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Exploring the Best Places to Eat in Chicago

Chicago is a city filled with culture, art, entertainment, and most importantly, delicious food. From classic Chicago-style deep dish pizza to world-famous hot dogs, Chicago is a mecca for food lovers. Chicagoland is home to over 8,000 restaurants, so it can be tough to decide where to go. To make your culinary journey easier, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to eat in Chicago. Read on for a full guide to the Windy City’s culinary delights.

Fine Dining

If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience, Chicago is the place to be. The city is home to some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world, such as Alinea, the only three-Michelin-starred restaurant in the city. Alinea is known for its creative, innovative cuisine, and offers a unique, multi-course tasting menu.

Another fine-dining favorite is the award-winning Spiaggia. Located on the Mag Mile, Spiaggia offers classic Italian dishes with a modern twist. From handmade pastas to decadent desserts, this Michelin-starred restaurant is sure to impress.

Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to dine at the iconic Everest. Located on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange building, Everest is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The restaurant offers classic French cuisine with a stunning view of the city.

Pizza

No trip to Chicago is complete without a stop at a classic pizzeria. The city is home to some of the best deep-dish pizza in the world, with classics like Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s being some of the most popular spots.

For a gourmet twist on the classic, check out Pizano’s. This family-run restaurant has been serving up delicious deep-dish pizza since 1991. Pizano’s uses only the freshest ingredients and makes their own homemade sausage.

If you’re looking for a more classic slice, head to Pequod’s. This Lincoln Park pizzeria is a local favorite, and it’s easy to see why. Pequod’s offers classic thin-crust pizza with a delicious caramelized crust.

Hot Dogs

Chicago is known for its hot dogs. There are dozens of vendors around the city, each with their own unique take on this classic dish.

Portillo’s is one of the most iconic hot dog stands in the city. This chain restaurant is famous for its “Chicago-style” hot dogs, which come topped with tomato, pickles, onions, relish, mustard, and celery salt.

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For a more unique take on the classic, head to Hot Doug’s. This Avondale restaurant is renowned for its gourmet hot dogs, which come topped with everything from bacon to foie gras. Hot Doug’s also offers a rotating selection of unique sausages, from wild boar to elk.

Burgers

Chicago is filled with great burger joints, from classic diners to trendy gastropubs. Kuma’s Corner is one of the city’s most beloved burger spots, offering up a variety of gourmet burgers made with Angus beef. Kuma’s is known for its creative toppings, such as mac and cheese and jalapeno-bacon jam.

For a classic diner experience, head to Au Cheval. This West Loop restaurant is famous for its juicy burgers, which come topped with everything from bacon to fried eggs.

If you’re looking for a unique twist on the classic, check out the Bad Apple. This North Center restaurant is known for its inventive burgers, which come topped with ingredients like jalapeno cream cheese and candied bacon.

Sandwiches

Chicago is home to some of the best sandwiches in the country. From classic deli sandwiches to Italian-style subs, the Windy City has something for everyone.

The iconic Manny’s Cafeteria is a favorite among locals. This classic deli serves up a variety of classic sandwiches, including corned beef, pastrami, and tongue.

For an Italian-inspired sandwich, check out Panino’s. This family-owned shop offers classic Italian subs, as well as unique creations like the Italian Beef Parmesan.

Finally, don’t miss out on La Scarola. This West Town restaurant is known for its delicious Italian sandwiches, which come stuffed with classic Italian ingredients like capicola and mortadella.

Seafood

Chicago is home to some of the best seafood in the country. If you’re looking for a seafood feast, head to Shaw’s Crab House. This classic seafood restaurant has been serving up fresh seafood since the 1940s. Shaw’s offers a variety of classic seafood dishes, from steamed lobster to pan-seared salmon.

For a more modern take on seafood, check out GT Fish & Oyster. This River North restaurant is known for its creative seafood dishes, such as grilled octopus and crab cakes.

Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to dine at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab. This iconic Gold Coast restaurant is famous for its stone crab claws, which come served with a variety of sauces.

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Barbecue

Chicago is home to some of the best barbecue in the country. From classic Southern-style to unique fusion dishes, the city has something for everyone.

For a classic barbecue experience, check out Lillie’s Q. This West Loop restaurant serves up classic barbecue dishes, such as brisket, ribs, and pulled pork.

For a more unique take on barbecue, head to Smoque BBQ. This Irving Park restaurant serves up classic barbecue dishes with a twist, such as smoked turkey tacos and pork belly sliders.

Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to dine at Chicago q. This Gold Coast restaurant is known for its creative fusion dishes, such as Korean-style wings and smoked salmon.

Cocktails

Chicago is home to some of the best cocktail bars in the world. From classic craft cocktails to unique creations, the Windy City has something for everyone.

The award-winning Aviary is a favorite among locals. This upscale bar is known for its creative cocktails, which are prepared with a variety of unique ingredients.

For a more relaxed atmosphere, check out The Drifter. This River North bar is known for its craft cocktails, which come served in Mason jars.

Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to visit the Violet Hour. This Wicker Park bar is renowned for its unique cocktail creations, such as the Vespers and the Widow’s Kiss.

Desserts

Chicago is home to some of the best desserts in the country. From classic ice cream parlors to unique pastry shops, the city has something for everyone.

Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits is a favorite among locals. This Logan Square bakery is known for its unique pies, such as the Salty Honey and the Lemon Chess.

For a classic ice cream experience, head to Margie’s Candies. This iconic ice cream parlor has been serving up delicious sundaes since 1921.

Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to visit The Doughnut Vault. This West Loop shop is renowned for its unique creations, such as the Brown Butter Glazed and the Coconut Cream.

Brunch

Chicago is home to some of the best brunch spots in the country. From classic diners to trendy cafes, the city has something for everyone.

The popular Yolk is a favorite among locals. This Lincoln Park restaurant is known for its delicious egg dishes, such as the Egg White Omelette and the Hangover Burger.

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For a classic diner experience, head to Ann Sather. This Lakeview restaurant is famous for its Swedish pancakes, which come topped with lingonberries and whipped cream.

Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to visit The Bongo Room. This Wicker Park cafe is renowned for its unique brunch dishes, such as the French Toast Sandwich and the Cap’n Crunch Pancakes.

Vegetarian/Vegan

Chicago is home to some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the country. From classic vegan dishes to creative fusion cuisine, the city has something for everyone.

The popular Handlebar is a favorite among locals. This Wicker Park restaurant is known for its vegan-friendly dishes, such as the Vegan Reuben and the Tempeh Tacos.

For a more traditional vegan experience, check out Karyn’s Cooked. This Lincoln Park restaurant is known for its creative vegan dishes, such as the Tofu Lasagna and the Seitan Parmesan.

Finally, don’t miss out on the chance to visit Native Foods Cafe. This Gold Coast restaurant is renowned for its vegan-friendly dishes, such as the BBQ Bacon Burger and the Sweet Potato Tacos.

Conclusion

Chicago is a city filled with amazing culinary experiences. From classic Chicago-style hot dogs to gourmet seafood dishes, the city has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a classic diner experience or a creative fusion dish, Chicago has it all. So, the next time you’re in town, make sure you explore some of the best places to eat in the Windy City.