As one of Chicago’s
outlying suburbs, Elgin often finds itself dwarfed by its larger neighbor. However, exploring this charming town’s restaurant scene is a highly satisfying venture. Elgin has restaurants to cater not only to international tastes, but also to those looking to really get back to the roots of American
cuisine. We take a look at 10 of the best restaurants in Elgin.
Restaurant, European, American, Vegetarian, Vegan
Burnt Toast is a friendly American diner, but many of their menu options display European influences as well. They have many different types of eggs Benedict to offer for example, and their pancake selection includes not only your typical pancake stacks, but also pancakes with Ghirardelli chocolate batter and potato pancakes – a favorite across Central Europe and a well known Jewish traditional food. Their menu also extends to include crepes, blintzes and Belgian waffles, the latter adorned with all sorts of toppings. Their egg choices, like the gyros omelette or the chicken fajita omelette, also have foreign influences and will have your taste relishing the excitement.
Burnt Toast, Randall Rd, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 551 9725
Chicago Pizza Authority in Elgin
It would be a crime to come to Chicagoland (as the city along with its surrounding suburbs are affectionately called) and leave without trying the notorious Chicago Pizza Authority in Elgin. The key to loving this unique rendition of pizza is thinking of it as an entirely different dish from the pizza you know and love, because it is. Chicago pizza is deep dish pizza, typically at least an inch thick and sometimes even thicker. If you’re feeling even bolder and you’re willing to wait a little longer, try the stuffed pizza, which has even more cheese and toppings stuffed between two layers of dough, with the sauce and more cheese on top. The best thing about this pizza is that you can never finish a whole pie in one meal, so you’ll have deep dish leftovers for days.
Chicago Pizza Authority in Elgin, Summit St, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 742 8802
Delicia Tropical Café
Restaurant, Puerto Rican, $$$
Delicia Tropical Café
Delicia Tropical Café is a no frills establishment that offers a great selection of food that feels comfortingly familiar but is just different enough to keep things exciting. They specialize in the food of Puerto Rico, which, if it does in fact become the next American state, will bring a whole new set of influences to the country’s cuisine. They have barbeque ribs and pork that promise a different set of flavors from the barbeque of the American South. You’ll find accents of plantain in unexpected places, like in the pork and plantain sandwich. They often have stews with tropical root vegetables and most dishes come with special Puerto Rican rice. It gets cold in Elgin in the winter, so stop by Delicia and allow them to evoke the heat of the tropics.
Delicia Tropical Café, 780 Villa St, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 695 6207
Elgin BBQ Pit
Elgin BBQ Pit (EBP) offers a more traditional rendition of that great staple of American cuisine, but with its own unique twist. EBP embraces some Latin touches, like adding jalapeno to its slaw, or by offering several choices of sauces, like chipotle, habanero mango, or tamarind garlic. EBP has an impressive array of Southern side dishes, which include collard greens, cornbread, or mac and cheese, sitting alongside more typically northern flavors, like their buffalo chicken sandwich. If you feel like going even farther south, they even offer jerk chicken. All of the meat is brought in fresh and cooked to barbequed perfection.
Elgin BBQ Pit, 970 Dundee Ave, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 931 5198
Elgin Public House
Pub, Pub Grub, $$$
Elgin Public House
The town of Elgin was founded by a homesick Scottish immigrant, who would have sought solace in the warmth and comfort of Elgin Public House. EPH, as the locals call it, has a mouth watering selection of pub grub, with options both for those who have come specifically for a meal and for those who are just looking for something to accompany their beer. The beer list is a veritable all star team, with options for beer beginners and experts in the field; if you know a thing or two about beer, you’ll be especially excited about their rotating drafts and seasonal beer choices. Their daily specials include a Sunday roast, guaranteed to make any British expat or visitor feel perfectly at home.
Elgin Public House, 219 E Chicago St, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 468 8810
Original Country Donuts
Original Country Donuts may not look like much and their menu might not be too extensive, but what they do, they do to the highest standard. What could be better than a fresh, hot donut with chocolate frosting, or a glistening cinnamon bun that looks so delicious you can hardly wait until you get home before you eat it? It’s a long established fact that any occasion is more festive with donuts and while Country Donuts is a bit out of the way, they’ve been in the business for long enough that the trip is well worth it. From crullers to Boston crèmes, they’ve got something for every taste.
Original Country Donuts, 3091 U.S. Route 20, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 488 1900
If you are hankering after Middle Eastern or Mediterranean food on a budget, Pita Puff is an ideal option. Their menu has a broad selection of fully authentic options, like baba gannouj or hummus for appetizers, tabbouleh and several other salads, with shwarma and shish kebab plates to round out the meal. Even though all their food is as fresh as possible, they still manage to keep the prices extremely reasonable. Their unique fare is always a great choice for vegetarians or gluten intolerant diners. Just the colors you’ll see on your plate – the yellow spiced rice, the bright red grilled tomatoes, the deep green grape leaves and the shiny brown of the meat – will immediately kick-start your appetite.
Pita Puff, 512 Waverly Dr, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 622 7833
Ray’s Family Restaurant
Restaurant, American, Dessert, Ice Cream, $$$
Ray’s Family Restaurant
Going to Ray’s Family Restaurant is like a trip to Pleasantville. The typical diner options on the menu harken back to a simpler time in America and the staff’s welcoming attitudes contribute to the illusion. Starting with the breakfast anytime menu, there is something for everyone, no matter your tastes or your dietary needs. As difficult as it might be when you’re deciding between a steaming stack of fresh pancakes or one of the skillet specials, it’s always a good idea to save room for dessert at Ray’s, as they make their own ice cream and transform it into a number of creations. Anyone watching the banana splits going by their table will have a hard time not ordering one for themselves.
Ray’s Family Restaurant, 801 Saint Charles St, Elgin, IL USA, +1 847 741 7110
Sammy’s Mexican Grill
Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
Sammy’s Mexican Grill
Sammy’s Mexican Grill certainly has the basics that you expect when you come to a Mexican restaurant – enchiladas, tacos, fajitas and fantastic guacamole. Sammy’s doesn’t limit itself to what you’d expect, however. They bring a new level of authenticity from the Mexican street market directly into Elgin, with a plethora of tasty dishes for those who want something a little bit more specialized. Try, for example, the cochinitas pibil, which involves a special cooking technique that’s very difficult to find outside of Mexico, or their specialty dish for at least two people, Sammy’s parrillada, which involves, among a large selection of grilled meats and veggies, grilled cactus. For a little pick-me-up, have a look at their tequila and margarita selection – it is sure to promote relaxation.
Sammy’s Mexican Grill, Road Unit 111, Ste 111, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 622 2020
When you walk into Toom Toom, a warm red light reflecting off the mostly red décor immediately welcomes and invigorates you, which is just the beginning of a superb dining experience. When you open the menu, you’ll find a difficult choice before you. The pad thai, of course, is always a good choice, but they also have more exotic options such as the crab curry or basil chicken. They also offer you the freedom to create your own salmon or catfish dishes with whatever sauce you like the best. The dessert menu, often ignored at Asian restaurants, is also worth a look, as they have purple rice – a special variety of sweet rice that can be served with mango, banana pudding, or ice cream.
Toom Toom, 23 S Grove Ave, Elgin, IL, USA, +1 847 531 8755