Note: So sorry to report that this restaurant has closed! We miss it so.
After spending the afternoon on the golf course at Heather Ridge with my husband and being unable to finish because of a downpour, Allan and I decided to try a new restaurant located in Gurnee called Monkey Dish Bar & Grill. Engraved on the glass of the front door is "A Vibrant Showplace of Creative Food & Cocktails" My neighbors had raved about this new restaurant so it was the perfect time to give it a try.
It was late afternoon [between lunch and dinner], and so very few people were in the restaurant portion; however, the bar area was filled with people watching the Cubs ballgame on television.
We were seated in the highest area, which pleased us because we were able to see the entire vista of the place. Our waitress was very friendly, quite helpful, and most efficient.
This an urban kind of restaurant located here in the suburbs. It's a refreshing change.
The menu includes Monkey Plates [appetizers} such as Buffalo Wings, Calamari, Crab Cakes, Artichoke Cheese Dip, Pot Stickers, Chicken Sticks, Grilled Shrimp Cocktail, etc.
Then there is a section called "Sliders", which consist of two or four items to a plate [mostly small burgers, chicken salad, cheesehead, and seared Tuna sliders.
They also have Flatbreads, Salads, Side Dishes, Regular sized Burgers, Sandwiches and, of course, Entrees. The entrees include steaks and ribs, fish and other seafood, pastas, and what they term as "Favorites" such as Chicken Piccata, Honey Lime Roast Chicken, and The Meatloaf.
They also offer Junior Dishes for children under 12 years such as Honey Chicken Tenderloins, Cheese & Tomato Flatbread, Roasted Veggies with Angel Hair, and Cheezy Fettuccini.
Favorite Dish: Allan and I both love Pulled Pork so we each order a B.B.Q. Pulled Pork Sandwich [slow roasted smoked pork covered in BBQ sauce and served "low country style" topped with crispy onions and cole slaw on a brioche bun We both requested that the cole slaw be placed "on the side". With it comes either lots of thin, crispy french fries [Allan's choice] or fresh fruit plate [Dee's choice].
Believe it or not, Allan wanted to have dessert. He ordered a Chocolate Tower which is a tower [literally] of rich chocolate cake with a side of vanilla ice cream and chocolate and caramel sauce! I had three bites, and, boy, was it ever rich. We also had coffee and cappuccino.
Our neighbors are to be thanked for directing us to Monkey Dish Bar & Grill
Be sure to view the other two photos for a glimpse of the food.
Since Tony's Restaurant closed over a year ago, we've been wishing that a new restaurant would take its place. Fortunately, that has happened because in the same location Risotto's Italian Ristorante has opened.
So tonight, on this rain-filled March evening, Allan and I decided to give it a try. We had read good reviews about it and were eager to judge it for ourselves. I'll tell you up front, it surpassed our expectations.
The main dining room is beautiful with the glorious arched windows, mellow dark wood, and its small front bar. It was Saturday night, and live keyboard music was pleasant and well received.
Our waitress was informative, helpful, and quite efficient.
Still on my diet, I was pleased that there were several choices for me. The menu includes about 8 Antipasti; 2 Soups, 4 Salads, 3 Risotti choices, 8 Homemade Pasta choices, 6 fish dishes, 4 chicken dishes, 4 Veal choices, 2 steak selections, 1 Pork Chop choice, and several other typical Italian favorites.
A bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a container of Parmesan Cheese sits at each table. A basket of hot delicious bread is then brought to the table. Both Allan and I so prefer this to bread and butter. I even tried 1 piece of this bread [forbidden on my diet] and found it to be outstanding. Allan proceeded to have about six pieces!
You have with the meal either soup or salad and a "chef's choice side dish".
The restaurant is open:
Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m
Friday from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Saturday from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m
Sunday from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m.
Favorite Dish: As this was an Italian Restaurant, we usually order pasta; however, due to my diet, I chose the Filetto di Manzo [Filet Mignon]. It came either Broiled Plain, Broiled Vesuvio Style, or Broiled Marsala Style. I chose the Marsala Style (mushrooms in a wine reduction sauce). They brought a Marinara pasta dish as the "side". The steak was perfectly done: tender, juicy, and seasoned just right.
The House Salad with an Italian Vinaigrette was served with both our meals. The dressing was so wonderful
Allan selected one of the specials for the night, as Bistecca-New York Strip Steak with Peppers, Tomatoes, and Mushrooms in a sauce, which was atop the steak. He really enjoyed it.
Both of our meats were in large portions; thus, we ate half and brought half home for another meal.
We usually have dessert and coffee after our meal but decided to forgo that...yes, because of my diet. Now that takes willpower! We are so glad that the new Italian Restaurant has arrived in Gurnee; may Risotto's Italian Ristorante never leave.
On August 24, 2007, Allan and I decided that we needed a "Friday Night Out" dinner; thus, we decided to try a restaurant close to home that we had talked about but had never visited. We had heard that the food was excellent but a bit expensive at Stevens' in Gurnee.
We parked and went up to look at their menu that was posted outside, deciding that it was quite tempting. As we walked inside, I was very impressed with the decor. We chose to sit in one of the black leather booths, even though it did not have, like the tables did, linen table clothes.
But, I love the intimacy of a booth versus a table.
Service was just outstanding. Our waiter seemed to anticipate our every wish. We started with drinks. I had a coAmereto Stone sour, and Allan had a Vodka Martini. Allan ordered Calamari that came with cocktail sauce and Buffallo sauce.. I'm not a Calamari fan, but I did try his, and it was delicious, especially with the Buffallo Sauce.
There is a huge bar in a separate room that was quite crowded on this early Friday evening. Beside that bar is another more informal room and a lounge area with comfortable seating.
All-in-all, Allan and I were quite pleased with Stevens' in Gurnee
Favorite Dish: Even thought Stevens' is advertised as a Steakhouse, it has a varied menu that includes Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Sandwiches, Pastas, Seafood, Side Dishes, and, of course, Chops and Steaks.
Allan's entree was Stuffed Whitefish over fresh asparagus topped with shrimp. It was stuffed with crabmeat and had a truly delicious sauce [that Allan sopped up with the hot bread!]
I ordered a Hand Tossed Pizza with Tomatoes, Basil, and Cheese. It was quite good, but the crust was not crispy enough. However, the next day when it was heated in the oven, it was perfect.
I also had an incredible Stevens' Salad that had assorted greens, Granny Smith Apples, candied pecans, and Feta Cheese with a mild dressing...it was outstanding.
We ordered dessert and coffee. Allan enjoyed a Strawberry Chocolate cake with a scoop of ice cream, and I had Tiramisu. All desserts are homemade. The coffee was just wonderful.
What an enjoyable, romantic dinner we shared.
The Country Squire was originally built as the residence of Wesley Sears, scion of the Chicago-based mail order firm. He lived here with his family after the house was completed in 1938. For Valentine's Day, 2007, Allan and decided on the Country Squire to celebrate
You will notice the hand-carved woodwork on the ceilings of many rooms. Sears sent to all parts of the world for trees to landscape this 11-acre estate. He also created elegant gardens which the present owners, Bill and Kris Govas, have rejuvenated. They have also built a beautiful gazebo and a huge patio for outdoor weddings and ceremonies.
When we were first married, we lived in Grayslake, and we always ate here for special occasions. Two years ago, we spent New Years Eve at the Country Squire.
The Sear's family dining room is now the lounge. Their living room is now the fireside reception area. The original library is now the Library Bar. The second floor used to be two separate bedroom suites, which are now connected and available for private banquets.
Since 1958 the restaurant has expanded by adding a dining porch to the south and east exteriors, and in 1986 a huge banquet facility was constructed on the southwest corner.
Today the Country Squire Restaurant offers delicious meals in the picture-window dining room that overlooks the beautiful grounds.
You can have cocktails in the cozy lounge or relax on the couches in the fireside living room.
Lunch and Dinner are served:
Tuesday-Friday 11 am-10 pm
Saturday 11 am-11 pm
Sundays 10 am- 9 pm
Sundays include champagne sit down brunch menu as well as dinner.
Special menus are offered on major holidays.
On weekends, you can dine to the music of the pianist, which is quite lovely.
Favorite Dish: Their menu is varied and vast. It includes Appetizers, Pasta, Veal and Chicken, Steaks and Chops, Seafood, and Country Squire Specialties such as:
Cape Cod Seafood Supreme
The dinners include a Lazy Susan Tray, Salads, Potato, and a Vegetable.
Two Dollars is taken off the entree before 5:00 Tuesday through Saturday.
For Valentine's, 2007, Allan and I ordered:
We Split a Shrimp Dejonghe as an appetizer and split the Triple dessert of Strawberry Cheese Cake, Italian dessert, and a Key Lime Pie!
I had twin Filet Mignon with Blue Cheese atop it. [took home one filet]
Mesclyn Mixed Salad with Balsamic Vinagrette
A glass of delicisou German Wine
I had a new Starbuck's drink of ice cream, liquer, and Starbuck's coffee [Allan shared it with me]
Allan had Greek Leg of Lamb
Bread and cheese spread and a liver spread, and another Greek spread.
It was a lovely Valentine's dinner.
Country Squire is, indeed, an elegant country setting with fantastic food.
The In-Laws Restaurant has been around for a long time, but it looks brand new inside and outside because it is newly renovated, due to a fire.
In-Laws is now owned by the Khayat Enterprise, Christian Khayat.
It's a really large and beautiful restaurant, especially inside. When they remodeled, actually rebuilt, they used lots of beautiful woods and stone. It has an open, yet intimate feeling with a large fireplace, booths and tables, elegant lights, a cherry wood salad bar, and lovely wooden floors.
There is also a great bar at the front of the restaurant with a huge number of in-wall television sets. The downstairs serves as a Banquet Hall for luncheons, and dinners, wedding receptions, and any other parties.
The food is good American fare. It includes appetizers such as Nachos, Buffalo Wings, Calamari, Quesadilla, Potato Skins, and Chicken Strips. Of course, there is the Grand Salad Bar that features a 20-foot salad bar of fresh breads, homemade soups and a huge selection for salads.
They offer home cooked meals such as meatloaf, carved roast turkey, hot sliced beef, roast pork, and prime rib.
In addition, they have sandwiches such as Hamburgers of all varities, grilled chicken, Veggie Burger, and Philly Steak. Also, all kinds of pastas, fish, meat, wraps, pitas, and croissants.
Favorite Dish: They are most famous for their Friday night fish special of all the Walleye you can eat.
Their Grand Sunday Brunch is also popular.
I'm partial to their pizza. I especially like their double decker pizza which is a layer of crust, one layer of ingredients, then a second layer of crust and ingredients topped with mozzarella cheese. It's delicious!
They also offer thin crust and deep dish pizzas.
Salutos is a family owned Italian Restaurant that is a big favorite to the locals in Gurnee.
Bob and Melody Bode own and run it. It was recently renovated and added on to. It has a large, two-story bar, a large dining room, a huge entrance with a gigantic TREE that is always decorated with small, white lights.
I always ask for a booth because the acoustics are not great, and if you want to hear each other, a booth is the best.
They have a large array of appetitio (appetizers) that include stuffed mushrooms, Artichoke Heart Fondue, Toasted Ravioli, Calamari, and Shrimp Scampi.
Outstanding salads, fresh, homemade soups, sandwiches, several pastas such as Spaghetti and meatballs, Cannelloni, Mostaccioli, Rotolo, and Lasagne. All are homemade sauces and pasta.
In addition, they have several chicken, veal, and beef selections as well as seafood.
They are most famous for their pizzas, which come either thin, pan, or stuffed.
If there is ever room, desserts are great:
Tiramisu, Carmel Pecan Torte, Blond Peanut Butter Brownie, Cannoli, Layer Cake, and cheese cake.
A children's plate is available.
I personally do not like the pastas because they are too heavy.
Favorite Dish: faThe best thing to order at Salutos is Pan or Stuffed Pizza with Butter Crust. Also, always order a salad at Salutos because it has the BEST salad dressing ever! I ask for the salad dressing on the side so I have complete control over it, and you are given more that way. It's a secret recipe, which the owners will not share. I know that it has lots of Basil, Parmesan cheese, and virgin olive oil, but I don't know what else and in what proportions.
My favorite pizza is the 8" (individual) pan pizza with Butter Crust, mushrooms, onions, and the Pepperoni ON THE TOP of the cheese so it becomes crisp! Delicious.
Rainforest Cafe is unlike any other dining experience because it's like dining in a jungle with a canopy of lush foliage overhead, animals along the way, and a thunderstorm rumbling in the distance!
You'll also see cascading waterfalls, giant salt water aquariums with beautiful aquatic life forms and fish like you've never seen before, and, finally, a fiber-optic starscape!
This Cafe is inspired by Mexican, Italian, Cajun, or Caribbean flavors which range from the exotic to the traditional.
The bar has hand carved animal stools and a canopy of the biggest mushroom ever seen. And, Magic Mushroom Bar has specialty drinks (with or without spirits), Smoothies, and Coffee drinks.
There is also a Retail Village which offers unique Rainforest Cafe souvenir products.
Most unusual is the Animated wildlife, which always entertains the children.
Favorite Dish: We usually have sandwiches, one of the exotic drinks, and, if we are not "stuffed", we have a dessert.
My favorite gourmet coffee place is Gloria Jean's Coffee at Gurnee Mills in Gurnee.
The company is the largest mall-based retailer of specialty coffees in North America.
Their first store opened in 1979, and today, there are more than 280 stores around the world.
What I like about them is that coffee seems to be their passion. They select arabica beans only from the most discriminating sources. Nothing is ever compromised, which is why I think Gloria Jean's coffee is the best.
They are so convinced about the quality and taste of their coffees, that they will gladly replace it free of charge or refund your money in full if you are not completely satisfied.
They sell coffee beans, regular coffee to go, blended coffee, or flavored coffee. Their cold blended coffees (that taste like milk shakes) are very popular but quite expensive. The small one cost about $4.00 with the tax.
Favorite Dish: I personally drink decaf coffee so I'm glad that Gloria Jean's take their decaf coffees just as seriously as the caffeinated coffees. The Swiss Water Process is used to decaffeinate their original, blend, and flavor coffees. They do not use chemicals, and their decaf is
99+% caffeine free.
I love the whole beans flavored coffee in decaf called "White Russian". It is fantastic.
For a truly "Italian" eating experience in Gurnee, eat at Tina's Italian Bake Shop. This is a quaint little restaurant that combines a Deli, Bake Shop, Lunch Shop, with a Catering Business. It looks quite small from the outside, but it goes back quite a distance, and the decor is lovely.
The shop is immaculate at all times; Tina oversees all aspects of the business; everything cooked here is made with only the freshest (and most times) imported ingredients.
You can select your items to go, or you can choose to eat in the lovely establishment.
Crocheted table coverings under easy-to-clean plastic is practical yet still beautiful.
Service is outstanding with personal attention to each patron.
Tina also makes Party Trays and Gift Baskets. Delivery is available for orders over 50 people.
Another interesting activity which goes on on Monday evenings at Tina's is a class to learn the Italian language!
Favorite Dish: Tina's is known for its breads, sandwiches, salads, coffees, and desserts.
The Deli Section includes:
Prosciutto di Parma, Genova Salami
Turkey and Ham
Ricotta, Parmegiano Reggiano
Hot Entrees include:
Ministroni and Soup of the Day
Bake Shop Specials
Six special Italian Salads are offered
Eight Italian Sandwichs are offered.
Tiramisu & Cannoli Cake
Some of my favorites are:
1. Bruschetta-best I've had outside of Italy. Crisp toast and fresh, delicious tomatoes and fresh basil. Also she has Tuna Bruschetta that is quite good.
2. Pera alla Griglia Salad
(mixed greens, grilled pears, pine nuts in a walnut vinaigrette, sprinkled with gorgonzola cheese)
3. Cheese lasagna topped with special sauce (excellent)
Going to Tina's is like being back in Italy!
There are a multitude of chain restaurants in Gurnee, due to the multitude of mid-level shopping available. One exception is the independent Saluto's restaurant on Grand Avenue, a few miles west of Gurnee Mills. Great cannoli and tiramisu, and yummy soft garlic breadsticks. Saluto's prices are reasonable to slightly expensive (sorry, they don't have a website), but cheaper at lunch.
I'd also recommend Giordano's Pizzeria if you want some authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza. It's also along Grand Avenue west of Gurnee Mills. My recommendation: the veggie supreme deep dish (allow 30 minutes cooking time), and the breaded mushrooms for an appetizer.
This is one of the best semi-independent pizzerias I've tried, and definitely the best non-deep dish pizza in Gurnee. If you're looking for a thin-crust takeout pizza covered in fresh ingredients, this is a great spot! (They do have deep dish, too, but I always get this type from the Giordano's Pizzeria just across the street.)
Favorite Dish: The Vegetarian Thin Crust, with mushrooms, onions, green pepper, tomatoes, and black olives.
Marble Slab is a chain of ice cream stores that apparently has been around for a few years, but only recently made it to Illinois. So I was thrilled when this one went up only a few minutes from my home!
Favorite Dish: The excellent, creamy ice cream comes in about twenty flavors on any given day. You pick your ice cream flavor, then you choose your "mix-in's"--out of a huge selection, such as Whoppers, strawberries, Junior Mints, brownie chunks, gummi bears...the list goes on. My personal favorite? Mint ice cream, filled with Oreos and thin mints--Mmm... Let's see, how many permutations of the various combinations would allow me to go here once a day for the rest of my life??
Just one of the big chain of Olive Garden, but this one is fairly new and very quaintly- designed--it looks like an Italian villa inside and out, with a nice fireplace.
Favorite Dish: The soup and salad lunch special--vegetarian minestrone and buttery garlic breadsticks with a great Caesar salad. Also, the chocolate avalanche dessert is heavenly!
Great food and service as long as you don't go on the weekend. There's usually at least a 45 min wait.
Favorite Dish: Ranch Hand Filet-Filet Mignon on a bed of awesome blossom (deep fried onions) with a side of fried zuchinni and squash and two potato pancakes.-very filling,tastes great!