By Jasmin Curtiss
Grab your passports! We’re headed on a trip around the world. Chicago is full of restaurants that offer classic international dishes, without having to leave home. Prepare for takeoff.
First stop on our trip is Italy. Quartino is known for its small plate menu, with portions perfect for sharing. The restaurant serves up meatball sliders, burrata salad, gnocchi with arugula pesto, tortellini, alfredo, eggplant parmesan, steamed clams, a variety of pizza selections, and duck prosciutto. Try a zeppole, gelato or dark chocolate fondue for a sweet ending.
This one brings more than just food from Cuba. It brings history. According to the restaurant’s story, paladares were brought on by the Cuban government after food became scarce in the 1990s. Palador Cuban Restaurant and Rum Bar pays homage to the history of the island. Enjoy live music on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. empanadas, ham and cheese croquetas, tostones, Cuban and jibarito sandwiches and paella española, mixing seafood favorites like calamari, shrimp and scallops, chicken, veggies and the world-famous Valencia rice. Check out the Rum Bar, which offers 80 varieties of rum to try in one of the many offered types of mojitos, daiquiris and piña coladas.
Street Food with a Twist
Jay Patel brings a one-of-a-kind concept to Chicago with Moti Cafe. Brand-new to the city, the cafe serves up modernized Indian street food such as smashed browns drizzled in a house tikka sauce, pani puri and samosa wraps to name a few. For dessert, try one of the signature Moti-pancakes, mini pancakes topped with sweet goodness like Nutella, strawberries, and cinnamon. They also serve Intelligentsia coffee, a variety of Rishi teas, and Masala Chai with spices shipped directly from India.
(Photo Credit: Jay Patel)
The Queen’s Home
The Red Lion Pub in Lincoln Park brings us across the pond. Throughout, you’ll find shelves of books detailing British history. The second floor balcony, The Africa Room, an open-air dining room for the summer and three fireplaces to keep you toasty in the winter. English Mac N’ Cheese topped with beer cheddar, poutine, corned beef sandwiches, fish and chips or bangers and mash with house made pork sausage are just a few of the food options offered, with a classic full English breakfast with sausage beans, bacon, fried eggs, toast and potatoes is available at Sunday brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Land of the Rising Sun
Head to one of Furious Spoon’s eight locations in the city for homemade ramen and hip hop music. Named after the proper way to eat noodles – with a furious slurp – this stop brings us to Tokyo. Check out the Pride Bowl, an offer for the entire month of June. $2 from every bowl will go towards Howard Brown Health, the largest provider of LGBTQ health and wellness services and for those with HIV in the Midwest. Sign up for a noodle making class that includes one bowl, a cocktail and a take home kit.
Athena Restaurant takes us to the land of the gods. The outdoor patio transports diners to the capital of Greece, complete with fountains, columns and ceiling murals inside. On the menu you’ll find authentic Greek dishes ranging from gyros to seafood, char-broiled chicken and pork kebabs, Greek yogurt and of course, baklava.
Located in the Loop’s Garland Building, you’ll find our next stop on the seventh floor. Heaven on Seven brings NOLA flavor the Windy City. Stop by for the fried jalapeno cheddar cornbread, Cajun coleslaw, shrimp and tomato gravy over grits, or New Orleans classics like gumbo and jambalaya. There’s even a whole poboy menu to choose from. It’s cash only so make sure you have paper in hand.