Jilly's Cafe

4.4
229 reviews
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$31 to $50
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French

Located just outside the city of Chicago, Jilly's Café has been called a "North Shore Treasure" by Zagat's 2002 restaurant survey. Our French Countryside decor, handpicked flowers, and friendly wait staff make for an intimate and cozy atmosphere suitable for all kinds of occasions. Here authentic French food is served with an American twist making for enough dishes to keep our specials changing daily. We offer a Sunday brunch that carefully combines a traditional American brunch with French flavors, while champagne effortlessly flows throughout the course of the meal. Jilly's is available for private parties, and reservations are strongly recommended.
Dining Style
Casual Elegant
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Cuisines
French, American
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Hours of operation
Lunch: Tuesday - Friday 11:30am - 2:00pm.
Dinner: Tueday - Thursday 5:00pm - 9:00pm, Friday - Saturday 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Sunday 5:00pm - 8:00pm.
Brunch: Sunday 10:30am - 2:00pm.
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Phone number
(847) 869-7636
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Payment options
Discover, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Casual Dress
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Executive chef
Nicolae Marian
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Private party facilities
Our French Countryside decor, handpicked flowers, and friendly wait staff make for an intimate and cozy atmosphere suitable for all kinds of occasions. Please contact us for more information about reserving our private dining room!
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Private party contact
Ethan Carter: (877) 674-4065
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
Central St
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Parking details
Street parking on Central Street for lunch or anytime. For dinner during weekdays after 6:00 PM, Saturdays after 12:00 PM and Sunday anytime, parking is available at the Duxler Carshop parking lot located adjacent to the North on Greenbay Road. Please do not park outside those time at the Duxler parking lot. Thank you.
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Public transit
Walking distance to "Evanston Central Street" stop on the Metra line (UP-N to Kenosha). Ten minute walk to the CTA Purple line: "Central" stop.
Additional
Beer, BYO Wine, Cafe, Corkage Fee, Delivery, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine
What 229 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.5
food
4.2
service
4.1
ambience
4.0
value
Noise · Quiet
88% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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A
Chicago
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I brought a job candidate to Jilly's and was pleased with the service (attentive but not intrusive). The interviewee commented on how delicious the food was. Mid evening (6:30 Pm approximately on a Saturday) the noise level was mildly distracting, but we were still able to conduct a conversation. Overall, a delicious experience.

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DW
1 review
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

We enjoy the atmosphere warm, cozy, and personal. The food never disappoints, I ordered the duck confit and poached pear salad, my husband always eats steak. The quality is always top-notch, the French preparation always delightful. Rich sauces, sorbet between courses, classic desserts, this is our go-to for celebratory dinners.

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WB
Chicago
73 reviews
Dined on October 31, 2018
Overall 2food 3service 2ambience 3

Lunch here is still good, nice sandwiches and salads. But it is dimly lit and rather depressing in the evening. The radio didn't elevate the atmosphere, either, and the whole time we were there only two other couples had dinner. Do you really want to listen to commercials while you order a $38 main course?
Dinner recently was average. The bronzino special was good, nice sauce and vegetables with a lightly browned and tasty fish. The goat cheese starter was good too--enough for 2. The tomato soup is somewhat bitter and might be improved with a little cream. The spring roll was not at all good, unrecognizable at first. It looked like a gone-wrong crepe and we thought the wrong dish had been brought to the table. There was too much salad piled on the plate, and the roll itself had no shape. The dish was an indistinguishable pile. We didn't stay for desert. This place is, for the unreliable quality of food and service, relatively expensive, close to $90 for 2, with one glass of wine, no coffee.
The service was friendly but strangely inattentive. How long do two servers have to stare at customers who are not eating before one of them comes to the table? They were more engaged in talking to each other (and were seated, drinking wine, when we entered) than looking after the patrons. One spoke with a heavy accent that was difficult to understand; I gave up trying to figure out if there was a soup of the day.
But we had lunch here not too long ago and thought the foot was all right, at least average. I think this is a place that stays open because somebody likes to cook; customer satisfaction is not much of a consideration.

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JK
Chicago
1 review
Dined on October 26, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just loves this place. The owners were lovely and took the time to get to know us. Food was excellent and so was the wine.

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AV
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 2ambience 4

Jillys is usually always nice. Too bad we were the only table in the entire restaurant. The lady who waited on us seemed bored and uninterested. Also, we found a hair in the soup. Yuck

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r
Chicago
29 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

A tasty, reliable French inspired restaurant. Parking is a bit of an issue - around the corner on Central St. or if at night down a narrow alley nearly as narrow as Italy towns.

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OT
Cleveland
1 review
Dined on October 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Superb - far exceeded expectations - creme brule desert cannot be missed.

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B
Los Angeles
76 reviews
Dined on October 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely atmosphere. Outstanding hilled ham and cheese and soup. Salads are delicious too. Atmosphere is European. It’s a place where you can have a conversation with your table mates. Truly a lovely place.

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BM
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

What a wonderful dinner we had! Everything was fabulous!
The service was attentive, the presentation was beautiful and we will go back there for more!

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S
Chicago
20 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 5ambience 2

It's difficult to best describe Jilly's Cafe. The fare is French/Italian with generous portions, well done. But that's the best part, location is challenging because it is located on a very busy street with no close parking. If you don't know where it is at, because of the one-way streets it takes a while to find it. They have tried to maximize the space inside almost to a fault. We were only 1 of 3 parties on a Friday night, yet we were all down at one end of the restaurant. The owner handled all the jobs for the evening and when they received calls, it was loud enough for everyone in the restaurant to her the messages.

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F
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

We really like Jilly’s for the classic and delicious French food, service and experience. As others say, it is a hidden gem.

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A
Chicago
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cozy, warm ambiance with delicious food and wonderful service!

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EC
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on September 6, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 1

Unfortunately, Jilly's is tired and is in need of an overall ambiance and menu update.

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RR
1 review
Dined on August 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Superb as always. First time since new management, and same haute cuisine

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g
Chicago
38 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch at Jilly's was a very pleasurable experience. The service was attentive , the ambiance charming, and the food was fabulous. My omelette was cooked to perfection and my wife and daughters' smoked salmon plate was fresh and creative. The prices were very reasonable. A little renovation of the physical space would help bring the restaurant's decor into the 21st century but, really, I have no complaints.

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t
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Always a wonderful dining experience! They make each diner feel valued and special.

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L
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

After looking at the recommendation on OpenTable, I expected better. We had Mussels for an appetizer, which were pretty good. I ordered the "sea bass" on special for an entrée. It was overcooked, and I don't even think it was sea bass. My date ordered a veggie mix for entrée. It came with "corn bread" which, in my opinion, was inedible.

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JS
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Enjoyable evening at Jilly's Cafe. Excellent food, pleasant service, not rushed. Loved the pinot noir sorbet served in between courses. Plan to return.

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N
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

always food is great.... However they are ONLY selling wine here... no mixed drinks or beer which is ok w me since i love wine, but I like having a cocktail or beer before dinner and wine...

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RS
Chicago
61 reviews
Dined on July 22, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

Jilly's presents itself at a French bistro and has all the requisite casual french (comfort) fare (moules, steak pomme-frit, etc) but it was somewhat dated in both presentation and quality of the food. We were just a bit disappointed - we brought a bottle of wine and the corkage fee was reasonable; the service was amiable and correct, but frankly the food was pretty ordinary. The price to value ration is good, but there are several other more elegant options in the Evanston-Winnetka corridor. We hadn't been there in quite awhile and didn't think it was as special as we remembered.

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E
Chicago
13 reviews
Dined on July 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was flavorful, well prepared, and nicely presented. Service was attentive but not obtrusive.

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JC
1 review
Dined on June 26, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Good food, good service and decent atmosphere. Very limited parking.

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K
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on June 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner was exceptional. Wine (white, by the glass) was excellent and a very healthy pour. Bread and pate and butter were complementary and delicious, mussels as an app were incredible, main meals were delicious and well prepared, ambiance was lively but quiet. Restaurant was full, staff was busy, busy, but they were incredibly efficient. The wait for all parts of the meal were perfect...not too long...not to quick. Oh, dessert and coffee? Amazing. Felt like 2 hours in Paris....

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MB
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 2

The best thing Jilly's Cafe has going it is the food. Appetizer, salad and main course were outstanding. Fantastic sauces.

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B
Philadelphia
11 reviews
Dined on June 19, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food, great wine selection. It was like being in Paris in a favorite neighborhood bistro/cafe! A true jewel in today’s trendy dominated faux food joints.

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OT
Phoenix
13 reviews
Dined on June 1, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Lovely small family owned restaurant with great food in convenient location.

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e
1 review
Dined on May 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Our group of six was quickly accommodated. Service was friendly and efficient.

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N
Denver
7 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Jilly’s provides the best meal I’ve ever had in the northern suburbs (well, maybe excluding Le Francais). An unprepossessing exterior gives way to a charming white tablecloth room. I had the beet and fennel salad and asparagus risotto. Both were exemplary. The wine selection was fortunate. The only modest drawback is parking, which we found around the corner on Central Street, a half-block away.

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I
Chicago
35 reviews
Dined on May 18, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Jilly's was a wonderful dinner and our family enjoyed!
Food and wine were great, service was nice and we could relax and enjoy a tasty meal.
We will be back for sure!

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k
Chicago
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I took my wife to Jilly's for Mothers Day. First the service: we were there in the evening on Mother's Day, and the restaurant was packed. Despite that, the service was timely, friendly and efficient, despite the crowd. We like a more leisurely pace for dinner, and the timing was what we like.

Now the food: I started with the tomato/ soup and it was excellent. My wife had the goat cheese that was terrific. For a main dish, my wife had the salmon, which was also very good. I like a good "moules-frites" so I ordered the appetizer mussels mariniere with a side of fries. The mariniere sauce was a creamy delight and I had to ask for more bread to soak it up. The fries were real french-styles frites, thin and crispy.

For dessert, my wife enjoyed the key like pie, and I had a peach/berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.

Portions were ample, and we took some food home with us. Also, we found an excellent southern (Midi) French chardonnay at a very reasonable price.

We are from Montreal, and I have also lived in France, and the food and ambiance at Jilly's was as good as we have had in those countries. We highly recommend it!

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RS
1 review
Dined on May 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was outstanding, loved the vibe, and energy in the room as it filled up for a busy Saturday night. Happy to see Jilly's Cafe still doing so well and carrying on the tradition of offering cuisine that pleases the eye and the palate.

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MU
Chicago
14 reviews
Dined on May 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This was a "thank you" dinner for a friend who had done a project for me. He was overwhelmed by the venison, the great Malbec, and the attentive, friendly service. It was a delightful experience!

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FM
Chicago
40 reviews
Dined on April 19, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Jilly's continues to please all the senses time after time. Alphonso is a superb, attentive, personable waiter, the chef is brilliant, the fois gras is incomparable, the new owner is a delight and the place deserves to be packed every night. It is easy to imagine being in a Parisian cafe, only the food is better and the prices are far more reasonable! It is among the only restaurants left in Chicago area where a pate at the beginning and a sorbet in the middle are included in every meal, and a Sauternes is served with the fois gras for a mere $2. Just go there!

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FV
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on April 15, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Have been here before and the food is great, will be back.

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S
Chicago
19 reviews
Dined on April 3, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 3

Jilly’s is a small French restaurant. The food is fresh and very tasty. The waiter was great and informative. The cream brûlée was outstanding. The decor is rather worn and the 25x70foot space is a tiny space. The cost for the food was certainly worth it. I highly recommend.

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JN
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined on March 31, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 5

This is a wonderful place to take your girl. Good menu & drink, super friendly wait staff, and terrific atmosphere. This time each of our main courses were a little over-cooked (halibut & pork tenderloin), but it did not diminish from the consistent enjoyable experience!

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s
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on March 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent menu and delicious food! Service attentive but not overbearing. A great place for lunch or dinner in an intimate atmosphere.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 17, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

Always excellent fish & exceptional sport ribs

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OT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

Outstanding meal! Wish there was a little more space between tables, but we will definitely be back.

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t
Chicago
22 reviews
Dined on March 11, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 5

Food is wonderful. Don't miss the creme brulee--which is really special.
Service was fine, but not up to usual standards.

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