Things are usually off to a good start at a restaurant when the server puts (free) fresh bread down in front of you. That’s the case at Cafe Istanbul, an upscale Mediterranean restaurant in Wicker Park where most things carb-adjacent are made in-house - lahmacun, pita, even the rigatoni with veal sausage. But the main thing you should focus on here are the meats. The best way to do this is by ordering the mix grill that has a bit of everything, including doner, chicken, beef, shrimp, and lamb kebabs with fluffy basmati rice. The space is loud (the kitchen is semi-open, and there’s a TV in the dining room), but white tablecloths and the full bar make it feel nice enough for a celebratory group dinner.
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Enoteca Roma Ristorante
Enoteca Roma is a small Italian restaurant in Wicker Park with great pastas and a huge back patio.
Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods
Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods is a restaurant in Wicker Park serving New Orleans-inspired food.
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Bernie’s Lunch & Supper doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on paper, but it comes together nicely. It’s great for a number of occasions.
Gadabout is a restaurant in Andersonville with an all-over-the-place menu, but really good food.
Rotisserie Ema is a lunch spot that's connected to the sit-down Ema in River North. Come here to carry-out falafel, hummus, and Mediterranean salads.
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