Hearty Winter Warmers

dining-hearty-dishes-skewerBrrrr! Baby, it’s cold outside. But I’ve got your love to keep me warm… that, and a piping hot bowl of stew.

When there’s a nip in the air, there’s just nothing better than comfort food, whether it be a bowl of minestrone or a vat of mac and cheese. As long as it’s hot! That’s all I need. So let’s enjoy these “heart”-y faves while the winds blow and the temperatures plunge.

Buffalo Grove

Fuji Thai 
Chicken Tom Kha Soup is classic Thai, creamy with coconut milk, laden with fresh veggies, tender chicken and exotic galangal spice. 1000 Weiland Rd., 847-459-0888


Bobby’s Deerfield 
Harry’s Fettucine might not be heart healthy, but you’ll love it anyway! Handmade noodles tossed in Alfredo cream sauce with fried prosciutto and baked in a Parmesan crust. 695 Deerfield Rd., 847-607-9104


Bistro Bordeaux 
They have THE best Onion Soup Gratinee that I’ve had on this side of the Atlantic. Bar none. It’s the broth, baby… so good. 618 Church St., 847-424-1483

Chef’s Station 
Try the Steamed PEI Mussels, a rollicking bowl of garlicky broth with shallots, oregano, white wine and butter, with grilled bread for dipping. Yum! 915 Davis St., 847-570-9821

Tapas Barcelona 
I never tire of the Queso de Cabra Con Tomate, a molten chunk of goat cheese baked in a tomato sauce bath with olives and hunks of garlic bread. That’s good eating. 1615 Chicago Ave., 847-866-9900

The Stained Glass 
Their Lobster Bisque is magnifique! And it’s garnished with lobster toast and microgreens to boot. 1735 Benson Ave., 847-864-8600


dining-hearty-pot-roast-nachosGlenview House
Not all potato skins are created equal. So why not order these, topped with duck prosciutto, aged Cheddar, sautéed onion and pancetta and an amber ale-infused crème fraiche? You also won’t want to miss the Pot Roast Nachos with black beans and Chihuahua cheese (pictured right). 1843 Glenview Rd., 847-724-0692

Gusto Restaurant 
Let’s face it. Eggplant Parmigiana is not always terrific, except for here, where it is consistently so. The ultimate vegetarian winter dish. 1470 Waukegan Rd., 847-729-5444


To toast your insides, look no further than El Molcajete, a lava stone tureen filled with juicy steak, grilled cactus, onions, black beans and salsa, simmered together slowly and deliciously. 73 Green Bay Rd., 847-242-0501


Bridie McKenna’s
There’s nothing that a Baked Rarebit won’t cure. But then again, it has the magic ingredients: melted cheese sauce and bacon. 254 Green Bay Rd., 847-432-3311 

Miramar Bistro 
Sometimes, nothing but a perfect Herb-Roasted Chicken and Mashed Potatoes will do. I want to go to there. 301 Waukegan Rd., 847-433-1078

Lake Bluff

The Silo Restaurant 
Sure, the pizza’s great, but are you on to their kickass Chili? It has won top honors at Taste of Chicago. 625 Rockland Rd., 847-234-6660

Lake Forest

Niku Niku Toyo
Try the Japanese hot pot, Beef Shabu Shabu, the dashi broth ready to cook your sliced ribeye steak, shrimp, crab, udon noodles and veggies. 840 S. Waukegan Rd., 847-234-8797



Ristorante Bottaio 
Their Tortellacci alla Crema, cheese-filled pasta in a tomato cream sauce, is divino! 946 N. Milwaukee Ave., 847-573-1834


Addictive cornmeal-crust pizza, but also the hot and melty Baked Mostaccioli are musts here. 960 Skokie Blvd., 847-498-3900

Francesca’s North
Pray that they are serving their Ravioli di Zucca, filled with pumpkin and swimming in a brown butter-sage sauce with veal reduction, tomatoes and shaved fresh Parmesan. Molto bellisimo! 1145 Church St., 847-559-0260


Yolo Mexican Eatery 
I crave the Chicken in Mole Verde that they serve at this tiny, family-run storefront. It’s authentic green mole; leafy greens pureed with pumpkin seeds and twenty other ingredients. 5111 Brown St., 847-674-0987

Vernon Hills

Real Urban Barbecue 
If BBQ doesn’t warm you up, I fear for you. I love the Redneck Tacos, especially with the smoked turkey wrapped up in the hoecake. 1260 S. Milwaukee Ave., 847-613-1BBQ 


The Noodle Small Plates and Market 
The Chicken and Artichoke Skewers (pictured above) arrive at your table straight from the fire. I recommend you eat them immediately. 1156 Central Ave., 847-251-1133