No matter the cuisine or setting, the North Shore can hold its own as a dining destination. Many restaurants and chef/owners have made their names in these suburban towns and cities drawing diners from all over Chicagoland.
Highwood is one example of a restaurant-centric town. From old-school Italian at Bertucci's, to varied interpretations of French cuisine offered by Froggy's,
Nearby Highland Park is the culinary home of restaurateurs Carlos and Debbie Nieto, a dynamic duo that keep the creative juices flowing. After closing the acclaimed Carlos', a Highland Park go-to for 30 years, they opened Nieto's in the same spot, a contemporary American grill and wine bar. And their intimate storefront bistro Café Central maintains its charm and French accent. A quick trip a bit southwest to Northfield and you will find the couple's casual and neighborly Happ Inn Bar & Grill.
The beauty of the North Shore is legendary and two locales provide a lovely setting in which to dine. Highland Park's Ravinia Festival is home to two restaurants, Mirabelle featuring the popular Chef's Table of choices and Park View, an upscale dining experience on the second floor of the modern pavilion serving up an expansive view. Glencoe's Chicago Botanic Gardens showcases natural beauty with its 385 lush acres to stroll and the Garden Café to stop in for breakfast or lunch.
Ethnic foods are well represented on the North Shore. Kamehachi in Northbrook first introduced sushi to northern Illinois when it opened its original restaurant in Old Town in 1967. The Sushi Kushi restaurant group has three restaurants in the area — two in Lake Forest, including the most recent Niku Niku Toyo, and one in Highland Park. It also has a spot in nearby Vernon Hills.
Move over New York and Chicago. Some of the best Jewish deli is found right here. The Bagel in Skokie, Max's in Highland Park and Max and Benny's in Northbrook all provide this hearty comfort food that is enjoyed by all.
Unique concepts come in different forms on the dining scene. Abt Electronics on 37-acres in Glenview has long been a destination for those seeking appliances and electronics. Located right next door is Jolane's, a contemporary European style restaurant that pays homage to Jolane Abt, one of the store's original owners, as it makes shopping and dining a one-stop experience.
Blind Faith Café in Evanston is a certified green restaurant that has been creating inventive vegetarian dishes for more than 30 years and its bakery offers a selection of treats for all palates.
The new and innovative is represented in Inovasi in Lake Bluff. The name itself translates to "innovation" in Indonesian and that's what ignites chef/owner John des Rosiers' passion for the food and flavors of the contemporary American palate.
History and longevity call out a number of establishments. The Glenview House dates back to 1878 and was extensively rehabbed in 2010. In neighboring Northbrook, The Landmark Inn is housed in a building built in 1885 and is the oldest commercial structure in town. Lake Forest is home to South Gate Café, in a building that is a certified national historic landmark.
Lake Forest is also the place for two stand-out fine dining experiences. The Deer Path Inn, a destination hotel since 1929, turns back time in its lovely English Room with beamed ceilings, white tablecloths, sparkling chandeliers and a courtyard garden beyond.
Lovell's of Lake Forest, with its stately chateau setting, is owned by American hero Apollo 13 Captain James Lovell. Whether dining on the outdoor patio or in the elegant conservatory, a meal here is an experience out of this world.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun