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Fuel

Andrew / March 23, 2006 11:23 PM

Question courtesy of Roseann -- thanks!


I may start a fight here, but Moody's Pub. Everybody raves about the burgers, but they really aren't that great. What everyone's really raving about is the incredible patio and the cheap pitchers of beer.

Freddie / March 24, 2006 1:34 AM

Signature Room -- overrun by tourists

Carlotta / March 24, 2006 1:45 AM

Don't know if it qualifies as a restaurant per se, but Soupbox, on Broadway, is way overrated. It's just foodservice "premium" soups poured out of containers & heated.

$4.50 for a 12oz cup of lobster bisque that hasn't a single fleck of lobster in it? Go to Whole Foods Lakeview & get the real thing (sometimes with BIG chunks) for 50 cents less!

sousboy / March 24, 2006 6:39 AM

GIBSONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cal / March 24, 2006 7:04 AM

I love Moody's Pub - that beer garden is great. I had no idea that people considered their menu to be anything but limited and gross. I go for the beers, that great patio, and the awful service that turns into the running joke all night. :-)

Poopypants / March 24, 2006 7:37 AM

Pizzeria Uno, and Due for that matter. The crust is burnt. Burnt! But I guess it's not really about the pizza there anyway.

slb / March 24, 2006 8:14 AM

wow - i may be posting a lot of times on this one.

the first one that comes to mind is Pizza DOC on Lawrence. Everybody said it was great, and I went, and it was *so gross.* like state fair pizza. but worse, because it was like 12 bucks. cardboardy crust, bland sauce, gummy cheese. eeeewww.

bam / March 24, 2006 8:35 AM

Twin Anchors -- where's the smoke??? Boiled and baked is not the way to offer up so-called BBQ.

dave / March 24, 2006 8:35 AM

I actually enjoy touristy kinds of places and don't find UNO objectionable at all and go there when I visit Chicago. I love it! And, never had a burnt crust.

heather / March 24, 2006 8:44 AM

lots of people RAVE about Victory's Banner. I don't get it. I just....don't. it's boring breakfast food with bad coffee and even worse chai. Seriously.

Michael / March 24, 2006 8:47 AM

Culinary confessions of a local hero:

I also find Twin Anchors underwhelming.

Could never quite figure out the Cult of Manny's.

Fireplace Inn. Don't know why it's considered to be such a hallowed institution.

I know, I know-- I should shut up and move to Gary.

printdude / March 24, 2006 8:48 AM

Frankly, I have to think that hot doug's is overrated, because they never deliver to my house when I am hungry for an encased meat, slathered in mustard.

I have yet to actually eat there, but for all the talk, it is almost guar-un-teed to be a let down.

If only they had that delivery service, and that whole ESP tie-in to my brainwaves.

slb / March 24, 2006 9:03 AM

michael - fireplace inn sucks. i agree. i didn't get the hype on that one at all.

also: printdude- hot dougs is not overrated. if you go make sure you try the specials. they are amazing. i should shut up now so i don't make the lines even longer...

yuck / March 24, 2006 9:07 AM

Heartland Cafe in Roger's Park. Open for 30 years and they still can't getthe seasoning right! Their menu looks like it was put together by one of those health crazed grannies who doesn't know how to cook. Sorry Heartland!

mo / March 24, 2006 9:15 AM

printdude, I understand your point, but no, hot doug's is absolutely NOT overrated. The specialties, like slb says, are amazing. the duckfat fries that they only serve on 1 or 2 days a week are overrated, though. they taste just like regular fries. but the rest is great.

I'll let you know which restaurant I think is overrated as soon as I'm not starving. Everything sounds good to me right now...

skinny foodie / March 24, 2006 9:20 AM

Wishbone
Toast
Ann Sathers
Penny's
Uno/Due
Billy Goat
Fogo
Lietizia
Coco Pazza
Adobo Grill
Any Francesca's
Settimana

I am sure there are more those just come to mind immediately. Great food can be found it is just surprisingly difficult for a major city.

Greg / March 24, 2006 9:23 AM

Lulu's in Evanston.

Ann Sather.

The entire Taste of Chicago event.

vit / March 24, 2006 9:24 AM

Avec -- ate there once and while the appetizer and wine was excellent (although they didn't have the bottle I wanted and so we had to get another, more expensive, bottle) the fish we had was bland and the resturant itself was stark, I had to scream at my dinnermate to hear her, and it was overrun with cell phone yapping yuppies.... ugh.

SushiSambaRio is a joke.

I have to take issue with Adobo Grill though, their margarita's are great ...oh Settimana closed (I liked it).

Forno (that new place at Milwaukee and Damen) ... they served me soggy pizza.

jgs / March 24, 2006 9:31 AM

I don't think billy goat deserves to be rated on its food. one goes there to soak up the atmosphere like so much yolk from a fried egg sandwich.

let's see here, what actually blows:
Moonshine.
The breakfast club
panang

but I don't see how these can be overrated as i've never seen them rated.

vit / March 24, 2006 9:32 AM

jgs - I agree about Moonshine. Nothing would make me happier than that place going out of business (except for maybe a presidential resignation).

Guiseppe / March 24, 2006 9:37 AM

I second Pizza D.O.C. It sucks. I've never had a decent meal there and it's totally overpriced for what you get. And people absolutely rave about the place. Try the new Spacca Napoli for authentic neopolitan pizza. And for good Americanized pizza, try Pizza Bubamara. Both aren't cheap, but unlike D.O.C., they're actually good.

Thad / March 24, 2006 9:40 AM

Moody's--Awful service, even for a pub, and I can't stand the thick, greasy air inside in the winter, though the patio experience is alright.

Hearty Boys--went downhill a bit since the cable fame thing, lost some charm I think after they remodeled. Paid big bucks for T-day meal (take out), and was disappointed.

Ann Sather--OK, they have meatballs and buns. Big whoop.

Any Billy Goat that's not the original seems pretty silly.

Weiner Circle: Why don't they ever cuss at me? Am I too nice?

Brauhaus: Fun place, decent service, but food is mediocre. Much better German places in the general area.

(Underrated: Golden Nugget for breakfast--Never had any lines, food good enough and cheap; better than waiting a half-hour for an overpriced brunch somewhere else.)

Chuck / March 24, 2006 9:50 AM

Toast? What's with all those Chads and Trixies waiting around for those uninspired offerings?

paul / March 24, 2006 9:59 AM

This is a tough one. I can't think of any place that doesn't deserve its 'rating' besides the obvious tourist places like Portillo's about which, locals already know better. You can't get away with bad food in this town without everyone knowing about it.

That said:

Trotter's and Frontera are slightly below their hype. I think Giordiano's, Leona's and Candlelite's pizzas suck, but that's a personal preference. Personally I'd rather wait through the cheesy elevator movie to see the view at the Sears Tower than spend any time in the uncomfortable Signature room. Heartland's food and service is usually nasty, but again, maybe that's just personal.

Also it seems that every place that every place that has 'best burger in the city' on their menu must be talking about another city.

Anne / March 24, 2006 9:59 AM

Topolobampo and Frontera Grill. Just horrible for the price you pay. I can get far far better Mexican food on Western at any number of taquerias for mere pennies compared to what they're overcharging for what is really quite bland and uninspired food. Also, Rick Bayless is annoying b/c he thinks he's like a personal ambassador to Mexico but can't do half of what they've got going up and down Western Ave.

amyc / March 24, 2006 10:01 AM

I would agree with Ann Sather -- aside from the cinnamon rolls, the food is meh.

hench / March 24, 2006 10:02 AM

strong third on pizza d.o.c. -- i would have been laughing had i not been out 40 bucks.

tre kronor -- it's ok but not a big destination.

weiner circle -- i don't think it's overrated, i just think it's a bummer. seems like there's a real creepy undercurrent underneath all of the supposedly fun insults and cussing.

mas - good but not fantastic.

Roni / March 24, 2006 10:17 AM

Ditto on Giordiano's. Perhaps I ate too much of it as an undergrad. And Connie's. Again, it was the free food when I worked at the United Center. ACK!

I use to love Ann Sathers for the swedish pancakes. Then I realized that IHOP does them just a good.

WORD to the Golden Nugget! I miss not living 2 blocks away.

matty / March 24, 2006 10:19 AM

Finally a topic worth reading!

Next time GB post's "What's your favorite color" I am going to organize a boycott.

;)

jbs / March 24, 2006 10:23 AM

you haven't had bad food, skinny foodie, until you've been to Boston... i'll take bad chicago food anyday (though agreeing with your choices, as well as Moody's) ... at least there IS a choice!

matty / March 24, 2006 10:28 AM

On that note:

Cafe Iberico - Has turned into the Joe's Crab Shack of Tapas restaurants (Babareeba is much better)

Smith and Walenski and/or most steak chains -I find Anne Sather, S&W and Gibson's (not always though) to be seriously sub-par. They remind me of Bennigans. Go to Gene & Georgetti's, Kinzie Chop House or Rosebud's for some more TLC put into your steak.

ken / March 24, 2006 10:30 AM

Penny's Noodles is absolutely overrated and, frankly, awful... the pizza hut of Thai cuisine.

jp / March 24, 2006 10:32 AM

Good topic.

The Bongo Room (why wait an hour in a stroller parking lot for cream-filled pancakes and mediocre omelettes)
Frontera Grill (sorry, cucumbers are not the same as chips and salsa)
Lula Cafe (don't even get me started)
Wishbone (again, why wait an hour for cold eggs and bleah-tasting everything. No thanks)
Moody's (terrible service, OK burgers)
Japonais (great drinks and downstairs bar, but WAY overpriced for just-OK sushi)

I'm sure there are others.

Andrew / March 24, 2006 10:33 AM

Matty, sorry our questions suck. Obviously, you've paid too much for your subscription.

You're always welcome to send us Fuel question suggestions: inbox@gapersblock.com.

National J. / March 24, 2006 10:35 AM

Had a HORRIBLE experience at Ixapuzalco on Western which touts that it is run by an ex-chef of one of Rick Bayless's places.

Very mediocre and super over-priced food, waited 1.5 hours for meal to come, and then at the end of our meal, we were informed that their CC machine was broken, so we had to pay our $100+ bill with cash... (what?!?) As an aside, we watched them NOT inform several other customers who were seated and waited on about the CC machine after they had given us the bad news. I have a feeling there were several other people leaving their dates and running up and down the street in search of a cash machine that night.

Sadly, we could've walked a couple blocks further to Arturo's or Lazo's and been way more satisfied.

terry / March 24, 2006 10:57 AM

Lula? Really? Haven't been there in a superlong time. Has it gone downhill?
It was so lovely....

I'd have to say:
Pizza D.O.C
Coobah
Twisted Spoke
Jalapeno Sabroso
Hemas

kelly / March 24, 2006 11:07 AM

Yes, I would like to "get you started" on Lula. Why don't you like it?

My votes:
Heaven on Seven
Feast
Flo
Hilary's

miss ellen / March 24, 2006 11:09 AM

well, this could merit crucifixion, but i have been underwhelmed the few times i've gone to mirai. i've found very tasty, better-priced sushi with much less attitude at various spots around town.

i did see one mention of japonais on the list, and b/c of my experiences at mirai, i probably won't be going there any time soon.

for much less 'tude, try hachi's kitchen, the newish spot in logan square run by the owners of sai cafe.

American Dude / March 24, 2006 11:09 AM

I've been to lula 3 times and each time it was severly disapointing. BLAND, BLAND, BLAND. Not to mention the cheesy chic decor does nothing but highlight its lack of depth on all accounts.

That said HB is a good time. And Kevin.

amyc / March 24, 2006 11:10 AM

Oh, I forgot Leona's. I mean, clever marketing campaign and all, but the food is mediocre. And a ginormous portion of crap is still crap.

And I'd have to disagree on Babareeba over Iberico -- the one time I went to Babareeba, the food was completely boring and the grilled shrimp were tough as boots. Iberico's good. Emilio's is better than both of them.

megan / March 24, 2006 11:12 AM

I would like to put on a nice positive spin and say a few places that are really good, that maybe you do not hear so much about:

1 Jury's near Lincoln and Montrose for good bar food and nice people.

2 El Tianjon on Roscoe for Guatemalen

3 Tasting Room at the Randolph Wine Cellar for simple, yummy stuff, good wine, and a nice view.

4 D'Agostinos Pizza-River West and Lakeview-so good, teh sauce is so tasty.

5 La Luce Italian under the green line on Lake street
I could say so many more, but I don't want to take up too much space. Try one of these spots, though, and you won't be dissappointed!(at least I hope you won't!)

waleeta / March 24, 2006 11:38 AM

Heaven on 7
Ed Debevics (wtf?)
Giordano's pizza
El Cid (gross)
Leona's
Bucca di Beppo
Ann Sathers

Andrew / March 24, 2006 11:40 AM

Megan, we'll do an "underrated" Fuel next week.

I second the nominations... / March 24, 2006 11:59 AM

...of Uno, Due, Ed Debevic's, and Bucca di Beppo. Somehow the conventional wisdom in the exurbs got to be that these are good and/or fun restaurants, and no amount of time seems able to shake that conviction. Ed Debevic's on a weekend night is a vision of Hell, for sure.

sparky / March 24, 2006 12:07 PM

i second mirai,
and raise you a moto.

Roni / March 24, 2006 12:08 PM

Gotta give some love to Leona's. It's hard finding a good place to eat with a kid and Leona's is the best. Great service, good food, good price, and great delivery folks.

slb / March 24, 2006 12:16 PM

oh yes, i agree with bucca di beppo. i think we went because it smelled good outside of the place and we didn't know anything about it. very bland.

also ranalli's. this one is my fault- i hyped it myself because i remember the one on lincoln just north of armitage being good when i was a kid. but i went back a couple of times after hyping it to my S.O. and it was pretty gross.

i think nearly every pizza place in the world sucks, though. i am hard to please, because i love good pizza so very much!

i am surprised to hear people dislike lula so much. i liked it the couple of times i went. i just don't like waiting in line for brunch...

vit / March 24, 2006 12:19 PM

I agree on Ed Debevics. Two years ago I was at a conference that was held locally (which sucked for me, I like to travel) and got stuck taking tourists to dinner at this dump (that I had not visited since I was a child). I could not believe how bad the food was.

d4ve / March 24, 2006 12:28 PM

victory's banner
heartland
and leona's used to be decent but now are sucking pretty hard.

Eamon / March 24, 2006 12:37 PM

You go to hell, Andrew: Moody's has a fantastic burger.

Fogo de Chao is hands-down the most overrated place in the city. Expensive, rushed, and not even particularly good cuts of meat. Totally disappointing.

Also, I have friends who swear by Leona's, which is sheer madness.

Kevin / March 24, 2006 12:41 PM

Ann Sather.. how can they still be open when they only have good sticky buns?

matty / March 24, 2006 12:45 PM

Also, dare I say it? I think Giordano's has changed their recipie in the past 3 or four years. Or maybe it's just me that's changed. Not as good as i remember it.

I know, I am going to Chicago hell.


Also, as other have pointed out, I have yet to go to a sushi place in Chicago that matches atmosphere with sushi quality. The best place I have been to in Chicago is Itto's on Halsted (not Edo's on clark)which is pretty regular in its presentation and atmosphere but the fish is excellent.

Then again Sushi Wabi is pretty great. But yeah, F Mirai, Blue Fin, Moto and Tsunami.

kevin / March 24, 2006 12:49 PM

The Heartland...I don't know why I ever go back...It's like 6 months goes by and I forgive the bland food and bad service...My girlfriend asked what vegetables were on the soba noodles and was given a long list (broccoli, peppers, carrots, etc.). when It arrived there were maybe 6 veggies total...one piece of broccoli, a few pieces of pepper and 1 or 2 carrot slices!?...wtf? and it tasted like noodles and peanut butter...been burned there too many times.

matty / March 24, 2006 12:49 PM

re giordano's: I am talking about the deep dish.

jgs / March 24, 2006 12:50 PM

A good sticky bun can hold an empire together... Notice that the danes aren't so global a presence anymore, inadequate baked good adhesiveness that. besides there's entire places devoted to cupcakes. seriously cupcakes. only a five year old would think it's a viable business model.

C-Note / March 24, 2006 12:54 PM

I have never had a problem with the burgers OR the service at Moody's. I don't even know why y'all even mentioned Moody's. Maybe they just ignore y'all 'cause y'all's some haters.

matty / March 24, 2006 1:00 PM

How can Moody's be overated is the more pertinent question. I mean, what were you expecting?

Hal / March 24, 2006 1:04 PM

Have to agree on Frontera. A Houston paper claimed it was the best Mexican restaurant in the country, so I had it on the to-do list for two years (timing it for a visit from the folks so that they would pay). After all the build-up, I was amazed at how pedestrian it really was. The whole menu seemed to be small "spins" on regular Mexican menu items (like, enchiladas...with DUCK!) and the quality was no better than many joints I've been to in Texas.

leono / March 24, 2006 1:06 PM

A friend of mine used to work at Leona's and he said most of the food is prepared at a central location then just heated up in a microwave when you place the order.

mark / March 24, 2006 1:06 PM

giordano's blows, pizza not so good, phlegm like calamari...what was i thinking
orange long wait, bad service...never again
bruna very disappointing watery carbonara, gristle veal parm...bummer
ann sather just okay


Kelly / March 24, 2006 1:07 PM

Victory's Garden, the Heartland, Moody's crapburgers; oh, you are all speaking to my heart today. Well done.

I would also like to add Ghareeb Nawaz in West Rogers Park. While not in the same league as the above restaurants in terms of name recognition, it has a certain following among the LTH Forums posters. Anyway, I got extravagantly poisoned by their biryani, and my posting at said forums about that experience was summarily deleted. Hm.

fluffy / March 24, 2006 1:08 PM

park grill - overpriced crap
ann sather's- everything is so ...doughy

wishbone- got sick- i think they slipped some meat in my veggie burrito.
Leona's - I always wonder if I'm eating bologna

Moonshine- Mooncrap
Rick Bayless- His food doesn't do anything for me, and I'm a Mexico City girl- born and bred.

matty / March 24, 2006 1:10 PM

Ghareeb Nawaz is not safe. I mean, not unless you have iron guts.

I think people eat there just cause it is so "different." Go up Devon and get some Indian food instead.

Emerson Dameron / March 24, 2006 1:11 PM

Down here on the extreme low end, I have no idea how Flash Taco and Clarke's can charge what they charge for the food they serve. Oh, right. It's because they subsist off the runoff from overrated bars.

christy / March 24, 2006 1:13 PM

Pizza & Oven Grinder on Clark -- soggy mess

Bucca di Beppo - overcooked and flavorless

matty / March 24, 2006 1:30 PM

I ommited the word "buffet" from my previous post. Indian buffet.

anne / March 24, 2006 1:45 PM

ditto on "Orange". Just because you can juice anything, doesn't make it good (or worth the cost).

eep / March 24, 2006 1:47 PM

I'll second Wishbone. I've been there 3 times. The first was great, the second left me literally doubled over in pain. A few months later I decided to give them a second (technically third) chance and had the same results. I'll never eat there again.

Ann Sather's is totally overrated save for the cinnamon rolls. Mmmmmm. But otherwise, IHOP is just as good, which really isn't saying much.

annie / March 24, 2006 1:48 PM

3 words...Green Dolphin Street.

JasonB / March 24, 2006 1:50 PM

"Giordanos", hands down.

The fact that their cheese -- errr, I mean "pizza" -- was once voted "The Best in America" is absolutely mind boggling to me. A slap to the face of some of the finer establishments in this city.

Peter / March 24, 2006 1:59 PM

I must take exception with the mention of Wishbone; excellent cornbread, one of the best steaks I can buy for $14 dollars, and has satisfied numerous in-law family members from the southwest.

I can't personally dispute the Frontera/Topolobampo mentions, since I never ate there (wife did), but I will say one thing. For those who think they can do better looking for a place on Western Ave, I think you're missing the point...this ain't a taqueria.

For what is bad:

Ed Debevic's, which is an utter tourist trap.

Giordiano's, which to me just doesn't do the deep dish pizza justice. You don't make DD pizza with tomato paste, you make it with real tomatos pureed. (Or whatever the proper chopping/blender term is. Examples of good pizza: Lou Malnati's, Gulliver's.)

Cambridge House: I know John Kass liked to use you to show everyone he Really Understood the Working Class Guy, but...I won't miss you. There's far better diner-class food.

"U Dawg U": just for renaming the venerable Fluky's. Fuckers.

PS: Bucca Di Beppo is a national chain, so I think they should be disqualified.

kate / March 24, 2006 2:05 PM

Frontera. Everything tasted like poo.
Mezcal margarita was good... and the hot sauce on the table was far better than any of the salsas served.

Poopypants / March 24, 2006 2:14 PM

Never eaten at Wishbone, but there's an explanation for the doubling-over-in-pain thing. I used to work with their head chef at another place and he is one of the most disgusting individuals on the face of the earth. If you ever met him, you would never eat at Wishbone. I don't.

m / March 24, 2006 2:43 PM

M. Henry is totally overrated, the service is lousy and the food subpar.


Just kidding.

steven / March 24, 2006 3:04 PM

Another vote for Twisted Spoke. First time I had their burgers, it was heaven. I've given them several chances since, each time has been 'eh'.

kelly / March 24, 2006 3:07 PM

I used to work at Leona's and EVERYTHING there is frozen and yes, sometimes warmed up in the microwave. The most disgusting of the frozen items you ask...the heard boiled eggs for the salads...I donít eat there anymore...YUCKY!

steven / March 24, 2006 3:09 PM

Holy crap, how could I leave Leona's off this list? The definition of overrated. Last (very last) time we were there, my wife ordered a choco martini. The clueless waiter brought it over, still in the shaker, placed it on the table, and walked away. Nothing like having to serve yourself!

Johnny Doggshytt / March 24, 2006 3:19 PM

LULA CAFE - overpriced overly-ornate fare that fails to justify the stee[ prices yet packs in deluded hipsters hungry for scenester cred.

ANN SATHER - I have an idea; let's make a political statement by eating somewhere gay-owned! Bad food, worse ambience (paper placemats?) yet sadly, always crowded.

brian / March 24, 2006 3:19 PM


How can you possibly expect stellar cuisine at Buca or Ed Debevic's? They sell shtick, not food.

I think the most overrated place near Chicago is Bob Chinn's. It's like Long John Silver's at 3x the price.

As for the city, I'd say Chinatown is overrated. Most of the meals I've had there have been poor.

Sam / March 24, 2006 3:19 PM

Orange on Clark, totally over rated, it's decent, it's breakfast, but the "frushi"???It just seems to try so hard to be creative and trendy, when it should concentrate a bit more on being great.

henchmusic / March 24, 2006 3:24 PM

moto is absolutely not overrated.

pretty much everything else on here i agree with... though i am still a big fan of lula, wishbone, orange, and the spoke...

Baldeesh / March 24, 2006 3:30 PM

I'm so glad there are other people on this planet who do not feel that Giordiano's is the shit.

'Cause it's not the shit. In fact, I've had much, much better pizza.

Robin / March 24, 2006 3:31 PM

Hilary's Urban Eatery - I only went there once, but I'll never go again.
Not only did the food taste like it had been sitting in a dank corner for a week, then hastily warmed up and served, the service was horrendous and the music was so loud my friend and I couldn't have a conversation.

Johnny Doggshytt / March 24, 2006 3:32 PM

Does somebody care to speak out in justification of Lula Cafe, please?

I cannot for the life of me understand why anybody but misguided scenesters craving vegan bragging-rights among their dumpster-diving Bucktown-refugee friends goes there. "I wonder how cool they'll think I look when the word 'Lula' is spoken and I suddenly light up with recognition and approval. I belong!"

Not that I have an opinion, but am curious as to its proponents' views . . .

Dumpst*rDyeNr / March 24, 2006 3:49 PM

"I've been to lula 3 times and each time it was severly disapointing. BLAND, BLAND, BLAND."

Couldn't agree more...plus it's not even that vegan?? I thought this was their big specialty, but maybe I was confused? Or is it just that they specialize in organic and locally grown items?

Johnny Doggshytt / March 24, 2006 3:56 PM

. . . their specialty is organic pretense, locally-grown hyperactive self-awareness, free-trade cliche lifestyle affirmation, free-range Michael Stipe impersonation, vegan renewable alternative everything, and soy-based identity.

joshua / March 24, 2006 3:57 PM

gene & georgetti is the worst.
i took my mom out to a nice, iconic chicago steakhouse and our steaks were dry, burnt to a crisp and without flavor. service was fine, ambiance was good, but our food was terrible.

i must disagree with bongo room being overrated. it's some of the best breakfast i've ever had. you can't beat creative delicious pancakes that change seasonally. there's one in south loop if you don't want to wade through the strollers (because we're so fucking superior).

also, try the orange on harrison: it's bigger, less-crowded and better all around.

chalupa / March 24, 2006 4:01 PM

I can't complain about the food at Lula's much- it's been kinda hit or miss for me...I like the fact that the menu changes and that they're somewhat experimental with the specials. But even if I was crazy about the place, the hipsters ruin it a little for me. I personally could care less about the 'scene' or whatever, but damn, the clientelle there do seem so desperate to be hip, it's almost distracting.

I'd rather eat a veggieburger at Dunlay's anytime! They're made fresh, although they kinda fall apart halfway thorugh eating one, I love that they have little pieces of nuts and all that good stuff in there. And no, I'm not raving about Dunlay's - just their veggie burgers.

Nuevo Leon in Pilsen is OVER RATED. Their avocado tacos were disgusting. It was like they mixed avocadoes and mayo in a blender and slathered it on a corn tortilla.

brian / March 24, 2006 4:14 PM

Lula's is great. I'll stand by it.

It's not vegan, or even vegetarian. It tries to serve food by season and use locally grown ingredients. They have great coffee, and I've had a number of great meals there.

If the "hipsters" bother you, Doggshytt, I'd suggest that's a problem with you, not them. Do they bite? Hipster-hatin' is a sign of your own insecurities.

Sky / March 24, 2006 4:17 PM

I agree with HUE, the food was always drenched in sauce...my steak was rubber. Just stankiness.

Ann Sather's is bland and horrible.

Twin Anchors ribs are the best! And I love Feast!

For those complaining about not having a great sushi food/ambiance combo try Coast. Always a great experience.

Ann Van / March 24, 2006 4:19 PM

Geja's Cafe.

I like fondue, okay? I've had it all over, we finally made it over to Geja's last week because I received a gift certificate for xmas. Too crowded (5 p.m. on a Saturday), tables way too close together, no choice of cheeses or chocolates, only cheap vegetables (pepper instead of cauliflower, etc.) I can just go over to Fondue Stube and get in right away (and make a reservation if I want to, which you can't do at Geja's) my choice of oil or broth, swiss or cheddar, chocolate dark or light, with peanut butter, or caramel, free and easy parking, and a slightly better price.

Yet people rave about Geja's. I can only believe it's because they've never had it anywhere else.

paul / March 24, 2006 4:26 PM

I've only been to Lula Cafe once, and had an excellent meal. I had a good enough time that I managed not to notice all the scensters or hipsters (or whatever you young folks call the young folks now) until we we're leaving.

If I had been forced to eat at the bar among the Elvis sunglasses and resale shop gogo-boot-wearing gritterati, or forced to eat the meager vegan plates, rather than the locally-raised suckling pig-stuffed quail special, I might have had a different opinion.

I don't mind paying extra once in awhile for local, sustainable, family-farm raised food, but I'm not the one waiting in line just because I want to be cool and be seen eating a house salad.

fluffy / March 24, 2006 4:27 PM

I think HUE closed

miss ellen / March 24, 2006 4:28 PM

oh man, sky, i used to love coast, but lately (maybe since the expansion?) it is just been a massive expansion of 'tude as well.

i picked up an order in jan/fed, and sweetly commented about the expansion (kinda like, "oh wow, great job, how long has it been since you expanded", and the manager woman replied with such attitude, like how could i NOT have known about it since it had been a few months).

then, i tried to call for delivery on valentine's day, fully aware of the big night, and that snafu also came with such attitude, i seriously wonder if i'll go back.

now that i'm living in logan square, and hachi's kitchen is open, i'd rather spend my dollars in a much more relaxed environment. seems like coast burst open & now it's way too discovered.

but the caramelized sweet potato side at coast is probably the best $3 a girl can spend -- such a little hidden treat on that menu!

miss ellen / March 24, 2006 4:31 PM

HUE did close, but will be reopening with a new concept further west on division....

Kevin / March 24, 2006 4:40 PM

Victory Banner - When I eat breakfast I want my stomach to feel taut and bloated. Not empty and unsatisfied. Last time I ate at Victory Banner, I went to Burger King afterwards.

There some thai places on Western that I went to a couple times. No thanks. I can boil my own lawn and eat it.

On the flip side, I love Hillary's UE and The Bite (next to the Empty Bottle).

Johnny Doggshytt / March 24, 2006 4:45 PM

Brian: very noble of you to stand by your place, but I found your argument less than compelling.

That said, how could I forget Coast. The thin varnish of sushi sophistication combined with the creamy, starchy palate sensibilities of midwestern big-ten alums only a few years removed from having macaroni and cheese and mealy dorm food mashed potatoes account for over half their diet. Throw in the words "BYO" and you've suddenly got every vapid trixie's inner "sex and the city" monlogue in full swing as they grip sickly warm glasses of Chardonnay by the bowl, heads tossed back in whorish cackling, downing mayonnaise-cream-cheese-fried-tempura-rolls and parroting the word "edamame" as many times as they can to each other.

angela / March 24, 2006 4:53 PM

I think that coobah should not deserve to be open, but Uncommon Ground is heavenly. also sushi para II on clark for cheap, fresh sushi.
why are the foodFuels always the most interesting?

Shasta MacNasty / March 24, 2006 4:53 PM

My list of mediocre joints to eat:

Pretty much pick any place in downtown evanston.

1. Pete Millers: I'll just make the trip to Nine for the Hanger Steak or Capital Grille for the Delmonico Steak.

2. Bar Louie: PLEASE!

3. Lulu's

4. Nevins: Great place for a drink. Not so much for the food.

5. The Keg: Dear god...don't even bother.

Cinnamon / March 24, 2006 5:03 PM

Okay the food at Moody's isnt' great, and the service sucks (we get Sister Moody everytime, I swear she's a nun that got kicked out of her order) but the onion rings make me happy, their pitchers are cheap, their mixed drinks are kinda cool, and you're sitting outside! under trees! I miss it right now.

I don't even like Ann Sather's cinnamon rolls very much.

Frontera was way overpriced and boring. I had better "experimental" Mexican food at a restaraunt in Oak Park. Oh my god! and no I'm not telling you the name of it cause it's hard enough to get in as it is.

Mirai? Over-priced, not imaginable, and way too pretentious. At least that's the way it was three years ago. Haven't gone back since.

Strega Nona really sucks! Chef Boyardee tastes better. Our server told us we must be "classy" for ordering a bottle of wine with our boring dinner.

And if I told you Hopleaf sucked, would you all stop going there? Please.

o'brien / March 24, 2006 5:04 PM

Raw Bar in Wrigleyville is revolting. Chill out about Lula. Their food is fresh and great. Coast is also excellent sushi. Moonshine does suck though. Penny's can hardly be considered Thai food.

bensch / March 24, 2006 6:42 PM

Boy, Johnny D, you're a hell of a restaurant critic. But I think you're on the wrong thread. The question was about overrated restaurants, not about which restaurants disgust you due to the type of patronage they attract. Are you familiar with the menu at Lula? It's far from overpriced. In fact, it's quite varied. I can go there for brunch and throw down $6 for a breakfast burrito. I can stop in for dinner and get half a roast chicken, potatoes, and spinach for $12. And if I want to spend $70 on a fancy organic meal for me and my girlfriend I can do that too. That said, I'll admit that it is slightly overrated. On the other hand, it is probably one of the best restaurants in the city.

a / March 24, 2006 7:52 PM

Tilly's

Caitlin / March 24, 2006 8:22 PM

Flo has been going downhill recently. Service was terrible and the fruit smoothie sucked.

Also, Flying Saucer on California Ave. For the prices they charge, they should put fucking ice in your water. Everything I've had there has been uninteresting.

Now I feel like a whiner.

Moon / March 24, 2006 8:46 PM

I haven't had one since the Bears won the Super Bowl, but the flat sausage pizza at Edwardo's was the worst pizza I ever had and that includes the 99 cent frozen Totino's.

/cardboard

breakfast lover / March 24, 2006 9:56 PM

Sorry, but the three times I've been to Lula, it was fantastic. My wife and I usually share three items, with at least one coming from the every day menu. We've never had anything that wasn't excellent. Overpriced? How so? The every day menu is far LESS expensive than many lesser restaurants and the daily specials are par for a good mid-priced restaurant. Do you just eat at Denny's? MOST restaurants in this city in the low to mid priced range charge similarly.

And Victory's Banner and Tre Kronor are both excellent in my experience. Fresh, hot and flavorful all around. Tre Kronor also has excellent service, althouth VB is more of a mixed bag in that department (We almost stopped going there after the owner greeted our Indian friends with his approximation of a Hindi accent. We were horrified at his gross stereotyping. Fortunately, he apologized when we e-mailed him about the incident.) VB's omelettes and french toast are either the best or second best I've had in Chicago. Their coffee is EXCELLENT! Are you kidding me? It's got great body and flavor. Are you used to that thin, bitter Starbucks crap?

Anyway, I have to say that Twisted Spoke is overrated, as is Orange. Orange would be fine if they could actually serve something hot for once and knew how to properly make a pancake. Theirs have the consistency of dry bundt cake. Likewise, Tweet is incredibly overrated, at least for breakfast/brunch. It's been a hit or miss affair for me, but my wife has never gotten anything she liked there. The atmosphere is nice and the service is generally good, but the uninspired food makes the amount of goodwill it receives undeserved in my opinion.

If anyone claims burgers at ANY Billy Goat location are better than your average McDonald's (They are much worse in my opinion), they have either watched the Blues Brothers too many times or they don't have a tongue. BG burgers are THE WORST I have ever had the displeasure of eating. Thin, greasy, yet dry meat overwhelmed by a bun that even a sewer rat would have a hard time chewing through. Awful.

Another place that some people swear by that I can't fathom is Carson's. Of course it's not trying to be Trotter's, but they don't even come close to succeeding at being the sort of homey rib joint they aspire to be.

I didn't know a large enough number of people rated Leona's or Giordano's highly enough to qualify as 'overrated' to others. They're just basic, barely competent local chains, as you will find in any city. Does anyone claim they are extraordinary in any way? (That said, I think Leona's used to be a bit above average. They have slipped in the last few years though.)

As far as the upper echelon restaurants, I didn't get much out of my dinner at Tru considering the hype and adulation it's received from the local press. It's not like it was a disaster, maybe they were having an off night, but for the money we paid, I was greatly underwhelmed.

ack / March 24, 2006 10:27 PM

clark's sucks major balls

Lynn / March 24, 2006 10:47 PM

Lula? Overrated? By whom? It may not be your cup o' joe but it is worth a stop. The coffee sucks...which leads me to:

Intelligensia. Way overrated. Sure its a cafe, not a restaurant, and really the focus is coffee rather than food, but it is inconsistent and bad. Just cuz its roasted locally, folks, don't make it good.

And while I'm at it...Wishbone sucks. Even brunch is bad. And that's hard to do.

Oh_Hello / March 25, 2006 12:08 AM

Let's not forget the dearly departed most overrated restaurant in Chicago: the Berghoff. Awful, awful stuff.

Nods of Agreement to other less than stellar restaurants: Melrose Diner, HUE, Francesca's Forno, Flying Saucer, Buca di Beppo.

More about Lula. It used to be a great place--I've been going there for five years, but they got some new management in the last year or two and the place has gone downhill--I keep seeing the same specials, the service is shaky and often snooty, and frankly, the food seems more interesting on the menu than it does on the plate.

Also in Logan Square, Buona Terra. Very boring, substandard Italian food. Dunlay's on the square, just up the street, actually serves more compelling food, if you can believe it.

Other disappointing places: Feed, Sweet Maple Cafe (on a good source), PJ Clarke's, Wildfire, Kitsch'n, Pizza Capri, Pizza DOC, and Rosebud on Rush (the Taylor Street location is far better).

I also think places like Alinea, despite being heralded by foodies, can't be that great ("bison steak in coconut powder en croute"). I'm positive that the nearby McDonald's gets a lot of good business from yuppies who just blew $500 on dinner and still are hungry for something after a night of tiny-ass meals there. It's a place for people with no imagination or something.

Vanessa / March 25, 2006 12:47 AM

Ken - You are so right about Penny's Noodles. I live down the street from the Penny's in W.P. and I always see it packed. Every day. I tried it 3 different times and every time it sucked. Bland. I don't get it... why do people keep going there? (Maybe they know something I don't - or maybe they wouldn't know Thai food if it bit them in the ass.)

Ed / March 25, 2006 1:41 AM

Kelly, your post on LTH alleging food poisoning from GN on Devon was almost certainly deleted because you can't throw around allegations like that. If you believe there's a health code violation, or you got food poisoning from them, take it up with the city. I'm not a moderator at LTH, just a regular poster. I've never been to GN, either...

My list:

Hema's, Bhabi's. White bread indian. Chopal, too. They've only got a couple good things on the menu. The rest is pretty mediocre.

Ann Sather, Penny's, Leona's, and all the other oft-mentioned choices.

Silver Cloud.

Bruna's.

Think (at Lyndale and Western). Back before check please it was almost always deserted. The food isn't particularly special, and certainly the place doesn't warrant the attention it has gotten and continues to get.

Adobo Grill, Picante Grill, and pretty much every other upscale mexican place except frontera/topolobampo/salpicon. Chilpancingo was also good, but it's closed now. Ixcapuzalco started seriously sucking once Geno Bahena sold it to his brother, and it got even worse when it moved to Western.

There are lots more, but, eh, everyone else has covered 'em.

jgs / March 25, 2006 8:56 AM

Man, this topic sets a fire under some butts. let's do overrated religions next. that would be much less controversial.

Frances / March 25, 2006 9:34 AM

Yup--Pretty much everything at the Heartland Cafe tastes like cardboard.

Moody's: You have to hose yourself down afterwards. You leave reeking of grease, and it clings to your clothes forever.

Steve / March 25, 2006 9:44 AM

Wishbone brunch. It pretty much killed our old weekend brunch routine, since some friends o' mine insist on going there despite the killer combo of the long wait and the meh food.

My wife would say Cafe 28; I'd like to give it a second chance.

My two visits to Square Kitchen within its first few months of operation have kept me out since, but they're somehow still in business.

ick / March 25, 2006 12:08 PM

Raw Bar is horrific - bad food and BUGS!

Wishbone - food is never the right temp and often has been left is warming trays for too long. If you like their cornbread - make it at home, they use Jiffy mix with some cheese and corn thrown in. I'm not kidding.

Also: Nookies, Northside Cafe, Adobo Grill

fdsf / March 25, 2006 1:24 PM

Another issue this list brings up is how inaccurate "Check, Please!" is--it seems we've all watched the show, made the trick out to Alsip or some other remote hell because we heard the burgers rule at some sports bar out there, then make the 4 hour trip back to the city totally overwhelmed.

I demand that "Check, Please!" gets taken off the air. After they finally let me be a guest.

Other Kevin / March 25, 2006 1:30 PM

As I'm married to a vegan, I'm always disappointed by a place that has no vegatarian options at all, or else when you ask for vegatrian options, they plunk down a plate of pasta in front of my wife. I feel that in a city so well known for it's food, the people in the kitchen ought to be able to have at least a LITTLE imagination. This is partly why I do like Leona's. Prepared in a central location or not, they've got loads of options for anyone.

Bill / March 25, 2006 1:48 PM

most overrated: handlebar. good lord, that meal was almost torture.

close second: victory's banner.

and as much as you may hate the "scene" at lula (ive seen just as many old ladies and adventurous suburban old folk in there as hipsters), if youve got a problem with their food, youve got a problem with food in general.

the people who begrudge lula its hipness are the ones who would begrudge major label commercial success for a really good indie band.

Virginia / March 25, 2006 2:19 PM

I agree with Ken...

Penny's Noodles is awful. I prefer actual Thai food... you know, like Thai Pastry on N. Broadway.

Amy / March 25, 2006 3:37 PM

Gibson's hands down. That's the only place out-of-towners want to go when they stay downtown. It's cramped, the food is just OK, and the old man servers are arrogant. And I thought Butter was just OK. On the other hand, Alinea was amazing. Not pretentious at all, the length of the experience flew by, and I was definitely full afterwards. You can even watch Chef Achatz actually working in the kitchen, he's young!

ding / March 25, 2006 11:20 PM

smoke daddy's.

their menu has no bite and that crunchy, savorless, garlicky mess they call 'greens' made me so mad i could feel all my southern ancestors twisting in their graves.

Ray / March 26, 2006 12:09 AM

This answers this question has elicited have certainly made me laugh a few times...I have never eaten at Frontera, but when I finally do, all I will be able to think about is Kate saying, "Everything tasted like poo." That, and what Rick Bayless's reaction to that statement might look like.

At any rate, I think that some of you didn't read the question very closely. It was what is the most OVERRATED restaurant, not just what is the most mediocre. Take Leona's, for example. Other than Roni, I have never heard anyone say with enthusiasm, "Hey, let's go to Leona's!" To me it has always been the home of offensively bland food, a place you go when you happen to be near one and you don't have the energy to go anywhere else. Who overrates it?

Another example is the Heartland Cafe. Personally, I like the place. Who else has a bar where the bartender looks at you funny when you ask for a Bud Light, then points to the beer list and says, "we don't have it." (at least they didn't used to...haven't been there for a while). And by carefully ordering items from the menu that don't seem overly ambitious for a bunch of granola eaters to prepare (try the chicken with brown rice), I can honestly say I have never had a bad meal there. The patio rocks in nice weather (I love dining with a view of the el), and some of the servers are cute, to boot. But I have never heard anyone rave about it.

And I have never heard anyone rave about Silver Cloud, but when I lived in Bucktown, that was the place I went when I wanted some comfort food, a good beer, and a place to read and/or look at people for a while. Don't order the fish. Get the meatloaf, or the grilled cheese with Campbell's tomato soup.

Every time I eat at Penny's, I miss Hi Ricky, which had the best Vietnamese spring rolls in the city. At Penny's, I recommend the red curry chicken, and add lots of chili sauce, if you don't want bland.

Finally, nobody, NOBODY ever went to Billy Goat because they heard the place had great food. The burgers are there to go with the beer while you soak in the atmosphere. I refer to the original location, because the others don't make any sense to me at all. As for the atmosphere, it certainly isn't what it must have been in the days of Royko and Belushi, but it wasn't a bad place to watch the last half hour of the World Series last year. Alright Sox!

PS No argument from me on Moody's, which is the very essence of an overrated place.

Kelly / March 26, 2006 9:00 AM

"Kelly, your post on LTH alleging food poisoning from GN on Devon was almost certainly deleted because you can't throw around allegations like that. If you believe there's a health code violation, or you got food poisoning from them, take it up with the city. I'm not a moderator at LTH, just a regular poster. I've never been to GN, either..."

I know now it's their policy to delete posts like that, but it seems silly to me. First of all, how likely is it that someone affiliated with GN would stumble across a little foodie message board, and sue them or whatever? Not very. Furthermore, I for one would like to know that I could get the REAL scoop on restaurants - if someone was sickened by a place, I want to know! Not trying to attack you, but I just don't get it.

Back on topic, Tiffin is overrated. Ever noticed that on a street packed with Indian restaurants, there are never any acutal Indians in there, aside from the staff? That should be a clue.

j / March 26, 2006 9:42 AM

I think most of the posters have missed the thrust of this topic.

Many of the resturants mentioned here such as Moody's, ED Debevicks, UNO, Billy Goat etc are not frequented for their fine dining, but rather because of the collective experience they provide to the patron. And for that experience we tollerate the poor food and lacking service. There are plenty of places for awesome burgers but who has a beer garden and over-the-hill-sour-waitresses... For good diner food one can go anywhere but where else will you be dragged into the kitchen by a Betty Boop and told to serve yourself...

So for the saturation of experience these places provide they remain excelent.

Then there are resturants that for some reason have developed a reputation for lord knows what. Bongo Room, Frontera, ANY OF THE SUSHI SHOPPES, etc... are spoken about as if the food is to die for. This simply is not the case, and coupled with a lack of unique experience; no reason for a cult following these places are certainly overrated. Want good pancakes try the Original Pancake House, good Mexican; try La Oaxaquena on Western... That being said who really cares.

And for those who believer that Chicago has a poor food selection; live in another city, NY, LA, Philly, I have and "chioces" are simply not existant.

p / March 26, 2006 12:26 PM

Whiners are as bad as people who think their cats are hilarious. GB whine is overrated. Billy Goat however is not. Nor is Uno's.

urp / March 26, 2006 12:52 PM

Lula. I keep giving it another chance because it sounds so good on paper, but like american dude, i'm 0 for 3 there so far. the people have always been very nice and i love cheap pbr, but the meals have been incredibly lame. and i so WANT to like it, too.
also overrated: Alice & Friends. Nice ideas, just not that tasty.

Andrew / March 26, 2006 1:03 PM

j, a restaurant doesn't have to be fine dining to be overrated. All that has to exist is a disconnect between the reputation of a place and its actual quality.

Moody's is a fine example. I can't count the number of times I've heard people claim the burgers there are great, which is absolute BS. Hence, it's overrated. If Moody's reputation was solely for their patio, they wouldn't be overrated at all and I wouldn't have mentioned them.

(Nobody goes to Ed Debevic's for anything other than a crappy tourist experience. To me it exists in a whole other category -- popularity perpetuated by tour guides, not reputation.)

Phil / March 26, 2006 1:27 PM

Butter

The sure try to throw a punch... but fail to land.

veronica von fantastique / March 26, 2006 2:05 PM

wicker park hands-down has the worst thai food ever. penny's is so overrated and its like a grease pile on your plate. thai lagoon is ok, though i dont think it tastes very traditionally *thai* at all and everytime i go and ask for mild they make it way way spicier and i cant eat it...

probably my worst food experience hands down though has been trevia. the food was actually quite good but i will never ever ever go there again b/c of the service. the waitress sat at the bar literally the entire time we were there texting on her cell phone giving up looks like we were invading on her time! and there were about two tables in the whole place since it was early!

i also went to fogo de chao last night for the first time ever and it actually a really scary experience. we didnt have a reservation and waited 2.5 hours at the bar for a table. by the time we finally got seated i was completely wasted so i didnt even eat that much. but from i remember it was good. i would go back again but definitely only with a reservation and probably not on a weekend. there were like literally 5,000 people in there i swear i was like having panic attacks b/c of the crowding.

marry washington / March 26, 2006 2:37 PM

Lula, because the toast on my BLT cut the roof of my mouth up real bad!

Mister C / March 26, 2006 5:09 PM

Since things are getting crankier and more off topic, I have to interrupt and say to Andrew that I (as a tour guide) have never ever ever ever recommended Ed DefreakinBevics to anyone on this earth, much less a group of poor unsuspecting tourists. I take extreme exception to your dragging my profession into this snarky thread ;-)

Clarke / March 26, 2006 6:36 PM

160blue, on W. Randolph. Way, way overpriced for the bland food and indifferent service. Then again, receiving only three stars from the Trib and Sun Times is the critic saying, "Eh, whatever." So, maybe 160blue isn't that overrated, but save yourself the trip.

Jaye / March 26, 2006 6:43 PM

hot chocolate

Oketo / March 26, 2006 10:41 PM

1) Green Zebra
2) Feast
3) Spring (sense a theme here?)
4) Blackbird
5) Red Flame
6) Club Lucky
7) Fogo de Chao (do I really need to add this one?)

Ok, I'll stop here.

Spook / March 27, 2006 12:42 AM

The Berghoff! Glade its gone,I'm dancing on its grave! Sieg heil!

urbanimage5 / March 27, 2006 7:08 AM

1. Leona's - always mediocre food
2. Heaven on seven - better food for more reasonable prices at Dixie Kitchen
3. Bandera - why bother?

Service at Heartland almost always sucks. Some of the food is excellent, some leaves a lot to be desired. Varies a lot depending on what you order.

If you want an excellent vegetarian meal at a moderate price, try Alice & Friends in Edgewater. You won't be disappointed.

Eric B / March 27, 2006 10:37 AM

Kinda sad...most of the restaurants listed here are tourist traps. These poor people come all the way to Chicago and eat our worst food. Hello Hard Rock Cafe!

Anne / March 27, 2006 10:39 AM

Oketo, you are so right about Green Zebra! How could I have forgotten to include that myself? I took my cousin there b/c we are both veg and was expecting something amazing from what I had heard and read. It was lackluster at best and I do believe that our server was cracked out. At one point he spilled a glass of water all over my cousin and it barely seemed to register with him. Way overpriced for minimal amount of uninspired food. Though I did like the ample veg selections, they just weren't that good.

tw-s / March 29, 2006 10:54 AM

Thank You for coming out with this list!

My overrated picks are:

1. The Bongo Room--A long wait for blah food
2. Cafe Iberico--Bland Tapas. Like the other post said I prefer Cafe Babareeba.
3. Hillary's Urban Eatery.

Jack / March 30, 2006 8:35 AM

Gene & Georgetti's is grossly overated - barf disguised as steak.

Lynne / March 30, 2006 10:55 AM

My picks:

1 Wishbone
2 Soiree
3 Pizza DOC
4 Sushi Samba Rio
5 Heaven on Seven
6 Any of the "Cy's" restaurants
7 Papa Milano
8 Ann Sather
9 Kitsch'n
10 Big Bowl

Kay / March 30, 2006 10:57 AM

OK, most overrated restaurant for me was Mon Ami Gabi. The food was oversalted (heavily), the wait staff rude, and we were literally packed in so tightly, that we had to all stand up and file out when the guests arrived for the table next to ours, just so they could sit down. Then we sat down again. I know restaurants try & optimize space for maximum profit, but come on!

Mike G / March 30, 2006 12:50 PM

I would also like to add Ghareeb Nawaz in West Rogers Park. While not in the same league as the above restaurants in terms of name recognition, it has a certain following among the LTH Forums posters. Anyway, I got extravagantly poisoned by their biryani, and my posting at said forums about that experience was summarily deleted. Hm.

As the poster hopefully was informed when the post was pulled, we do not leave reports of food poisoning or other health violations up because they are legally actionable and very difficult to be sure about (people often blame a recent meal when the reality is that the infection started 48-72 hours earlier). So, just letting everyone know that we don't pull negative stuff about places the moderators love or whatever, we pull negative stuff that could get us sued. (Welcome to America.)

And anyway, everyone knows that the most insanely overrated Indian restaurant is Hema's Kitchen. Tiffin is right up there, too-- not bad, just bland even by buffet standards.

Mike G
moderator at LTHForum

meow / March 31, 2006 4:13 PM

so i agree with the majority of these postings, good job everyone!

but i have one UNDERRATED that i felt compelled to post based on the fact that the best mexican joints in town BY FAR are just the little neighborhood taquerias, so stop going to the well known chains and check out your local comida mejicana.

if you're looking for a cool atmosphere and rockin' margerita's don't go here - but if you are looking for the best tasting tacos, burritos, etc. go here - there is a tiny restaurant in Roger's Park, sorry don't know the actual name, right on Clark in between Greenleaf and Lunt. Actually there are two but go to the one that is closer to the Blockbuster - right next to some Mexican Western Wear store (this one is better).

Warning though - don't go to Rocky's Tacos (on corner of Greenleaf and Clark) which has a huge soccer ball painted on the window (this place is terrible).

Oh and Heartland is totally overrated, but I keep going back to support any restaurant in my neighborhood.

tippenze / March 31, 2006 8:06 PM

Ok, I just read all of the other Orange posts. Agreed.

Adding Pat's Pizza (tasteless sauce) and Hannah's Bretzel in the loop. I don't understand the hype with H's B. Very expensive and nothing new. Also the lettuce on my sandwich was slimy with brown spots.

Tippenze / April 2, 2006 11:59 PM

Orange - was only there once and should probably try it again before swearing it off. When we went, we had horrible service, the wrong orders and cold food - which was not at all reflected in the large bill.

[This comment originally appeared above the previous one, but I accidentally deleted it while clearing out comment spam. Sorry! --Andrew]

Matt / April 4, 2006 9:21 AM

Gene & Georgetti's (500 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL) OVER-PRICED and it has not been up-dated in forty years with the sixties wood paneling decor (the owners of the place must be raking it in because it is not going back into the restaurant). The steak was O-K nothing fantastic. I have had much better elsewhere.

Norm / April 24, 2006 4:31 PM

I must chuckle at those of you bashing casual-family restaurants like Leona's and such, as if they ever purported (or were held up as by others) to be anyting than a place to get a serviceable, affordable meal in the neighborhood. How that can be called "overrated" is beyond me. Perhaps you'd prefer a bunch of Applebee's or Bennigan's in their stead?

I also am amused by those taking umbrage at tourist-laden haunts near Ontario Street. Well, of *course* those places suck... they aren't for you, they are for the family of seven from Iowa who don't know any better and want someplace their nine-year-old will enjoy.

I'm perplexed at the hate for Frontera/Topolobampo and Lula. Both have been uniformly excellent on my numerous visits. If the clientele of either bothers you that much, well, there's always Burger King. No yuppies, Trixies or hipster/scene-gazers there...

As for my most over rated, here goes:

-Ambria: Without a doubt, hands-down the most pretentious, stuffy restaurant in the city. That's bad enough, but when the food is just average and the bill is jaw-dropping, well, that's a nuclear combo, IMO...

-Bongo Room: Way, way, way too much attitude from their servers and staff for too-cute-by-half breakfast fare. (As we paid our bill, we saw the host rudely shoo a nine-months-pregnant woman waiting for her table out into the 20-degree weather... classy).

Bin 36: Yes, the wine is very, very good, and really, that's why you go there, isn't it? But the dishes are so mind-numbingly unimaginative (and poorly executed) that someone needs to call it out. Go there to try some new vino and nosh on some cheese, but skip dinner.

John / May 3, 2006 4:30 PM

Joy Yee's in chinatown. Mediocre Americanized asian food with terrible service. So small and cramped, you could actually eat off the next guys table. Yet they're busy, go figure.

Maryam / May 23, 2006 12:57 AM

Ghareeb Nawaz has some of the best desi food on Devon! I have seen people who drive all the way from Indiana and Wisconsin every weekend just for their chicken biryani! The prices are amazing too...you can pretty much feed your whole family for under $10. And I have been there recently and it seems like they've really cleaned the place up. They made a new section for families and its so clean! And they remodeled their bathrooms...with marble and state of the art furnishings! It seemed like a bathroom from a five-star restaurant! I usually hate public bathrooms but I had no problem using this one. They also have a prayer room and a place to make Wudu. Hands down...first-class fast food!

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