We had a wonderful dining experience at Magnolia Cafe.
I have to start off by saying that the General Manger, Susan Grena is married to the chef-owner, Kas Medhat. Susan is the neice of our friends. We had heard a lot about their restaurant and finally got a date on our calendars to have dinner there. I thought - "Okay, a little family restaurant - we'll check it out"... It was far beyond what I was expecting! It really was a treat!
It's located about 20 minutes north of Chicago in "Uptown". When I walked into the place, I thought cozy-warm ambience, wood floors, exposed wood-beam ceiling, earthy colors - greens, honey golds, brown suede. The picture here does not do it justice.
The menu is American with a light French touch. Not fu-fu or over the top. Man-sized servings, so no one leaves hungry.
This gem of a place has been featured on "Check Please" and highly recommended - rightfully so! Watch the video - http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?erube_fh=cp&cp.submit.restaurantDetail=1&cp.id=197
There was four of us and we all ordered different entrees -- it was hard to decide. For starters - try the crab cakes - light and tasty with a homemade tarter sauce and relish -- excellent! Or the jumbo tempura shrimp over lemon chive risotto with english peas. For entrees we had braised beef short ribs, seared scallops with truffled goat cheese ravioli, grilled beef tenderloin and pulled-pork raviolis. WOW - I wish I would have photographed the plates, because the presentation was great. We also saw a lot of "Magnolia Burgers" being served. Huge, made from 8oz Angus beef and topped with a fresh baked brioche bun.
The menu is seasonal and fresh. The serving sizes were ample! Service was very attentive, changing flatwear after each course is a nice touch. They also serve a Sunday Brunch. Here is a link to their website. http://www.intermediagraphics.net/magnolia/home.html Magnolia Cafe, 1224 W.Wilson, Chicago IL. 773-728-8785.
If you want to enjoy a night out with friends or have a cozy dinner for two - I highly recommend it! They take reservations and offer valet parking on the weekends. What more can I say.... it's worth the trip!