International food options abound at Golf Glen Mall

Friday, December 21, 2018
Golf Glen Mart offers a global variety of food options
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The Golf Glen Mart in Niles is a literal United Nations of eating, with 10 different dining options including a brewery, a stellar Korean barbecue and a classic Greek diner.

NILES, Ill. (WLS) -- The suburbs have plenty of malls and most of them have one or two places to eat, usually from a national chain.

But the Golf Glen Mart in Niles that is a literal United Nations of eating, with 10 different dining options including a brewery, a stellar Korean barbecue and a classic Greek diner.

Located along Golf Road between Milwaukee Avenue and the tri-state tollway, Golf Glen Mart has no national chains, all homegrown options, with a roster that has something for everyone.

ABC7's Hungry Hound took four trips to the mall to try every option.

From the first egg crack to the final bit of shaping in the pan, omelets are assembled in less than a minute at the venerable Omega Restaurant, a 35-year-old stalwart located in the parking lot of the Golf Glen Mart. The mall has seen better days, but Greek-owned diners like Omega keep the traffic flowing.

"There's no keys to the front door. We serve breakfast 24 hours a day. We have over 300 items on the menu, so whatever you want at any time, we have it," said Tom Konstantopoulos, who owns the restaurant with his father.

A massive bakery in the basement turns out cheesecakes, cookies and old-school bread baskets.

"You don't see 12 pieces of bread anymore at any restaurant that you go to," Konstantopoulos said.

On the western edge of the mall, Kickin' serves strictly chicken wings and burgers. Those wings have a Korean twist, with spicy barbeque or buffalo sauce, and sides of radish and cabbage.

A few doors down, Indian Bistro Express offers regional dishes from the sub-continent like marinated kebabs baked in a vertical tandoor, spice-laden curries and aggressively seasoned biryani with basmati rice and fried onions. The blistered, puffy naan, brushed with butter, is the Indian equivalent to a bread basket.

A few yards away, Jang Choong Dong offers homey Korean cooking with plenty of steaming bowls of comfort. One of them - dolsot bibimbop, or rice, vegetables and meat cooked in a stone bowl - is remarkable for its freshness. No fewer than a half dozen vegetables are cooked individually and seasoned with sesame seeds before being assembled with shards of beef, a fried egg and some shreds of seaweed. Mix it up at the table with spicy-sweet gojuchang for a satisfying main dish.

Next door to the Big Cinema - which shows only Bollywood films - there is Cid's Ma Mon Luk, a sliver of a restaurant serving classic, straightforward Filipino dishes like mami soup, crispy pork legs and pork adobo.

"I usually have pork adobo because mostly the Filipino customer, even the international American, they like the adobo," said Rosa Sanchez, the owner of Cid's Ma Mon Luk.

The adobo is pork, soy, vinegar and black pepper. It is as familiar as siopao, a steamed bun filled with shredded chicken and egg - and sometimes, a bonus piece of Chinese sausage.

"To add more aroma," Sanchez said.

At Ati-Atihan they specialize in grilled meats that have been marinated for at least 36 hours in soy and tart calamansi juice.

"We call it chicken inasal in the Philippines. It's very popular in the Philippines, especially in the Southern part of the Philippines," said owner Randy Famacion.

RELATED: Golf Glen Mart offers a global variety of food options

Entire pork legs are served crackling-crispy with fork-tender meat.

"We actually boil it overnight," Famacion said. "It's fried. It's very crispy once it's cooked."

For dessert, they serve the classic halo halo, which means "mix mix" - for good reason. Beans, corn, coconut jellies, purple yam ice cream and creamy flan are combined until almost soup-like. The dish offers a creamy-sweet counterpoint to a meal.

A few doors down, the Agit Bar & Grill is known for late-night Korean bar food like fiery chicken that is mellowed by a blanket of melted mozzarella.

Lunchboxes of kimchi, spam and a fried egg offer childhood comfort foods, while grown-ups might like fresh pineapple pureed with booze and combined with a bottle of soju. The drink is served with a ladle for you and your K-pop-loving friends.

More standard Korean barbecue can be found in the massive Barbecue Garden, where you can go all-you-can-eat or just order a la carte. The pork belly and short ribs are recommended. Crisp, bright, fermented vegetarian sides, called banchan, fill every possible piece of real estate on the table, while the staff does all of the work at the grill for you.

There is Chinese food - with a mild Korean accent - next door at the Twin Dragon. They make all of the noodles from scratch, running them through a sheeter until they're cut, then boiled for a minute or two. They might appear in fiery broths, inspired by Korean cuisine, or a more Chinese-inspired dish like wok-seared beef with scallions.

And finally, a brewery! Une Année specializes in sour Belgians. The small-front bar is usually occupied with beer fans trying several styles in flights, playing board games, and enjoying their options.

"We were downtown and we moved up here to Niles," said co-owner Jerry Nelson. "We still have the Belgian focus, but we also added a new brand that is more American and stout-focused brand called Hubbard's Cave. Our signature beer is framboise, and it's a Belgian sour beer with raspberries."

So the Golf Glen Mart, like a lot of malls along Golf Road, you pass by it dozens of times and never think about it. But this mall has 10 eating and drinking options, some very unique, that you can't necessarily find in the city, like Une Annee. Cheers to that.

EXTRA COURSE:: A few homemade desserts at Omega restaurant, the oldest occupant in the Golf Glen Mart


9100 W. Golf Rd., Niles



9196 W. Golf Rd., Niles


Indian Bistro Express

9108 W. Golf Rd., Niles


Jang Choong Dong

9078 W. Golf Rd., Niles


Cid's Ma Mon Luk

9182 W. Golf Rd., Niles


Ati Atihan

9054 W. Golf Rd., Niles


Agit Bar & Grill

9098 W. Golf Rd., Niles


BBQ Garden

9020 W. Golf Rd., Niles


Twin Dragon

9046 W. Golf Rd., Niles


Une Année Brewery

9082 W. Golf Rd., Niles