Razon Chicago! Hidden Gem on Marine Drive

RAZON! The reason.

What a great discovery we just found, and it’s in Uptown, just blocks
from our house! A hidden gem! This restaurant is the best kept secret!
But not for long.

 Located at 4250 N. Marine Dr, RAZON is located  on the Northside of the
Imperial Towers high-rises. Razon opened last May and when I looked at
reviews online, nearly everybody loves this place!

(photo above -shows part of the dining room—filled with Italian marble and Ferrari-red finishes—the bar itself came from Italy).

So I talked with Nash the general manager and we made plans to come
check it out. They actually have a cafe area and a restaurant  area.
“What we are trying to do here is follow biorhythm of this wonderful
neighborhood,” explained Nash. “We open our cafe at 7am to 10 pm each
day. With great artisan coffee & morning pastries selection, Razón
cafe is your one stop morning destination. Once morning craziness is
over, lunch is served & delivered through Lakeview & Uptown.”

He continues, “Finally, at 5pm we open the door of our restaurant.
People have voted and gave us 4 and 5 stars – critics and press were
wonderful too. With our great team and  chefs we’ve been working for
many years back develop charming menu with delicious options, all with
an Italian influence and eclectic approach. Simple Italian architecture,
with Miami lounge type music in the background and Midwestern
hospitality. Razon means “the reason”. The reason to get together, the
reason to dine, the reason to rejoice and be grateful!”

We arrived at 6:00pm thirsty!  The handsome Russian bartender, Alex suggested perhaps a specialty craft
drink. $9! How can you go wrong?
(INSIDER TIP – Razon has nightly specials during the week – so you can get some discounted prices weeknights, as opposed to weekend)We each decided on a martini named
after nearby streets. Mine was the “Montrose,’ made with Grey Goose
l’orange. fresh cut ginger, some cranberry juice and house sour mix. It
was amazing. Looked and tasted like a $15 cocktail I have had at other

Derrick had the “Razon.” Grey Goose Citron with fresh basil, house sour
and soda. Perfection. They were honestly a couple of the best drinks we
have ever had. And we like to drink!

Homemade gourmet food from local ingredients, made for what the owner
calls a “casual-to-upscale” dining room, and a coffee shop with
grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and bistro boxes for the Lake Shore
Drive foot traffic.

For dinner, the staff suggested many great things and we tasted lots.
The menu is  big, filled with salads, lots of small plates, several
burgers as well as steaks, lots of pastas which you can also have made
with their amazing creamy polenta, at least half a dozen pizzas and 
some large plates. So there is something for everyone.

Nash explained he gets deliveries daily. “Fresh, fresh, fresh!” he
explains, “As a family and as a company in the food business for over 30
years, we have developed many relationships with suppliers who take of
us, with the finest selections of seafood and meats. We are constantly
getting deliveries and picking things up, so that we can deliver the
freshest quality to our customers. We print new menus about every two
days because little things are always changing based on what is coming
and going, what is fresh and what is seasonal.”

And he does not lie. The calamari was melt in your mouth, served with a
nice, not too hot, smoked jalapeno aioli. The brisket sandwich was huge
and also tasted great. “Our brisket is slow cooked in its own natural
juices. No BBQ sauce added. It is not rushed. We do it old school-slow!”

We sampled a cheese platter with 3 different cheeses, some bread and
berries. It was a beautiful presentation and only $15. “This is another
great example of how we buy. We try to support as many local businesses
as we can. Most of the cheeses come from Pastoral. We source as many
local ingredients as we can.”

The polenta was whipped and fluffy! The salmon was fresh and cooked
perfectly. We wanted a pizza, but we had no room! Next time! The 2 guys
next to us had the Prosciutto di Parma pizza, with prosciutto, 5 cheeses
and arugula.  They said it was delicious–the prosciutto especially!
And  they come here all the time.

We did try a few desserts however. The cafe has a wonderful selection of
gelatos. We tried a couple of those and their Tiramisu, which Nash says
is one of the best in Chicago! And I have to agree, it was pretty

It’s very easy for 2 diners  to have a couple drinks, share 2-3 small
plates, split a large plate, and get out for under $75. With tip. 

Another diner told us, “If you’re looking for an upscale date night in
Uptown, this is the place to go. It’s downtown chic at much more
reasonable prices. Tip included, we pay about  $80 for an appetizer, two
drinks and two large entrées — we even usually have some to take
home.” And during the weeknights, they offer various specials.

Another diner we talked to said, “This restaurant is the best kept
secret! I live right around the corner from the restaurant, and walked
by it everyday. I finally decided to come in about 4 months ago, and boy
am I glad. They have an excellent menu , and great food. They have
everything you need in this restaurant from a great place to have dinner
with friends at night, to a little cafe to get your work done during
the day, and gelato!!!! The customer service is easily the best service I
have received in years.  I haven’t come across
a place like this in a while. I just love it!”

You will find the staff her very passionate about the restaurant and the
food! Items are thoroughly explained, right  down to where the meat,
chicken and fish are from.

It’s one of those places that makes you feel cool from knowing it, and
even more hip when you can recommend it to your friends. I just don’t
want EVERYONE to know about it. Is that selfish of me??

RAZON…giving people more than they expect!
4250 N. Marine Dr  773-880-9115


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