2012 Best Chinese Food In Chicago

March 27, 2012 2:00 PM

(credit: pfchangs.com)

By Rachel Azark

Is there anything better than good Chinese food? It’s the classic take-out food for both lunch and dinner. It’s the easiest answer to, “I don’t feel like cooking tonight. How ‘bout we order Chinese food?” We probably all have our favorite restaurant, but here are the some of the stars in Chicago. Make sure to list your favorite in the comments section!

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Sunday-Thursday: 8 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Friday & Saturday: 8 a.m. – 5 a.m.

Chicago is lucky enough to have their very own Chinatown, and Chi Café is one place to visit. With their semi-modern décor, red artwork on the ceiling, and recessed lighting it’s one chic place to eat. It’s also opened until 5 a.m. on the weekends in case after a late night downtown you’re looking for an open place to eat. Try one of their flaming mini wok dishes or one of their seven house specialties.

Monday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 1 a.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 12 a.m.

They lack a website, but just Google their name and numerous reviews and websites come up touting their Chinatown greatness. They are well known for their seafood specialties including shark fin soup and Peking-style lobster. An unsuspecting place for great food makes it a nice restaurant to bring a few friends to. Just don’t come thinking you’ll get a quiet restaurant for dinner.

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(credit: friendshiprestaurant.com)

Monday – Thursday: 12 – 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 12 – 10:30 p.m.
Sunday: 3 – 10 p.m.

This restaurant has a bit of a romantic ambiance to it with its dim lighting. Come here to try their crab Rangoon or honey walnut shrimp. They have a new sushi chef they call Mr. “T” who has been a personal chef for such celebrities as Peter Jennings, Michael Douglas and Brad Pitt. At their downtown location during the summer, a jazz trio plays Wednesday during the Navy Pier fireworks, Friday and Saturday night and during Sunday brunch. On Tuesday after 5 p.m. in Logan Square, they offer all dinner entrees for $8.95.

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It doesn’t get much better than being able to watch chefs prepare your meal behind a glass wall. Laid out very much like a good old family restaurant, Szechwan Beijing has been serving Oak Park since 1994. They offer special dinner entrees for dine in only from $5.99 and up. You can also add a bowl of fried rice for $1.99 and up. If you’d rather just eat at home, they do great take-out. They’re also located right by the Green Line and the Oak Park Metra.

Oh, Wok Cuisine has saved me many a night. Located in Albany Park on the northwest side they are the go to place for take-out Chinese food for either lunch or dinner. You never have to wait more than 15 minutes to go pick up your food and the people are always very friendly. Their lunch specials are $5.45 and include your entrée, soup or egg roll and rice. For dinner I recommend the Mongolian beef or sesame chicken. In 2008, they were one of the Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the USA. Now that’s a big deal.

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(credit: pfchangs.com)

Runners Up

If I had nominated either of these two in the top five I had a feeling I was going to be run out of the city. They’re not really screaming authentic food as much as they are chain restaurant. But, the lettuce wraps are really good at P.F. Chang’s and Big Bowl makes fresh ginger ale and great Thai beef lettuce wraps. Best to make reservations at either of these places especially on the weekends.

Rachel Azark is a writer, and lives on Chicago’s northwest side. Read more of her work on her blog parksandpancakes.com.

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