Considering there were once more Swedes in Chicago than any city outside of Stockholm, it’s no wonder that this North Side neighborhood has retained its rich heritage through museums, bakeries, and even a former speakeasy that still serves glögg. But as strong as this tradition is, there’s still a bevy of worthwhile bars and restaurants that are notably not-Nordic, like these 14 best places to eat and drink.

Courtesy of Paul Fehribach

Best comfort food: Big Jones

5347 N Clark St
If Big Jones' award-winning Southern fried chicken isn’t enough of a draw, come for Chef Paul Fehribach’s Cajun fare, like fresh-baked Sally Lunn bread or rich and smoky Gumbo Ya-Ya with chicken, pork, andouille, and Arkansas rice. The complimentary brunch beignets and the super-strong Hurricane add to that French Quarter feel.
 

Best brunch: m. henry

5707 N Clark St
Fluffy hotcakes with blackberries and vanilla mascarpone cream topped with a brown sugar crust are the Holy Grail of sweetness, but the savory Fannie’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich -- two over-medium eggs, applewood bacon, sliced plum tomatoes, Gorgonzola, and thyme on toasted sour bread -- is equally spiritual.

Courtesy of Melissa Blackmon

Best Italian: Anteprima

5316 N Clark St
This cozy, rustic Italian restaurant features a three-course $30 prix fixe menu from Sunday-Thursday. The move: start with the grilled octopus, then go for the lamb or the tagliatelle with pancetta ragu. If you want to be branded as a desserter, try the hazelnut chocolate torte.
 

Best Middle Eastern: Taste of Lebanon

1509 W Foster Ave
The most expensive item on the menu is $7.50, which means you can eat like Super Bowl XX champion William "The Refrigerator" Perry for under $10 in this tiny, dine-in storefront. The lentil soup, chicken shawarma, falafel, lamb kabob, and baklava are served fast and authentic.

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Best cheap dinner: Sunshine Café

5449 N Clark St
With wood-paneled walls and fluorescent lighting, this one-room Japanese BYOB might make you feel like you’re eating in your grandma’s den, except no one’s going to ask you to program the VCR here. Hit up the Jewel across the street for some booze on your way, then settle in with a big, steaming bowl of beef soba.
 

Best hot dogs: Hoppin' Hots

1477 W Balmoral Ave
No standard Chicago dogs here -- yours is coming topped with fancy, premium ingredients like duck confit, pork belly, chorizo, goat cheese, paprika-dusted sweet corn, and maple mustard. Try the Hawaiian Hot -- pork teriyaki, pineapple relish, crushed avocado, queso Cotija, and cilantro aioli -- or revel in a poutine variation featuring fries, deep-fried cheese curds, and beef gravy.

Courtesy of Bonnie & Clyde Photography

Best for sharing: Little Bad Wolf 

1541 W Bryn Mawr Ave
Though the owners of Burger Philosophy recently reconceptualized their space into this new cocktail lounge with an exceptional food menu, do not fear! The original restaurant’s beloved Bad Burger -- two patties with American and house-made pickles -- still made the new menu, along with a bunch of interesting baos. Get multiple orders so you can try ‘em all, starting with the BBQ pork or shrimp with avocado and a ginger soy reduction.
 

Best fusion: Takos Koreanos

1706 W Foster Ave
This cash-only BYOB seamlessly melds Korean and Mexican cuisine to churn out flavorful tacos stuffed with honey chili shrimp, Kalbi (Korean barbecued beef short ribs), or spicy pork topped with vinaigrette slaw and roasted sesame seeds. Pair with the kimchi fried rice or the stand-out Beef Barba "Korea" Fries, which're covered in super-tender, braised short ribs, grilled onions, cheddar, and sour cream.

Courtesy of Armando Mena

Best for dates: Jin Ju

5203 N Clark St
Bring your next right swipe to this modern candlelit space for a traditional Korean Dol Sut Bi Bim Bap rice dish and the popular (and potent!) Asian Pear and Jinjer Sojutini cocktail. Share the sweet and spicy fried chicken wings or Mandoo steamed dumplings, and savor every bite, no matter how many times you run to the bathroom to furiously Tinder someone better for later.
 

Best cocktails on the patio: The Brixton

5420 N Clark St
There’s nothing better than drinking on your patio… except drinking on a patio that you don’t have to power wash. The bartenders start slinging their speciality cocktails around 3pm, which is exactly when you should migrate your brunch group to the picnic tables. Try the High Thyme -- rye, thyme, fresno chili, and cucumber -- or the bourbon-based Kentucky Mule with lime, rosemary, and ginger beer.

Courtesy of Joe Tighe Photography

Best dessert: First Slice Pie Café

5357 N Ashland Ave
Every time you shove your face with a forkful of one of the many pie options (most notably, the double-crusted apple variety), you’re doing good, as this charming corner café is committed to serving 4,000 meals each month to Chicago’s hungry through outreach programs.

Courtesy of Nicole Bruce

Best martinis: Marty’s Martini Bar

1511 W Balmoral Ave
Satisfy a sweet tooth with a boozy Crème brûlée, Black Velvet, or Pineapple Upside-Down martini, or take it dirty -- the Dirty Bird will knock you off your feet. The Toulouse-Lautrec-styled setting can get crowded as the night goes on, but the patio opens up in the warmer months to give everyone a little breathing room.

Courtesy of Grant Kessler

Best beer: Hopleaf

5148 N Clark St
One of our 33 best beer bars in the country, this perpetually packed gastropub has an extensive selection of 350 bottles and 68 taps, including Jolly Pumpkin, Surly, and 3 Floyds (obviously), plus plenty of Belgian offerings. The food is pretty impressive for a beer bar -- the mussels cooked in Wittekerke white ale served alongside crispy frites and tangy aioli are an excellent option.
 

Best classic bar: Simon’s Tavern

5210 N Clark St
Look for the neon sign of a fish drinking a martini, then head into this Swedish stalwart that Al Capone was rumored to supply with bootlegger whiskey during the Prohibition. Now, the bar’s friendly atmosphere, Viking paraphernalia, vintage Schlitz advertisements, and seasonal glögg continue to make it a neighborhood staple. Get yourself a can of Schlitz and a well shot for $7, put something on the jukebox, and try to snag a couch in the back.

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Nicole Bruce is a contributing writer for Thrillist Chicago who loves a solid BYOB but also appreciates when the cocktails are made for her. Follow her on Twitter at @nicoleabruce.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Big Jones 5347 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

If you’re looking for real Southern comfort in Chicago, then Big Jones in Andersonville is for you. The menu is filled with authentic Lowcountry dishes adapted from antique cookbooks, like cornbread muffins taken from an 18th-century plantation recipe and traditional Cajun gumbo. The sustainable menu changes seasonally, but no matter what, expect the signature fried chicken every night. Big Jones’ weekend brunch is also a stunner, especially if you nab a table on the back patio.

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2. m.henry 5707 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60660 (Andersonville)

This breakfast and brunch spot in Andersonville specializes in vibrant plates of restorative goodness like huevos borrachos with chorizo, or Fannie’s Killer Fried Egg Sandwich -- two over-medium eggs, a plethora of applewood bacon, sliced plum tomatoes, Gorgonzola, and thyme layered on crisp, toasted sour boule bread.

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3. Anteprima 5316 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

This cozy, rustic Italian restaurant features a three-course $30 prix fixe menu from Sunday-Thursday. The move: start with the grilled octopus, then go for the lamb or the tagliatelle with pancetta ragu. If you want to be branded as a desserter, try the hazelnut chocolate torte.

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4. Taste of Lebanon 1509 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

The authenticity and affordability of this cozy Middle Eastern joint makes it an Anderson hot spot. Regulars will adamantly claim that the lentil soup here is the best Chicago has to offer, and rave about other popular offerings like the falafel pita and hummus combo plate. While a meal here won’t burn a hole in your pocket, make sure you hit up an ATM beforehand -- this place is cash-only.

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5. Sunshine Cafe 5449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

A homey, '60s-era Japanese cafe run by an older lady and her middle-aged son, Sunshine Cafe does simple, beautifully made Japanese comfort food like char-grilled mackerel or udon soup.

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6. Hoppin' Hots 1477 W Balmoral, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

Hoppin' Hots is the place to get deliciously decorated and crazily infused hot dogs.

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7. Little Bad Wolf 1541 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60660 (Andersonville)

The owners of Burger Philosophy totally reconceptualized their Andersonville storefront back in 2014. The result is Little Bad Wolf, a barstaurant with excellent draft beer and whiskey lists, plus next-level bar food. The original restaurant's beloved Bad Burger -- stacked with two patties, American cheese, and house-made pickles -- is still on the menu, as are tacos and steamed buns. There's more substantial comfort food too, like a half fried chicken with mashed potatoes and mac & cheese with honey-cured bacon.

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8. Takos Koreanos 1706 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

This cash-only BYOB seamlessly melds Korean and Mexican cuisine to churn out flavorful tacos stuffed with honey chili shrimp, Kalbi (Korean barbecued beef short ribs), or spicy pork topped with vinaigrette slaw and roasted sesame seeds. Pair with the kimchi fried rice or the stand-out Beef Barba "Korea" Fries, which're covered in super-tender, braised short ribs, grilled onions, cheddar, and sour cream.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
9. Jin Ju 5203 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

Bring your next right swipe to this modern candlelit space for a traditional Korean Dol Sut Bi Bim Bap rice dish and the popular (and potent!) Asian Pear and Jinjer Sojutini cocktail. Share the sweet and spicy fried chicken wings or Mandoo steamed dumplings, and savor every bite, no matter how many times you run to the bathroom to furiously Tinder someone better for later.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
10. The Brixton 5420 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

The Brixton is an Andersonville pubstaurant that’s great for craft beer, speciality cocktails, shareable plates, and next-level bar food. There are three different areas to choose from: the downstairs dining room caters to the food-first crowd, the upstairs lounge is more of a bar, and the backyard patio turns into a beer garden during the warm weather months. Aside from brunch and dinner, it has a late-night menu that’s available during the week as well as on weekends.

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11. First Slice Pie Café 5357 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

Every time you shove your face with a forkful of one of the many pie options (most notably, the double-crusted apple variety), you’re doing good, as this charming corner café is committed to serving 4,000 meals each month to Chicago’s hungry through outreach programs.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
12. Marty's Martini Bar 1511 W Balmoral Ave, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

Satisfy a sweet tooth with a boozy Crème brûlée, Black Velvet, or Pineapple Upside-Down martini, or take it dirty -- the Dirty Bird will knock you off your feet. The Toulouse-Lautrec-styled setting can get crowded as the night goes on, but the patio opens up in the warmer months to give everyone a little breathing room.

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13. Hopleaf 5148 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Uptown)

This Andersonville beer bar is known for its rotating selection of draft beers primarily from the Midwest and Belgium. More than just a bar that serves food, Hopleaf has an outstanding menu of Belgian-inspired food like mussels from Prince Edward Island, charcuterie, and steak frites. The place is casual and laid-back, just like a neighborhood bar should be.

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14. Simon's Tavern 5210 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640 (Andersonville)

This Swedish-centric joint in Andersonville is decked in Viking swag and serves up warm winter drinks like Glögg, a hot mulled wine.

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