Dining in Chicago
Chicago is one of the most visited cities in the United States and an international hub for business, culture and education. Aside from famous landmarks and endless entertainment opportunities, Chicago also has a lot on the menu.
This city is on the map for its globally acclaimed fine dining and quintessentially American food scene. And that goes well beyond its world-famous deep dish pizzas and Chicago dogs.
It’s no mystery why many define Chicago as a bastion of heart-warming comfort food. Here in the meatpacking capital of the world, expect some of America’s best steaks. Discover highly-rated experiences designed by acclaimed international chefs. Or plan an impromptu tour of famous doughnut shops, insane taco spots and creative cocktail bars.
A City of Neighborhoods
Chicago is a city of many subsections, each of which comes with its own culinary traditions. This truly American melting pot has cuisines from every corner of the globe. Visit Greektown for Mediterranean goodness, the Devon Avenue Indian corridor for some spice, Chinatown for your favorite Asian comfort foods or Chatham for soul food and barbeque. These spots are, however, just the tip of the ethnic iceberg. Lincoln Square and Albany Park have unparalleled Middle Eastern, German and Korean foods. Head uptown for a wide variety of Southeast Asian delights, African flavors, trendy Japanese and even some homey Swedish food.
In Polish enclaves northwest of the city, you’ll find sausage shops and old-fashioned Polish restaurants. Make a stop in Avondale, known among locals as Polish Village, to experience an Eastern European culinary adventure.
Critics certainly give Chicago its proper due. The city boasts some of the best restaurants in the world as well as some two-star runner ups. Remember to make reservations to these high-end establishments months in advance. If you’re interested in celebrity chefs and unique culinary creations, head over to Lincoln Park or Wicker Park. Both areas of town have plenty of award winners. River North also has several good upscale restaurants.
…or Go Casual
Does your budget say a world-class dining experience is not in the cards? It’s also easy to chow down happily in Chi-town. You are certain to eat well in one of the city’s plethora of iconic, casual holes-in-the-wall.
In fact, no other city in the world takes fast food as seriously as Chicago. For those who don’t concern themselves with their cholesterol levels, this city is fast food heaven. Chicago’s most famous contribution to world cuisine is probably deep dish pizza. Check out the Chicago-Style Pizza Map and take yourself on an eating tour of the city’s best pizza spots. And this town is not just about its pizza, either; there are some other unique dishes that put it right on a foodie’s radar. For example, Chicago does hot dogs like nowhere else. Give the Essential Hot Dog Map a peek to discover the city’s best wiener haunts.
Prefer vegan food? No problem! There are many innovative options for carnivores and vegetarians alike. You’ll find dozens of plant-based menus in some of the more health-conscious places. Prepare to pig out on some delicious and healthy foods—without any pigs involved. Some of the most popular places are located in Lincoln Park and Wicker Park.
Indeed, Chicago’s food scene has something for every whim and any occasion. Dine fast or take it slow. And if you find yourself standing in long lines for the trendiest of spots, take heart: you’re sure to find another great spot just around the corner.
Chicago is truly one of America’s greatest restaurant towns. The city offers a veritable buffet of fine dining innovations, glorious home-style establishments, world cuisines of every stripe and everything in between. When visiting the Windy City, be sure to prepare yourself for some serious deliciousness.