International Eats During Lake County Restaurant Rally

Sometimes you can’t make that big trip to Europe, that safari excursion in Africa or that relaxing beach setting in Southeast Asia, Central America and/or the Caribbean Islands to experience international eats first hand.

Lake County Restaurant Rally is approaching, and you can have the next best thing from the comfort of an Illinois eatery.

Lake County Restaurant Rally runs through August 9. It features over 100 restaurants for 10 days to savor (and come back for seconds) highlighted by a check-in challenge that can get you a gift card to a participating eatery.

Who says you can’t stay land of lakes local to eat traditional, rustic, ethnic and divine bites like a seasoned traveler abroad?

Here is a list of Lake County Restaurant Rally participants that provide international eats (plus a few feature dishes to help you make your decision).

Authentico Mexican Restaurant and Bar in Lake Forest, Mexico

This Mexican joint proves to be a top-notch choice to dine during Lake County Restaurant Rally. Led by their fearless leader Chef Antonio Gutierrez, Authentico provides a delectable array of traditional flavors with a modern twist. The Lake Forest eatery has a jam-packed menu of appetizers, ensaladas, burritos, fajitas, tacos, enchiladas and so much more. Authentico also offers vegeterian and gluten-free options.

Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano in Deer Park, Italy


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Happy #NationalLasagnaDay 😍

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The Lincolnshire eatery is an Italian cuisine restaurant. The deli and market serving lunch and dinner is highlighted by subs, soups, salads entrées, pastas, steaks, wood-burning brick oven pizza and calzone. The fare is prepared with fresh imported and local ingredients. The Italian eatery also makes their own ravioli and gnocchi from scratch. “Lincolnshire’s hidden gem” also caters private events.

Bonta Pizzeria & Restaurant in Lincolnshire, Italy

The Lincolnshire eatery is an Italian cuisine restaurant. The deli and market serving lunch and dinner is highlighted by subs, soups, salads entrées, pastas, steaks, wood-burning brick oven pizza and calzone. The fare is prepared with fresh imported and local ingredients. The Italian eatery also makes their own ravioli and gnocchi from scratch. “Lincolnshire’s hidden gem” also caters private events.

Cafe Pomigliano in Libertyville, Italy

Cafe Pomigliano is a breath of fresh air with a bright and modern take on authentic Italian dishes by Chef Eduardo Martinez in a stylish and cozy family-owned eatery. This Italian-inspired restaurant serves the classics in a warm contemporary space with a long bar and unique wine-bottle chandeliers. The Pomigliano family, for a fourth of a century, has prided itself on making daily, mouth-watering homemade dishes. The eats are prepared by recipes that originate from the small community right outside Naples, Italy. You must check out their Sunday brunch.

Casa Bonita Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar in Libertyville, Mexico

Casa Bonita serves authentic homemade Mexican cuisine prepared daily and made with high-quality fresh ingredients from local markets. Casa Bonita offers a vacation-style atmosphere with indoor and heated outdoor seating and a spectacular Tequila Bar featuring several delicious fresh hand-squeezed Margaritas.

Chrissoulas Restaurant in Libertyville, Greece

The MainStreet Libertyville eatery features Greek and Mediterranean cuisine highlighted by octopus, pastitsio, moussaka, souvlaki, salads and a selection of 30 Greek vinos. The chef brothers, Nick and Theo Dimitriou have a combined 20+ year career in the culinary industry. The brothers stay curious and prepare new innovative dishes constantly while being mindful of the changing seasons and utilizing local ingredients to put out an exceptional product.

El Buren Caribbean Restaurant Highwood, Puerto Rico

These Caribbean flavors that will blow your mind. The Latinx restaurant serves the most exquisite traditional dishes from Puerto Rico. From El Jibarito Sandwich to their Bistec Encebollado to their Chuleta “Kan Kan,” and for dessert a Patanos Maduros, you could pick an item blindly and be in foodie euphoria.

El Puerto Mexican Restaurant in Fox Lake, Mexico


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One friend could only smell it.

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This authentic Mexican restaurant has a beautiful scenic view and is located on Nippersink Lake, connected to the Chain O’Lakes. Watch a beautiful sunset on the Chain while enjoying the best Margarita in Lake County. The menu includes Enchiladas, Chimichangas, sizzling fajitas, steak, seafood, burritos, combination platters and a variety of drinks, desserts and obviously tacos. Their three taco meal is served with lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese and your choice of ground beef, chicken or steak. The platter also comes with Mexican rice and beans. The Fox Lake Restaurant also serves taco salad with your choice of ground beef, chicken or steak topped with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole. The restaurant offers three indoor dining rooms, a seasonal outdoor patio and a full bar with unique homemade drinks. Come by land or boat. Come rain or shine, you will be able to sit out in the patio under the canopy.

Francesca’s Intimo in Lake Forest, Italy


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Tell me more, tell me more, was it love at first bite? #Francescas

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Renowned for its flavorful and familiar Italian dishes, this nearly 20+-year-old neighborhood institution is going strong. The menu features the zesty, earthy cuisine of Rome and the surrounding areas of Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio. The piattis are highlighted by salads, paninis, seafoods, pizza and various pasta delights, located in the heart of the city’s downtown area. You must try their desserts as they are to die for.

Gianni’s Cafe in Kildeer, Italy


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O-fish-ally in love with this salmon salad. Grilled to perfection and sprinkled with gorgonzola cheese and a balsamic reduction.

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For nearly two decades, Gianni’s Cafe has provided the land of lakes and the rest of the Chicagoland area with decadent seafood, pasta and a slew of other Italian entrees. The Kildeer cuisine makers also provide an extensive wine list and craft beer selection. Polish off a plate of your own or devour some tapas with your bestest buddies with exclusive shareables like sausage and peppers, eggplant involtini or Castroville artichoke.

La Casa de Samuel in Waukegan, Mexico

The Waukegan eatery serves authentic Mexican cuisine. All dishes are served with handmade corn tortillas fresh of the griddle to the table. The Waukegan Main Street restaurant’s highlighted eats include Pollo en Mole Estilo Guerrero (chicken in house-made mole sauce), Filete Gourmet (Bacon wrapped beef tenderloin filet with ham and chihuahua cheese), Chiles en Nogada (Poblano peppers stuffed with mincemeat, walnut cream and pomegranate), Cabrito Estilo Monterrey (grilled goat served with guacamole, cowboy beans and pasilla sauce), Filete Oaxaqueño (catfish filet in a banana leaf with zucchini squash blossom, chihuahua cheese and guajillo sauce), Platános Flameados (flamed bananas cooked with kahlúa, tequila Gran Manier and ice cream) and Nieve Frita (fried ice cream). Their two signature tacos include taco de cecina (guacamole, pico de gallo and beans) and taco de Lengua. La Cada de Samuel’s antojitos can be served with steak, chicken, pork or squash blossoms.

Las Monarcas Mexican Restaurant in Libertyville, Mexico

With their handmade tortillas and their unbelievable spread, Las Monarcas Mexican Restaurant is just the place to be. This south of the border eatery just opened in 2020 and features the taste from the proprietor’s hometown of Charo Michoacán. The menu is highlighted by tortillas, tacos, tortas, gorditas, burritos and a variety of other traditional Mexican eats.

Maggiano’s Little Italy in Vernon Hills, Italy

Maggiano’s Little Italy is an Italian-American themed restaurant located at Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills. The restaurant was initially founded in 1991 in Chicago. Maggiano’s became an enormous success and branched across the Chicagoland area and throughout the country. The Vernon Hills eatery is renowned for its authentic, homemade cuisine like signature flatbreads, hand-crafted cocktails, and entrees like their Taylor Street Baked Ziti and Zucchini Fritte. Maggiano’s offers cooking classes as well as event space for parties and meetings.

Mambo Italian in Mundelein, Italy

Every meal at the Mundelein Italian facility is prepared with care and the freshest ingredients like you’re at grandma’s table. Mambo Italiano features innovative cuisines developed by the Cardone family. The Italian tradition has been ongoing at this 15-year old business, and the menu is highlighted by pizzas, pastas, zoup and insalate, paninis, plates of seafood and a plethora of other delights.

Marigold Maison Indian Cuisine in Lincolnshire, India

The innovative Indian eatery creates authentic Hindi cuisine prepared with hand-crafted spice blinds. Take a culinary tour India’s finest fare ranging from tandoori delicacies to popular street food. Diners are provided a passport to the Bhaarateey flavors created by the Lincolnshire restaurant’s executive chef, Sunil Kumar. You need to try chicken tikka (free-range chicken breast marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, tandoori spices; served over onions and peppers), the pani puri (vegan dish – wheat puffs, potato, chickpeas, tamarind and spicy water) and the samosas (vegetarian crispy turnover, stuffed with potatoes, green peas and spices) and more on your visit. Marigold Mason is also the winner of OpenTable’s Diners’ Choice award in 2015. Bonappaitit (Hindi version of the word).

Park Street Craft Kitchen & Bar in Mundelein, Peru


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Quinoa Fritters Small Plate, quinoa, mixed veggies, salsa criolla, peruvian pesto sauce #mundelein #parkstreeteats

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The Mundelein kitchen and bar recently changed hands in ownership: Nora and Paul Arroyo as they purchased the eatery in November 2017. The menu is updated seasonally and evolves the new culinary experience for guests on each visit. The South American style menu features soups, salads, a slew of unique entrees and housemade desserts. The downtown Mundelein establishment offers fresh takes on vintage Peruvian plates.

Primo Italian American Cuisine in Gurnee, Italy

Primo Italian American Cuisine is Lake County’s dining hot spot with five-star ratings across the board. The Gurnee establishment’s menu includes salads and sandwiches, pasta, seafood, steaks and much more. The Gurnee establishment boasts an array of Daily Herald Reader’s Choice Awards. The jam-packed menu is complemented by a wine list of 100+ flavors.

Saluto’s Pizza & Pasta in Gurnee, Italy


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Salutos Italian spinach #chitown #chicagofoodauthority #eeeeeats

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Salutos, a favorite Italian restaurant in Gurnee, draws residents from various local communities. The restaurant features a two-story bar, a large dining room with booths and a private banquet meeting room. Famous for their homemade pasta and the “secret recipe” salad dressing, Salutos has been a hit in northern Lake County since 1990. This full-service restaurant’s claim to fame is the pizza, pasta and courteous service. From their delectable appetizers like Artichoke Heart Fondue, Toasted Ravioli and so much more; to their homemade sauces and pastas; to their pizza, either thin, pan or stuffed, everyone will find something to devour on their menu.

Shakou in Libertyville, Japan

The chic Shakou decor complemented by sumptuous eats only scratches the surface of this delightful restaurant. Award-winning Shakou Executive Chef Sang Choi creates dishes with unparalleled flavor and flair. The Libertyville city-vibe fare facility is ranked in the top 100 restaurants in America, according to Forbes Magazine. The Japenese Inshoku-ten features signature items like Black Widow (battered eel, avocado and spicy mayo), Ocean Drive (Tuna, yellowtail, avocado cilantro and green pepper and tons of sushi tastes. The menu is also highlighted by sashimi, other seafood eats, wraps, salads and more.

Tacos El Norte of Lake Bluff and Libertyville, Mexico


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El Norte Combo – Jr Burrito, Tostada, Taco, Quesadilla

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Tacos El Norte uses the freshest ingredients in all our dishes. Our menu delivers tastes inspired by their families’ roots in Mexico. This Mexican is some of the freshest fare in Lake Bluff and Libertyville. From desayunos (breakfast) to bonatas (appetizers) and seriously loaded menu of tacos, burritos, seafood, enchiladas and more, your tastebuds will be dancing.

Tony Cannoli’s Specialty Pastries in Mundelein, Italy

Holy moly! If you can only check out this cannoli from Tony! The Mundelein confectioner creates traditional and unconventional cannolis for customers to indulge their sweet tooth. Tony Cannoli Specialty Pastries also conducts classes to teach visitors how to make the sweet Italian treat. The Mundelein maker also makes cakes, donuts, cookies, chips and more.

For more International eats to devour in the land of lakes, continue here. To learn more about Lake County Restaurant Rally, click here.

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