Froggy’s French Café, Fresh Australian Barramundi Fisherman Style, $26
306 Green Bay Road in Highwood, 847-433-7080
The fish is braised in a vegetable seafood broth with provincial herbs and tomatoes. It is served with green vegetables such as carrots, peapods, and zucchini.
“The barramundi has a delicate, sweet meat. It’s a light dish that is perfect for the summer.” –Thierry Lefeuvre, Executive Chef/Co-Owner
South Gate Café, Pan Roasted Halibut, $28
655 Forest Avenue in Lake Forest, 847-234-8800
Corn succotash—a mix of local corn, lima beans, bell peppers, and onions—and a romesco sauce accompany the fresh halibut.
“All these ingredients are at their peak; the corn tastes like candy at this time of year. And people love halibut; it’s a nice white flaky fish that’s easy to eat with the perfect amount of fat.”–Brandon Paige, Executive Chef
Wisma, Grilled Local Chicken with Anson Mills Polenta, $13 for two portions
24 East Scranton Avenue in Lake Bluff, 847-234-1805
The grilled Miller Farms chicken breast is served with organic Anson Mills rustic polenta and garnished with Wisconsin goat cheese, organic roasted tomatoes, and Egyptian preserved lemons.
“This dish exemplifies what Wisma is all about—using local chickens and goat cheese, combined with the most amazing polenta in America and balanced with a twist of sweet, sour, and salty lemons from Egypt. It hits the mark with a great combination of taste, healthiness, and approachability.” –John des Rosiers Chef/Proprietor
Silo Restaurant, Breaded Pork Tenderloin, $8.95
625 Rockland Road in Lake Bluff, 847-234-6660
The hand-breaded tenderloin is served on a bun with raw onions and pickle slices with French fries on the side.
“The breaded pork tenderloin sandwich has received excellent reviews from the Chicago Tribune, which named the dish one of ‘Chicagoland’s Best.’ A frequent comment by our customers is that [our] food is as good or better than they remember from coming 30 or 40 years ago.” –Larry Pike, Owner
The Grille on Laurel, The California Grille Burger, $8.95 lunch/$10.95 dinner
181 East Laurel Avenue in Lake Forest, 847-234-9660
The half-pound sirloin burger is grilled to order and topped with cheddar cheese, guacamole, and fresh pico de gallo. Guests can choose between a sesame bun or a pretzel bun, and also, guests have the option between steak fries, sweet potato fries, or fresh fruit as a side with their burger.
“While several of our fresh fish entrees are quite popular here, it seems that America’s comfort food, the burger, still reigns supreme.” –Jenny Derman, Manager
Deer Path Inn, Dover Sole, $65
255 East Illinois Road in Lake Forest, 847-234-2280
The whole Dover sole (24–28 oz.) is flown in fresh from Europe once a week. It is prepared on the grill with olive oil and served promptly from the kitchen. Since the fish is thicker than others, it is never dry—always juicy.
“The reason that the Dover sole is the most popular dish here is due to the size and freshness of the fish; it is also the way we prepare the fish. According to Ralph Hansen, President and CEO of Pegasus Marketing Group, when he was dining with a client in New York at Club 21, he asked the client, ‘How is the Dover sole here?’ to which the client replied, ‘The best Dover sole in the world is served at the Deer Path Inn in Lake Forest!’” –Michael Lama, General Manager
Bluffington’s Cafe, The Doug’s Club, $8.39
113 East Scranton Avenue in Lake Bluff, 847-295-3344
The homemade chicken salad is served on toasted seven-grain wheat bread with two slices of sharp cheddar cheese topped with crispy bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a dollop of mayonnaise. Sides include homemade potato salad, coleslaw, or potato chips, and a crisp pickle spear.
“The Doug’s Club has grown in popularity because of its unique combination of fresh ingredients and delicious taste! It is truly addicting! It has taken on a life of its own—the sandwich has its own Facebook page!” –Doug Karnazes, Owner
Inovasi, Fish Swimming Yesterday, $22
28 East Center Avenue in Lake Bluff, 847-295-1000
Fish are hand caught and shipped overnight, to Inovasi where the chef prepares each dish differently. Adding an element of mystery, only the chef knows what kind of fish it will be and how it will be prepared, so guests must order “blind.”
“This might seem counterintuitive to the average North Shore diner, but it is by far our most exciting and popular dish. Our guests love it and often we will make two to three different versions for the same table! It exemplifies the very essence of Inovasi.” –John des Rosiers, Chef/Proprietor
The Lantern, Full Slab of Baby Back Ribs, $17.99
768 North Western Avenue in Lake Forest, 847-234-9844
The full slab of ribs is served with a choice of potato, along with a side of apples, beans, coleslaw, and a roll, or substitute with fresh vegetables for a healthier option.
“One bite is all it takes. We cannot keep them in stock!” –Beth Neville, Owner
Lovells of Lake Forest, Shrimp & Grits, $24
915 South Waukegan Road in Lake Forest, 847-234-8013
The six jumbo Gulf shrimp, quartered and sautéed with a fresh ground chorizo, are finished with clam stock and the chef’s own Louisiana Bayou sauce. The creamy southern organic stone ground grits are topped with mascarpone cheese.
“You are not going to find this dish at most restaurants in and around Lake County. It’s a southern dish that appeals to ‘foodies’ who are looking for something different than the mainstream. The creaminess of the grits and the flavors of the fresh chorizo with shrimp is a match made in heaven.” –Jay Lovell, Chef/Owner
—Ashleigh Martinez & Evangeline Politis