Circa 57

**** (4 stars)

This place is all about the decor, which is fabulous. I’m not sure there were any diners in the 50s that were actually this nice, but it gets each individual element perfect, right down to the two-tone glittery piping on the vinyl booths.

The menu is exactly what you’d expect from a place that serves 50s comfort food, with very little concession to modern nutrition. Everything we tried was good, and probably less greasy than its 50s inspirations.

Service was attentive and friendly. This is an excellent choice for before theater dinner.

Circa 57
101 W Campbell St
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 392-1957
http://www.yelp.com/biz/circa-57-arlington-heights

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants

**** (4 stars)

This is a bustling operation divided into many dining rooms and fronted by a large gift shop. They offer a broad range of wines they barrel age and presumably blend themselves, and we found them sound if not inspired, and reasonably priced. The food was excellent, from the vegetarian flatbread to the fish main courses. The menu is extensive, and I’m sure we’ll return to explore further. Service was friendly and efficient.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants
798 W Algonquin Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 981-0900
http://www.yelp.com/biz/coopers-hawk-winery-and-restaurants-arlington-heights

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre

***** (5 stars)

This is a superb performance space. The stage is a semi circle, somewhat between a conventional proscenium setup and a thrust stage. The seats are pretty narrow, but comfortable. The show we saw was The Last Five Years, a fairly rare musical. The two leads were excellent, and the male lead belongs on Broadway. The six piece orchestra handled the complex show with great aplomb. I’ve seen the show four times, and this was by far the best production I’ve encountered. In fact, imaginative directing made this better than the Broadway version. Despite being a very long trip from my home, I’ll definitely return when they produce another show of interest to me.

Metropolis Performing Arts Centre
111 W Campbell St
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 577-5982
http://www.yelp.com/biz/metropolis-performing-arts-centre-arlington-heights

Mago Grill & Cantina

**** (4 stars)

Mago Grill offers a nice mix of authentic Mexican items plus Tex Mex standards. The highlight is their various Mole sauces. Most of the food here tends to be spicy, so if you’re sensitive, be sure to ask about heat levels.

The ceviche sample is a nice way to start. It offers shrimp, tilapia and bay scallops. All appeared to be cooked. The marinade were different for each, and all three were fairly spicy.

The tamales are also a good appetizer. The come with brown and green moles, both of which are tasty.

Of the tacos, our favorites were the shrimp and the pastor, although the snapper and pibil were also good. Although an order is two tacos at lunch and three at dinner, it’s quite a lot of food, because each comes with two corn tortillas, so you can divide them up to make them more manageable and end up with twice as many.

Margaritas are good, but if you don’t like spicy beware of the salted rim, which contains peppers!

The only item we were disappointed in was the veggie fajitas, which were a rather sodden lump. I’d avoid that, as it’s not authentic anyway.

Note that Mago is a great place to eat outside on a nice day.

Mago Grill & Cantina
115 W Campbell St
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 253-2222
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mago-grill-and-cantina-arlington-heights-2