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  • Inovasi

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Inovasi Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://inovasi.us
  • Phone: (847) 295-1000
  • Hours of Operation: Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11:30-1:30
    Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5:00 - Close
    Closed Sunday
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: John des Rosiers
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Entertainment, Farm to Table, Fireplace, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Area, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Entertainment: We feature live local musicians in our bar area every Wednesday evening from 6:00-9:00pm.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Route 176
  • Public Transit: Metra Rail stop Lake Bluff, 200 ft from the front door
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from Inovasi
Casual. Contemporary. American. Chef/Owner John des Rosiers’ vision comes to life at Inovasi with its relaxed setting and world class cuisine located 30 miles north of downtown Chicago in Lake Bluff.

Chef des Rosiers commits to personally searching for the finest quality ingredients by working with local and sustainable farms, including Elawa Farms in neighboring Lake Forest, Illinois. From his very own family recipes like Mom’s Sausage Gravy & Croquettes to the spontaneously put together, hand caught seafood dish Straight Out of the Sea, each full-flavored dish is served in an interesting way with rare and unique ingredients grown specifically for Inovasi.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerContemporary American
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
Diner Reviews
  • "This is a neighborhood place that has incredible innovative food, lovely service, casual but not sloppy."
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "We did expect more from this restaurant after reading some of the reviews. It was a hit or miss on the food, ordered the ceviche which didn't look or taste like a ceviche. A few pieces of whole shrimp and fish with a very odd tasting citrus flavor. The Noodle bowl and mussels were good, beet salad very bland. Spinach and tomato salad nothing special. Probably won't be going back anytime soon."
    Dined on 7/26/2014
  • "I've been coming to this restaurant for many years- since it's opening. At times, I've found the food to be terrific. At other times, the Chef's experiments are not successful. The Chef is a good chef, but he has been slow to learn that he must give his customers what they want instead of pushing them to accept his experiments, as the norm, though many of his creatively driven dishes were quite good. The menu is currently a nice mix of both. I enjoy this place being in town. Business seems brisk."
    Dined on 7/24/2014
  • "We enjoyed the variety of flavors in the various dishes. The truffle fries are great. The fish dish with berry and fresh peas purees was colorful and tasty. We enjoy the variety of salad and soup choices from beet salad to arugula to Kale soup. The chicken with plantains and mango puree was a nice combination. We loved the honey cake with ricotta cheese."
    Dined on 7/23/2014
  • "As their name suggests, the menu is extremely creative. Better yet, is that they deliver a meal that is outstanding. Each of the selections of small plates we ordered was absolutely delicious. We tried the hot pot, the veal dish, the ravioli, and arugala salad, and gelato desert. All fabulous."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "I come to Inovasi often, both for business meals and personally. This is my favorite restaurant in the area. I really enjoy the tasting menu."
    Dined on 7/21/2014
  • "You can't go wrong with Inovasi. Chef John is constantly changing his menu to what's fresh and available locally. Inovasi provides foodie-worthy high quality and tasty dishes, without the snobbery. I highly recommend the chicken liver pate. It is one of the "lightest" more flavorful pates you will have. The ceviche was fresh and delicate. My out of the sea dish was Ahi tuna on a bed of polenta, garnished with fresh cherries and herbs. Burgers with truffled fries were equally filling and juicy. Slow roasted veal was good, only problem was you wanted more. If you haven't tried it, go to Inovasi. They also have weekday specials, that make it easier on the wallet."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "The food was good. Out waiter kept forgetting about us. When we first sat down he did not notice we were there for about 10 minutes. During dinner we ordered a side of mustard to go with our burger. He brought it at the end when our food was gone. I think if we had a different waiter it would have been a better experience."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "The food and service were outstanding. The menu was somewhat limited, but all our choices were excellent. I will definitely return."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Definitely not as good when the chef/owner is not there. The chicken was extremely dry and the fish and chips....the fish was over fried and a sharp knife was needed to cut it."
    Dined on 7/16/2014
  • "I have never experienced such an inattentive wait staff. It ruined the evening. The food was okay but didn't make up for the 15 minutes we waited for anyone to come by after being seated or the 15 minutes we waited for someone to come back to take our order. We were given desert menus and never saw the waiter again. We left."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "I have lived in the area 2 years and this is one of the first places we went. I have returned many times for both lunch & dinner; with friends, the kids and with out of town visitors. It never disappoints. The food is fresh and locally sourced. The cocktails are great. You can order a real meal for the kids (steak & veg) or the usual suspects (a burger)and know the ingredients are quality. The menu changes with whats available and I like that, you know its in season. I love that the menu highlights which dishes are Gluten Free, something that makes dining a breeze for me and negates the 47 trips back to the kitchen to check whats in every dish, something I really don't enjoy. Inovasi is a local gem and makes me wish I lived in Lake Bluff!"
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "This neighborhood gem is one of my most favorite restaurants anywhere on the North Shore and it just happens to be within walking distance from my house! My husband and I embrace a Whole-food, plant-based diet and we never fail to find fresh, local, offerings on John's ever-changing menu. On this visit I had the wild salmon with pickled radish and red quinoa and it was divine. Sat outside on a beautiful summer evening, sipped a delicious Pinot Noir and was in heaven..."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "I think Inovasi is a great North Shore find. The cuisine is elevated above the usual burger and Mexican fare without feeling really super formal. The chef combines ingredients in flavorful and creative fashion and the portions are not tiny but not huge either. The wine list is a little puzzling however. Most of the wines are pretty obscure."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "This was our third visit to Inovasi in the past year and each time our expectations have been exceeded. The food selections are varied and great for small plate dinners. The appetizer sampler was outstanding with a variety of tasty options. The soft shell crab special this evening was the best I have ever tasted. Our server was friendly, professional, and knowledgeable of the menu items and wide array of wine selections. You can tell that each dish is prepared with freshness and care, as well as presentation. "
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "always great food and great staff. Congrats on 5 years, John and Elkin RULE"
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "Lake Bluff can boast of a small but vibrant downtown scene and Inovasi is a main player in the mix. The food and wine are just upscale enough to make it interesting but not so eclectic as to scare away the casual foodie. We had mussels and shepards pie and both were delicious. The creamed rutabega over the pie was a delicate taste to savor. The honey cake for dessert was a sweet way to top it off. The wine list was acceptable -- we started with a woody chardonnay and ended with a bottle of pinot noir - which we were able to cork and take with us - a nice change in the law that does not encourage patrons to finish the bottle before we leave. The outdoor seating is close to the road, but the neighborhood traffic is not bad at all - do it."
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "We had steak frites and salmon. The salmon was over cooked and dry. The steak was way too salty. We arrived at 5 with reservations before a show at the Genesee. Although we were seated in the far east room with no other diners, the hostess refused to seat our party of four at a window table. We asked twice and she just repeated that we were given the table assigned. We chose not to make a fuss, but we will never go back. Our waiter was ok. "
    Dined on 6/6/2014
  • "We treked to Lake Bluff to hear a friend perform her music (Paula Lipson - guitar & vocals) & were told the place was charming & the food good. She was right! She packed the bar area for her performance so the noise level was a bit "off the charts" & even made it hard to hear music but the energy in the room was terrific. The menu is SO creative & the presentation artistic & impeccable. I think all the flavors could have been boosted up a notch or two as it was more satisfying for the eye than the mouth; but nothing was "not good", not by any means; just no stand-outs. Plus, we happened to be there during the week of the 5th anniversary and everything was 50% off; quite an amazing and generous promotion. Wish them many more!"
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "My husband and I normally come on Wed evenings and we were so happy to be a part of the celebration this week. The restaurant was packed and I was amazed at how wonderfully prepared the host staff and the servers were. My husband and I love to share the small plates and we asked the server to stagger them and he did a great job. The salads were outstanding and we always enjoy the cheese plate. My husband decided to try one of the creative cocktails, something with rum and basil... he loved it! On such a busy night, we never felt rushed and the kitchen delivered at an unhurried pace. Perfect night. "
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "Inovasi is usually my favorite and love everything. Chef John's menu is constantly changing, pending fresh local ingredients. Tonight, some dishes were off. Maybe John's being too creative. The best for the night was the chicken pate, "a light, fluffy, delicious butter". The tomato vegetable stew was decent but too tangy and had a slightly odd taste to it. Calamari was fried and flavored perfectly. Steak frites plate had too much flavoring and was quite salty, with very soggy fries. We had to scrape off most of the rub and au jus. Out of the Ocean plate was good and bad: fish was grilled perfectly, but the sauce underneath with red wheat berries and sugar snap peas were also too salty (even the peas were salty). Cookie dessert was okay."
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "Great Food served by staff who show their appreciation to the diners! Fortunate to have this restaurant on the Northshore. "
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "The quality and preparation of the food is outstanding. Our server Chris was knowledgable of our food choices and wines! Our guest from Colorado thought it was the best calamari he’d ever had. He’ll be back to Chicago and make Inovasi his 1st choice restaurant! "
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "We save nights out at Inovasi when we want a treat. Burger night on Tuesday is always great; as selective omnivores, we can eat meat in very few restaurants. Inovasi & its associated restaurants use only humane, organic meat, and have a great focus on sustainable, local, organic food. We've occasionally not loved a dish, but by-and-large, most everything is fantastic and really has an element of surprise."
    Dined on 6/3/2014
  • "Service was very friendly and food was great, especially the fries."
    Dined on 5/30/2014
  • "My first experience was exceptional outstanding food and ambience. This evening was our 28 wedding anniversary. White table cloths are gone. Noisy, a couple sat 2 feet from us as sitting was in a row, we heard their conversation, they heard ours. Not an inexpensive place to dine, but ambience overall was noth much different than any chain dinner. Would not return. "
    Dined on 5/16/2014
  • "Ended up here on a Tuesday evening, which is also their hamburger night, which was a pleasant surprise because I like a good hamburger and the burgers were great."
    Dined on 5/13/2014
  • "I am a big Fan of Chef John Des Rosiers and frequently buy his Wisma products at his store and at our local grocery store. This was our first time at Inovasi after wanting to go for months. The food at the restaurant was good. The only downside is the noise. We were there on a Saturday night and the place was full. We sat at a table for 4 and we could barely hear each other and even had a hard time talking with the waiter. There are a few tables for outside dining as the weather gets warmer. I think it would be great to eat outside, be able to talk to the people you came with and enjoy the wonderful food. I will try that next time."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "We have been there several times. Love the food! Good wine. Reasonable prices for the quality that you get."
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Never disappointed!! Love the food and the ambience. The service is always great and you never know who you're going to run into."
    Dined on 5/7/2014
  • "Outstanding menu and great service. Not that busy surprisingly."
    Dined on 5/5/2014
  • "Great open space atmosphere with windows on the street scene, but intimate small table settings in dining room in cozy center of Lake Bluff village. Celebrated a Birthday on Saturday night."
    Dined on 5/3/2014
  • "So tender and delicious! Let Inovasi do the smoked meat!"
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "idea of having a burger night is smart. There were 6-7 different burgers; all appeared tasty and innovative. I had the lamb burger, and i tasted the "bring the heat" burger and the truffle burger. the lamb burger was the best. i paired it with a porter, and had a great meal. i will say that the fries are good, but nothing special. the sweet potato spread that was served with the bread before the meal was also very pleasing. service was A+, the lamb burger and porter were A. i tasted the truffle burger and give it a B. a very good burger, but not as distinct in flavor as the lamb burger. i would also give the fries a B; very tasty, but not distinctive. Overall, i'd rate it an A-, but close to an A because the service was so outstanding."
    Dined on 4/22/2014
  • "The tables were too crowded. Every time the server went past, he bummed my chair. We could touch elbows with the group behind us. As server is taking another order, his rear end is in our face. We felt crowed on three sides. Service was slow. We decided that we would not be back within 10 minutes. Hoping the food would be so good we would change our mind...it wasn't. I left feeling hungry."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "A menu of interesting flavors matching the sophistication of more-expensive Chicago high-end restaurants but at what both of us thought was a more reasonable price point. Loved the four-course tasting menu averaging two decent-sized dishes per course and got quite full. Overall sound level is on the higher end and the bar area is a bit louder than the dining room. Eating early helped us beat the Friday-night crowd. Definitely coming back -- soon!"
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "The use of fresh local ingredients is always important in my restaurant selections and Inovasi's chief strives to do just that. Delicious and enjoyable. The only negative is the selection and volume of the background music. A little light low volume classical (instead of the loud brash selection we heard during our recent lunch) would go a long way in earning that priced 5 star rating)."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "I really like it here but find that it is very expensive. They serve small plates which I like but for a price. Also, their wines and mixed drinks are priced very high. Make sure you are specific if you dont want top shelf"
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "on the North Shore. Run, don't walk to get to this place. Scratch that, driving would be quicker! Everything is always wonderful and when it isn't, they make it right."
    Dined on 4/5/2014
  • "Generally, a very nice restaurant with an interesting menu that changes seasonally."
    Dined on 3/17/2014