Forgot about the German restaurants! I’m a big beer-lover and there’s nowhere better in the midwest to get great German beer than in the many German restaurants:
Resi’s Bierstube, on Lawrence just W. of Irving Park. Food is good if just workmanlike; nothing will knock your socks off, but its all tasty. But the beer! 100-200 in taps and bottles, mostly German, all served properly (right glasses/serving sizes). Unequalled German beer selection in the midwest, I suspect.
Mirabell Restauarant, on Addison a couple of miles West of Resi’s. Alsatian cuisine, on the whole more interesting and varied than Resi’s, also a very good beer selection, nice decor.
Laschet’s Inn. Basically right across the street from Resi’s. I haven’t actually been there but have heard it’s comparable.
and further afield:
Bayern Stube, Gibson City. 2 hours southwest of Chi-town, probably the best German meal I ever had was eaten here, a mixed plate of perfectly-spiced & cooked sausages, great potatos and chunky applesauce and pickled beets. Wonderful little chalet; I seem to remember that it’s also an inn.
And of course, there are tons of German restaurants an hour and a half north of Chicago in Milwaukee.
Just a correction: A restaurant can’t be on Lawrence "just west of Irving Park" because the two streets run parallel.