Peanut Butter Parfait at Hearth in Evanston

Hearth (Photo by Neil Burger.)

The dining scene on the North Shore — so many restaurants, so little time. We’ve made navigating that choice a little easier for you by aggregating our top favorites in one handy list. So what are you waiting for? Time to make some reservations and get down to some serious eating.

KEY: BLD (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner); Br (Brunch)

North Shore

Evanston

BANGERS & LACE Gastropub

dining: Bangers and Lace greek sausage

Photo by Eric Kleinberg.

If you’re a draft and craft beer fan that loves elevated bar food — including artisanal sausage — you’ve come to the right place. The original outpost is in Wicker Park. 810 Grove St., Evanston, 847-905-0854

D, Br

BLIND FAITH CAFÉ Vegetarian

For more than 30 years, they’ve been satisfying vegetarians, vegans, and those that love them with globally inspired dishes (Bi Bim Bop, Yellow Coconut Curry, Spinach Lasagna) and hearty baked goods. 525 Dempster St., Evanston, 847-328-6875

BLD, Br

BOLTWOOD Farm-to-Table

dining: Boltwood interior

Photo courtesy of Boltwood.

Whether for a power lunch or family dinner, Chef Brian Huston’s seasonally driven food draws a crowd. Order the Roasted Half Chicken and Crispy Potatoes with Garlic Schmaltz and thank us later. 804 Davis St., Evanston, 847-859-2880

LD, Br

THE BARN Contemporary American / Steakhouse

This sister restaurant to Found Kitchen has a speakeasy feel (it’s down a side alley), chic décor, and food that’s classic with a twist. Craft cocktails are top-notch. Rear 1016 Church St., Evanston, 847-868-8041

D

CAMPAGNOLA Italian

Rustic Italian hits the spot at this longtime South Evanston favorite. Chef Vince Di Battista favors local, organic ingredients whenever possible. Pappardelle Bolognese here is some of the best around. 815 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-475-6100

D

FIVE & DIME/LULU’S/TACO DIABLO American/Asian/Mexican

Owners Dan and Laura Kelch are back with a vengeance after a devastating fire closed the original Taco Diablo. Now across the street, they’ve got three highly energetic joints going at once: the pan-Asian Lulu’s; tequila-haven Taco Diablo; and indoor/outdoor hang-out spot Five & Dime. 1026 Davis St., Evanston, 847-859-6847

LD

FOUND KITCHEN AND SOCIAL HOUSE Farm-to-Table

Third-generation restaurateur Amy Morton and Chef Nicole Pederson are behind this creative restaurant with a distinctly urban flair. Feast on seasonally focused shared plates, locally sourced meat and produce, and inventive craft cocktails. 1631 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-868-8945

LD

HEARTH American

Biscuit at Hearth in Evanston

Photo by Neil Burger.

A welcome respite in a sea of deafening restaurants, Hearth offers a lovely dining experience, and carefully prepared, seasonal fare. Brunch is a highlight. 1625 Hinman Ave., Evanston, 847-570-8400

D, Br

KOI Chinese/Sushi

Best of 2017: Dining (Koi)

Photo courtesy of Koi.

The menu at this stylish Downtown Evanston restaurant and lounge covers eight regions of China. In addition, find fresh and inventive sushi rolls, and great dim sum offerings at weekend brunch. 624 Davis St., Evanston, 847-866-6969

LD, Br

LA PRINCIPAL Mexican

This colorful taco palace pours a mean margarita, and the churros are a local treasure. Sister restaurant, eclectic diner The Lucky Platter, is one block east. 700 Main St., Evanston, 224-307-24444

BLD

NAKORN Modern Thai

Fall Chicago Restaurants: NaKorn

Photo courtesy of NaKorn.

This “Cosmopolitan Thai” resto is exactly where you need to eat. Clean, bright flavors pop big in craft cocktails and curries; not your average Thai menu, as the mouthwatering NY Strip Steak can attest. 1622 Orrington Ave., Evanston, 847-733-8424

LD

OCEANIQUE French/Seafood

Whether you opt for the 7-course Tasting Menu or the a la carte choices, it’s clear that Chef Mark Grosz has serious cooking chops. Pair your foie gras or lobster with something fine from their award-winning wine list. 505 Main St., Evanston, 847-864-3435

D

THE STAINED GLASS Wine Bar/Bistro

Wine-friendly cuisine inspired by global flavors keep this Evanston boite hopping. The Baked Artichoke and Rack of Lamb are longtime menu highlights. Wine flights available. 1735 Benson Ave., Evanston, 847-864-8600

D

TEN MILE HOUSE BBQ/American Comfort Food

Ten Mile House

Photo courtesy of Ten Mile House.

Families welcome at this North Evanston hangout, where juicy smoked brisket and BBQ ribs vie with a top-notch grilled cheese sandwich for your love. DB3 Donuts holds court next door on weekends only. 1700 Central St., Evanston, 847-905-0669

LD, Br

TERRA & VINE Italian

Terra & Vine

Photo by Alpana Singh.

Celebrity restaurateur and sommelier Alpana Singh knows something about hospitality, and you’ll find it on display at this rustic Italian spot. Terrific bar and spacious private dining. 1701 Maple Ave., Evanston, 847-563-4333

LD, Br

UNION PIZZERIA Pizza

Pies from a wood-burning pizza oven just have that special something. We love the blistered thin crust pizzas and small antipasti plates here, and the Detroit-style square pizzas down the street at sister restaurant Union Squared. 1245 Chicago Ave., Evanston, 847-475-2400

D, Br

Z BREAKFAST CLUB French/Breakfast

The dashing Pascal Berthoumieux, who also owns Patisserie Coralie a few blocks away, has opened the perfect spot for your breakfast or lunch meeting. Impeccable omelets, crêpes, skillets, croissants, and a perfect Croque Monsieur. 1512 Sherman Ave., Evanston, 847-859-2647

BL, Br

Glencoe

GUILDHALL Contemporary American

The bar is always packed at this lovely restaurant just a stone’s throw from Writers Theatre. Seasonal produce and local purveyors play an important part. 694 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, 847-835-8100

LD, Br

VALOR Mediterranean Bistro

Third time is the charm for this cozy bistro in downtown Glencoe. They score with serious craft cocktails and flavor-forward preparations of pasta, seafood, and meat. If the Plancha Octopus is available, don’t miss it! 667 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, 847-786-4324

D

Highland Park/Highwood 

ABIGAIL’S AMERICAN BISTRO Contemporary American

Chef Michael Paulsen’s big flavors deliver all the yummy and keep everyone happy, from the killer cheeseburger and Flash-Fried Brussels Sprouts to the Duck Confit Salad. Close to Ravinia. 493 Roger Williams Ave., Highland Park, 847-780-4862

LD

BALLARO Italian

Thin-crust pizza, fresh pasta, and more at this contemporary Italian spot. Don’t miss the Bucatini Carbonara. 214 Green Bay Road, Highwood, 847-780-3396

D

Lake Forest/Lake Bluff

INOVASI Contemporary American

Separated into small, medium, and large plates of seasonal deliciousness, Chef John des Rosiers‘ food is also largely — and naturally — gluten-free. The burgers here are so good they get their own menu! 28 E. Center Ave., Lake Bluff, 847-295-1000

LD

MARKET HOUSE ON THE SQUARE Farm-to-Table

Local and seasonal are the watchwords here. So much so that Chef Dan Marquis and his brother Tim own Mill Road Farms in Sheffield, Illinois, and supply the restaurant with their organic produce. 655 Forest Ave., Lake Forest, 847-234-8800

LD, Br

Northbrook/Northfield

DI PESCARA Italian/Seafood

Northbrook Court’s go-to restaurant features Italian-inspired seafood and steaks, but also makes a mean sushi and an ice-cold martini of note. 2124 Northbrook Court, Northbrook, 847-498-4321

LD

HAPP INN BAR & GRILL American Comfort Food

Crazy busy at both lunch and dinner, longtime North Shore restaurateur Carlos Nieto’s Happ Inn tempts with great burgers, salads, flatbreads, and Mexican favorites. 305 Happ Road, Northfield, 847-784-9200

LD, Br

HOUSE 406 Contemporary American/Steakhouse

House 406

Photo by Jesse Lirola.

Yes, beef is a strong point here, but Chef Eloin Amador has a way with seafood, grilled pizza, soup, and salads as well. Save room for Jennifer Eisen’s Chocolate & Peanut Butter Lava Cake, or one of the beautiful Wisconsin Cheese Flights. 1143 1/2 Church St., Northbrook, 847-714-0200

LD

MESA URBANA Mexican

Chicago's Hot New Restaurants: Mesa Urbana

Photo courtesy of Mesa Urbana.

Its strip-mall locale belies what you’ll find within — modern Mexican cuisine with innovative takes on classics such as ceviche, empanadas, seafood, and more. The dazzling cocktails are made with only freshly squeezed juices. 3566 Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook, 847-383-0700

D

PRAIRIE GRASS CAFÉ Farm-to-Table

Chef/owners Sarah Stegner and George Bumbaris are committed to using seasonal produce from local farms and meat and dairy from Midwestern producers, and all prepared with great care for maximum flavor. 601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-205-4433

LD, Br 

Skokie 

CHARCOAL OVEN Supper Club

For more than 60 years, this Greek-flavored supper club has been serving their famous Greek Chicken, steaks, and fresh fish dinners — complete with appetizer, salad, hot rolls, and family-style veggies — to North Shore patrons. 4400 Golf Road, Skokie, 847-675-8062

D

LIBERTAD Pan-Latino

The warm flavors of Latin America are well represented at this cozy spot with an urban vibe. Small plates, reasonable prices, and beautifully prepared and presented food make this a must-visit spot. 7931 Lincoln Ave., Skokie, 847-674-8100

D, Br

ROKA AKOR Japanese

The food at Westfield Old Orchard mall took a step forward when this sushi and robata grill-centric restaurant opened a few years ago. Seafood is pristinely fresh and the grill infuses meats, fish, and veggies alike with smoky goodness. 4999 Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, 847-329-7650

LD, Br

Wilmette

CONVITO CAFÉ & MARKET French/Italian

Stroll through the gourmet market stocked with imported Italian delicacies, wines, and freshly prepared take-home foods to the charming bistro beyond. A lunch and brunch favorite. 1515 Sheridan Road, Wilmette, 847-251-3654

LD, Br

DEPOT NUEVO Mexican

Inventive margaritas and an enormous tequila selection accompany tasty tacos, burritos, and Carne Asada. Outdoor porch game strong. 1139 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette, 847-251-3111

D

FIREFLY KITCHEN American Bistro

Photo courtesy of Firefly Kitchen

Photos courtesy of Firefly Kitchen.

Chef Dean Salerno brings a Brooklyn flair to the Midwest, with upscale comfort foods Mushroom Risotto, Seasonal Flatbreads, and Charcuterie Boards. 111 Green Bay Road, Wilmette, 224-408-2464

D, Br 

NAPOLITA Pizza/Italian

Napolita

Photo by Julie Chernoff.

The hand-tiled, Italian wood-burning oven in the corner lets you know they mean serious pizza business here, but the pastas, risottos, and salads hold their own. 1126 Central Ave., Wilmette, 224-215-0305

LD, Br

TORINO RAMEN Japanese

Operated by three Japanese women who missed traditional ramen, Torino offers deeply flavored broths with fresh ramen noodles, along with some seriously tasty fried chicken bites, gyoza, and other favorites. 1162 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette, 847-920-5075

LD

Winnetka

AVLI ESTIATORIO Greek

Owner Louis Alexakis brings authentic Greek cuisine to the North Shore, along with a terrific — and largely Greek — wine list, as well. Great indoor/outdoor patio. 566 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 847-446-9300

LD

FRED’S GARAGE American Comfort Food

Built in a repurposed and refurbished garage, Fred’s (from the owners of Evanston’s Ten Mile House) is a neighborhood restaurant with food you’ll crave — especially that super crispy fried chicken. 574 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, 847-496-3733

LD

GRATEFUL BITES PIZZA SHOPPE Pizza

Grateful Bites

Photo by Julie Chernoff.

Owners Matt and Sarah Halack began at local farmers markets, but have progressed to brick and mortar, much to our delight. The Elotes Pizza is quite extraordinary, and that sourdough crust! Yum. 899 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, 847-386-9141

LD

RESTAURANT MICHAEL French

Chef/proprietor Michael Lachowicz has long championed an elegant French dining experience, with spectacular food and exquisite service. From the opening salvo of Tuna & Salmon Tartare to the Hot Fallen Chocolate Soufflé, the food here never disappoints. 64 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, 847-441-3100

TRIFECTA GRILL Wine Bar

In the warmer months, there’s no better place to be than the secluded and spacious patio at this Winnetka favorite. Enjoy pizzas, salads, and small plates while sipping craft beers and wines from around the globe. 501 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 847-441-1700

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Julie-Chernoff

Julie Chernoff, Make It Better’s dining editor since its inception in 2007, graduated from Yale University with a degree in English — which she speaks fluently — and added a professional chef’s degree from the California Culinary Academy. She has worked for Boz ScaggsRick Bayless and Wolfgang Puck (not all at the same time); and sits on the boards of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and Northlight Theatre. She and husband Josh are empty nesters since adult kids Adam and Leah have flown the coop. Rosie the Cockapoo relishes the extra attention.