarding experience.


Photos: Courtesy of Chicago Splash Magazine

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