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Best Indian buffet

Edgewater, Food & Drink No Comments »

Arya Bhavan
When traveling down Devon, drop into Arya Bhavan. The buffet, which spans an entire wall, is served fresh daily. Begin by grabbing a plate and layer it with a bed of rice. Then add Chana Masala (spicy chickpeas), Aloo Gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), Bhendi Masala (fans of okra try this), and top it off with a warm Samosa. Most items are vegan so ask if you have dietary restrictions. Leave room for seconds (and thirds), making sure to try a bit of everything. If you can’t, you’ll have to stop by again. Your stomach will thank you.

Arya Bhavan, 2508 West Devon, (773)274-5800,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Ethiopian restaurant

Audience Choice, Edgewater, Food & Drink, Rogers Park, Uptown No Comments »

Sambussa is not a Brazilian dance, but a fried beef, onion and pepper dumpling, Demera’s awesome answer to Indian samosa and Polish pierogi. Throw delicious stewed lemon, ginger and garlic-marinated chicken (doro wot) and berbere-spiced lentils (ye-misir wot) and whatever else you want on Demera’s value-priced Messob platters. Sop it all up with a bit of the excellent sour injera bread and you’ll dispel the myth that Africans only subsist on rice.

Demera, 4801 North Broadway, (773)334-8787,

Audience choice: Ethiopian Diamond, 6120 North Broadway, (773)338-6100; 7537 North Clark, (773)764-2200,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Roman-style pizza

Edgewater, Food & Drink, Lincoln Square No Comments »

Apart Pizza Company
This unpretentious thin-crust pizza pie parlor looks like one of those corner spots in Rome where the pizza just seems to melt in your mouth. Thankfully, the storefront and pizza here match in authenticity. So do the names and ingredients of the nineteen pizzas on the menu. To name a few: There’s the Giardinetta, which is topped with fresh tomatoes and arugula. The Francese is made with ham, brie cheese and egg. The Cacciatore includes ham, pepperoni, bacon, onions and garlic. A classic Italian dessert, Sweet Filoncino, is made with house-made dough baked with fruit, chocolate or hazelnut fillings.

Apart Pizza Company, 5624 North Broadway, (773)784-1550; 2205 West Montrose, (773)588-1550,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best Injera bread

Edgewater, Food & Drink, Rogers Park No Comments »

Ethiopian Diamond
So what if it looks like a flat, round moist sponge and you have to move fast before one of your table mates grabs the section you were eyeballing: injera bread is the new naan. And at Ethiopian Diamond (Edgewater) and Ethiopian Diamond II (Rogers Park) injera is presented in the traditional custom owner Almaz Yigizaw grew up with in Gondar, Ethiopia. Stews made of goat meat, lamb and vegetables are spooned on top of injera to be shared. The bread disappears like a pizza as hands reach in to pull pieces of it to scoop up the stews. Heads up: Only the right hand is acceptable for breaking injera. Silverware is available upon request. The house-made mead here isn’t bad either.

Ethiopian Diamond, 6120 North Broadway, (773)338-6100; 7537 North Clark, (773)764-2200,

Best of Chicago 2012

Best place for wholesale tofu

Edgewater, Food & Drink No Comments »

Phoenix Bean

There’s no “tofu for sale” sign here, just an unassuming factory-like door on the west side of Broadway, just north of Uptown. Through it, orders are placed directly from the entryway to the tofu-making line in the next room. Owner Jenny Yang sniffed out the discreet spot, literally smelling it while walking down the avenue several years ago. She ended up purchasing the business, which supplies many Asian restaurants. Phoenix Bean, a small tofu factory in the Edgewater neighborhood, sells freshly made firm and soft tofu, as well as bean milk, soy milk and bean sprouts at hard-to-beat wholesale prices. Touting themselves as one of the first tofu producers in Chicago, the company, which was already thirty years old when Yang bought it, prides itself on using non-genetically altered soy bean products.
Phoenix Bean
5438 North Broadway
Best of Chicago 2011

Best outdoor make-out spot

Category, City Life, Edgewater No Comments »

Contemplation Point at Foster Beach
It’s that ring of rectangular rocks on the beach at the end of Bryn Mawr. Find a spot as close to the middle as you can and go for it. Necking here is like committing PDA for the spirits of horny North Side sweethearts past. And at least one of you gets a sweet view of the lake.

5200 North Lake Shore

Best of Chicago 2010

Best place to stock up on fruits and nuts

Edgewater, Food & Drink No Comments »

Edgewater Produce

As if gas prices weren’t bad enough, now taking a trip to the grocery store is enough to kill a monthly budget. But before you start sacrificing meals, consider Edgewater Produce. The quality of a farmer’s market with the value of a dollar store, this North Side goldmine lets you stock up on the best fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, canned goods and more for less than the cost of your monthly gym membership—and just as healthy, too.

5509 N. Clark

Best of Chicago 2008

Best café for coffee and respect

Edgewater, Food & Drink No Comments »


At Edgewater’s Metropolis they claim that “Respect is at the core of our coffee philosophy, and taste is paramount.” Respect is given to the land, to the farmer and eventually to the consumer. All of which leads to a fair and tasty cup of Joe. Those are morals to drink to.

1039 W. Granville

Best of Chicago 2008

Best pet boutique

Audience Choice, Edgewater, Goods & Services No Comments »

Bark Bark Club
Bark Bark Club owner Patti Colandrea adds a more inspired element to the pet boutique concept. In addition to the norm (grooming, specialized products, obedience classes, cat sitting) the Bark Bark Club holds events that have a purpose (a benefit for search and rescue dogs, for example). Oh yeah, and we’re tickled silly over the name, too.

5943 North Broadway (773)989-8807

Audience choice: None
Why would I have a pet boutique? I have a pet cat, however.

Best of Chicago 2002

Best of the Best: Devon Avenue

City Life, Edgewater No Comments »

Devon Avenue
Enclaves of ethnicities have driven Chicago throughout its history, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of Devon Avenue, one of Chicago’s most strikingly unusual streets that runs a gamut of exotic culture. Heading west from Western, Devon acts as a sort of little India (or little Pakistan), with retail outlets like House of Sari and Sari Palace sitting among an impressive run of Indian and Pakistani restaurants, not to mention the local population of traditionally garbed natives of the subcontinent. Move a little further west, and the writing suddenly becomes Cyrillic in nature, denoting an extensive Russian population. Farther west still, you might notice the black suits, hats and beards that are telltale signs of a Hassidic Jew population. All this within the space of three miles. In a city of neighborhoods, Devon Avenue represents one of the greatest multicultural swaths Chicago has to offer.

Best of Chicago 2002