Of all the chain-style UK pub houses I’ve been too, I think Elephant & Castle may be the best of the bunch. Granted, if you can find something that’s a little more authentic, run to that place and make one of the barstools your own. But for a quick bite and a pint of something that isn’t Miller or Bud, you could do worse.
And if anything, they had me at the idea of deep fried soft pretzels with mustard. That is some seriously genius pub food right there. Their bruschetta is also some of the tastier of its kind I’ve had recently. The mini potato fritters were okay, paired up with apple chutney. They weren’t bad, but since I don’t remember much about them, they obviously weren’t very memorable.
Main dishes range from pub classics to burgers to stir fry. And surprisingly, the stir fry was the highlight of my meal. Served with fried wontons and cashews over jasmine rice, the spices weren’t too intense and the wontons really added a nice crunch to the whole affair. That’s not to say the veggie burger they also offer is a bad choice with its pesto and bruschetta toppings, but if a vegetarian has to pick, go for the stirfry.
The other nice thing about this place is when you have family visiting who aren’t too keen on trying anything crazy, but you may have to shoot someone if you end up at a Giordano’s, Lou Mal’s, or Pizzaria Uno one more time. It’s just different enough that most of the food isn’t available in the burbs, but just familiar enough in that chain restaurant type way that family won’t get to weirded out by the fancier Chicago food.
But seriously, fried pretzels. That’s all you need to know.
Elephant & Castle
185 N Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60601