Ah, DeKalb, Illinois - the little city with a big heart and an even bigger appetite!
As someone who has spent years living and dining in this charming corner of Illinois,
I can confidently say that the culinary scene in DeKalb is brimming with diverse flavors, eclectic atmospheres, and exceptional dining experiences.
From bustling downtown eateries to cozy family-run establishments, this town has something for every discerning palate.
So, put on your stretchy pants and join me as we embark on a gastronomic adventure, exploring the best restaurants in DeKalb, Illinois!
Lothson's Karry Out
Lothson's Karry Out has the best-fried chicken in town!
I remember my first time ordering from this place, my plate was halfway through, and I just couldn't resist finishing it all.
Their chicken has a perfect combination of crispy skin and moist meat, which is seasoned excellently.
They also provide a sweet and salty cream/butter that pairs exceptionally well with the roll.
The coleslaw is nice and tangy, adding a delightful touch to the meal.
What's even more impressive is that the food always arrives home warm, even during the cold months!
The woman who cooks at Lothson's is not only very nice but also a master of her craft.
My mom even says it's the best chicken she's ever had in her life.
Their prices are reasonable too, making it a fantastic value for the quality of food you get.
I have always been on the lookout for a great Mexican restaurant.
Recently, I stumbled upon Sofia's Kitchen, and it has been an absolute game-changer!
I must admit that my partner and I were pleasantly surprised by the scrumptious food we ordered last night.
We tried their loaded tater tots with chicken, Birria tacos, and a Pastor Burrito.
Oh my, everything was cooked to perfection and absolutely bursting with flavors!
I seriously can't believe it took us this long to discover this gem.
What's even more amazing is that they offer a Mexican-style pizza that my family and I tried for the first time.
It was a unique and delectable experience.
I've always been a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, but finding a good spot in my area was quite a challenge.
That was until I discovered Jamrah Middle Eastern Cuisine.
My first visit to Jamrah was a delightful experience, and I must say it has become one of my favorite places to eat.
The moment I entered the restaurant, I was welcomed by a warm and cozy atmosphere, with Middle Eastern music playing in the background.
Since it was my first time, I decided to go with the sampler.
I tried their Shawarma, which was absolutely delicious, and the Jamrah salad – simple yet so refreshing.
The pita bread was the best I've ever had!
I've been back to Jamrah multiple times since my first visit and have tried various dishes, including the chicken shawarma sandwich – a must-try, in my opinion.
I can confidently say that Omi Sushi is one of my go-to spots for sushi and Japanese cuisine.
The ambiance is casual and modern, with a sushi bar where you can watch the magic as your food is prepared.
I've visited multiple times, and the quality of their food has never disappointed me.
One of my favorite appetizers to start with is their spring rolls.
They are always hot, fresh, and bursting with flavor.
As for the sushi, I absolutely love their Dragon, and Tiger rolls.
While both are delicious, I must say I have a slight preference for the Dragon Roll.
Egg Haven Pancakes & Cafe
One of my favorite breakfast spots has to be Egg Haven Pancakes & Cafe. This cozy little diner never disappoints with its delicious American breakfast offerings and comforting atmosphere.
I remember taking my young daughters there for breakfast one morning and being pleasantly surprised to find that they offer gluten-free pancakes, perfect for one of my daughters who has gluten sensitivity.
To my delight, I actually preferred the taste of the gluten-free pancakes over the regular ones!
On that particular visit, I devoured the Avocado Toast, which was absolutely scrumptious (I even snapped a picture of it).
Their service is always quick and attentive, making sure that we never feel neglected.
The food, oh, the food! It's consistently amazing.
I remember trying one of their skillets, which was not only delicious but also came in a generous portion.
Another memorable visit to Egg Haven was when my partner and I had the opportunity to be served by Cherie, an outstanding waitress who made our experience even more enjoyable.
My partner had the omelet with brie cheese, and I had the stuffed biscuit – both dishes were divine!
Tapa La Luna
One of my favorite spots to visit when I'm in the mood for some delicious globally inspired tapas and a great selection of wines is Tapa La Luna.
The polished dining room and trendy bar with TVs create the perfect atmosphere for a night out with friends or a romantic dinner with your significant other.
As a vegetarian, I really appreciate the variety of plant-based options they offer, including some vegan dishes.
Their sushi is top-notch as well! The live music adds a lovely touch, making the whole experience even more enjoyable.
And if you're a craft beer enthusiast like me, you'll be happy to know that they have a great selection on hand.
The cleanliness of the place and the friendly atmosphere make it easy to come back again and again.
Bea's Wok N Roll
I recently dined at Bea's Wok N Roll, a small Vietnamese restaurant in the area.
It's not the most visually appealing place from the outside, but I am a firm believer that appearances can be deceiving.
Upon entering, I was greeted by the lovely Bea herself, who made me feel quite special with her exceptional customer service.
I ordered the crab Rangoon, which turned out to be the best I've ever had in my life!
I've heard great things about their curry tofu from fellow diners.
It's said to be very spicy and bursting with flavor.
El Jimador Mexican Grill
I'm always on the lookout for great Mexican food around town, and I must say, El Jimador Mexican Grill has become one of my favorite spots!
I've had the pleasure of dining here a couple of times, and it never disappoints.
I remember the first time I visited their website to check out their menu, and I knew I had to give it a try.
One of the things that sets this place apart is their tableside guacamole.
Watching them make it right in front of you is quite a show, and it tastes so fresh and delicious.
The portions here are quite generous, too - I love indulging in their grilled chicken tacos and rice.
The flavor is just incredible, and the chips and salsa are a perfect appetizer to kick off the meal.
Another highlight of El Jimador Mexican Grill is their fantastic margaritas, which, fair warning, are dangerously delicious.
Yen Ching Restaurant
Every time I visit Yen Ching Restaurant, I am not only mesmerized by their delicious classic Chinese dishes but also by their warm and welcoming atmosphere.
From the moment I walk in, the enchanting vibes of the place take over.
It feels almost like a mystical hideaway, with its intimate setting and slightly dingy, yet charming, ambiance.
The food, however, always manages to steal the show.
I often order their hot and sour soup, which is truly the best I've ever had.
The rich broth is filled with crisp bean sprouts, large pieces of shrimp, tofu, mushrooms, and bits of pork, creating an explosion of flavors in each spoonful.
Whenever I'm in the mood for a more extensive meal, I also opt for their appetizer sampler and sesame chicken.
The portions are always generous, and the food comes out hot and fast, ensuring that I'm always satisfied with my dining experience.
The Lincoln Inn at Faranda's
Whenever I'm in the mood for a delicious and satisfying breakfast, I always head to The Lincoln Inn at Faranda's.
This veteran diner-style restaurant is a favorite among the locals for its extensive menu, excellent food, and friendly service.
I can't resist their chicken and biscuits with gravy, along with a side of hash browns.
It's the perfect way to start my day!
But breakfast isn't the only thing they do well.
The Lincoln Inn also offers a banquet, a bar, and a variety of tasty dishes for lunch and dinner.
I've dragged my out-of-town friends here multiple times, and they, too, have fallen in love with the place.
Barb City Bagels
One of my favorite weekend morning rituals is heading over to Barb City Bagels for a delicious bagel breakfast.
With over 20 different types of bagels and an impressive array of cream cheese flavors, it's always hard to choose just one.
The shop is cozy and has enough seating for about 25 people, making it a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy my meal.
My go-to is usually a garlic bagel with sausage, egg, and cheese, but sometimes I'll switch it up and try one of their amazing lunch sandwich options, like the chocolate chip bagel with the same.
On special occasions, I'll treat myself to their mouthwatering French toast bites, which are simply irresistible!
Aside from their scrumptious food, Barb City Bagels also offers a wide variety of flavored syrups for coffee, making it easy to customize my morning caffeine fix.
I have always been in search of an authentic Mexican restaurant.
One day, I stumbled upon La Salsa and decided to give it a try.
I ordered their steak burrito con todo, which came with cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
The flavors were amazing, and the steak was cooked just right.
My partner opted for the tongue taco, which she thoroughly enjoyed.
The service was fast, and the atmosphere was simple and welcoming.
JB's World Famous Pizza
I have to tell you one of my all-time favorite spots to grab a delicious slice of pizza is at JB's World Famous Pizza.
Despite being located in a small corner space within a bar called Lord Stanley's, this pizza joint never disappoints.
To me, it's the best pizza in town!
Their dough is truly one-of-a-kind, and they never skimp on the toppings.
I remember once ordering a meat lovers pizza, and the toppings were so abundant that they all wanted to come off after the first bite.
But hey, that's a good problem to have, right?
KJ's Bar & Grill
One of my favorite spots to hang out in town is KJ's Bar & Grill.
The atmosphere is always lively, and you can't beat the friendly service.
I'm always impressed with the reasonable prices and delicious food that hits the spot every time.
The bartenders are always smiling and treating everyone with respect, making for a fantastic experience every time I walk through the doors.
Not to mention, Travis does an incredible job hosting karaoke nights, which are always a blast.
Thai Pavilion Restaurant
At first, I wasn't sure what to expect when I tried out Thai Pavilion Restaurant in Skokie.
I had heard mixed reviews from friends and family, but I was eager to find a laid-back Thai restaurant in the area.
To my delight, Thai Pavilion exceeded my expectations.
The atmosphere inside the restaurant was warm and welcoming, making it perfect for a casual dinner with loved ones.
I was impressed by the extensive menu, offering a variety of dishes from satay and dumplings to flavorful curry and noodle dishes.
As a vegetarian, I was thrilled to see plenty of vegan and vegetarian options, allowing me to indulge in delicious Thai cuisine without any guilt.
During my visit, I ordered fresh spring rolls, chive dumplings, and green curry.
The spring rolls were packed with fresh ingredients, and the chive dumplings were incredibly tasty.
But the star of the show was the green curry – it was the perfect balance of spicy and creamy, with a medley of vegetables and tofu that left me craving more.
The Junction Eating Place
One of my favorite spots to grab breakfast in town is The Junction Eating Place.
This country-themed eatery has a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes me feel at home every time I visit.
Their all-day breakfast menu offers a great variety of American homestyle dishes, and I have yet to be disappointed.
I particularly love their unique hash browns – they have a delicious flavor that sets them apart from other diners in the area.
The last time I visited, I tried their country-fried steak, which was tender and flavorful, making for a satisfying meal.
Aside from breakfast, they also serve up some tasty lunch and dinner options, like steaks and grilled chicken.
Hometown Sports Bar & Grill
One of my favorite spots in town to unwind after work is Hometown Sports Bar & Grill.
It has a bright and spacious atmosphere, with team jerseys adorning the walls.
What I love about this place is the wide variety of food options, from their amazing sliders to football on TV and even karaoke nights.
I cannot recommend their burgers enough!
The Spartan Burger and the Jalapeño Cheeseburger are some of the best I've ever had.
And if you're a fan of tater tots, you've got to try them here.
I recently visited Pizza Villa with some friends, and it was an amazing experience.
As soon as we entered, we were greeted with the tantalizing aroma of freshly baked pizza.
We decided to start off with their Villa Nuggets, which were surprisingly good.
But, of course, the star of the evening was the pizza itself.
The thin, buttery crust was a delightful surprise, unlike any other pizza I've had in town.
Despite ordering ahead of time, we did have to wait a bit for our food, but it was worth it.
On our visit, we tried their 5-cheese lasagna and taco salad, both of which were delicious.
My friend was particularly fond of the breaded/fried mushrooms appetizer.
We also indulged in the cinnamon nuggets for dessert, which were quite tasty, although they could have used a bit more cinnamon/sugar.
Other Restaurants Nearby
Buffalo's Grill Tacos
Let me tell you about one of my favorite spots in town: Buffalo's Grill Tacos.
As someone who grew up in Texas, finding authentic and delicious Mexican food in my new city was a must, and Buffalo's Grill Tacos did not disappoint.
The moment I stepped into this little restaurant, I felt transported back home – the clean environment and the mariachi music playing in the background all set the perfect atmosphere for an enjoyable meal.
Although the seating is limited, with only about five stools available, Buffalo's Grill Tacos has a Mexican street taco vibe that I absolutely love.
The food here is generally fantastic, with the steak burrito and al pastor/beef taco being particular highlights.
Maria's Little Italy
One of my favorite places to dine in town has to be Maria's Little Italy.
The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, with tasteful decor and soft music playing in the background.
As soon as I sit down, they bring bread, water, and a small plate with silverware to the table.
I've tried several dishes at Maria's, but one of my all-time favorites has to be the chicken saltimbocca.
It comes with a side salad, which is always fresh and tasty.
The chicken dish itself is absolutely divine - from the tender, perfectly cooked chicken to the flavorful toppings and sauce, all served over a bed of delicious noodles.
And even though the portion sizes are quite generous, I can't resist indulging in one of their delicious cannolis for dessert.
Service at Maria's Little Italy is consistently impressive.
I've brought my family here on multiple occasions, and we've all enjoyed our meals every time.
The Bari Panini and Caprese Panini are also fantastic choices, and their lemonchello cake is a must-try for dessert lovers.
One of my favorite spots to enjoy a hearty breakfast in town is the Rise and Shine Family Restaurant.
Since moving here, my partner and I have visited the place around six times, and every time we've left satisfied.
I'm a big fan of their Slammers, while my partner can't get enough of their gyro omelet.
The service at Rise and Shine is always top-notch, even when the place is packed.
It's amazing how quickly a table opens up.
One of the best things about this restaurant is that you can actually eat cheaper here than at the McDonald's next door, and trust me, the food is way better!
My partner and I have already decided that we'll be coming back more and more.
Their menu is quite extensive, which makes it hard to choose just one dish.
We've tried a variety of their offerings, from mixed fish and shrimp with baked potato to beef and cheese sandwiches.
The portions are always generous, so you won't leave hungry.
PJ's Courthouse Tavern
I can confidently say that PJ's Courthouse Tavern has become one of my go-to spots for a night out with friends.
The atmosphere is inviting, and the historic building adds a unique charm to the place.
The food has never disappointed me, as I've enjoyed a variety of pub fare on multiple occasions.
Their beer selection is also noteworthy, with several local brews to choose from.
One of the highlights of PJ's Courthouse Tavern is the live music.
As a music lover, I appreciate the variety of bands and genres that grace their stage.
It's always exciting to see local talent being showcased in such a great venue.
Taxco Mexican Cuisine
I can't tell you how many times I've been to Taxco Mexican Cuisine with my friends and family, and I have never been disappointed!
The moment you step in, the warm and welcoming atmosphere hits you, making you feel at home.
As soon as we sit down, we're treated to their delicious chips and salsa, which is always a great way to start the meal.
The menu is filled with mouthwatering and authentic Mexican dishes, making it difficult to choose just one.
Their extensive selection of margaritas is a delight, and their bar boasts more than 400 kinds of tequila, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy.
It's also worth mentioning that they cater to all dietary preferences, with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options available.
The food is consistently excellent, and I can guarantee that you'll leave with a full and happy belly.
The Dirty Bird - Sycamore
I can confidently say that one of my favorite spots to grab some delicious fried food is The Dirty Bird in Sycamore.
I remember the first time I went there, I ordered the Dirty Midwesterner, which is a horseshoe with a breaded tenderloin.
Although the cheese sauce could have used a bit more flavor, the tenderloin itself was fried to perfection and tasted absolutely amazing.
Another menu item that I couldn't resist trying on a subsequent visit was their fried pickles.
They were the thickest I've ever had, and the garlic pickles they used were perfect when fried.
I also couldn't help but indulge in their wrecking balls - cheese hash brown balls with jalapenos. They were simply delectable!
In conclusion, I can confidently say that DeKalb, IL, offers a diverse and exciting culinary experience for anyone visiting or living in the area.
the mouthwatering tacos at Buffalo's Grill Tacos and authentic Italian dishes at Maria's Little Italy, the flavorful Middle Eastern options at Jamrah, and the comforting breakfast at Egg Haven Pancakes & Cafe, there's something for everyone.
So, next time you find yourself in DeKalb, be sure to check out these fantastic eateries; your taste buds will be glad you did.