When you've lived in Wheaton, Illinois, for as long as I have, you develop an intimate relationship with the local culinary landscape.
The vibrant, diverse food scene here is like a mirror reflecting the rich culture and history of our beloved city.
Our streets are dotted with a variety of restaurants, each unique in its own right, each with a story to tell.
From breakfast spots that remind you of grandma's cooking to the bustling lunch delis, inviting coffee shops, and fine dining venues that transform dinner into an unforgettable experience - here are the best restaurants in Wheaton, Illinois.
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
One evening, after a long week, I decided to indulge in the culinary delights of Lola's Ristorante.
From the moment I stepped through the door, I felt like I had been transported to a charming countryside villa in Italy.
I was lucky enough to host my son's wedding rehearsal dinner here, and it was nothing short of extraordinary.
They even decorated the restaurant in our wedding colors, adding a deeply personal touch to the evening.
And if that wasn't enough, they played our chosen music throughout the night, creating an ambiance that was truly unforgettable.
The real star of the night, however, was undoubtedly the food.
From the beautifully presented antipasto to the delectable main courses, each dish was a testament to the chefs’ expertise.
But, the pie (or should I say pizza) topper was their delicious pizza, which my family and I devoured even though we caught them right at closing time.
Pa Lian Burmese Restaurant
If you're a food enthusiast like me, you're always looking for new flavors to explore.
And that's exactly what I've found at Pa Lian Burmese Restaurant.
It's a vibrant spot in our city serving some of the most unique dishes I've ever tasted.
But it's the food that really steals the show.
From the traditional noodle bowls to the variety of curries and rice dishes, everything is a burst of complex flavors that are authentically Burmese.
One of my personal favorites is the Rah-Khine Mot-Tee, a fish-based noodle soup that's got just the right amount of spice and tang.
If you're more of a salad person, then the Tea Leaf Salad is a must-try.
It's a unique blend of sweet, sour, and savory flavors that you won't forget anytime soon.
What I really appreciate is that they offer plenty of healthy options as well.
It's clear that they put a lot of thought and care into sourcing fresh ingredients and creating dishes that are not only delicious but also nourishing.
Cantigny's Fare Ways Restaurant
Sometimes you just need a relaxed, low-key evening, and that's exactly what you'll find at Cantigny's Fare Ways Restaurant.
Nestled within the grounds of the Cantigny Golf Club, the restaurant offers a casual dining experience with a lovely view.
The covered outdoor eating area is my usual spot - the view of the greenery and golf course is simply delightful, especially on a clear day.
The menu at Fare Ways is pretty diverse.
I usually find myself torn between the tuna croissant and the salmon BLT - both lip-smackingly good!
And what's a meal without a drink, right?
Their Mai Tais will take you on an instant trip to the tropics.
The food is reasonably priced, and they even have comfy chairs that make you want to settle in and stay for a while.
Danada Deli & Pantry
There's no doubt that living in Dixon has its perks, but a part of my heart always resides in Wheaton where my son and his family live.
Why, you ask?
Well, the answer lies in the heart of Wheaton, the Danada Deli & Pantry.
This delightful little establishment has been my haven every time I house-sit for my son.
A recent visit to the deli with my 90-year-old sister was an absolute treat.
We decided to sample all four of their tantalizing soups along with the Italian sub, and I must say, every bite was outstanding!
My daughter-in-law and grandson had similar experiences when they stopped by for a turkey sandwich meal.
My grandson couldn't stop raving about it, promising to recommend the place to all his teammates.
But it's not just the food that draws me to Danada Deli.
You can feel it in the cleanliness of the place, in the cheerfulness of their interactions, and above all, in the quality of their food.
Walking or riding my bike to the deli, I'm always looking forward to their daily specials, homemade soups, and desserts.
The convenience of checking their daily menu on their website every morning makes it easier for me to plan my day.
The homemade Hungarian sausage coils, which they prepare in-house, are something I eagerly anticipate.
Their corned beef, tuna, egg, and chicken salad sandwiches, along with the Mititei/Cevapi sausage, are all top-notch.
No visit to the deli is complete without indulging in their mouthwatering desserts.
You know, sometimes you just stumble upon a gem, and PizzaNanda Shoppe is exactly that for me.
He graciously offered us a free slice and a little chat, which completely won me over.
I found a slice of Italy in PizzaNanda Shoppe.
Their sausage pizza is like a dance of flavors on the tongue.
It has a perfect kick of spice which keeps you reaching for the next slice.
I remember one night, my partner and I couldn't resist ourselves and ended up ordering a third pizza just because we wanted to taste more from their delicious menu.
It's the kind of place that's perfect for a cozy date night or a family dinner.
What's more exciting is that this isn't just for us meat-eaters.
They offer a delicious vegan pizza with Daiya cheese that my vegan friends can't stop raving about.
It's not very often you come across a place that caters to such different dietary preferences with the same amount of care and flavor.
They also have gluten-free options, but be sure to order in advance so it’s ready when you arrive.
It's been a few weeks since they opened, and I can tell you the pizza at PizzaNanda Shoppe is top-notch.
They're even planning to add salads and ice cream to their menu.
I am eagerly looking forward to more choices and delicious additions to their offerings.
County Farm Bagels
Every Sunday morning, without fail, I find myself in line at County Farm Bagels, ready to kickstart my day.
The scent of freshly baked bagels wafts out from the cozy shop, luring locals and visitors in from the early morning chill.
Heads turned when I first walked in with a cheddar jalapeño bagel in my hand, sporting a grin from ear to ear.
The bagel is not overtly spicy but has just enough zing to wake you up.
Their coffee is just as enticing.
It's a perfect blend of robust and smooth, and it's hard to resist getting a 50-cent refill as I settle into one of their comfortable seats.
However, more often than not, I'm grabbing a dozen or so bagels to go, eager to share the goodness with friends and family back home.
Or sometimes, I simply take my breakfast to Adams Park, just a short stroll away, where I can enjoy my meal amidst the serenity of nature.
For those looking to cater a morning meeting or surprise the office with a treat, County Farm Bagels has got you covered.
Their variety of bagels and cream cheese is impressive, to say the least.
My go-to combo is the Asiago Rosemary bagel with Scallion Chive cream cheese – a flavor explosion that I look forward to every week.
Always sporting warm smiles and ready to give recommendations, they make every visit a pleasant experience.
Molos Greek Taverna Restaurant
You know those nights when you're just craving a good Greek dish?
Well, that happened to my partner and I last week.
We decided to give Molos Greek Taverna Restaurant a try - and what a wonderful decision that was!
Right when we walked in, we were greeted warmly by our hostess.
It really made us feel at home.
Soon enough, we were served our first course, Saganaki, and let me tell you, it was divine!
Just thinking about that large portion of perfectly seasoned Saganaki is making me crave more.
Unfortunately, I couldn't take any pictures as I was too eager to dig into it!
We also shared a Greek Salad, the feta cheese on it was some of the best I've ever tasted.
The small salad was definitely more than enough for the two of us.
My partner's main dish was the Halibut.
I, on the other hand, decided to go for the Chef's special - Lake Superior Whitefish.
It was cooked to perfection, and the flavors were stunning.
Surprisingly, even the rice was cooked just right; it was al dente, as it should be.
You can tell he puts a lot of love into his food.
Red Oak Room
Oh, the memories I have of the Red Oak Room.
Nestled in the heart of Cantigny Park, this is a place that has served as the backdrop for many of my family's cherished moments.
We've celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and even a family wedding dinner here.
The food is always excellent, the service impeccable, and the atmosphere, whether you're here for a regular meal or a special event, is warm and inviting.
The first time we decided to check it out was for Mother’s Day brunch.
From the moment we walked in, we were taken by the clean, well-lit space filled with the aroma of delicious food.
The price might seem steep for some, but trust me, you need to come prepared to eat.
Their selection is vast, and every dish is prepared to perfection.
Since then, we’ve developed a fondness for their Sunday brunch.
It's usually quite sunny, and we always make it a point to sit by the windows.
The views of Cantigny Park are just breathtaking - it's like having a gourmet meal in the midst of a beautiful garden!
There's one place in the city that always manages to satisfy my barbeque cravings — Steamboat BBQ.
When the tangy smell of smoked meat hits me the moment I step through the door, I know I'm in for a treat.
You can see their menu and more at Steamboat BBQ.
My usual choice here is the beef brisket, a tender delight with a just-right touch of Butler's sauce.
The meat here is top-notch, especially considering how much meat prices have escalated elsewhere.
The sandwich platter always comes with a heap of fries.
They are skin-on and seasoned, but sometimes they appear a bit too dark for my taste.
I've realized that I prefer them par-cooked and then fried, rather than fried for so long that they darken.
Now, I won't lie; the $2.99 price tag for 4oz of slaw and potato salad seems a bit steep.
But I guess it's a small pebble in the delightful BBQ feast.
I've been tempted to try the pork with the Carolina-style vinegar sauce, and I might give it a go next time.
The two-meat platter with Brisket and pork ribs, however, was a bit of a letdown.
The ribs were overcooked and hard, while the brisket lacked seasoning.
The sides included coleslaw and fried mac n cheese, which was packed next to hot items, leaving the coleslaw warm.
While the mac n cheese was a bit soggy, it was still flavorful.
What's unforgettable about Steamboat BBQ is their incredible sweet BBQ sauce.
I never manage to remember the name, but its taste is something I've craved time and again.
I've often thought about purchasing some to use at home; it's just that good!
The place might not win any awards for its ambiance — it's a small hole-in-the-wall setup, but that's part of its charm.
And if you're not up for an alfresco dining experience, you can always grab your food and enjoy it in the comfort of your car, just like I often do.
If one were to ask me about my favorite lunch spot, I wouldn't hesitate for a second before mentioning Javi's Burritos.
These guys know how to whip up a mean, mouth-watering burrito!
Their food is always fresh and flavorful, making it a popular pick for both lunch and dinner in our city.
If you're ever in the mood for Mexican, I would highly recommend Javi's.
My first visit to Javi's was quite memorable.
Although the location is more of a pick-up spot than a dine-in restaurant, the window seats offer a fantastic view, adding to the overall ambiance.
The smaller steak burrito is a personal favorite of mine.
It is always good, fresh, and hits just the right spot.
Javi's also offers a selection of tacos.
From my experience, the tacos can be a bit understaffed, but the quality of the steak and the Al Pastor is undeniable.
"I finally had the chance to visit Maypole in downtown Wheaton, and I must say, it was an experience worth repeating.
The place stands out as a one-of-a-kind restaurant in the heart of our city, offering a tantalizing array of Filipino comfort food.
I decided to try their traditional Filipino breakfast plate, with its alluring combination of longanisa, egg, and garlic rice, and it was nothing short of amazing.
Parking was a breeze, with ample street parking and a nearby garage just a block away.
The price point was comparable to other restaurants in the area, averaging around $20 per plate.
The brunch was top-notch, and the drinks packed a punch.
Maypole's atmosphere was charming, and the service was commendable.
What’s exciting is that Maypole is in the process of enhancing its kid-friendly provisions.
They're rolling out a new kids' play space and have recently installed changing tables in their restrooms.
Although I didn't see a ramp or elevator during my visit, I'm informed there's one at the back – making things easier for those with strollers.
Now, here’s the best part for those with gluten restrictions – Maypole goes out of its way to cater to your needs.
Stella's Pizza & Pub
I've got to admit, I was pretty surprised the first time I stepped into Stella's Pizza & Pub.
Just imagine my astonishment when I found out that one of the best pizza places in the city was hiding right inside Fox Bowl’s bar area!
It's absolutely not what you'd expect; nothing like a typical bowling alley snack bar.
Stella's Pizza is a full-service pizza business and a treasure trove of flavors.
The pizza, hands down, is fantastic.
But let me tell you, their mac'n cheese bites and cheesy beef sandwiches are to die for as well.
I've been trying to eat healthier lately, and their chicken Caesar salad is a delight.
It was fresh and crunchy, and the chicken was grilled to perfection.
But it's not just the food that's impressive.
They make you feel like you're their number one customer, and their service is nothing short of impeccable.
Poor Boy 2
I've been to a fair share of local diners in my time, but the authenticity of Poor Boy 2 has always made it stand out.
The moment you step inside, you're greeted with a relaxed and intimate atmosphere.
Just a handful of tables and stools line the inside, providing a cozy dining experience.
On nice days, you can even enjoy your meal at one of their outdoor tables, letting the sounds and smells of the city enhance your meal.
As for the menu, it's a veritable smorgasbord of classic Chicago fare.
Their hot dogs, hamburgers, gyros, polish sausages, and meatball sandwiches are all mouth-wateringly good.
But it doesn't stop there.
They've also got Maxwell Street-style sandwiches and a rotating selection of daily combo food specials that won't break the bank.
I personally can't get enough of their grilled chicken sub.
The chicken breasts are just slightly charred, adding an irresistible off-the-grill flavor.
Then there's their eponymous poor boy sub.
Now, this isn't your typical Southern-style poor boy.
This one's got an Italian twist to it, and let me tell you, it's a game-changer.
As someone who frequently dines at 302 Wheaton, I can vouch for the excellent burgers and sandwiches they serve.
I recall a chilly evening when I had to dine outside in the tented area, the heaters couldn't quite keep the cold out, so I kept my coat on.
The Wheaton bowl, a unique bunless burger on a bed of tater tots, kept me warm.
The onion rings, despite needing a bit more crisp, were a decent side.
The prices are reasonable, and the place is kid-friendly.
During one of my visits, I saw a family with children playing in the green space at the side of the restaurant.
The kids seemed to delight in the dog-friendly environment as well.
The place doubles as a bar, offering a variety of beers and an impressive array of bourbon bottles.
Another time, I visited with a group of friends who were all keen on trying their impossible burger.
The consensus was that it was one of the best we'd ever had.
The fries and tots were equally impressive, and the wide beer selection meant everyone found something they liked.
What stands out at 302 Wheaton, beyond the food, is the customer service.
When it comes to spending a laid-back afternoon with family and friends, one of my favorite spots in the city is 302 South, a cozy burger joint located in the heart of Wheaton.
The ambiance is so relaxing that once, after attending a church service, I found myself lingering there for hours, simply watching my kids have a blast playing soccer with other children.
It ended up being one of those perfect afternoons, with the weather just right for lounging in 302 South's ample outdoor seating area.
The menu at 302 South may be compact, but every item is a testament to their commitment to serving quality food.
Whether you're grabbing a quick lunch to go or taking your time to savor every bite, their burgers never fail to impress.
Every interaction I've had with them has been nothing short of delightful, as they're always warm, approachable, and eager to make sure you're having the best experience possible.
The Burger Social
It's no secret that there's a fantastic place downtown Wheaton that serves up some of the best burgers in the city– The Burger Social.
Conveniently located right by the parking garage, this spot is one of my go-to's whenever I'm craving a juicy, mouth-watering burger.
The moment you step into The Burger Social, you're greeted with an industrial, trendy vibe that immediately sets you in the right mood.
The decor, especially on the second floor, is incredibly intriguing and enhances the overall atmosphere.
Every visit feels like an experience rather than just a meal.
But let's not forget about the food, which is, without a doubt, the main attraction.
The variety of burgers on the menu is impressive, and each one is as delicious as the next.
My personal favorite has to be the Bison burger, which never fails to satisfy my taste buds.
If you're looking for a side that's out of the ordinary, give their truffle fries a try – they're an absolute game-changer!
Now, what's a good burger without a cocktail or a milkshake to wash it down?
The Burger Social has got you covered with their brilliantly prepared cocktails that strike the perfect balance between taste and strength.
If you're not into cocktails, their vanilla milkshake is a must-try.
I had been hearing about Ditka's Grill all over the city, so I decided to give it a shot last Thursday.
My friend and I planned our visit during their famed Happy Hour.
The fiery glow of the patio fire was a sight to behold that night.
We chose to sit indoors, but I promised myself to experience the patio setting next time.
I ordered the chocolate espresso martini, and my friend echoed my choice.
They were certainly the highlight of the night!
Now, I am a big fan of nachos and decided to order their pot roast nachos.
The portion was large enough for the two of us to share, and believe me, it was nothing short of amazing.
To end the meal on a sweet note, I indulged in a slice of their flourless chocolate cake while my friend savored a glass of red wine.
The ambiance was calming with dimmed lights, and I was impressed with how well-kept the establishment was; even the women's bathroom was spotless.
I must mention that while the prices are a bit on the higher side, they are still fair for such a sophisticated place.
On another visit, I decided to check out their steak and frites, and while my partner enjoyed it, I found the veggies a tad over-seasoned.
But then again, their halibut special was quite good.
We also split a cheesecake – a good decision indeed!
The pork chop he recommended was perfectly cooked and juicy.
And oh, the bread and the deviled eggs are a must-try!
And if you are a chocolate lover like me, their flourless chocolate cake is a perfect ending to an exquisite meal.
There's truly no shortage of great culinary experiences to be had in Wheaton.
From the robust flavors I've savored at Lola's Ristorante to the unique dishes at Pa Lian Burmese Restaurant and the comforting, home-cooked meals at Danada Deli & Pantry, there's a cuisine to suit every palate.
With such a diverse range of options, every meal in Wheaton can be a delightful adventure.