Happy weekend, everyone! I am so excited to finally tackle this post, because this part of the city is really special to me now. Adam moved close to our current place a year before I did, and now that we both live up here, we are complete and total converts. There are so many wonderful things I could say about these neighborhoods, but let’s start with the best North Center, Ravenswood, and Lincoln Square restaurants!
We’ve really loved trying all of the amazing restaurants and bars, as well as going for long walks (when it’s nice out) and picking out our dream houses along the way 😉 If you’ve never taken the train up here, I highly recommend it. And this is where you should eat while you’re at it!
The Best North Center, Ravenswood, and Lincoln Square Restaurants
Best Pizza – Spacca Napoli
If you’ve been following me a while, you know that Spacca Napoli is our #1 date night spot. Even though it’s a pizza spot, you won’t find any deep dish on the menu. Instead, it’s all authentic wood fired pizza and simple Italian appetizers and salads. Obviously that’s right up my alley, so as soon as Adam signed his lease in 2017, I told him we have to go. That has turned into full blown love – there was one stretch of summer when we went almost every weekend ? We’ve taken tons of our friends there, and honestly, we’ve never had a bad experience. Even my brother who doesn’t give his seal of approval to Italian restaurants easily, loved it. Make sure to grab a free cannoli on the way out if you go over the weekend. They’re almost as good as the pizza!
Best Shared Plates – The Warbler
If you like to order a few things and share, The Warbler is a great spot for that. Whether it’s just you and your boo at the bar, or you have a big group of girlfriends, it’s fun to try a few veggies (the cauliflower is SO GOOD), flatbreads, maybe a pasta, maybe a salad… you can’t go wrong, it’s all good. And their cocktails are super inventive! Our favorite drink is the Purple Martin, which has rye whiskey, allspice dram, lemon-basil, fresh orange, lime juice, and beet juice. Sounds weird, but it’s delicious.
Best Brunch – Gather
I read on Infatuation that if Gather was in River North, it would be impossible to get into – and I completely agree. This critically acclaimed restaurant is cozy and inviting, with a seasonal menu by executive chef, Ken Carter (who used to work for Charlie Trotter). We still haven’t been for dinner yet, but that’s mostly because I am obsessed with the soft scrambled eggs on their brunch menu. Sounds boring? It’s not, trust me. They’ve taken a breakfast staple and turned it into comfort food. It’s like a big hug for breakfast!
I also took Adam for his first time a few weekends ago, and he loved the biscuits and gravy. I usually have zero interest in that dish (I think it always looks so unappetizing), but this presentation was so gorgeous that I asked to taste a bite. SO. GOOD.
I don’t eat red meat so I can’t vouch for this personally – but if you go for dinner, I hear the steak tartare is incredible!
Second Place Brunch – Savanna
We love brunch, so we’ve tried a lot of the options in this part of the city. Marmalade and Square Biscuits are great options, but Savanna is definitely our 2nd place choice if we can’t go to Gather. Adam loves their Steak & Eggs, and I love their Vegetable Hash, Chilaquiles Verdes, and their Chicken Fajita Hash special that they have sometimes. So good!
Tacos – Rojo Gusano
We came across Rojo Gusano completely by chance one summer night. We sat down on their little patio and enjoyed margaritas, guacamole, and tacos. I remember being so excited that they had vegetable tacos, that I got all three. Charred butternut squash tacos with roasted kale, braised cauliflower tacos with mole, and mushroom tacos with roasted garlic. I was so happy!
Seafood – Glenn’s Diner
If you’ve ever seen a wall of cereal boxes on Instagram, that’s Glenn’s Diner. Besides having over 25 cereals (that you can order with chilled milk and fresh fruit!), they also have an extensive seafood menu. In fact, they have over 16 fresh fish options written daily on their big blackboard in the restaurant. From Pacific Swordfish to Alaskan King Crab Legs to scallops to sea bass, they have it all. A great place to get a piece of fish in a super casual setting… and then you can get ice cream across the street after dinner 😉
Ice Cream – Margie’s Candies
We discovered Margie’s Candies on a walk one summer night, because the line was down the block. Clearly, we had to see what the fuss was about. This cute little candy shop also serves all of the classic ice cream flavors you could ever want in HUGE cones. It is the quintessential summertime treat!
Best Cocktails – Victor Bar
We love Victor Bar! This neighborhood gem will give you all the speakeasy vibes. It’s very small and intimate, with leather benches, candles at each table, and an exposed brick wall. In other words, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a really well made Old Fashioned.
Sushi – Miku Sushi
I wouldn’t say Miku has my favorite sushi in the city, but it’s pretty darn good. Especially when you order from their half price menu between 4-6pm during the week. Such a great deal! Even if you go after 6, their prices are really reasonable though. I particularly love their Flaming Dragon Roll – the plate comes out on fire! So fun!
Best Michelin Star Restaurant – Band of Bohemia
Band of Bohemia is the first brewpub to receive a Michelin Star… which is kind of a big deal. It’s on a very unassuming street in Ravenswood, and the interior is decorated with unique rugs and upholstered furniture like a cool bohemian living room. I’ve only ordered off the menu, but they also have a tasting menu with optional beer and wine pairings!
Best Bakery – Baker Miller
I’ve actually never sat down for a meal at Baker Miller, but after looking at it from the treadmills at the gym all the time, I finally stopped in a few weeks ago. The decor is colorful and adorable, they serve their cold drinks with pink paper straws, and their baked goods are to die for.
Best Korean BBQ – Cho Sun Ok
Okay, we haven’t actually been to Cho Sun Ok, but this place is always hoppin. Pretty much every time I pass it around dinner time, there are groups of people outside waiting for their table… and I hear it’s 100% worth the wait. We haven’t gone yet because I’m a pain to share Korean BBQ with (I don’t eat red meat!), but it sounds like the perfect spot for a double date!
Best Beer Garden – O’Donovans
Can we take a moment to dream about summer?! O’Donovans has one of our favorite beer gardens when it’s nice out. A huge room where all the windows come down, big TVs are playing whatever sports game is on that day, and it’s never too loud. The food isn’t the best ever, but if you’re in the mood for a beer and bar food, this should do the trick.
Did I miss any of your favorites?!
We are always looking for new places to try, so please leave a comment if I did! We’ll add it to our list!