Chicago: 10 Things to Do

8. Lutnia Continental Café

Lutnia Continental Cafe chicago Leah Pietrusiak
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Chicago has the largest population of Poles outside of Warsaw, and the area by Belmont and Central avenues is just one of the community's hot spots. If you're just looking for great no-frills food, head to Grota, but for a more romantic Eastern European dining experience, dip into Lutnia Continental Cafe. The dark red carpet, matching fake flowers, gold trimmings and white tablecloths give it a charming decor — we'll call it "18th-century shabby chic à la banquet hall." Go on a Friday or Saturday night when the candles are ablaze and a player is at the white piano.

Many menu items — some with a French flair — are prepared tableside, like the Polish Woods Venison, the Steak à la "Diana" and even the Caesar salad. To prepare the Polish coffee, a server heats a glass containing honey liqueur and brown sugar over a flame, pours in rich coffee, and tops it off with whipped cream, an orange peel and a sprig of mint. The pears and peaches for the ice cream flambé desserts get similar treatment, so save room. And if you're looking for a unique cocktail, try the Zubrowka martini: vodka bottled with neutralized buffalo grass, and a splash of apple juice.

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