Finds Ethnic Dining near the Loop
Chicago's Chinatown is about 20 blocks south of the Loop. The district is strung
along two thoroughfares, Cermak Road and Wentworth Avenue as far south as
24th Place. Hailing a cab from the Loop is the easiest way to get here, but you
can also drive and leave your car in the validated lot near the entrance to Chi-
natown, or take the Orange Line of the El t o the Cermak stop, a well-lit station
on the edge of the Chinatown commercial district.
The spacious, fairly elegant Phoenix, 2131 S. Ar cher Ave. (btw. Wentworth
Ave. and Cermak Rd.; & 312/328-0848 ), has plent y of room for big tables of
family or friends to enjoy the Cantonese (and some Szechuan) cuisine. A good
sign: The place attracts lots of Chinatown locals. It's especially popular for dim
sum brunch, so c ome early t o a void the wait. Lat e night, st op b y the mor e
casual Saint's Alp Teahouse downstairs ( & 312/842-1886 ), an outpost of the
Hong Kong chain, which is open until midnight daily.
Penang, 2201 S. Wentworth Ave. (at C ermak Rd.; & 312/326-6888 ), serves
mostly Malaysian dishes, but some lean toward Indian and Chinese (they've even
added a sushi bar t o complete the P an-Asian experience). Sink y our teeth into
the kambing r endang (lamb curr y in 11 spic es) or the barbecued sting
wrapped in a banana leaf.
Open since 1927, Won Kow, 2237 S. Wentworth Ave. (btw. 22nd Place and
Alexander St.; & 312/842-7500 ), is the oldest continually operating restaurant
in Chinatown. You can enjoy dim sum in the mezzanine-level dining room from
9am to 3pm daily. Most of the it ems cost around $2. O ther house specialties
include Mongolian chicken and duck with seafood.
Convenient to most downtown locations, a few blocks' stretch of Taylor Street
is home t o a host of time -honored, traditional , hear ty I talian r estaurants. I f
you're staying in the Loop (an easy cab ride away), the area makes a good des-
tination for dinner (I don't think it's worth a special trip if you're staying farther
north—there are plenty of great Italian places elsewhere in the city).
Regulars r eturn f or the straightf orward I talian fa vorites liv ened up with
some adv enturous specials at Francesca's on Taylor, 1400 W. Taylor St. (at
Loomis St.; & 312/829-2828 ). I recommend the fish specials abo ve the stan-
dard meat dishes . O ther standouts include egg plant ravioli in a f our-cheese
sauce with a touch of tomato sauce and shaved parmigiana, as well as sautéed
veal medallions with porcini mushrooms in cream sauce.
Expect t o wait w ell bey ond the time of y our r eservation at Rosebud on
Taylor, 1500 W. Taylor St. (at Laflin St.; & 312/942-1117 ), but fear not—your
hunger will be satisfied . Rosebud is k nown for enormous helpings of pasta,
most of which lean toward heavy Italian-American favorites: deep-dish lasagna
and a fettuccine Alfredo that defines the w ord “rich.” I highly r ecommend any
of the pastas ser ved with vodka sauce. A newer location is near the M ag Mile
at 720 N. Rush St. ( & 312/266-6444 ).