Madison Street, which runs thru Oak Park and Forest Park, is full of boutiques, antiques, restaurants, bars and anything else under the sun. With the holidays coming up, this street is a festive place to do your holiday shopping, and eat some fabulous food.

Their annual Holiday walk is an event not be missed. On December 5, this street turns into a holiday wonderland when all the shopkeepers decorate their windows with interesting and live displays. Horse-drawn sleigh rides, roasted marshmallows, free food and wine samples, and great sales. This stretch of street has jam-packed with restaurants– from special occasion restaurants to super casual sandwich shops. Why not visit during the holidays and have some great food. These Oak Park and Forest Park restaurants will not disappoint.

Francesca’s Fiore
7407 W. Madison, Forest Park, IL
708-771-3063

A cozy restaurant that will warm you up in winter with its fireplace. Traditional Italian food with a warm atmosphere and an extensive menu. The meatballs are some of the best, many say. Gluten Free menu is offered for those who follow the gluten free protocol.

Gaetano’s
7636 W. Madison, Forest Park, IL
708-366-4010

This may be one of your best dining experiences ever. Being one of the best Italian restaurants in Chicagoland– many consider this a special occasion restaurant. Many say don’t even bother to order from the menu and try the tasting menu where you sample all the chef’s creations. Unique dishes and some of the best calamari ever. Chef Gaetano was awarded the prestigious “Ospitalita Italiana” award from the country of Italy for having an “Authentic” Italian restaurant. Only 600 restaurants in the world have this distinction.

Junction Diner
7401 Madison, Forest Park, IL
708-771-5276

This is a fun American restaurant to bring kids to. The food is brought out to the customer on a train. The train motif is only one of the appealing factors to this great family restaurant. The food is good too. There is even an old fashioned photo booth in the back of the restaurant.

Louie’s Grill
7422, W. Madison, Forest Park, IL
(708) 689-8607

Hot pancakes and hot coffee will warm you up here. This is a classic diner that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch. This is the spot where the locals hang out and catch up on what is going on with their friends, neighbors and the neighborhood. Basically the heart of Madison Street. Service is always served with a smile. Pancakes are exceptionally good.

New Rebozo Mexican Restaurant
1116 Madison Street, Oak Park, IL
708-445-0370

First off, the chef will come and give you a hug. Chef Paco is one of a kind and goes out of his way to make all his guests feel welcome. If that doesn’t warm you up, then the fiesta Mole enchiladas (six enchiladas so you can try all six mole varieties) and the stuffed pepper will. The mole dishes are the specialty here. Also try the tamarind margarita– one of a kind.

Shanahan’s Creole Restaurant
7353 Madison Street, Forest Park, IL
708-366-0775

A dose of southern hospitality and food will definitely warm you up quickly. A dish of chicken and Andouille sausage jambalaya will raise your temperature and fill your stomach, as well as the Voodoo Pork Chop Platter. This is a beloved brunch destination in the area with dishes like the Voodoo skillet, crab Mornay omelet and bananas foster waffle. Their homemade pecan pie is also a winner.

Saigon Pho & Cafe Beta
7237 W. Madison St, Forest Park, IL
708-689-0389

With the cold weather upon us– the pho here will warm you up. Hot soup is definitely a feel good food and this place makes you feel good each time you come here. The veggie pho is exceptional and their Bahn Mi Xa siu (BBQ Pork) is fantastic. This place will warm you up instantly.

Skrine Chops
7230 Madison Street, Forest Park, IL
708-771-7230

Voted the best pork chop in Chicago, this spicy version will surely warm you up. This rustic restaurant offers some of the best BBQ in the area. The atmosphere makes you feel like you escaped to a lodge in the deep woods– taxidermy completes the rustic look. During the holidays the owner really goes all out decorating as well. Not only are the pork chops good, but their barbecued chicken salad and their Yukon gold mashed potatoes are quite tasty also. Just a warm place all around.

7748 W. Madison, Forest Park, IL
708-366-8888

To keep the cold winter at bay, this diamond in the rough Thai restaurant will do the trick. This BYOB restaurant has some of the most authentic Thai food in the area. This is truly a bang for the buck place and the ginger chicken is exceptional. Their hot soups are just the thing to warm the soul.

 

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