Simply It

Restaurants, Vietnamese Lincoln Park
Simply It
Photograph: Donna Rickles Simply It

I wanted to love this new Vietnamese BYOB in Lincoln Park. Owner Tuan Nguyen is the eldest brother of the siblings who run Uptown’s Pasteur and is hands-down one of the friendliest dining-room hosts in town. The rest of the staff he’s assembled here is equally as sweet, the room itself is airy and comfortable, and the menu is affordable. But if Simply It were situated among the authentic Vietnamese restaurants along Argyle Street, it simply wouldn’t stand out.

Starting with the classics, I found that standard spring rolls were fine, but pho was not. The broth was one-dimensional and the beef was tough and overcooked. Hanoi shrimp fritters (pictured, background) were greasy, but it’s tough to argue with fried sweet-potato nests filled with shrimp. Branching out to the massive menu’s more unique items, I tried the chicken wings stuffed with minced shrimp and mushrooms (weird, and not in a good way), “bean-curd chicken” (whole bird roasted to within an inch of its life à la National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation) and somewhat stinky (okay, really stinky) Dungeness crab (pictured, foreground) in a cloying tamarind glaze.

When Nguyen asked how the meal was while setting down complimentary lychee for dessert, my friends politely fibbed. I could honestly say that the shredded green-papaya salad was great and the beef banh mi sandwich was decent, but with little else to laud, I’m not sure that even the nicest guy in the world could make me a regular.

By: Heather Shouse


Venue name: Simply It
Address: 2269 N Lincoln Ave
Cross street: between Webster and Belden Aves
Opening hours: Lunch (Tue–Sun), dinner
Transport: EL stop: Brown, Purple (rush hrs), Red to Fullerton. Bus: 8, 37, 74.
Price: Average main course: $12
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Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
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1 of 1 found helpful

You would have thought I was eating for four, but no, just very much enjoyed every bite of fresh, bold flavored deliciousness I had! We ordered:

1) Roast duck bahn mi. Everything was just right, the duck wasn't my fave...going for pork belly next time.

2) Beef Noodle Soup. I am used to hot pots, but we had this delivered so I was just surprised to find the meat was literally raw meat. I just threw it all together in a pot, so there was that, but worth it, so worth it! Not to mention, it gave me an excuse to *nibble* on my husband's meal (*read: kept adding rice to pick up all the great sauce bits).

3) Beef and Asparagus, read comments above!!

That meal made me very happy.

Way better than I thought it would be based on the time out review. Such a great meal! Delicious, friendly staff, affordable Vietnamese food! So happy to have this restaurant in my neighborhood