These 15 Chicago Restaurants Will Blow the Taste Buds Out of Your MouthThere are plenty of reasons why people flock to Chicago. Here are 15 of the most delicious.
1. Make A Lunch Date With A Girl...And A Goat
809 W. Randolph St.
Yelp: 5.5 stars, 3032 reviews Who doesn’t love some old-fashioned fun finger foods in a rustic urban environment? No hands? Shocker. Girl & The Goat serves simplicity with style on a menu divided into vegetables, fish, and meat, in a popular tapas format that fits the bill perfectly. Creativity has been key here for quite a while. Just take a look at the Wood Oven Roasted Pig Face. It sets the establishment up as a staple for unique dining, along with the in-house wine blending and tasty tap beers to coat your souls with hops.
2. Take A Mini Mediterranean Vacation At The Purple Pig
500 N. Michigan Ave.
Yelp: 4 stars, 2455 reviews The Purple Pig combines the best of Greece and Tuscany with homemade charcuterie, cheeses and authentic Mediterranean flair. It’s basically heaven. Try the Chicken Thigh Kebabs, Fried Smashed Potatoes and Tzatziki sauce. It’s a melody and harmony of ethnic cuisine. Along with the accessible wine list and the friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder that the place has such an unusual name. It’s unique. It’s even bizarre. Without a doubt, though, it’s the best in town.
3. Never Tried Giordano’s Pizza? Then You’ve Never Lived
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 343 reviews How could this list not have Giordano’s Pizza, the veritable pioneer of one of Chi-town’s greatest inventions: Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza? There’s a lot of history in this business…. About 200 years, to be exact. After Mama Giordano in Italy first created what was called the Italian Easter Pie (the original deep dish pizza), descendants Efren and Joseph Boglio took the legend to the Windy City back in 1974. They have the clout to back up their history. Chicago’s Best Pizza as noted by everyone from NBC, to CBS Chicago, to the New York Times, has reigned supreme, and it is a must.
4. Food Is True Art At Alinea
1723 N. Halsted
Yelp: 5.5 stars, 1158 reviews This place takes culinary design to a whole other level. It’s as if you’re walking into an art gallery with masterpieces you can eat. Representing modern cuisine with a flair for the dramatic, Alinea has deserved the right to be called the “Best Restaurant in America” three times, not to mention they claim the coveted Michelin 3-star ranking. Additionally, the James Beard Award for Best Service sits on the proverbial mantle of a restaurant priding itself on displaying desserts like this…. Unique, yes? Creative, yes? Interesting? Most definitely.
5. Chinese + Latin = All The Deliciousness
2116 W. Roscoe St.
Yelp: 5.5 stars, 16 reviews Mixing two very different ethnicities is a tricky feat. One thing goes wrong, and everything just goes...yuck. But this little dive did it right with the only Chino Latino diner in the Second City that can serve empanadas and wontons with the same ease. Try the “Chino” Style Tacos with pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro, cucumber, and jalapeno. You heard right – this taco has all of that. The atmosphere is an ambient amalgamation with Chinese lanterns, Mexican sombreros, outside eatery section, and even a chalkboard teaching you how to use chopsticks.
6. Nobody Knows Dogs Like Portillo’s
100 W. Ontario
Yelp: 4 stars, 1842 reviews Besides Chicago-style pizza, there’s one other historically hot item that reverberates in the Windy City in more ways than one: The hot dog. And no one does it better than Portillo’s Hot Dogs. The story goes way back here -- as far back as 1963, when Dick Portillo started out with a simple hot dog stand. His business grew not only all over the city and suburbs, but in other states as well. But the heart of the business will always be Chi-Town. The theme for the downtown Chicago location is a classic throwback 1930s gangster theme, and you’ll want to enjoy it with a big classic Chicago-style Hot Dog.
7. Feast On Barbecue With Balance At Smoque
3800 N. Pulaski Rd.
Yelp: 5.5 stars, 2613 reviews This list wouldn’t be complete without a look at barbecue. And without a doubt, Chicago’s own Smoque BBQ refines the art of barbecue grilling with balance. The meat, (like the perfectly smoked brisket), is the key to success. Smoque prides itself on getting the fire and temperature just right, merging hardwood smoke, rub spices, sauce sweetness and the natural flavors of the meat in a beautiful marriage of olfactory and taste bud triumph.
8. A Tavern With Fine Dining? Only In Chicago
5148 N. Clark St.
Yelp: 4 stars, 1509 reviews Hopleaf manages to take all the best parts of a special occasion restaurant and combine them with everything you love about the casual, comfy neighborhood bar. And the prices are pretty reasonable too. For all intents and purposes, Hopleaf is a tavern, with the primary attraction being drinks. What separates this place from all the other pubs you’ll find in Chi-town, however, is the fact that their food is off the hook with style, serving entrees you never thought you’d see next to a jukebox like this Kwak-Braised Rabbit and Gunthorp Farms Duck Stew.
9. Move Over, New England—Joe’s Seafood Has Chicago Covered
60 E. Grand Ave.
Yelp: 5.5 stars, 1264 reviews What immediately comes to mind when you think about classic East Coast cuisine? Probably seafood. Chicago, however, surprised everyone and got the dibs on one of the most unique seafood sit-ins in history, backed by renowned restaurant mogul Richard Melman. Joe’s Seafood has culinary creativity in spades, and it’s obvious once you order the famous Crab Claws. You won’t find any boring fish sticks here.
10. A Burger With Imagination
2900 W. Belmont Ave.
Yelp: 4 stars, 4048 reviews If you’re interested in a burger beyond McDonald’s, with a little more sense of adventure, Kuma’s is pretty hardcore. Literally. Kuma’s cuisine matches the metal music vibe of the Avondale neighborhood with entrees like the “Black Sabbath” burger with homemade chili and pepper jack cheese, and the “Metallica,” with blue cheese dressing, bacon, and buffalo sauce. Now that’s a winning combination.
11. The ‘50s and ‘60s Are Still Alive And Well In Chi-Town
640 N. Wells St.
Yelp: 3 Stars, 289 reviews Standoffish servers sounds like a recipe for disaster at most restaurants, right? Not Ed Debevic’s. You won’t find anything like it in Chicago. Don’t believe me? Talk to the wait staff. Their ‘attitudes’ will blow your mind. That’s actually a part of their popularity. The staff is all a bit “sassy” to customers as a throwback to the ‘50s and ‘60s when hostesses boasted beehive hairdos and waiters could easily spit in your food and you wouldn’t have noticed. However, Debevic’s still ensures the quality of the food is updated and modern, and delicious. McDonald’s “super size” ain’t got nothin’ on their insane Great Big Southwest Chicken Salad.
12. Gogi Takes Korean Fare To Another Level—Or Another Universe
6240 N. California Ave.
Yelp: 4.5 Stars, 76 reviews It’s pretty hard to find something wrong with Gogi. The service, food, atmosphere—everything is a home run. It’s pretty safe to say it’s the best Korean barbecue joint in town, which is actually quite a statement considering Gogi has only been around about a year. The pork belly will have you wondering why you don’t just eat barbecue all day, every day. And you’ll never run out of banchan dishes, because the friendly waiters will keep it coming. And at the end of the meal when the check comes you won’t feel like you’ve been robbed just to get a good meal. See? Basically nothing wrong with this place.
13. Break Out Of Your Shell With Breakfast At Yolk
1120 S. Michigan Ave.
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 999 reviews It’s pretty easy to tell that this restaurant’s all about breakfast and brunch, but there really is so much more than eggs. Yolk takes breakfast creativity to a whole other level, tapping into several ethnicities and cuisine styles to revitalize the most important meal of the day. Take one look at the Tuscan Frittata and you’ll freak. You’re not looking at the normal link sausages, pancakes and scrambled eggs. You have to try it. Go ahead, make your morning special.
14. At Xoco, The Chef Isn’t The Only Star
449 N. Clark St.
Yelp: 4 stars, 2437 reviews Reputation is everything in the restaurant business, and this is by far the best example on this list. Rick Bayless of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” (and winner of countless other accolades) made his statement in authentic Mexican cuisine with Xoco. This place goes far beyond your typical tacos, burritos, chimichangas and tamales. Everything is delicious, from the tried-and-true Huevos Rancheros soup to sweet churros, unique frothy Mexican hot chocolate, and convenient meal-in-bowl caldos to warm up your hearts with the hot peppers of Mexico.
15. Mindy’s Is A Haven For Chocoholics
1747 N. Damen Ave.
Yelp: 4 stars, 1405 reviews Dessert is the final curtain call at the end of a great meal, and Mindy’s Hot Chocolate might just make you forget about the rest of the show. Mindy’s spares no expense at creativity, committing itself to turning sugar into a weapon of mass destruction for any diet. The Chocolate Pears will blow your mind. And then make your way through the list of not two, not three, but seven different hot chocolates, all of which will leave your sweet tooth more than satisfied. Feature Image Source: Hopleaf Facebook What’s your go-to for grub in Chicago? Tell us in the comments below!
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