As an assumed foodie, I definitely ate very well in Chicago. While some of my recommendations are within the regular touristic circuit, some are a little bit off the beaten path. Each of them has been carefully tested by myself in my past trips to Chicago.
Of course, you can’t leave the Windy City without eating a world famous deep dish pizza and (lots) of Chicago mix popcorn from Garrett Popcorn Shops, but there’s definitely more to the city than this.
This list is in no particular order and if you have any recommendations for my next trip, please send them to me using the comments section.
This restaurant is, without a doubt, more than just a nice view on Millenium Park. They offer some of the best food I ate in Chicago too. Cindy’s Rooftop offers a lunch, brunch & dinner menu that is sometimes inspired by Nordic cuisine. All of the menus are changing with the seasonal selections. Skål!
Of course, no visit to Chicago would be complete without a deep dish pizza. Deep dish pizza is a stuffed pizza developed in Chicago. It looks a lot like a pie and has a very crispy crust. The bottom is covered with mozzarella. This cheese is later covered with tomato sauce and your favourite ingredients such as sausage or chicken. While it is not something I would indulge every day, I understand why it is so popular.
Duck Duck Goat
Duck Duck Goat is the third venture of Chef Stephanie Izard after winning the season 4 of Top Chef. The food entrepreneur owns many of top Chicago restaurants like Girl & The Goat and Little Goat. Duck Duck Goat is described as “reasonably authentic Chinese food”. All the food I had there was phenomenal, so was the ambiance!
This newcomer on the Chicago food scene has nothing to envy to its competitors. Despite being opened for only a few months, Marisol is already one of the best tables in the city. Located inside Museum of Contemporary Art, they set the bar very high for any museum with a restaurant.
Terzo Piano is the perfect option for lunch if you plan to stay at the Art Institute of Chicago for an entire day. Located in the Modern Wing of the Insitute, the menu is highly influenced by Chef Tony Mantuano Italian roots. Ask for a table by the window to enjoy the amazing view on The Loop. While on the expensive side, most of the plates are easily shareable.
While I haven’t been to this one yet — it’s on my list — it is, according to many lists, one of the best restaurants in the entire world. Alinea is very expensive but if you wanna have a look at what type of experience you sign up for when reserving a table there, make sure to check out Chef’s Table Season 2 Episode 1 on Netflix. My friend Mayssam from Will Travel for Food wrote a great blog post about her experience at Alinea.
Like I said earlier, some of the best food experiences in Chicago are outside the touristic circuit and that’s the case for Lula Cafe. Located near Logan Square, this restaurant offers a farm-to-table experience that is very sought after. It’s also THE spot for millenials in search of the perfect brunch.
Longman & Eagle
Another restaurant to add to your food trip is Longman & Eagle, also located near Logan Square. Very hipster with a great selection of craft cocktails. Pro tip: ask for the terrace in the summer.
Located in Wicker Park, Dove’s offer a very inviting Southern-inspired Mexican cuisine in a counter-style dine. They are open all day every day and they have an impressive selection of tequila & mezcal. My favourite spot is at the counter right by the turntable.
HASH is a great casual breakfast spot located in Wicker Park. Expect a little bit of wait on weekends as the spot is very popular.
Heritage Bicycles is a bike shop located in Lake View where you can come to fix your bike or have a coffee and relax. They offer a great food selection along with many services for your bike.
Bad Hunter is a vegetarian restaurant located in the very trendy West Loop. Whilst the food around us looked very tasty, we only had a very good craft cocktails at Bad Hunter
BomboBar is Bar Siena‘s hole-in-the-wall eatery. They serve desserts like this one that look like a Starbucks Frappucinno with a doughnut on top. Very calorific but oh-so-good!
Three Dots and a Dash
Three Dots and a Dash is a tropical tiki bar and craft cocktail spot located in an alley of River North. The cocktail menu contains a lot of crazy concoctions that come in the most fascinating recipients. There’s even one of their cocktails that comes in a treasure chest and cost 385$. The food is also very good and inspired by Hawai’i and French Polynesia.
The Winchester is a great option if you’re looking for a nice casual place to have brunch with your friends. Fresh and high quality ingredients in an American Bistro setting.
Located inside West Loop’s Soho House, The Allis offers a great menu all day long from breakfast to dinner. To get the most pleasurable experience, ask for a table on the second floor, or if you’re visiting in the summer, opt for a table on the terrace
Chicken & Farm Shop
If you’re staying at the Soho House but you’re not down for the more upscale side of The Allis, try Chicken & Farm Shop, also located inside Soho House. They have a tasteful and simple menu mostly composed of their free-range marinated rotisserie chicken.
Parson’s Chicken & Fish
Parson’s Chicken & Fish is a very casual restaurant located in Logan Square. Perfect spot for people watching in the summer on their terrace or for a few drinks with friends.
MAD Social offers a New American cuisine in a casual environment. They have a great selection of craft cocktails and their most popular item is the Crispy Brussels Sprouts and you absolutely have to try it!
I have to admit, when we first got in Sunda, I wanted to leave because I wasn’t sure about the vibes that were going on. Gladly, we stayed and enjoyed a remarkable shared meal composed of Asian fusion cuisine, sushis and very creative craft cocktails. Did someone say Lobster & Beef Wagyu maki?