Asian Food: Something for Every Palate

December: It’s the time when all thoughts turn to Christmas dinner, at least if you have your priorities straight. And naturally, if you’re Jewish, you’re thinking Chinese food on December 25. But people, it’s time to branch out.

There’s a whole world of Asian food out there, including Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean and more. So don’t limit yourself this holiday season… or anytime of the year, for that matter. But please, call first! Not all of these restaurants are open on the holiday, so keep the list handy for other occasions when only Asian food will do.


We love this uber-modern spot. Great sushi, but don’t miss the Chong Ching Noodle Soup or the Dry Stir-Fried Shredded Beef. 736 W. Northwest Hwy., 847-382-1988


Jin Ju
This contemporary Korean restaurant never disappoints, from the Pajun scallion pancake with squid and mussels to the Mandoo beef dumplings. And the Kalbi (beef short ribs) are melt-in-your-mouth good. 5203 N. Clark, 773-334-6377


Opart Thai House
There are items here that I haven’t seen on other Thai menus around town, and it’s all fresh and delicious; definitely a step above the basic, but prices are super reasonable. 4658 N. Western Ave., 773-989-8517

Saigon Sisters
Bahn Mi sandwiches and Bao Buns at lunch, but the menu expands at dinner with Lamb Luc Lac, Fish Curry, Black-Pepper Tofu and more. And the desserts! So tasty. 567 W. Lake St., 312-496-0090


Sun Wah BBQ
This is the Peking Duck of your dreams. First the bird is sliced up at the table and served with steamed buns and fixin’s, then it returns in Duck Fried Rice, and finally a tureen of duck broth. 5039 N. Broadway, 773-769-1254

Tank Noodle
Don’t be too intimidated by this enormous menu. Close your eyes and point; virtually all of the menu at this Vietnamese favorite is worth eating. 4953 N. Broadway, 773-878-2253


Thai Thai Restaurant
The Roasted Duck with Red Curry is worth the trip, but really, who could resist a dish called “Tiger Cries” (a spicy grilled steak)? 475 Lake Cook Rd., 847-564-5999

I’m pretty sure the “wild” refers to the crazy interior design, although the menu is far from tame. They’ve got excellent sushi and other Japanese selections. 730 Waukegan Rd., 847-317-9453


Cozy Noodle
It’s the funky décor that really sets this place apart, and if you’re a fan of Elvis and Pez dispensers, you’re in luck. 1018 Davis St., 847-733-0101

Joy Yee’s Noodle Kitchen
Known for their fresh fruit bubble teas, they also cover the Asian continent with Korean, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese selections on their extensive menu. 521 Davis St., 847-733-1900

Inventive sushi rolls and a long list of signature martinis make this a popular spot. 1514 Sherman Ave., 847-864-4386


Lao Sze Chuan
The newest offering in Tony Hu’s empire, this Evanston outpost specializes in spice. Ma Po Tofu is a particular favorite. 1637 Orrington Ave.

Lulu’s Dim Sum
Still hopping after 20 years, this Pan-Asian choice always pleases with their noodle soups, crispy Bao Buns, Ginger Chicken Salad, and Spicy Dragon Noodles. 804 Davis St., 847-869-4343


Dragon Inn North
Whether you prefer Mandarin, Cantonese, Szechuan or Hunan dishes, they’ve got you covered here. 1650 Waukegan Rd., 847-729-8383

Nobori Sushi
More than just sushi, Nobori features some truly interesting Japanese food, like Saba Niso (grilled mackerel), Uni “Shots” (sea urchin with quail egg and ponzu sauce), and Grilled Squid with Ginger Soy. 1821 Waukegan Rd., 847-729-0422


Hunan Pearl
The menu isn’t particularly innovative, but sometimes all you want is something you recognize. This is Chinese comfort food. 586 Roger Williams Ave., 847-432-5410


The Jazz Spring Rolls—tofu wrappers filled with avocado, tobiko, aspragus, eel, salmon and tuna—are served with a spicy-sweet sauce for dipping. Get them. 508 E. Old Elm Rd., 847-266-0891


Sushi Kushi Toyo
Presentation is a strong point at this little jewel of a restaurant, one of the Sushi Kushi Restaurant Group’s properties. 825 S. Waukegan Rd., 847-234-9950


Simon Lin’s Asian Bistro
Despite the enormous sushi menu, they don’t slight other entrée choices. Try the Special Tofu or the Confetti Chicken for something a little different. 410 N. Milwaukee Ave., 847-478-8883


This popular business lunch spot also satisfies at dinner. Opt for the Rock Shrimp Tempura, tender Chilean Sea Bass with yuzu and miso, or any of the Udon Noodle dishes. 1320 Shermer Rd., 847-562-0064

Seoul Garden
One of the few Korean restaurants in the North ‘burbs, their menu is a comprehensive tour through this flavorful cuisine. 3416 Milwaukee Ave., 847-390-8390


Hana Asian Bistro
Be brave and order from the “New Far East Chef Specialties” side of the menu, where you’ll find Salt & Pepper Smelt and Kung Pao Squid. You can do it! 9434 Skokie Blvd., 847-677-4262

Roka Akor
This gorgeous restaurant features goodies from a robatayaki grill, cooked over high-heat, smokeless charcoal. You’ve never had a steak like this before. (Also pictured top right.) 4999 Old Orchard Center, 847-329-7650



153 Akira
You’ll find a little of everything at this neighborhood fave. I like the Spicy Sashimi Salad and the Beef Udon. 1137 Greenleaf Ave., 847-256-1133

Tsing Tao
We ate dinner here with a big family group last Christmas, and it did not disappoint. From the egg rolls to the Mandarin Beef, we were able to happily recreate the food of holidays past. Happy sigh. 537 Green Bay Rd., 847-251-7760