Chicago Restaurant Gems Worth Trying

In honor of Sibling’s Day (which was sometime last week), I’m going to dedicate this post to Chicago restaurants that my brother has found. For a few years now, he’s been dragging my (sometimes grumbling) family along all over the city to try restaurants and cuisines that were previously unfamiliar to us. Here are a few of the highlights from our culinary adventures around the city:

Arya Bhavan

Located in West Roger’s Park on Devon St., Arya Bhavan is a vegetarian Indian restaurant. They also offer a buffet for $10.99. I’m sad to say that since this was my first experience with Indian food, I have no idea what I ate. However, I will say this about the service: very great, very personal. The staff member directed us to the best foods to eat, told us what pairings go with which, and saved my heat-sensitive mother from overly spicy dishes. I haven’t been back since, but I have heard that it only serves vegan dishes now.

Ethiopian Diamond

Located in Edgewater, Ethiopian Diamond has been open since 1996, and are proud to say that they were the first Ethiopian restaurant in Edgewater. The restaurant has a very strong air of authenticity to it – the chief cook and owner, Almaz Yigizaw, learned to cook from her grandmother in Gondar, where she imports the seasonings, butters, and grain to make injera. So, we ordered. Each person ordered a different dish, with a combination of seafood, beef, chicken, and vegetarian. There was certainly no shortage of food, as the dishes came together on one plate, and we were thrilled to dig in without any utensils, but simply using the injera. Highlights I enjoyed from the menu were the beef tibs and the doro chicken tibs. My brother ordered the honey wine, a specialty of theirs, and that was on target as well. All in all, a great place to dine, share, and relax for the evening.

Noon-O-Kabab

Albany Park’s Noon-O-Kabob started as a small Persian restaurant in 1997, and has since tripled in size. The atmosphere is immediately welcome upon walking in, and there was no question of their Persian heritage as the walls were covered with Persian tiles, and there was soft Persian music playing all around. As we sat, there was no shortage of cucumber salad, tahini, and pita bread. Many items on the menu looked tempting, but I decided to go with the swordfish steak. I must say, I had no idea what swordfish would taste like, but it exceeded my expectations. Noon-O-Kabab, you won yourself a fan.

-Lisa

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