21 Best Restaurants in Evanston, IL

Best Restaurants in Evanston, IL
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Let's embark on this sumptuous journey to explore some of the best restaurants in Evanston.

Trust me, by the end of this, you won't be able to resist the pull of our city’s culinary magnetism!

How this article was written: Our team first analyzed the scores and feedback across major platforms like Google Maps, Yelp, and Trip Advisor, considering not only the ratings but also the consistency of positive feedback. Following this, we conducted interviews with over 30 local residents who have been to these restaurants to gather authentic, first-hand experiences. You can read more about our research process here.

While this list showcases some remarkable restaurants, it's important to note there are many other exceptional dining establishments in Evanston that are not featured here. Our aim is not just to guide you to popular eateries but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city's diverse culinary landscape for yourself.

Papa Bop

Ever since I first tasted the phenomenal Soondubu Jjigae at Papa Bop, I've been hooked.

It's marked as 'medium spicy' on the menu but I must warn you, it's quite a challenge for the palate.

But in all fairness, it's a delicious kind of challenge that keeps you coming back for more.

The bibimbop at Papa Bop is another delightful dish.

The restaurant offers three delectable sauces that accompany this dish.

My advice?

Try them all, and then shower your bibimbop with your favorite.

It's a culinary experience that's nothing short of amazing.

Understandably, the restaurant is small in size, so you might have to wait a while for a table.

Sometimes, you may find yourself at the bar, considering there aren't enough tables.

But let me assure you, the slight discomfort of perching on a bar stool is more than compensated by the culinary delights that await you at Papa Bop.

Did I mention it's BYOB?

They have a menu of house-made virgin drinks as well.

What's not to love about that?

Despite being small in size, what Papa Bop lacks in space, it makes up in flavor, service, and authenticity.

Papa Bop Β· 1047 Chicago Ave # B, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Korean restaurant


There's something to be said about stumbling upon a hidden treasure in your own neighborhood.

That was my experience with Cantuccio's, an unassuming pizzeria that has quickly become a staple in my rotation of favorite local dining spots.

From the outside, Cantuccio's may not seem any different from the countless other pizzerias in town.

However, the moment you walk in, you're greeted with an incredible aroma of freshly baked pizza that instantly transports you to the streets of Napoli.

The ambiance is both quaint and practical - perfect for a carryout-only place.

Now, I must admit, I have a serious love affair with deep-dish pizza, and I was initially skeptical about trying Cantuccio's thin-crust offerings.

However, after spotting the rave reviews, I decided to give it a shot.

I tried their Fiery Italian pizza, and let me tell you, it was a revelation.

The pizza packed a punch of coastal spicy flavors that was just right for my palate.

It was a refreshing change from my usual deep-dish preference.

But Cantuccio's doesn't stop at their pizza.

They also offer a fantastic selection of Italian sodas and teas.

I was overjoyed when I found my favorite Italian peach iced tea in their fridge, a rarity in most places around here.

Cantuccio’s Β· 1115 Emerson St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Pizza restaurant

Mas Salud Kitchen and Bar

I've always loved the restaurant scene in Evanston, and the newest addition, Mas Salud Kitchen and Bar, has made it even more vibrant.

Nestled in the heart of the town, it's a charming spot that offers a wonderful fusion of Latin American culinary delights.

One evening, I decided to give it a try.

The minute I stepped in, I was welcomed by a chic and cozy ambiance, which instantly made me feel at home.

The service was impeccable - swift, polite, and attentive, living up to the reputation of great hospitality that I had heard about.

Being a seafood lover, I ordered their shrimp ceviche.

Though it didn't quite match up to my expectations, I still appreciated their effort to accommodate my request to switch side with tostones.

The dish was an interesting blend of flavors, but I believe it would have been enhanced with a homemade tostada chip or a lightly fried flatbread instead of the store-bought one.

On a brighter note, their elotes and red snapper were an absolute delight!

The elotes were creamy and packed with flavor, while the red snapper showcased their knack for bringing out the best of simple ingredients.

In my subsequent visits, I savored their guacamole, carne asada, and the Pastor & Birria Tacos, which were full of freshness and high-quality ingredients.

These dishes have now become my favorite go-to meals.

Mas Salud Kitchen and Bar Β· 720 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Restaurant

Taste of Nepal

I must admit, the first time I decided to venture into Taste of Nepal, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.

I was simply craving something different, and oh boy, did I find exactly what I was looking for!

As I stepped through the door on a cool June evening, I was immediately drawn to the warm, inviting atmosphere and the tantalizing aroma wafting through the air.

I dove straight into the menu, choosing a couple of chicken dishes, garlic naan, and a shared mango lasso with my girlfriend.

Each bite was a celebration of flavor, the dishes were hot, delectably seasoned, and embodied the comforting essence of Indian cuisine.

Being a foodie, I didn't stop at the chicken dishes.

I tried their chickpea papadun crackers with sweet tamarind sauce, and I was pleasantly surprised by the mixed vegetable pakora and chicken momo dumplings garnished with refreshing cilantro.

The pakora reminded me of sweet potato fries but with an exciting twist of veggies and cilantro.

I had lots of questions about the ingredients, and they took the time to explain everything to me, which added a new dimension to my dining adventure.

Taste of Nepal Β· 610 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Indian restaurant

10Q Chicken

There's nothing quite like the buzz of a local spot, and that's exactly what you get at 10Q Chicken.

This straightforward restaurant has quickly become my all-time favorite place for a quick bite.

From their mouth-watering chicken sandwiches to irresistible chicken wings accompanied by fries, there's something for every poultry lover at this joint.

What sets 10Q Chicken apart is not just the delicious food but the speed at which it's served.

I remember ordering their mild Kangnam wings and buffalo nacho fries – a feast that was ready in no time.

And boy, was it a treat!

The wings had the perfect balance of flavor, not too spicy, but definitely tantalizing to the taste buds.

For those who can handle the heat, you might want to try their spicy wings.

But it's not just about the spicy dishes.

Their 10Q chicken sandwich and classic chicken sandwich are my go-to picks.

10Q Chicken Β· 816 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Chicken restaurant

Tomate Fresh Kitchen

Living here for years, I cannot help but be a regular patron of Tomate Fresh Kitchen, it’s practically an institution here in northwestern Evanston.

This place has become my go-to for an affordable, delightful lunch, almost like a weekly tradition over the past 5 years.

The burritos are just to die for, especially the sweet potato and tofu burrito that I've grown to love over the years.

Their versatility in the menu doesn't end there, I occasionally enjoy the yucca or the spicy mushrooms as well.

And oh, their salsa!

They serve a standard red salsa, but on request, they could serve up a tangy salsa verde or a spicy salsa.

Having traveled extensively, I can confidently say their burritos rival the ones I’ve had in Mexico City.

It’s the perfect blend of heat, fat, salt, and acidity, consistently delicious for all these years.

One of the things I really appreciate is their new online ordering system.

It’s more efficient and far less chaotic than the previous in-store ordering system, where you had to stand in a line to place an order.

Tomate Fresh Kitchen Β· 914 Noyes St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Mexican restaurant

Ted's Snack Shop

I've always been a big fan of breakfast, and while there are plenty of places to grab a bite around Evanston, none really compare to the comfort and value you'll find at Ted's Snack Shop.

One of the things I love most about Ted's is the people.

From the moment you step in the door, you're treated like family.

They're quick, efficient, and always greet you with a smile.

The food is another reason why I frequent Ted's.

It's simple, hearty breakfast fare at its best - and it doesn't put a dent in your wallet.

Whether it's a hot stack of fluffy pancakes, a hearty portion of eggs and bacon, or their mouth-watering breakfast sandwiches, you're guaranteed a satisfying meal that will keep you fuelled all day.

Ted’s Snack Shop Β· 1824 Crain St, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Diner

Ovo Frito Cafe

Every Sunday morning, I find myself at my favorite breakfast spot, the Ovo Frito Cafe.

Nestled just a bit north of downtown Evanston, it's my sanctuary for breakfast, brunch, and sometimes even lunch.

The menu bursts with a variety of options that leaves you spoiled for choice.

My personal favorite?

The omelets!

They are absolutely delectable, with a side of bacon that's cooked to perfection.

It's not crispy but meaty, with a delightful hint of maple syrup that adds a sweet and savory balance.

Their coffee is another thing I cannot do without, always fresh and robust, the perfect pick-me-up for any morning.

What I love about Ovo Frito Cafe is not just the delicious food but also the cozy atmosphere that makes you feel right at home.

The service is always quick, friendly, and, above all, personal.

You can tell it's a family-owned business by the way they treat you, not as just another customer but as part of the family.

I cannot count the number of times I've been there, and I keep finding myself going back almost every week.

I've tried both savory and sweet dishes, and each has been a hit.

Ovo Frito Cafe Β· 1936 Maple Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Restaurant

Frida's Breakfast and Lunch

There's a charming little spot in Evanston, Frida's Breakfast and Lunch, that I am downright smitten with.

It's a low-key restaurant, serving a delicious blend of traditional and Mexican-inspired breakfast and lunch dishes.

Trust me, their pancakes, French toast, and wraps are to die for!

Every time I go, I'm amazed by the generous portions, beautiful presentation, and captivating flavors of their dishes.

Whether I'm craving fluffy pancakes or an indulgent French toast, Frida's always has me covered.

I must say, their savory omelets are also a must-try.

The ingredients are always fresh, high quality, and cooked to perfection.

I must mention the atmosphere of Frida's, which is nothing short of cozy and welcoming.

It's enveloped in a trendy and modern decor that instantly makes you feel at home.

Plus, it's conveniently located near a safe parking garage, saving me the hassle of finding a parking space whenever I visit.

Frida’s Breakfast and Lunch Β· 618 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Restaurant

Habibi In

There's something special about finding a fantastic restaurant right in your own neighborhood.

And Habibi In Mediterranean Grill is precisely that gem in Evanston.

One of my go-to orders at Habibi In is the Habibi platter - a delectable combination of tender meats made to order, accompanied by a spicy red sauce and a soothing white one.

The lamb and chicken are always tender and juicy, packed with flavors that remind you of a Mediterranean seaside town.

The servings are so generous that they're perfect for sharing, or you can pack up the leftovers for another meal.

The prices are just as appealing, making it a great spot for lunch or dinner without breaking the bank.

Habibi In Mediterranean Grill Β· 825 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Mediterranean restaurant


Oh, how I love dining at Shinsen!

This place is my go-to spot when I'm in the mood for a variety of noodle dishes, sushi, and robata.

What makes it even more special is the warm setting that it offers, replete with plants and banquettes, which make for a truly cozy experience.

The second time I ate here, I can vouch that Shinsen scored an easy two out of two on a great dinner.

It's absolutely delicious, and they serve it in a hot bowl that cooks the rice to a perfect crispness.

The Black Widow specialty roll is something you must try!

It's a tasty dish, made even more intriguing with the use of black ink rice.

Interestingly, Shinsen does not serve alcohol, but the saving grace is the BYOB policy that they have in place.

You can bring your own bottle for a small cork fee.

Shinsen Β· 1322 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Japanese restaurant

The Graduate Homestead Room

Waking up early on a Saturday for breakfast is not usually my thing, but I had some errands to run in the area and decided to grab my morning bite at The Graduate Homestead Room.

Opting for the buttermilk pancakes, I was pleasantly surprised by how filling they were.

Yes, they're a bit on the pricey side, but the relaxing and classy atmosphere adds a certain charm, making up for it.

On another occasion, my family and I dropped in around 9:30 pm for a late-night meal.

To our delight, the service was warm and welcoming.

The scallops crudo, and salmon were top-notch!

My parents were particularly taken with the parsley sauce that came with the salmon.

This was definitely a memorable evening.

The Graduate Homestead Room Β· 1625 Hinman Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Restaurant


Every town has its hidden gems, those places only locals seem to know about.

In Evanston, it's Soulwich.

It's a bright and dynamic counter-serve spot that excels in dishing up sandwiches and salads but with an unexpected Asian twist.

To say that the menu at Soulwich is unique would be an understatement.

The food is not only delicious but also caters to everyone with plentiful vegetarian options.

One of the standout items on the menu is the fig paneer sandwich.

It's extraordinary, nothing like your regular sandwich.

What's great is that you can customize the protein in each sandwich and dictate the level of spice.

I always opt for a little bit of heat.

To accompany the sandwich, the Burmese chips are a must-try.

When they reopened recently, there was such excitement in town.

I recall driving early one morning from Michigan just to make it in time before they closed.

The place never disappoints – everything is always so fresh.

Soulwich Β· 1634 Orrington Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Sandwich shop

Soban Korea

Nothing beats a craving for Korean food like a visit to Soban in Evanston.

My first time dining at Soban Korea left me with a lingering craving that I can't seem to shake.

The place has a warm, inviting atmosphere that makes you feel right at home as soon as you step foot through the door.

I usually go for Yukgaejang, a spicy soup with shredded beef, green onions, and bean sprouts topped with glass noodles.

It's hot, spicy, and a great gauge of authenticity for any Korean restaurant.

My partner, on the other hand, always tries the Dolsot Bibimbap.

It's a medley of crispy rice, cooked veggies, a fried egg, and a variety of meats, shrimp, and tofu.

We both found the dishes to be outstanding, served hot and delicious.

Soban Korea Β· 819 Noyes St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Korean restaurant


One of my favorite neighborhood haunts has to be Campagnola, a delightful spot that serves up delectable Italian cuisine.

The dishes here are simple yet perfectly executed, and they make sure to use local ingredients, which I really appreciate.

I must admit, the food is not cheap.

But then again, you're paying for quality, and I believe you get what you pay for.

The portions are not huge, but they are quite satisfying.

They've got a great wine selection, too, although the pricing can be a bit steep.

But let's not forget the appetizers and main dishes.

I've tried quite a few, and they've all been above average.

Campagnola Β· 815 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Italian restaurant


One fine evening, I decided to treat myself and my family with a luxurious dining experience at Oceanique, an eco-friendly restaurant renowned for its high-quality fish and fowl set in a sharp, modern space.

From the moment we stepped through the door, we were treated like royalty.

Our glasses were kept full, and our plates cleared in a timely manner.

The menu is diverse and satisfying, satisfying all our seafood cravings.

For saffron lovers, I'd strongly recommend trying their bouillabaisse, it's an absolute delight!

Other favorites from our table were the Salmon, Walleye, and Filet Mignon, each prepared to perfection, full of flavors that danced on our palates.

What's more, the restaurant offers an acclaimed list of wines and a tasting menu to complement the dishes, ensuring a completely immersive dining experience.

Suggested wine pairings were absolutely spot-on, harmonizing beautifully with our meal selections.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the restaurant, this thoughtful gesture stood out and made our evening even more special.

In terms of pricing, I'd say Oceanique is definitely on the higher end.

For our party of 6, we spent around $750, including tips.

You can't put a price on an unforgettable dining experience, and that is exactly what Oceanique provides.

It's not just a meal, it's an event.

Oceanique Β· 505 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Seafood restaurant

Trattoria Demi

For years, I've been passing by Trattoria Demi, and finally, I decided to give it a try.

This local Italian gem in the heart of our city is a delightful experience for any food lover.

From the moment you step in, you are greeted with a warm, charming, and authentically Italian atmosphere.

The interior is beautifully decorated with a lively room that matches the music playing, and there's also the option of sidewalk seating for those who want to enjoy their meal outside.

I was immediately impressed with the friendly service and the rich menu.

They served appetizing bread and mussels as a starter, and I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed them.

The bread was soft and warm, while the mussels in the creamy sauce were cooked to perfection.

I indulged in the lunch special, an Italian sandwich served on focaccia bread that was out of this world.

The ingredients were fresh and of high quality, resulting in an impressive balance of flavors.

The in-house-made focaccia was indeed phenomenal, and the accompanying sweet potato chips offered a delightful crunch.

I also tried the Spinach Gnocchi, which was another hit.

The gnocchi was so soft it almost melted in my mouth.

Although I didn't get dessert this time, they offer a variety of tempting options that I can't wait to try next time.

Trattoria Demi Β· 1571 Sherman Ave Ste 1, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Italian restaurant

The Barn Steakhouse

As a resident in the area, I've had the chance to dine at The Barn Steakhouse a few times now.

The place is truly unique, having been converted from a former stable into a chic, high-ceilinged, concrete-floored spot for New American cuisine.

Despite its size, the atmosphere somehow manages to be both intimate and warm.

The menu here is full of delights.

My favorite has to be the filet mignon with horseradish, which is always cooked to perfection.

The red wine glaze they add is an excellent touch.

The sides, like robuchon mashed potatoes and mushrooms, are equally commendable.

If you're a seafood lover, don't miss out on their crab spaghetti which has a subtle sprinkle of spice and a generous amount of perfectly cooked crab.

Of course, a fine meal isn't complete without a sweet ending.

The pecan streusel carrot cake here is just divine.

The Barn Steakhouse Β· 1016 Church St Rear, Evanston, IL 60201, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Steak house

Kuni's Japanese Restaurant

There are places in this city that never lose their appeal, no matter how many times you visit, and Kuni's Japanese Restaurant is one of them.

Just walking into the warm, light-wood-filled space immediately fills me with a sense of anticipation for the delightful culinary journey that awaits.

One evening, while craving a traditional Japanese feast, I decided to visit Kuni's.

As always, the restaurant was teeming with locals who love their sushi just as much as I do.

I started off my meal with the succulent Ten Don and moved on to the Spicy Albacore Maki, which had just the right amount of heat to tease my palate.

I also tried the Shrimp Stir Fry, a flavorful combination of stir-fried shrimp and vegetables, offering a satisfying crunch with every bite.

When it was time for drinks, I settled for the House Sake.

The warm, rich, and slightly sweet sake was the perfect companion to my meal.

And to top it all up, every meal was accompanied by a refreshing salad and a warm bowl of miso soup – a nice bonus indeed.

I must also commend the excellent service.

Despite the quality of the food and service, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the prices were very reasonable.

Kuni’s Japanese Restaurant Β· 511 Main St ste a, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Sushi restaurant

Taste of Jamaica

One of my go-to places for authentic international cuisine here in Evanston is the Taste of Jamaica.

The moment you walk through the door, you're greeted with a warm welcome, setting the tone for a delightful dining experience.

The restaurant's interior is adorned with lush, cascading plants, which not only add a touch of visual appeal but also reinforce the establishment's commitment to detail and care – if they can take such good care of these plants, imagine the attention they give to their food!

They do not disappoint in their food offerings as well.

Their dishes, like the Stew Fish with Red Beans, Rice, Cabbage, and Brown Stew Chicken, are as hearty as they are flavorful.

You can tell that the food is prepared with love and authenticity.

It's worth every minute of the drive, even all the way from the other side of the city, just for a taste of their Jamaican delicacies.

Taste of Jamaica Evanston Β· 741 W Howard St, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Jamaican restaurant

Sher-Main Grill

I can't help but gush about my absolute favorite place to eat in town, the Sher-Main Grill.

This spot is a hidden gem perfectly tucked away, just waiting for you to discover it.

Sher-Main has all the trappings of a classic diner with a welcoming and homely atmosphere.

I remember ordering the Bacon Cheeseburger with fries once.

The food was served in under 10 minutes, and it tasted oh so heavenly that it's now my go-to order.

But Sher-Main isn’t just about lunch or dinner.

It’s a fantastic breakfast spot too.

I swear by their pancakes, they are top-notch!

Absolutely fluffy and delicious.

The best part is that they don't burn a hole in your pocket.

It's cash only, which I believe keeps the prices lower.

Sher-Main Grill Β· 802 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Grill

Sea Ranch Sushi Evanston

I've finally found my go-to place for sushi, Sea Ranch Sushi, in Evanston.

It's not just a sushi spot, but also a place where I get my Japanese grocery items.

The sushi deluxe combos are my absolute favorite; the value for money is unbeatable.

The cuts of fish for nigiri are noticeably fresh and sizeable, and the maki rolls are loaded with ingredients.

I've been there quite a few times, and the consistency has never faltered.

Each visit is a delightful experience, and the weekday special D is particularly delicious.

It's a unique roll combination that I haven't seen anywhere else.

Being someone with a sesame allergy, they've always been accommodating and careful with my orders, making sure to confirm what's in the plates I've picked.

But sushi isn't the only thing I love about Sea Ranch.

Their udon is excellent, possibly the best I've tasted.

Also, they have a variety of East Asian groceries that I often pick up.

Sea Ranch Sushi Evanston Β· 518 Dempster St, Evanston, IL 60202, United States
β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜… Β· Sushi restaurant

Final Thoughts

Evanston has truly offered a culinary adventure to me.

From the savory bites at Papa Bop to the tantalizing flavors at Mas Salud Kitchen and Bar, it's clear that this town has a lot to offer.

Each experience has been unique and wonderful in its own way.

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