It’s incredibly hard to narrow down the choices for a day of dining in Lincoln Square. While this Chicago neighborhood was originally German, the diversity of restaurant choices now runs the gamut from Thai to Italian, Greek to Mexican. I seldom walk way hungry.
Pannenkoeken Cafe (4757 N Western Avenue) is an absurdly small breakfast spot that specializes in obscenely large Dutch pancakes, or pannenkoeken. These confections are about a foot long, thinner than traditional pancakes, and are topped with either savory or sweet ingredients. If you’re in a savory mood, I recommend one topped with grilled salami and Havarti cheese. If it’s sweet you’re after, then try the chocolate banana pannenkoeken. It’s topped with imported Belgian chocolate and thinly sliced bananas — the hazelnuts sprinkled on top send it over the edge. I believe they sell other breakfast items here for people scared of large breakfast food, but I’ve never seen anyone order them. Cash only.
Every neighborhood in the city seems to have that one, great sushi spot that everyone can agree upon. In Lincoln Square that place is Tank Sushi (4514 N Lincoln Ave). I think they’re overpriced for dinner, but weekday lunch and weekend afternoons are half-off, bringing it in line with similar restaurants. They handle the basics very well — edamame, salmon and spicy tuna are well prepared and fresh. I’m also a fan of specialty rolls like Latin Heat, Orange Crush and Alaskan Night — the names are intriguing, but they’re also well done. The small plate menu will satisfy most sushi-hating friends, but it’s worth checking out the shrimp shumai or sesame chicken even if you came for the maki.
LM Restaurant (4539 N Lincoln Ave) is a French Gastro Bistro across the street from the Old Town School of Folk Music. If you can swing a dinner and a show then your evening is made, but even if Chef Justin Perdue’s cooking is your only entertainment, you’re still guaranteed to enjoy yourself. I frequently chose the tasting menu here, which includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert for $45. Good a la carte choices include the beet salad or foie gras torchon, the diver scallops with leek jam or the tenderloin. Either way you go, LM is lovely restaurant to linger over a glass of wine and slowly enjoy a sumptuous meal.
If you want to try these Lincoln Square dining options, they’re all within walking distance of the Western Brown Line stop. If you notice other places along the way, don’t worry! I’ll return for another day of dining in another great Chicago neighborhood.