Diners dig this corner spot, which lets it all hang out with a "funkadelic post-hippy eclectic world cuisine." What does that mean? Well, old-fashioned right-from-the-fountain cream soda paired with, say, jerk chicken. Start your day with a Cajun scramble or Mexican omelet. Sample such "platters" as fried green tomatoes, tandoori chicken salad, barbecue pork tenderloin, and an eggplant sandwich. $ Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
429 Temple Ave., Highland Park, 847-432-0770
This American grill and wine bar occupies the same space and has the same owners as Carlos', a Highland Park staple for 30 years. Carlos and his wife Debbie have reinvented themselves in this warm yet contemporary spot. Enjoy guacamole prepared tableside and grilled shrimp in a spicy papaya sauce. The dinner-sized cobb lobster salad is a popular entrée but for something meatier go for the braised short ribs. $$ Dinner Wed.-Mon.
708 Twelfth St., Wilmette, 847-251-2228
Pastas of all cuts, sizes and flavors mingle with different sauces at this casually elegant restaurant serving up American fusion fare with a European bent. For example, select a whole wheat garlic-parsley fettuccine and pair it up with a roasted garlic and sun dried tomatoes sauce. Main entrees include herb garlic shrimp, vegetable risotto and pepper-crusted prime filet mignon medallions. $$ Lunch Mon.-Fri.; dinner daily
1003 Green Bay Road, Winnetka, 847-446-7050
This casual yet good-looking neighborhood spot has a menu that is a little bit of this and little bit of that. Case in point, you can start your meal with fried ravioli, seared scallops with pineapple salsa or Thai chicken salad. Then there's a large selection of pastas and eclectic entrees such as roasted duck or cioppino — Italian fish stew. $$ Lunch Mon.-Sat., dinner daily, brunch Sun.
Park View Restaurant
Ravinia Festival, 201 St. Johns Ave., Highland Park, 847-432-7550
Located on the second floor of Ravinia's modern dining pavilion, Park View gives an upscale dining experience and view of the grounds for visitors attending eclectic performances. Start with a crab guacamole and settle in with braised short ribs, wood fired Amish chicken, and eggplant gnocchi. Finish with a cappuccino crunch pie. $$$ Seasonal dinner daily
Prairie Grass Café
601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-205-4433