Chicago, also known as the Windy City, will blow you away in more ways than one. Being that it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States, the city is massive, multi-faceted, and endless entertainment options; but some of the most famous stops have nothing to do with the buildings. Chicago’s food culture is a festival of flavors and inspirations, and these Chicago restaurants rank as the best places for delicious eats.
A Danish-inspired simplistic yet wholesome offering is what the owners of Elske envisioned when opening this popular restaurant. They have stayed true to that vision and continue to offer sustainably sourced goodness to your plate. Elske is repeatedly called one of the best places for sweets and pastries in Chicago. Expect artistry on the plate, as well as refreshing ambiance about the restaurant.
2. Bad Hunter
Calling itself a “veg-forward” restaurant, this is where both carnivores and vegetarians can nosh together. Bad Hunter introduces you to a dynamic ambiance in a comfortable, open setting that pairs well with the uniqueness of the menu.
From options like grilled sourdough bread to tempura fried lemons and sweet potato, saffron farfalle and a breadth of herb and juice-infused cocktails, Bad Hunter is actually quite the awesome catch.
3. 2Fun Chinese
Set up like a food festival in Shanghai or Hong Kong, the atmosphere of 2Fun Chinese promises a party for the eyes and palate. When it comes to the menu, you will not be disappointed.
The drinks have distinct combinations like yuzu whiskey sour and lychee rose martini, as well as fine draft beers. The food pays homage to your favorite Chinese options, like dim sum, fried rice, and ma po tofu. Be there for karaoke on Tuesdays!
When a restaurant obtains 6 Michelin stars over the course of 12 years, you know they are doing something extraordinary. Boka adores alchemy – in both setting and menu.
The finest of ingredients are paired up to created combinations that melt in your mouth, like turnip soup made with French curry, coconut, and shellfish, or broccoli tortellini with goat gouda. As from the presentation of plates, you will be fascinated by the unique artwork adorning the walls and expansive bar.
When Korean and American fuses together, you get Parachute. This tiny location sits a mere 40 people, but despite the small location, the flavor is out of this world. The low-key settings are perfect for meeting with a few friends to enjoy the menu that changes daily, depending on what ingredients the cooks procure that day. Though you can expect items like pork belly with mung bean pancakes, hiramasa with passionfruit and pepper, or curry with bok choy.
6. Demera Ethiopian
Though Chicago is not exactly a hotspot for Middle Eastern and African cooking, it has Demera, one of the greatest testaments to Ethiopian cooking this city has ever known. Apart from the elegant setting of African art and wooden accents, the menu introduces you to the richness of Ethiopian cooking. And if you love coffee, you will be overjoyed to know that Demera roasts its own Ethiopian coffee beans.
7. Tank Noodle
Family-owned and operated, this Vietnamese noodle joint is as authentic, healthy, and casual as they come. Perfect for a lunch date! Dishes never disappoint, and the fresh, crisp taste of the food is addicting. More than just pho, Tank Noodle offers an array of noodles, rice, vegetarian, and meat or seafood based Vietnamese dishes that will surely delight your taste buds.
8. Big Jones Chicago
Move aside, KFC. Southern heirloom cooking is the name of the game at Big Jones, as is sustainability. Though the menu changes with the seasons or features special items during holidays, Southern fried chicken is available every night. When you need bourbon, hushpuppies, and some okra smothered in tomato gravy, you know that Big Jones can satisfy that craving.
9. Mott Street
Repeatedly named home of the Best Burger in Chicago, as well as a favorite of the Chicago Bib Gourmands. Mott St. is a thoroughly unique location, surrounding by a fence covered in graffiti art and a menu that blends Asian and Portuguese flavor profiles together seamlessly. How does General Tso’s Lamb Sweetbread sound? Or perhaps Eggplant Benedict, onsen-style? Sake, shochu, and international wine labels are also on sale.
Ranked as No. 15 on the recent World’s 50 Best Restaurants list by Eater’ National. This restaurant has also earned 3 Michelin stars. The praise received comes from the approach Alinea takes – that food is so much more than flavor.
Every dish is scintillating, emotional display while the surroundings lull you into an out of body experience. Every piece of the meal plays upon each of your senses. Simply put, Alinea is worth the splurge (the cheapest menu is $175 per person).
Aside from local specialties like Chicago-style hot dogs and pizza, there is a whole world of flavor combinations to be found in the Windy City. Follow your nose and stomach – there is something delicious awaiting you at every turn.