A veritable slew of downtown Oak Park restaurants have come and gone during the three decades we’ve lived out here. Amazingly, of all the excellent casual dining options in downtown Oak Park, perhaps the oldest one still standing continues to offer the best dining bargains for folks with discerning palates.

Across from the Lake Theater sits the venerable Puree’s Pizza and Pasta, which very well may serve the most consistently tasty soups, salads, sandwiches, and pizza anywhere in Oak Park, not just its downtown. 

Puree’s minestrone illustrates how delicious minestrone can be and, mixed with Puree’s lentil upon request, a unique taste treat you won’t soon forget. Pesto may seem old hat by now, but the quality of Puree’s pesto is what you’d expect at a restaurant charging $40-$50 a plate, not in a meal costing $10-$15. Ask for the chicken pesto focaccia for a unique melt-in-your-mouth swirl of flavors in simpatico with each other.

Puree’s pizzas are among the many great ones in Oak Park. Be sure to include chicken in your salad because their grilled chicken adds quite a tasty treat to the greens. At Puree’s any dish – sandwich, salad, or pasta – with chicken is a treat thanks to the unique marinade Puree uses.

When we first moved here, we foolishly avoided Puree’s Pizza and Pasta because we thought it was teenage hangout. We were so very wrong, and our taste buds are grateful we wised up. You, too, won’t be disappointed.

Dan Lauber

River Forest

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