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Bel Ami

View Map5530 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 878-2808
Details Find What Else Is Nearby Bel Ami User Reviews

Editorial Review of Bel Ami

A visit to this North Side Bosnian joint can be summed up in one word: surprising. You'd think with the far-flung location and the inquisitive stares you get upon entering that you'd be in for a ride, but quite the contrary; it's one of the more mellow cafes around, with fantastic food to boot.

Draped in Mediterranean sunset-colored walls with flat-screen televisions in every corner, this cafe boasts a menu full of meat, meat and more meat. Chicken and beef kebabs, fried chicken, breaded schnitzel, and pljeskavica (hand-formed meat patties) are what the natives plow in for on a daily basis.

From the choice in appetizers, a good bet is the platter full of chicken wings or the meze (homemade salami, feta cheese and olives), but on most tables you'll see a delicious looking dish called chevapi. The proper (and best) way to devour this national treasure is to smear a huge hunk of the warm, kitchen-made bread with sour cream, pile on a bit of chopped onion and tomato, and shove a tiny, homemade ground beef sausage into the moist pocket of bread. Top off each bite with a perfectly crisp French fry and a wash of piping-hot latte. Wow.

Not too many women frequent the place, but if you do go, you'll find yourself right at home with the curious, mostly-male crowd. There is nothing more delightful than seeing a gruff, burly old man chain-smoking and yakking it up with his pals, while delicately sipping a hot tea with lemon and honey.

Vegetarians will be hard-pressed to find something to their liking, but there is an interesting fried-cheese dish served with a tossed salad, French fries and cabbage salad, as well as an anytime-of-day, create-your-own omelet dish. For those with budget in mind, a bowl of the chicken soup is hearty enough to be an entire meal, especially with a serving of the dense bread.

Average cost: <$10

Centerstage Reviewer: Misty Tosh

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9 a.m.-2 a.m. daily

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Bel Ami was mentioned in these articles...

Coo Coo for Kiko's, 3/17/08
While stuck in So-Cal, Misty dreams of Chicago's diverse food options--especially the meat.

Going Cuckoo for Colombian, 12/12/05
Mekato's Bakery is nothing but caramel goodness.

Raving Dish's Best of 2005, 11/28/05
Misty Tosh looks back on a year of cravings.

Coffee, European-Style, 6/27/05
Bel Ami proves there's no other way.


chicago, metromix