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Destination: Lincoln Square

For years, Chicagoans have watched as gentrification has sucked Lincoln Square of its German roots. Perhaps less noticeable, though, are the other types of ethnic restaurants that have slowly infiltrated the 'hood, tranforming the Square from "just German" to a hub of some of the city's rarest international eats.

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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki
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Photograph: Michael Jarecki

Jibek Jolu The city’s only Kyrgyzstani restaurant, serving traditional dishes from Central Asia, like lagman (slick, hand-pulled noodles) and manty (tender, oversize dumplings). 5047 N Lincoln Ave, 773-878-8494

Klopa A Serbian grill, where the chef-owner recalls his homeland in dishes like ajvar (smoky red-pepper spread) and urnebes (creamy feta-and-sour-cream salad). 4835 N Western Ave, 774-745-5672

Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen The Meyer Delicatessen sign remains, but after a serious build-out, this two-story European-style grocery is now one of the city’s most impressive specialty groceries, not to mention an incomparable sausage purveyor. 4750 N Lincoln Ave, 773-728-7243

Nhu Lan Bakery It’s Cubs versus Sox for some, Nhu Lan versus Ba Le for others. How nice to have two standout banh mi shops worth fighting over. 2612 W Lawrence Ave, 773-878-9898

Isla Pilipina Restaurant Filipino food ranks among the city’s hardest to find. Narrow that down to good Filipino food, and you’ll end up here. 2501 W Lawrence Ave, 773-271-2988

Pannenkoeken Cafe Cheery breakfast café; foot-long, savory Dutch pancakes topped with bacon and Havarti. Discuss. 4757 N Western Ave, 773-769-8800

Spoon Thai In a city enamored of secret Thai menus, Spoon Thai’s is worth the buzz. 4608 N Western Ave, 773-769-1173

Julius Meinl One of three Chicago locations of the Austrian coffee shop where the traditional dishes—like braised lamb over spaetzle—go far beyond coffeehouse expectations. 4363 N Lincoln Ave, 773-868-1876

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