It's true: Evanston has tons of amazing restaurants. There are so many fun, exciting, and delicious places to eat so close to the Northwestern campus that there seems to be no good reason to travel outside the Evanston bubble.

However, the suburbs north of Evanston have their fair share of foodie gems. Sure, you might have to jump on a train or call an Uber, but stepping out of your comfort zone to eat some really bomb food usually pays off. The North Shore restaurant scene is pretty lit, even north of Evanston (gasp!).

Being from the northern suburbs (shoutout to my Wilmette people!), I know a lot of the best spots to hit up, but this is by no means a comprehensive list. I definitely endorse exploring any spot that piques your interest, and if you find somewhere you love, post a pic on Insta and tag me (@mylifeinsalad)!

The Noodle

The Noodle is a local Italian restaurant that has become a neighborhood institution. They make their pasta from scratch everyday, and they have a really broad menu that has something for everyone. I love their tomato basil soup and chicken dishes, and their spinach linguine is great for when you want to feel #healthy but still eat pasta.

This is a great North Shore restaurant to bring your parents to when they come into town or to catch up with your friends over a plate of delicious pasta. Be warned- it's a pretty small restaurant that is always full, so make sure to call in advance to get a table! 

The Rock House

This cozy coffee shop doubles as a music school for local kids. Venture into downtown Wilmette to enjoy their tasty seasonal lattes, indulge in their stocked candy corner, grab a custom grilled cheese or go for a healthier option with salads from the Noodle next door.

This spot is frequented by local kids and moms, but is a great place to bunker down for an afternoon of uninterrupted studying. Also, they often enlist local kids to play live music — the music school produces really good musicians!


A newer spot in downtown Wilmette, Napolita is a really great spot for authentic, delicious pizza. They have an insanely cool pizza oven in the back, and specialize in fresh, creative pizzas.

A favorite of mine is the Pizza Carbonara, which is topped with an egg (perfect for your #yolkporn insta). The menu is pretty limited, but if what you want is really good pizza, Napolita is worth a visit.


For the #brunch obsessed, Fuel is a place you need to add to your bucket list ASAP. The menu is filled with brunch classics and a few exciting additions like chilaquiles and a bomb breakfast burrito. Their hash (any of the options, really) is to die for, and the lighting inside is perfect for your obligatory insta pic.

They are located basically at the Wilmette metra station, so it's super easy to get there from Evanston. In the summer, they have really lovely outdoor seating, too. There's really no excuse not to go! 

Homers Ice Cream

You can't talk about North Shore restaurants without mentioning Homers. A go-to spot for amazing ice cream, burgers, and fries, you can never go wrong with a trip to this famed Wilmette institution.

They have a huge variety of ice-cream flavor options, so there's something for everyone from the classic vanilla to more exciting flavors like prairie berry. My personal favorite is cappuccino chip, but every flavor I've tried is fantastic. 

True Juice

Just a couple of blocks away from Spynergy, a popular spinning studio, True Juice is the perfect place to refuel after a tough class and reach your #healthgoals. They serve housemade juices and grab-and-go meals.

True Juice is a great source for delicious, healthy options even when you're crunched for time. Sure, it's a little bougie, but there's nothing wrong with channeling your inner suburbian mom when it tastes this good. 

Cafe Buongiorno 

This family-owned spot in downtown Winnetka is a must-visit for brunch or lunch. They hand-make all of their delicious soups, so if you go for brunch, definitely bring some soup home to eat later.

Their menu is huge, but you can't go wrong between the amazing omelettes, insane waffles, or lunch classics like salads and sandwiches. Because the family that owns the place is so dedicated to their food, everything tastes like it was made with love. 

Taco Nano

An offshoot of the popular Happ Inn across the street, Taco Nano is a neighborhood favorite for really awesome and creative tacos. The line is usually pretty long, filled by local families and students, but it's worth the wait. Make sure to get multiple kinds to sample the full array of options available, and definitely get chips and guac on the side #treatyoself. 

Casa de Isaac

Sure, Highwood seems really far away, but Casa De Isaac is worth the trek. They serve the most authentic and delicious Mexican food on the North Shore, beating out some stiff competition.

If you don't want to hike all the way to Highwood, they also have a Highland Park location. Whichever one you choose, you need to make the journey to experience the Casa De Isaac magic for yourself. 

Their tacos, enchiladas, and posole draw crowds, but everything on the menu is amazing!

Bent Fork Bakery

Complete your trip to Highwood with a visit to the Bent Fork bakery. This tiny shop is crammed to the brim with delicious goodies, all of them worth blowing your diet for. My personal favorites are their s'mores bars and their ginger molasses cookies, but you should sample anything (and everything) that looks good-- trust me, it'll change your life.

If you need baked goods to bring to a party or just to #treatyoself, the Bent Fork is a must-add to your bucket list. 

This is just a peek at the food scene north of Isabella, but it's pretty clear that Northwestern students should at least consider expanding their culinary horizons. While there are no shortage of #foodie havens in Evanston, you can post a unique pic if you hit up locations elsewhere on the North Shore...just sayin'.