7 Wrigleyville Restaurants That Hit A Culinary Home Run

As any Chicagoan knows, spring signals one all-important thing: the start of baseball season! Whether you're a loyal Sox fan or a die-hard Cubby, you'll probably be spending time on the city's North Side, soon. So, to help you out in the dining department, we've picked out Wrigleyville's seven best epicurean delights. These are sure to knock it out of the park each and every time.
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Mia Francesca

Affiliated with such favored dining institutions as The Purple Pig, The Publican, and The Violet Hour, Mia Francesca’s is helmed by executive chef and owner Scott Harris (The 95th, Ambria). While the atmosphere is unpretentious enough to welcome you in all blue and red glory, the food is far from second rate. Batter up!

What to order: Rustic Italian-style pizzas, like the Schiacciata alla Toscana, are perfect for sharing with a group, and a special gluten-free menu allows restrictive diners to focus on their love of the game — try the vitello sassi, pan-roasted veal medallions, blended together with baby artichokes, mushrooms, and herbs in a brandy sauce.

Mia Francesca, 3311 North Clark Street (between Aldine Avenue and Buckingham Place); 773- 281-3310.

Photo: Courtesy of Mia Francesca
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Uncommon Ground

Healthier ball fans will definitely want to check out this alternative eatery. Hailed as “the greenest restaurant in America,” Uncommon Ground also broke, well, uncommon ground when it became the first Certified Organic Roof Top farm in the United States. Using sustainable ingredients from its own farm in addition to seasonal, local, and organic products from others, its Clark Street menu is a far cry from McDonald’s. A rotating roster of live entertainment will keep you plenty entertained on given nights, and local craft beer options certainly trump tin cans of warm Bud Light.

What to Order: Even the cocktails here are Earth-friendly — for every “Agropolitan” (a greener take on the metropolitan with moonglow pear-infused Rain Organic vodka, fresh apple and pear puree) served, $0.50 is donated to the Chicago Rarities Orchard project to help establish community rare-fruit orchards in the city. As for food, we recommend noshing on everything from the bacon-wrapped meatloaf to the quinoa-stuffed delicate squash.

Uncommon Ground, 3800 North Clark Street (at Grace Street); 773-929-3680.

Photo: Courtesy of Uncommon Ground
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Home Bistro

Though it’s just a few blocks from the field, Home Bistro is just far enough away from the madness to offer refuge from the crowds of inevitably overserved and unruly patrons. A welcome respite from chain restaurants and clubby bars, this cozy and intimate BYOB (with a wine shop conveniently located right across the street) also covers its bases in the nosh department. Forget the scoreboard — it’s HB that’s winning.

What to Order: To start, try an out-of-the-box app such as chicken liver parfait or crispy lamb sweetbreads. If you’re ready to skip right to the entrée, we think the Amsterdam style mussels to ricotta gnocchi and house Italian sausage are pretty solid choices. Desserts change daily, but we think the bread pudding looks divine!

Home Bistro, 3404 North Halsted Street (between Roscoe Street and Newport Avenue); 773- 661-0299.

Photo: Courtesy of Bob Moysan
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Vines on Clark

Vines on Clark’s massive patio and central locale directly across from Wrigley Field keep it packed to the brim on game days, but when the crowds die down, you can seek refuge from a sea of cheap beer and fast food here. Innovative menu items cater to a more advanced palate, and the bar stocks an impressive wine and cocktail list. The Monday-night special (non-game days only) is perfect for date nights on a budget. Half off all food and wine? We’re so there.

What to Order: You could play it safe with the Vines burger, but why would you want to with items like the goat cheese and grape salad (mixed baby greens with baked red apple grapes and walnuts tossed in raspberry vinagerette and topped with baked goat cheese) or the blackened steak alfredo as options?

Vines on Clark, 3554 North Clark Street (at Addison Street); 773-327-8572. Photo: Courtesy of Vines on Clark
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Kanela Café

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and game days are no exception. If you rushed out the door without so much as a power bar, don’t sweat it — Kanela Café has you covered. The patio is opened up year-round, and its family-friendly atmosphere makes it a safe place to take the entire brood, your very littlest sports fans included.

What to order: We’re partial to good old-fashioned eggs (Kanela uses cage-free, organic ones) and bacon, but those with a sweet tooth might want to try the strawberry waffles with strawberry preserves, crème fraîche, and fresh strawberries, or the banana split crepes with fresh strawberries and bananas, nutella, and crème de patisserie. Kanela also makes smoothies! Um, yum?

Kanela Café, 3231 North Clark Street (between Belmont Avenue and School Street); 773-248- 1622.

Photo: Courtesy of Kanela Café
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Yoshi’s Café

With restaurants opening and closing faster than you can say bon appetit and chefs changing kitchens like culinary roulette, the fact that Yoshi’s Café has been a Lakeview staple for more than 30 years is all the proof you need to know that this restaurant is a cut above the rest. Yoshi’s has garnered more awards over the years than we care to count and also boasts a philanthropic stance within the community, and beyond. Owners Yoshi and Nobuka Katsumara transformed their 30th anniversary celebration last November into a charitable event to raise funds for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. Our hats off to the chef!

What to Order: Seafood. Chef Yoshi is a former wholesale seafood businessman, so you can bet the salmon will be fresh, whether as an entrée over couscous, smoked tomato sauce and sautéed Chinese broccoli or in a salad with Asian pear.

Yoshi’s Café, 3257 North Halsted Street (at Aldine Avenue); 773-248-6160.

Photo: Courtesy of Yoshi’s Café
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Socca

Named for a popular French chickpea cake, Socca features a Mediterranean-inspired menu and plenty of imported wines from Italy, bringing a touch of European class to this all- American ‘hood. But don’t take our word for it — a little birdie told us, a.k.a. the Food Network that chef Art Smith (Table Fifty-Two) is a fan.

What to Order: Something exotic. Escargot? Braised rabbit, perhaps? Seared sea scallops with crispy polenta? We’ll take one of each.

Socca, 3301 North Clark Street (at Aldine Avenue); 773-248-1155.

Photo: Courtesy of Socca
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