This unpretentious Italian eatery in the heart of Pilsen boasts some of the best Italian sauces I’ve ever tasted on this side of the world. As a frequent flyer (that’s for you Gus) at Ciao Amore, I’ve had some outstanding homemade Ravioli in all different shades – cheese, mushroom, pumpkin, and my new found love, lobster. If I could only bask in the warmth and creaminess of the lobster sauce, but I settled for spooning it up. My typical 5 hour dinner usually ends up in repeating the menu after-hours with the kitchen staff (thanks for the sauce Eric). Great food, even better service, and just down right saucy, the chef leaves me speechless and coming back for more – Chef Cesar, I’ll never say good bye to you!
If you’re in the mood for a culinary orgasm, you’ll find it here and don’t forget to BYOB.
Every so often Thai food is a necessity when in Chicago. Opart Thai House is your place to go for some amazing appetizers. All appetizers on the menu are great, from the Chicken Satay to the Crab Rangoons, but the ONE I call my favorite at Opart is the skewered tender beef called Tiger Cry. In the past I have walked in with a wine bottle and ordered three appetizers of just Tiger Cry for dinner…it’s that good. Oh, the Pad Thai noodles, Fried Curry rice, and all that jazz is also good.
We enjoyed our Thai dinner with a new bottle on the scene – Puerto Viejo Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile ($8.99)
Opart Thai House
4658 N Western Ave
(at Leland Ave)
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 989-8517 www.opartthai.com
There’s some serious pimping at the Chemically Imbalanced Theater. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind “pimprove” (pimp improv), you have to make it to the Friday night act. The 3 man pimp show is like no other. I’m not sure if it’s the ghetto fabulous pimping, outfits, or roasting on some of the audience, but this show is drop dead hilarious. For about $16 and your preferred wine bottle, you can have a good time for under $25…I know I did and it doesn’t get any better than that! Check out one of their videos:
Where’s the Beef? It’s all at Tango Sur! This charming, fun, and lively Argentinean Restaurant is a carnivore’s haven. The most popular dish is the Parillada, which really seduces all your senses. From the moment you hear the sizzling grill arrive at your table with layers of juicy meat, to the moment you take a bite of the steak with Chimichurri sauce, you are completely under the spell of some great beef. Disclaimer, you really need to enjoy some authentic South American food to enjoy the blood sausage that comes with the Parillada, not for the weak.
I’m a frequent flyer at this establishment (12+ years) and I’ll advise that anyone who goes for dinner after 8:00pm be prepared for a very very very long wait… and I mean at least an hour, but if you are well equipment with a couple of bottles of wine, there should be no problem as Tango Sur has a nice size waiting room in back of the restaurant where they supply wine glasses and a cork screw – it can’t get any better!
1440 W. Chicago
Chicago, IL 60622
“¡Meter mano!” the Cubans would say for digging in. The food here is worth getting into for the price. Cuba Libre is tasty in this humble looking establishment located in West Town/Ukrainian village. I’ve tried everything from the traditional plate Ropa Vieja to the Cuban Sandwiches and I’ve never walked out disappointed. If you’re into Pork Chops, I would highly recommend them and each serving is substantial – you’ll have leftovers for lunch. Reasonably priced, I would recommend it in a heartbeat. Oh, did I mention it’s BYOB? Service is friendly.
BYOB Wine Recommendation: Twin Vines Vinho Verde at $8.99. Inviting floral bouquet of citrus, this particular wine is crisp and balanced and oh so fun to drink this summer.
If you’re into authentic Italian brick oven pizza along with a fun ambiance, Antica is the place to be at in Andersonville. The very thin crust pizza is without a doubt authentic, fun, and deeeelicious!
The menu has tailored specials and you can find your typical fried calamari, but I’m there for the personal size pizzas that are straight out of the brick oven. My personal favorite is the Margarita.
Service is outstanding and truly hospitable. Don’t be surprised if Mario (owner) steps out of the kitchen to meet and greet you.
BYOB Wine Recommendation:Villa Pillo Cingalino Igt (2006) – about $9.99.
Delicate wine from Tuscany made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot. You’ll find red cherry flavors and a bit of herbal hints on a medium-bodied silky smooth finish.