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in Lakeview or Belmont on the Red line or Southport on the Brown line

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Flat Top Grill (Lakeview)

View Map3200 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 665-8100
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Editorial Review of Flat Top Grill (Lakeview)

Asian-inspired dining with a bit of Country Buffet thrown in; this cheerful, funky-fun, do-it-yourself stir fry joint is perfect for a first or fiftieth date. Flat Top is comparable to the popular Mongolian Barbeque (but better, and less chain-y); you fill your bowl with your favorite 'fixins' and chill out (hopefully while sipping on something) as the chef cooks up your concoction on, surprise, surprise, a flat (top) grill. Even the pickiest of eaters will find something to enjoy: from regular rice to numerous types of noodles to veggies and meats and spices and sauces galore. And at about $14 for a bottomless bowl, you're guaranteed to go home thoroughly satisfied, no matter how uncultured your taste buds might be.

The staff at Flat Top Grill is friendly, though your server will start you off with the slightly canned "Have you been here before?" The seating is arranged in half-booth, half-stool tables along the walls, and the place isn't huge, so you may end up waiting for a few very worthwhile minutes. The atmosphere is upbeat and lively, as opposed to dim and romantic, with many decorative distractions, just in case your dream date turns out to be comatose or crazy. A full bar with creative cocktails like the Horny Monkey ensure you'll be able to keep yourself amused in the unfortunate event of a romantic dud.

Rise and shine, a breakfast buffet is served from 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday and Sunday.

Average cost: $10-$20

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11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday

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