1 iChef Asian Cuisine
It may have a name like a phone, but this gem — which made our 30 Best Suburban Restaurants list — serves perfectly executed Sichuan classics: Chongqing chicken, fish with clear noodles in a chili oil soup, and hot and numbing noodles that are a case study in the endorphin-inducing properties of Sichuan peppercorns.
1752 W. Algonquin Rd., Hoffman Estates
2 To Pho
The pho here has an admirably nuanced broth, but the go-to specialties are the crackly stuffed banh xeo crêpes and the cha gio chay, fried spring rolls wrapped in rice paper rather than wheat skins.
823 E. Algonquin Rd., Schaumburg
3 Nawabi Hyderabad House Biryani Place
At this newish location of a national chain, focus on the Hyderabadi dum biryanis: dishes of goat or chicken cooked low and slow in generously seasoned rice. Some versions are spiked with tart gongura leaves.
1424 E. Algonquin Rd., Schaumburg
4 Penang Malaysian Cuisine
Benchmark dishes at Penang, which is one of the area’s few Malaysian restaurants, include roti canai (chewy-crisp flatbreads served with chicken curry), curry mee (rich coconut curry noodle soup), and rendang (beef cooked to stewy submission in a thick reduction of onions, lemongrass, and spices).
1720 W. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights
5 Mitsuwa Marketplace
Its food court is so good that it earned a spot on the 30 Best Suburban Restaurants list.
100 E. Algonquin Rd., Arlington Heights
6 La Rosita Fresh Market
Taquerias in the back of Mexican markets are usually good and occasionally, like this one, great. Fast-moving cooks serve up corn tortillas with just a hint of crispiness, cut sizzling pork al pastor from a spit, and keep a ready supply of cheese-stuffed poblanos for gooey chile relleno tacos.
1805 W. Algonquin Rd., Mount Prospect
7 Chodang Tofu Village
This restaurant specializes in soondubu jjigae, the tofu stew that comes to the table so burbling hot you could poach an egg in it, which is exactly what you do here. Variations range from mixed shellfish to curried beef, mushroom, or kimchi.
1719 W. Algonquin Rd., Mount Prospect
8 NewSeoul BBQ Restaurant
One of the very few local Korean tabletop-barbecue houses that use charcoal instead of gas. You can taste the difference.
638 W. Algonquin Rd., Des Plaines
9 Kusina de Manila
If you’re new to Filipino cooking, you will find this strip mall restaurant’s slender lumpia spring rolls and beefsteak in a sweet soy-onion sauce an easygoing introduction. But if you’re game for something more interesting, try the bangus sisig, milkfish cooked with onions and sweet chili peppers and served on a hot, sizzling plate.
632 W. Algonquin Rd., Des Plaines
10 Mehanata Tavern and Restaurant
Let me tell you about Bulgarian doughnuts. They are misshapen and puffy, crispy on the outside and steamy within, and you have them for breakfast with mild feta and a drizzle of honey. They’re kind of like funnel cakes that have gone to college. Get them with mishmash — eggs scrambled with vegetables and feta.
1141 Lee St. (just north of Algonquin Road), Des Plaines