Food & Drink

The 12 best Illinois restaurants NOT in Chicago

Published On 04/08/2014 Published On 04/08/2014
17th St Bar & Grill
Bien Trucha
Montarra Grill Barb
One World Cafe
Basil's Greek Dining Bursoni
Gene & Jude’s
White Fence Farm
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1. Abreo 515 E State St, Rockford, IL 61104

This Rockford resto serves up a variety of fare that is seasonal and chef-inspired, while also offering a long drinks list featuring craft 'tails, beer, and more than 90 wines.

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2. Montarra 1491 S Randall Rd, Algonquin, IL 60102

This classy but comfortable Algonquin establishment serves some of the finest steak and seafood around, not to mention their wine list that features 10 countries from around the globe.

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3. Zenwich 416 N York St, Elmhurst, IL 60126

This Asian-fusion sandwich shop crafts creative and tasty made-to-order 'wiches, and also features vegetarian options, soups, and salads.

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4. Basils Greek Dining 4000 Fox Valley Center Dr, Aurora, IL 60504

Located in Aurora, Basils is a contemporary Greek-Mediterranean resto featuring a full menu of options ranging from kabobs, to soups & salads, to seafood, and lamb dishes.

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5. Bien Trucha 410 W State St, Geneva, IL 60134

Show up to Bien Trucha a little early (no reservations) and enjoy one of their well-loved margaritas before sitting down to tacos like the Pescadillas (shredded swordfish, epazote, crispy tortilla, and avocado-habanero pico) or the Barriga de Puerco (slow roasted pork belly, adobo, salsa verde cruda, cucumber, queso fresco).

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6. Black Dog Smoke & Ale House 201 N Broadway Ave, Urbana, IL 61801

Black Dog, on the corner of Broadway and Water in Urbana, serves up delicious BBQ alongside craft beers and cocktails. It's not a very big spot, so they advise you to get there early to get a table, and even earlier if you want to try their burnt ends (you do).

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7. Gene & Jude's 2720 River Rd, River Grove, IL 60171

Gene & Jude's is the most iconic hot dog stand in Chicago. From its founding in 1946, it's enforced four simple rules that most other stands have since tried to adopt: no seats, no ketchup, no pretense, no nonsense. That's right: not a drop of ketchup can be found here. On top of your Vienna Beef dog you'll find relish, onions, hot peppers, and mustard, plus a pile of fresh-cut French Fries. It's a tried-and-true formula that's brought this classic family-owned spot success for decades.

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8. Burt’s Place 8541 Ferris Ave, Morton Grove, IL 60053

The pizza at Burt's is simply the freshest you'll get this far out of the city. It's a celeb favorite, adorned with unique trinkets, and's got an impressive accompanying beer menu.

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9. 17th Street Barbecue 32 N 17th St, Murphysboro, IL 62966

Champion pitmaster Mike "The Legend" Mills runs 17th St, so you can expect some of the best damn 'cue you've ever tasted no matter what you order (but definitely try their famous ribs). Not looking for BBQ? 17th Street got a slew of other menu items including fettuccine alfredo, burgers and a fish dinner.

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10. D'Arcy's Pint 661 W Stanford Ave, Springfield, IL 62704

D'Arcy's, your classic Irish tavern, serves up plenty of brews, and also a signature dish called "Horseshoes", which's made with either ham, corned beef, turkey, bacon, or Buffalo chicken, and served on Texas toast covered in a cheesy sauce and served with fries to boot.

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11. One World Cafe 1245 W Main St, Peoria, IL 61606

What WON'T you find at One World? With influences from Mexico, Italy, the Mediterranean, and more, One World uses fresh ingredients to serve up a wide range of menu items (Waffles! Burgers! Pizzas! ... Salads!?) sure to please everyone.

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12. White Fence Farm 1376 Joliet Rd, Romeoville, IL 60446

WFF specializes in fried chicken (which is pressure cooked then flash fried in low-cholesterol soy bean oil), but they also cook up damn fine steaks and seafood, too.