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Party Size
For 2
Date
Thu, 4/26
Time
8:30 PM
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Booked 1 time today

Essence of India

4.6
63 reviews
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$30 and under
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Indian
Perfect For:
  • Casual
  • Spicy
  • Comfort Food
While you are here, our wish is that you experience a culinary and cultural passage to India. From the multiple Indian spices used in our dishes to the dining room decor that represents the distinctive regions and artwork of India, our goal is to surround you with the "Essence of India".
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
Indian
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Hours of operation

Lunch: Friday - Sunday: 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Dinner: Sunday - Monday, Wednesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday - Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:30pm
Closed Tuesday
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Phone number
(773) 506-0002
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Payment options
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Satya Das
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Private party facilities
For lunch only, we can host private parties up to 50 people on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
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Private party contact
Satya Das: (847) 208-9343
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Wilson and Lincoln
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Parking details
Street parking as well as public parking lot.
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Public transit
One block from CTA Brown Line, Western Station.
Additional
Beer, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Takeout, Wine
What 63 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.4
service
4.1
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
83% of people would recommend it to a friend
  • 5
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  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
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5.0Dined 5 days ago

Great tastes, very reasonable. I'm pretty stuck on something Tandoori. I've had the chicken and the lamb chops, both excellent. My spouse loves the stews. Nothing terribly fancy but excellent tastes. Great spot to go to in Lincoln Square, a few steps from the Davis.

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5.0Dined on April 14, 2018

I've been to or ordering from Essence of India over 20 times in past three years. Love their authentic Indian Vegetarian food, easy parking and just opposite of my favorite theater, DAVIS.

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5.0Dined on March 31, 2018

Food was good, service was good, everything was great!

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5.0Dined on January 27, 2018

Essence of India never disappoints. My wife and I have been enjoying coming here for years. The food is always very tasty and staff is friendly. We would highly recommend.

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3.0Dined on January 14, 2018

I love Indian Food and I though the food was alright (about 2.5 out of 5 stars). The Coconut Curry Shrimp had a gray color and the shrimp was over cooked (not good, had a very vinegar taste). Found the prices to be high for the amount of food received also. The one positive was that the Chicken Tikka Masala was tasteful but sweet. I would not revisit this location.

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5.0Dined on January 5, 2018

Good food and service. Portions were not massive.

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5.0Dined on November 22, 2017

My favorite place. The best bryani in all of Chicago.

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3.0Dined on November 18, 2017

Good food , and good evening over shadowed by the fact that you have to pay extra for rice ...common , really ?

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4.0Dined on October 14, 2017

Appetizers were mediocre but main dishes were very good.

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5.0Dined on September 30, 2017

Essence of India is a lovely place for delicious food and good conversation.

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4.0Dined on August 20, 2017

Consistently delish.

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5.0Dined on June 16, 2017

Essence of India has long been one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants. I've now had every vegetarian dish they make and I have enjoyed every one. This is my go-to weekend restaurant when I don't feel like cooking. I used to drive up to Devon street for Indian, but I found that I enjoyed this just as much, if not more, so I just stay in Lincoln Square and go to Essence of India.

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4.0Dined on June 3, 2017

OK so we loved the place, loved the food. But the sodium content had both of us in pain the next day. My feet which never have swollen before were 3 times normal size for 24 hours.

So, we will not be going back. Sadly.

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3.0Dined on May 14, 2017

Great location near Lincoln Square.
Nice decoration.
Friendly staff.
Good options for drinks including some interesting Indian-infused cocktails.
Excellent choices and quality for appetizers but the lamb options of the main menu were disappointing: chewy and not cooked properly.
Not sure if I will go back.

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4.0Dined on May 12, 2017

Essense of India continues to be my favorite Indian restaurant in Chicago. The quality of the food is consistently very good. Their tandoori shrimp is outstanding. The service is always attentive and friendly. Its street parking in Lincoln Square area but still easier than in Devon area.

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5.0Dined on April 24, 2017

This is our favorite restaurant now. We usually bring our own wine at $10 corkage and we always order 2 jasmine rice with our 3 dishes and we take home enough for lunch the next day. We love this spot!:)

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5.0Dined on April 10, 2017

My wife and I enjoy Indian food and after living down the street from Essence of India for several years decided it was time to try it. We are very glad that we did. The food had such flavor, great spiciness if you ask for it, and it's a charming corner spot for date night!

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5.0Dined on April 2, 2017

My husband and I went to celebrate his birthday before taking in a show at The Old Town School of Folk music. We had a great experience. It was an early Sunday evening so not too crowded. The service was friendly and attentive. The restaurant is very comfortable and attractive. Most importantly the food was excellent. We are vegetarians. There were many selections for us. The Samosas came to us hot and delicious. The 2 vegetable dishes were delicious. The Garlic Naan was the best we've ever had. They have a nice wine and beer selection and the prices are very reasonable. We will defiantly be back.

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5.0Dined on February 26, 2017

Delicious food, beautiful space.

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4.0Dined on January 29, 2017

We ordered the non - veg sampler and bhuna chicken. The non - veg sampler tasted a bit sweet, which is unusual. It was probably stale as well. The bhuna chicken was simply amazing and perfectly made and quality of chicken too was good. Bhuna is quite spicy.

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5.0Dined on December 31, 2016

I've been coming here for years. Essence is the best Indian food in Chicago.

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5.0Dined on December 3, 2016

Essence of India makes a great spot to get dinner before heading over to the Old Town School of Folk Music. The food was great, full of flavor and spices, while being very reasonable. The four of us ate very well and each had a hard beverage for under $120. Plus, I had enough leftovers for two more meals! The lamb was cooked very nicely, and the fried paneer we had as an appetizer was really solid. The ambiance is nice and simple. The waiter was really patient, as we took a bit of time to order because we hadn't seen each other in a long time. He cracked some fairly funny jokes and put up with my stupidly dry sense of humor. They sell 750ml bottles of Kingfisher, so I guess I'd've been happy no matter what.

I look forward to going back there and trying out some other dishes.

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5.0Dined on October 30, 2016

Great Indian food with great staff. The service was prompt and efficient and the waitstaff was very knowledgeable.

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5.0Dined on September 24, 2016

We enjoyed the food very much. While ambiance is nice, the presentation of delicious meals trumps ambiance. And the ambiance was lovely nonetheless. The dishes were prepared with a nice array of Indian spices, which is why we eat Indian fare in the first place Service was efficient, meaning that even more complex dishes did not take long to arrive at our table. And the chef came out to see if we enjoyed our meal. I like that touch personally

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1.0Dined on July 23, 2016

overpriced bland, un-fresh food. if it was fresh I should have been able to get all white meat chicken (and willingly pay for it) as requested. they were out of papadums. on a Saturday. what proper Indian restaurant 1. runs out of papadum and 2. charges for it? I am used to Indian food in the UK. this does not compare. never again.

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5.0Dined on May 23, 2016

Good was great. Friendly staff.

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4.0Dined on April 29, 2016

Food is always good as is the service. Tandoori shrimp and chicken are great as are the curries. The naan is great!

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5.0Dined on April 23, 2016

I think Essence is the best Indian food in Chicago. I've tried many other Indian restaurants, but I come back to Essence over and over. The chicken tikka masala is my favorite dish.

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5.0Dined on April 1, 2016

Great food!

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5.0Dined on February 19, 2016

We're veterans of the Devon Avenue Indian Food scene and we think this place out performs them. We first tried Essence because of its proximity to the Old Town School but keep going back for the food. My wife prefers that we go alone so she does not have to share her MutterPaneer with anyone. It's all about freshness and the sauces.

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4.0Dined on January 30, 2016

My g/f and I love Indian food and wanted to give this place a try. It was a Saturday and crowded. I recommend reservations. The food was very good. We had murg (chicken) tikka masala, benga bharta (eggplant) and lamb kabobs. All tasty and above average. Full bar with Indian beers. Service just average; had to wait longer than I would like for drink refills.

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5.0Dined on January 24, 2016

Delicious food. Good value. Nice atmosphere. Highly recommended

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4.0Dined on December 5, 2015

Excellent food. Chicken Karachi was superb. Onion kulcha great. Tandoori chicken excellent. Too much food.

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4.0Dined on October 17, 2015

Very authentic indian food. The Briyani was well blended with the flavors, the curries were spicy exactly how we asked it to be made and the desserts - Gulab Jamoon and Kulfi were to die for. DE-LI-CIOUS!!

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5.0Dined on August 22, 2015

This is our neighborhood go-to place for Indian food. Even if it wasn't in our 'hood we would travel for this restaurant. Consistently flavorful, fresh, and well prepared. Each dish stands on it's own for a unique taste sensation. We have dined here many times and are impressed each time. Friendly, helpful service that does not rush you and makes great suggestions. A note to the owner/chef....keep up the great quality and consistency. Love your restaurant!

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5.0Dined on May 15, 2015

The decorative ambiance of the restaurant is always inviting. The staff are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about the menu. The shrimp vindaloo was ample and spicy, with a rich texture and taste. Between my sister and me? We had an excellent order of the naan bread and spicy rice. From what I could hear, the Indian music was tasteful, and appropriate for the setting.

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2.0Dined on May 9, 2015

The food here was not good. The two spinach dishes we ordered were supposed to be medium spicy and they were mild at best with no detectable flavor. We ended up using the only flavorful item, their chutney's, on everything to give taste to the bland items served. I believe it's difficult to create flavorless shrimp but somehow they succeeded. In addition, the bottle we ordered had a broken cork and the server broke it an additional 3 times trying to open it, still served it even with floating cork in the glass. My partner didn't want to deal with getting another bottle because it was already a catastrophe so we kept it, each of us having a single glass, picking out old cork, and leaving the rest. I wouldn't go back here.

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4.0Dined on May 2, 2015

The food was wonderful and the staff very attentive. The sauces were flavorful without being overpowering. The mango chutney was the best I ever had.

We will be returning!

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3.0Dined on April 18, 2015

Large staff, not that interested in attending to our table. They were not busy at the time

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2.0Dined on March 28, 2015

Incredibly overpriced for mediocre food.

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