Molly Malone's is a traditional Irish pub on the edge of Forest Park. The atmosphere is vintage Dublin with rich wood and dim lighting. The bartenders are friendly and give a generous pour. The pub food is top notch with hearty pot pies and steaming fish and chips.
Healy's recently moved a block west on Madison Street. The new location is large and spacious and can hold a vast group of partiers. The bar gets crowded on weekend nights and is a favorite spot for local medical students. There is a good beer selection and decent pub fare. Healy's is a great place to watch a game on a big screen.
Cafe Deluca is a new Italian eatery in Forest Park. The atmosphere mimics a traditional Italian Cafe to a quite charming effect. The food is decent but is well priced. The ravioli are terrific although I could have used a larger portion.
Opera is an upscale Asian restaurant in the South Loop. The atmosphere is very trendy with an interesting assortment of servers and patrons. The mixed drinks are outstanding and the wine and sake list is appealing. The food is terrific and the beef and broccoli is to die for. The prices are somewhat steep but expected for the trendy locale.
Hemmingway's Bistro is located in the Write Inn in Oak Park. Despite the name tie to the famous author, there is nothing literary about this bistro. The decor is sparse yet elegant. Service can sometimes be slow and snobbish. The food is wonderful, especially the steak frites!
Philanders is located in the Carleton Hotel in Oak Park. The room is dimly light and has a somewhat outdated decor. The service is friendly and attentive. The food here is wonderful, especially the salads and the lobster bisque. Main courses can be quite pricey and have been disappointing. Stick to the better and more affordable small plates.
Poor Phil's is one of the only bars in the dry town of Oak Park. The bar is quite small and can be smoky but the outdoor patio is nice. Beware of the patio seating, Oak Park regulations require food purchase for outdoor alcohol consumption. The beer selection is impressive and the bartenders and servers are always friendly. The real treat here, however, is the seafood. The oysters and lobster salad are can't miss. The crab cakes are also a good option. Specials are offered daily and change with the seasons.
La Bella is a terific neighborhood Italian eatery. The atmosphere is cozy and the bar is always filled with regulars. The food at L:a Bella is what really stands out. The daily specials are always woderful and the veal dishes are superb. A great place for a romantic date!
Bella Via is an upscale Italian eatery that provides great service and food at a reasonable price. The restaurant has benefitted greatly from a recent redecoration. The food is outstanding with highlights including homemade gnocchi and sumptuous sausage and peppers. The outdoor patio seating is nice for taking in the warm summer days. The friendly wine list and proficient bartenders are an added plus. A great place for a business lunch or a cozy dinner!