This flavorful little neighborhood is one of Chicago’s most diverse north side gems. Korean, Guatemalan and Mexican influences spill into Mayfair from the nearby Albany Park. The cultural variety is most obvious in the food. On a single street you’ll find every type of cuisine from Korean fare at Nok Yon House (try the kimchi and bi-bim-bap) to Peruvian dishes at Ay Ay Picante (go for the ceviche and seafood casserole). Less adventurous types will take comfort in Marie’s Pizza, Dining Room and Lounge, where you can grab a slice of thin-crust to go or hang out in the 1960s-style dining room. Pizza lovers with a daredevil streak should try Rasmus Pizza. The pies at this place are out of this world -- or should we say, out of the sea -- with choices like tuna, shrimp and calamari.

Some restaurants are tucked into strip malls along Mayfair’s major thoroughfares. Also housed in these mini commercial drags are drug stores, nail salons and kitschy clothing shops. But the real gems are the old-school markets including specialty groceries and international food shops that are great for stocking up on hard-to-find ingredients, sauces and brands. Among the most popular stops for specific items and ethnic tastes are The Fishguy Market, Bosnia Market and Randee’s Food Store. 

When you’re done exploring these out-of-the-ordinary culinary marts, stop by the namesake Mayfair Park. Dating back to 1913, this community lot is fully equipped with a baseball field, playgrounds, a wading pool and a fieldhouse. More recently, the park has made way for even more leisurely activities including horseshoe, shuffleboard and tennis courts.  

The housing in Mayfair offers fairly standard real estate, but don’t be fooled by the neighborhood’s downplayed exterior and understated ambiance. Rather than intricate architecture, Mayfair keeps it simple with old brick bungalows, modern townhouses and rehabbed condos. And on the vintage end of things, you’ll find one and two story brick homes and traditional frame houses with spacious front porches and neatly manicured lawns. One or two bedroom condos average below $200,000, with some topping out at $285,000. Three bedroom single-family homes have average prices in the mid $350,000s, while four bedrooms easily hit the $400,000 mark.

Chicago neighborhood and real estate information