May 2010 Bites

Read the latest restaurant reviews from the MIBS:

Convito Italiano

Sunday brunch at Convito Italiano is SPECTACULAR—particularly the beignets. Can’t wait to go back just so I can indulge in too many of those warm, cinnamon-sugar treats. We’ve enjoyed the famous beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, but Convito’s are better. The rest of the meal is pretty darn fabulous, too! Thick French toast slices piled high with strawberries. Savory crepes. Unique and sophisticated varieties of quiche. Ask for a table in front of the fireplace and plan to overeat with those you love best!

— Susan B. Noyes

Bravo! Cucina Italiana

I enjoy this place for a casual Italian meal before catching a movie; the price is right, there are plenty of choices to satisfy even the pickiest family member, and the service is fast and efficient. Great salads (try the Grilled Salmon Salad with grilled asparagus, Feta cheese, and crispy shoestring potatoes on a bed of mixed greens), soups (rich Italian Wedding Soup is a favorite), thin-crust pizzas from the wood-burning oven, and pastas (I love the Shrimp Fra Diavolo Campanelle). The faux Italian ruin decor is distracting, but who cares when the have Filet Mignon Toscano? Try their Evanston location as well.

— Julie Chernoff

Butterfield’s Pancake House & Restaurant

My coworkers and I like to come here for lunch. It’s a bright, modern and cheerful place. I often find myself admiring the large glass vases filled with oranges. They specialize in breakfast and lunch. I always order a crepe dish and my favorite is the Bananas Foster, although I also like the strawberry. The staff is friendly, but the service can be slow depending on the time of day. The menu has a variety of dishes to choose from and so far everything I have tried has been quite tasty. There is always a carafe of water with lemon on the table, which is a nice touch. This place is worth a try.

— Renata Fidman, Make It Better reader, Buffalo Grove

Osaka Sushi

This small, family-owned restaurant has fresh and delicious sushi. We have tried various places around town and always come back here for more. Miso soup, a salad with ginger dressing and their homemade Japanese potato salad comes with every order. They have very fresh sushi, sashimi, maki and unique salads. My favorite is the Tako salad, which is cucumber and octopus in a light mayo sauce with a bit of a kick to it. Another favorite dish of ours is the Firecracker Roll, a somewhat spicy tuna roll—very good! This place is not fancy but certainly deserves to be noted.

— Renata Fidman, Make It Better reader, Buffalo Grove

Ciao Amore Ristorante

Ciao Amore is in the Pilsen neighbohood, not an area we usually frequent, but a few work friends raved, so we thought we’d try it. The decor was lovely–cozy and hip. It’s a BYOB restaurant so we ran across the street to the liquor store and picked up a wonderful $8 Shiraz. We started with a fresh and tasty tomato bruschetta–very garlicky, but very good. Next up: Lobster Ravioli in a spicy marinara sauce (jalapenos give it a kick) and the Veal Piccata. The veal was good, but not a rave. We decided on just two chocolate-covered strawberries for dessert. Instead, the waiter brought us a plate with chocolate-covered strawberries, a chocolate ganache and tiramisu. He said the chef wanted us to try them all. We did and they were fabulous!

— Joan Vesselinovitch


Winner of the Best Bar Food category in our recent feature, “Favorite North Shore Restaurants,” Bluestone is at once a great family venue (in the dining room) and a hopping bar scene. Great burgers, cracker-crust pizzas, huge salads and quesadillas, and delicious comfort food specialties (like Chicken Parmesan, Meatloaf with killer mashed potatoes, Chicken Pot Pie and—yikes—Deep-Fried Macaroni and Cheese Nuggets) are all present and accounted for. Pair them with a giant cosmo or a tangy margarita and you’ve got yourself a dinner worth eating out. I can’t imagine you’ll have room, but just in case … the Key Lime Pie is darn tasty.

— Julie Chernoff

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