Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood is a great destination for theater, restaurants and shopping. Some of our favorite neighborhood spots include:
Tango Sur, 3763 N. Southport: This is a great spot for Argentinian specialties. They recently opened a more casual Bodega Sur next door at 3755 N. Southport. They serve Argentinian specialties including a daily brunch menu.
El Mercado Food Mart: At 3767 N. Southport, this Argentinian grocery store, a part of Tango Sur, is known for its quality meats.
Julius Meinl: This Viennese coffee company’s Southport location at 3601, is a great spot for coffee and a great pastry. They offer live music on Saturday evenings.
Recently opened is an Amazon Bookstore at 3443 N. Southport. Here you can find a small coffee shop and a large assortment of books that are found on Amazon.com and that get high customer ratings.
Music Box Theatre: Since 2007, this is the place to see foreign and independent films in Chicago. Their sing-along White Christmas and It’s A Wonderful Life is a must during the Holidays!!
Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport: This is a popular neighborhood theater used for productions by several of the city’s smaller theater companies. They have a main stage theater as well as the Venus Cabaret Theater which is an intimate venue with table and booth seating along with a cocktail bar. I just saw a production of Sondheim’s Company and thoroughly enjoyed the production and the intimacy of being so close to the cast. They have a restaurant next door, Grassroots, which is a small farm-to-table concept which is perfect for a meal before after the performance.
Athenaeum Theatre: Located south of the Music Box and Mercury Theatre, the Athenaeum is an historic theater, and for over 100 years and is Chicago’s oldest continually running off-loop theater. With a large main stage and three smaller studio theaters, it is home to a number of theater companies, dance companies, comedians and concerts. Make sure to check out their website for the current schedule. I went recently to an excellent contemporary opera presented by the Lyric Opera. Street parking is available but they also have two nearby lots they share with a neighborhood church. 2936 N. Southport.
Before a a performance at the Athenaeum, I recommend having dinner at Sal’s Trattoria two blocks south at 2834 N. Southport. This is a neighborhood Italian restaurant open for dinner and Sunday brunch. I enjoyed the warm atmosphere along with the service. I recommend the beet salad and the mussels steamed in white wine. They also make all pastas in-house. It is owned by the same group as The Butcher & Burger, one of my favorite spots in Lincoln Park.
Next time I want to try the 404 Wine Bar at 2852 N. Southport for wine, cheese and shared plates. I loved the warm atmosphere as I walked by.
Angelina Ristorante: At 3561 N. Broadway, Angelina has been a neighborhood favorite since 1988. They serve excellent Italian food for dinner and for brunch on weekends.
Wood: At 3335 N. Halsted, Wood is one of the best newer restaurants in Chicago and has received the Michelin Bib Gourmand designation.
At 3307 N. Clark is the French cafe, Maison Parisienne. Opened by three friends from France, they offer not only coffee and tea but several varieties of quiche, sandwiches, soups and salads, plus wonderful macaron, croissants and pastries. I enjoyed the Quiche Lorraine with a salad plus a wonderful almond tart made from a 200 year-old French recipe. It is a casual spot, BYOB along with a small patio in the rear. I loved the sign on the wall that states 100% homemade by real French people. The chocolate, flour and butter are all imported from France, so the quality is outstanding!
I just tried Ceres Table with friends. They took over the former Frog & Snail space at 3124 N. Broadway. They offer great Italian food and just received the Michelin Bib Gourmand designation in their first year.
Glaze Teriyaki at 3112 N. Broadway, with other locations in New York and San Francisco, is a fun, casual addition to the neighborhood as is Wheat’s End Cafe at 2873 N Broadway. They are a gluten Free bakery and cafe that serves lunch plus Saturday and Sunday brunch. They offer a large selection of baked goods plus breakfast sandwich, salads, grilled panini and combinations of panini and salad or soup. The brunch menu looks excellent.
Nearby is one of my newest recommendations, Mortar and Pestle at 3108 N. Broadway. Opened in Fall 2015, they serve breakfast, brunch and lunch. They are doing some pop-ups for dinner and may expand into that as well. My friend enjoyed the decadent grilled cheese which was very decadent and I loved the Alaskan king crab benedict with poached egg, sriracha hollandaise and watercress. Thanks to long-time friend, restaurateur and food columnist for the Chicago Tribune for this great suggestion. I enjoyed visiting with the manager and chef/owner.
Just up the street from Mortar and Pestle and Glaze Teriyaki is Maison Marcel. Having read about Maison Marcel as a great breakfast/brunch spot in Lakeview, I had to try it. This is a casual French bakery what offers a large number of drinks and pastries along with a menu featuring quiche, egg dishes, soups, salads and tartines. I really enjoyed the salmon tartine which included smoked salmon served on toasted rustic French country bread, herbed cream cheese, sprinkled with chives and capers and served with a mixed greens salad. I will definitely go back. 3114 N. Broadway.
I went back after many years to Yoshi’s Cafe at 3257 N. Halsted. Popular at this location for over twenty years, the warm inviting decor was perfect on a cold, snowy night. It has a mix of French and Asian fusion cuisine. The food was very good.
I just found a fun lunch spot, Falhstrom’s Fresh Fish Market at 1258 W. Belmont. In addition to fresh fish, they have a great menu featuring chowder, sandwiches plus fish and seafood entrees and appetizers. The crab cake sandwich was really excellent! They are also open for dinner and offer brunch items on Saturday and Sunday.
Our newest neighborhood find is Coda de Volpe at 3335 N. Southport. It is a sleek spot featuring Italian pastas, pizzas and specialties. I went back a second time and loved the pasta, pizzas and salads.
South of Coda de Volpe is the newly opened Tied House at 3157 N. Southport. It is next and attached to Schubas, a popular bar and music venue for over 30 years. Tied House is open for brunch on the weekend and dinner nightly. It has a bright, contemporary design and a very fresh and interesting menu. Chef Debbie Gold Gold earned the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Midwest award in 1999 for her work at The American in Kansas City.
I also love the recently opened Left Coast Food + Juice at 2878 N. Lincoln. This is a health food spot featuring creative salads, grain bowls, wraps & juices in a great casual atmosphere. They have a large terrace for warm weather dining.
For Scotch drinkers, The Duke of Perth offers a fun experience. Opened in 1989, they feature a large number of single malty whiskeys, beer and a traditional food menu including fish and chips. I have always had a great time there over the years. I went back after several years and really enjoyed the experience. They have a nice patio in the summer months.
Next door at 2909-11 N. Clark is a great new addition to the Neighborhood. The Gundis Kurdish Kitchen opened in early 2017. I really loved the decor, the food and the service. The homemade Kurdish bread with a vegetable topping was excellent as were the lamb shank entree and the sea bass entree in a tomato sauce with capers. The chocolate mousse topped with pomegranates was very tasty as well. The wine list was quite extensive. It has a fun international vibe from the food to the servers who were from Romania, Turkey and Guatemala. They are open for dinner and brunch daily.
Having enjoyed Farm House Tavern in Chicago and in Evanston, I was excited to find their latest project, Farm Bar, in Lake View at 1300 W. Wellington. It is a smaller, gastropub featuring a local, seasonal menu that features a number of burgers, sandwiches and salads. They also offer ciders, craft beers and cocktails. For dinner, they also offer a supper club menu or special that changes nightly. I enjoyed it for brunch on a beautiful Saturday in July with the windows open and a lovely breeze. The eggs benedict was very good. They are open for dinner and for brunch on weekends.