Chicago, Illinois, otherwise known as the Windy City, is a great location for a holiday destination and is one of the most visited cities in the United States. It is known for its gorgeous architecture, mouthwatering deep dish pizza, vibrant art and music scene, and a lot of unique cultures. Depending on your travel style and interests, there’s bound to be a place in Chicago filled with fun attractions, sights, and delicious cuisine.
Chicago has anything you could possibly ask for from an international city. While it’s almost impossible to visit the city and not eat at least 1 deep-dish pizza, Chicago is home to an array of restaurants and dining establishments that are sure to make your mouth water. With hundreds of options, it can be hard to choose the right place to eat to get the best experience in the city. Lucky for you, we have gathered together 10 of the best Chicago restaurants, with some in the loop, some with a Michelin star, but all great places to eat.
Au Cheval is legendary and by far one of the best burger joints in Chicago. In fact, there’s even a shuttle direct from the airport to the West Loop for those wanting to try this famous dining establishment. Be prepared to wait, as Au Cheval is walk-in only, and isn’t in the biggest of buildings; but it’s for sure worth the wait. The atmosphere is dark and relaxing, but inviting and cozy at the same time, paired with hospitable servers and delicious meals. Besides their famous beef burgers, other great menu items are the glazed chicken wings, bone marrow, and duck heart hash.
Avec is a classic dining establishment in the West Loop and one of the best places to eat in Chicago. This Michelin star restaurant serving Mediterranean-style cuisine with small platters and serving sizes, it’s bound to make your taste buds happy. Locals make it a point to eat here AT LEAST once a year, and visitors, especially first-timers, should definitely not miss the chance to eat at Avec. Designed as a communal dining room, it’s great for big groups, date nights, friend outings, or those who love meeting new people. Some of their signature dishes include chorizo-wrapped dates and the taleggio flatbread, paired with a drink from the full-service bar.
Aba is a beautifully designed Mediterranean restaurant and one of the best places to eat in Chicago. It sits in an airy light-filled atrium, with plants and trees, proving a great view in an inviting, natural, and modern setting. It offers a wide variety of dishes for vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as meat lovers and health nuts; although everyone loves their homemade tzatziki sauce. There’s no place quite like Aba in Chicago, so be sure to try their flame-charred kebabs, freshly baked bread and spreads, and garlic tahini.
The Purple Pig Restaurant
The Purple Pig Restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Chicago, especially for those who love pork desserts. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant is a famed pork and wine restaurant, featuring an open kitchen, and an airy and inviting atmosphere. Serving Mediterranean-style cuisine, The Purple Pig is great for those with diet restrictions or those wanting smaller portions, plus cheap happy hour drinks. There tends to be a wait, so be sure to make reservations in advance if you are in a hurry. Be sure to try their famous pork belly, bone marrow, crispy pig ears, and daily homemade delicious desserts.
Elske is a must-try while in Chicago and one of the top ten restaurants in the city. Danish for ‘love,’ Elske is a spouse-owned establishment, sitting in an enclosed courtyard, complete with an outdoor fireplace. They offer 2 different dining options; a regular meal with incredible service and menu options, or an 8-course meal with special chef entrees and dishes. Whichever experience you choose, youre bound to leave full, happy, and impressed. Get ready for Danish dishes with American touches and flavors, plus impeccable creation and presentation for a stylish impression each time.
Soule Chicago is loaded with feel-good vibes, has an inviting atmosphere, and is one of the top ten restaurants to eat at in Chicago. Serving an array of soul and comfort foods, servers and bartenders are so welcoming, guests come back just for the experience alone, let alone the food. It has something for literally everyone and is great for family outings, date nights, first impressions, or girls’ nights out. Some of their best soul food choices are their freshly fried green tomatoes, and homemade peach cobbler.
Pequod’s Pizza definitely deserves a spot in the top ten restaurants of the windy city. It’s almost impossible to visit Chicago and not eat at least one Chicago-style pizza, and this is one of the best places to do it. The sports bar in Lincoln Park is great for first-timers and treasured pizza lovers. Rather than deep dish style, Pequods serves pan pizza. Their caramelized crust sets them apart from other pizza establishments and makes it a must-try while in the city.
Galit is a middle eastern style restaurant in the middle of gorgeous Lincoln Park. Perfect for date nights, vegetarians, and cocktails, Galit has a little something for everyone, packed into one outrageously tasty menu. The atmosphere is inviting and relaxing, yet modern and sophisticated, making any reason a good reason to eat at Galit. The restaurant features a Middle Eastern tasting Menu is a great way to get to experience a wide variety of different options, or, if you aren’t looking for something that extreme in price, consider their mushroom stuffed cabbage, paired with a special house cocktail.
Kasama is one of the best-hidden gems in the city and is definitely in the top ten restaurants in Chicago. Sitting in the Ukrainian Village, Kasama serves an array of Filipino and American dishes; never short of style and class. In the morning, it’s a low-key and casual breakfast and brunch spot, but transform into an intricate fine dining establishment by night. Their 13-course meal is one of the best options in the city, and while it comes with a hefty price tag, the service, flavor, and experience are worth every penny. Dishes such as unami-packed mushrooms adobo, paired with a pear halo, are just some of the exquisite menu choices at Kasama.
Esme is one of the more elegant and experimental fine dining establishments in Chicago. Sitting in Lincoln Park, Esme serves 12-15 course meals and has everything you’d think would be included in a luxurious meal, plus more. The dinner experience lasts about 3 hours, with each meal being exciting and whimsical, served with style and world-class hospitality. From starters, appetizers, entrees, main courses, and desserts, there is a never-ending about of flavors and spices, curated perfectly. It’s not only a restaurant, it’s an experience unlike any other in the city. Be sure to try their signature sweet potato ice cream, topped with exquisite caviar.