Friendly service is a standout here. They have the usual (and some unusual) assortment of espresso-based choices here, but my way of evaluating a coffee shop is with a basic black coffee, and theirs is excellent–strong, rich, and with just a hint of bitterness.
Pedestrian Coffee 939 W Belmont Ave Chicago, IL 60657
We have been huge fans of Genie and Tim since the early days of Oriole, so we were delighted to hear about them opening Kasama, and even more delighted when they started serving a dinner tasting menu. It was our first stop on our visit to Chicago.
Kasama is a very different experience at night than during the day. During the day it's all about Genie's amazing pastries and Tim's small plates and sandwiches, much of it served to go. At night it transforms into an intimate fine dining restaurant that is pretty much perfection.
From the moment you sit down you know you are in capable hands, with absolutely pitch perfect service that always seems to be there a moment after you finish a dish or glass of wine, but never seems to be overbearing.
Even the background music is perfect, with upbeat stuff like Asian renditions of I Can't Get No Satisfaction, yet at the perfect volume for pleasant conversation levels at each table.
We certainly got satisfaction! Each dish seems to top the one before it, so it would be impossible to pick a favorite. If you are unfamiliar with Filipino cuisine it doesn't matter, because each dish has a creative twist that has turned it into something completely unique anyway.
The wine pairings are just about perfect, too, with the dish enhancing the wine and vice versa.
The pacing was great, and the amount of food and wine in the 13 courses was also perfect. Clearly Kasama deserves its shiny new Michelin star, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a second one added next time.
This is a lovely pastry shop that also has a few inside tables and makes breakfast and lunch sandwiches. I had the Banh Mi, which includes slow roasted pork, shaved asparagus, pickled carrot, cilantro, cucumber, and Kewpie mayo on a toasted baguette. Although a bit unconventional (the pork was pulled rather than sliced, and the absence of jalapeno was compensated for by an accompanying hot sauce) it was delicious, and hit the right flavor profile. It came with a lovely selection of fresh fruit.
As one might expect, the pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) was filled with a wonderful "Bittersweet" chocolate!
Bittersweet Pastry Shop 1114 W Belmont Ave Chicago, IL 60657
This is the real deal! Bread, croissants, and pain au chocolat exactly as you would get them in Paris! Even the slowness of the service is authentic!
Nice inside, but also an excellent sidewalk dining area. Order at the counter, they bring it out.
The French Breakfast is a great way to go, as you get two eggs, any style, plus a bakery assortment of bread, croissant, and pain au chocolat, five in all. Probably enough for two to share if one of them isn't me!
Maison Marcel 3114 N Broadway St Chicago, IL 60657
This is the real deal, exactly as you would find in Paris. Sandwiches on sinfully fresh baguettes, with authentic French ingredients such as butter, ham and cornichons. Extraordinarily light croissants, pain au chocolate, and excellent coffee.
La Boulangerie – CLOSED 915 W Belmont Ave Chicago, IL 60657
Cafe Selmarie is an interesting amalgam of pastry shop, coffee shop, and restaurant.
When you enter it looks like it’s just a pastry shop with a few small tables for enjoying your purchase or sipping a cup of coffee. But proceed to the rear, and there is a fair-sized restaurant.
The menu offers American, French, Italian, and (at least the night we visited) German food, plus other eclectic international cuisines.
We shared the Brussels sprout salad, which was good, a special leek and bacon flatbread that was phenomenal (gooey topping, crisp crust), and a special German sausage plate that was also tasty.
For dessert we selected a couple of pastries from the case out front. There’s a small wine list with many selections available by the glass.
Service was friendly and professional.
The place is kid friendly, and there were quite a few families dining the Friday night we went. An adjacent open area provides outside dining when the weather is nice, and place for the kids to run around.
If you’ve not been to Lincoln Square, it’s definitely a cute neighborhood to check out.
This is a great little find in downtown. Authentic croissants, and very un-authentic but yummy omelets in a croissant. I had cheese and bacon in mine, but you can invent anything you like. At $4 including free coffee, it’s a steal!