Looking to dine for a special occasion? Look no further than Convito Cafe & Market. Focusing on French and Italian cuisine, Convito offers a menu with flavors that are often absent from our favorite Evanston spots. Nestled in a Wilmette strip mall and easily accessible via the Purple Line, the restaurant will take you away from the familiarity of Evanston to a restaurant that caters to a suburban crowd.
With an open set-up and large windows welcoming outside light, Convito has a casual and relaxed atmosphere that offers a much-needed break from the stress of college life. It can get slightly loud during peak meal times, but the food is worth the noise. The walls are lined with French and Italian relics and paintings, transporting you to the location from which the food is inspired.
Convito is great for lunch or dinner, but Sunday brunch is when it should not be missed. From beignets, French toast and eggs to soups and salad, there is something for every brunch fanatic at this under-the-radar spot.
The beignets, a New Orleans classic, are airy and puffy with a hint of powdered sugar and cinnamon, allowing them to melt in your mouth for a few guiltless seconds. For the breakfast lover, the brunch trio offers a sample of three signature items – pain perdu (French toast), mini pancakes and crêpes with mixed berries and crème fraiche.
If you’re looking for the “unch” in brunch, you might consider a croque madame. A traditional French dish, a croque madame is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a fried egg on top. Convito’s version is light on the cheese, allowing the creamy egg yolk to give the sandwich its traditionally rich flavor. This dish is accompanied by French fries so thin and crispy the whole plate will be gone before you know it.
Another Convito specialty is the onion soup, made with beef broth baked in a small crock with caramelized onions, gruyère and parmigiano reggiano cheese and slices of bread. There are also plenty of salad options, each offering something different. Try the spinach and blue cheese salad if you’re looking for one with a diverse combination of flavors.
A slight veer from the usual Evanston path that offers more satisfaction for your buck, Convito is the right place if you’re looking to spice up your college food palette. Attached to the restaurant is a large market with a wide array of specialty foods and wine, making it a convenient two-in-one stop for a meal and groceries. That way you don’t have to make the trip to Convito every weekend, you can just take some home with you.
Address: 1515 Sheridan Road, Wilmette, IL 60091
Hours of operation: Mon–Thu 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. (brunch: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.)