Distance from downtown: 5.7 miles Via: Blue Line Best for: Food Go: Afternoon, evening
IRAZU Don’t bother ordering outside the Guy Fieri special, named after appearing on his Food Network show “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” It’s a small order of chifrijo, a steak pepito sandwich, and an oatmeal shake. Yes, I said oatmeal—and have it made with soymilk.
ESTRELLA NEGRA Calaveras decorate the walls, menus, and everything else in this tiny Bucktown cafe, which is vegetarian-friendly serves up mean mango-salsa enchiladas. It’s yet another BYOB spot and lets you spend what you save on booze on the tremendous food.
WASABI Ramen is oh-so-trendy in Japanese cuisine right now, and Wasabi knows exactly how to boil those pork bones all day long. Order their spicy garlic rendition and the have the crispy Brussels sprouts to start.
90 MILES CUBAN CAFE Chorizo and goat cheese empanadas. Do we have your attention now? The Western stop on Chicago’s Blue Line is surrounded by fantastic Latin American cuisine, but this should be your first stop for a great patio and the best ropa vieja the city has to offer. On Thursdays, ask about the $18 all-you-can-eat pig roast.
IPSENTO If you’re looking for quality coffee, Ipsento has poured-to-order cups from direct-trade beans roasted in house by approachable folks. Order an almond croissant and their signature Ipsento latte, made with honey and cayenne. You won’t regret it.