An intimate and charming French restaurant
Jilly’s Café is a welcome escape from the trafficked Green Bay Road in Evanston. The space almost resembles a large, elegant dining room, which is to credit for the comfortable yet upscale feel of the restaurant. At times, I felt as though I was in someone’s home, using their fine dishes and linen for a lovingly prepared meal.
I ate here for brunch on a Sunday, and the menu was a cross between breakfast options (blueberry pancakes, a fritatta) and what could pass for dinner entrees (pasta, salmon). I chose the shrimp fritatta, with fresh shrimp, scallions and tomato folded in and melted cheese on top. A side of seasoned and crisp “country” potatoes accompanied the omelet. My friend ordered a portabello and brie appetizer salad, which came on a bed of spinach and mixed greens with balsamic dressing, as well as the soup du jour: roasted tomato and fennel.
Each dish only included a handful of ingredients, but they were thoughtfully combined, and I welcomed the simplicity, because all the flavors were strongly pronounced, especially in the portabello and brie salad. It was such an inspired combination I plan to make it on my own, though I fully expect it to come out sub-par in comparison. But perhaps my favorite touch of my time at Jilly’s was the basket of six small pastries — apple bread, blueberry muffins and scones — the waitress brought out to our table when we first sat down.
Be sure to check the hours before visiting; I once made the mistake of showing up on a Saturday afternoon for brunch, during which they are closed. Dinner can be pricey, so try for lunch or brunch if you’re money-conscious. The best deal, though, is “Jilly’s Rapid Lunch:” a soup or house salad, sandwich and dessert for $10.
-Karina for TKGO City Guides2614 Green Bay Road, Evanston. (847) 869-7636 Official site > Google Maps >