Looking for places to eat during your next trip to Chicago? You're in the right place! From casual burgers at a picnic table to fancy date night restaurants, this list has it covered. After living in Chicago for 4 years, it's hard to narrow down my favorite places to a short list, so enjoy this lengthy food guide of the city!
This cafe is the quintessential example of cozy coffee shop vibes. They offer flavorful coffee concoctions with house-made nut-milks, sweet treats and vegetarian meals. Some of my favorites include the almond butter cookie, green power bagel sandwich and all of the lattes.
The combo you didn't know you needed: coffee and a bike shop. Whether you're there for the bikes or not, the bike and coffee shop combo creates a fun, rustic vibe that is perfect for a slow, Sunday morning coffee.
While originally from Wisconsin, Colectivo has a few locations in Chicago. They have delicious drinks, including rotating seasonal flavors. It's also a great spot to grab a table and get some work done if you're looking for a work-from-home coffee shop!
I couldn't decide which category to put Smack Dab because the food is delicious but it really is such a cute spot for coffee. While popular for their vegan donuts, the egg sandwiches on a cheesy biscuit are my personal favorite.
Lunch + Dinner
If I had to pick a favorite restaurant in Chicago it might be The Vig. If you're looking for somewhere trendy to grab drinks and snacks, I'd totally recommend coming here for a fancy cocktail and to split the spread board (chose 3 dips with a big side of toasted bread) with some friends. Regardless of if you come for dinner or drinks, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu!
I would be remiss to only mention one of these. Au Cheval is a high end burger joint. They keep their menu simple because there's really just one thing you should be getting here...a burger. Level it up with a fried egg or thick cut bacon, but otherwise there's no need to stray from what they're known for. It can be quite difficult to get a seat, but the wait is worth it!
Small Cheval is the more casual, affordable version of Au Cheval, simplified with a walk up window and picnic tables. You certainly won't be let down by their burgers and fries!
I love Bar Siena for brunch, but it is also a great spot for a date night or girls night out. It's an Italian restaurant with a trendy vibe, and they even have snacks for dogs!
Dreaming of the beach but stuck in the Chicago winter? Head to Summer House Santa Monica for a Southern California feel all year long! Their shaved brussels sprout salad started my love affair for brussels sprouts. This restaurant is great for brunch, lunch or dinner, and make sure you save room for dessert! Their giant cookies can't be missed!
While there's no shortage of options for tacos in Chicago, Broken English is my personal favorite. It's hard to miss the bright, colorful exterior of all their restaurants. They'll draw you in with their decor but you'll stay for the food! And if you have a few people to share with, I highly recommend their nachos!
Prost is more of a beer hall than a restaurant, but they have a massive pretzel that is just as tasty as it looks! It's a fun, casual spot to spend some time with friends.
This quaint Italian spot always hits the spot. Their pasta has fueled me for multiple pre- and post- race meals. Even if you're not running a half marathon ;) it's a great restaurant to check out!
Armitage Alehouse is the place to go if you're looking for something on the fancy side. Their dishes are rooted in Indian cuisine, but the star of the menu is the pot pie. They have a variety of pot pies that rotate each night, and you really can't go wrong with any of them!
You didn't think I was going to make a list of restaurants in Chicago without giving pizza its own category did you?
Originally from Rome, Bonci is a unique pizza shop in Chicago that offers Roman style pizza with an abundance of topping combinations. When you order at the counter, you let them know which pizza you want and how big of a slice you're looking for. They'll use scissors to cut your personal slice and quickly heat it up for you. Pro tip: ask for small slices so you can try a few different pizzas! My personal favorite is the lemon, zucchini, ricotta pizza.
What originally started as a food truck quickly became a popular pick up shop that took orders on Instagram. As they've continued to grow, they now take orders on their website and offer pick up and delivery Wednesday-Sunday. This Detroit style pizza shop offers weekly specials that you can order by the slice. They're meant to be reheated at home so keep that in mind if you check them out while traveling.
Paulie Gee's offers the classic New York slice to the city of Chicago. Whether you're new to the style or a New Yorker, I promise you won't be disappointed!
It would be wrong to talk about the Chicago pizza scene without offering up a Chicago-style pizza shop! Whether you're looking for the classic deep dish pizza or a thin crust pie (cut into squares of course), Lou Malnati's has you covered. If the style isn't enough, be sure to add hot giardiniera to your pie to eat like a true Chicagoan.
As a current resident of NYC, I feel like a traitor to say that Bake has my all time favorite cookies. But they really just can't be beat. They've got plenty of other baked goods too but if you walk away from Bake without trying one of their cookies, you're missing out.
Chicago may be know for it's cold, windy winters, but there is also no shortage of hot summer days. And nothing quite hits the spot like Annette's Homemade Italian Ice on a hot, summer Chicago day.
When you walk into Jeni's you will immediately be hit with the smell of their fresh, buttery waffle cones. I'm not much of a cone person but I am always sure to get one here. Jeni's is also know for their signature "two half scoop" option, where you can choose two different flavors for a single serving size. With an abundant menu of unique flavors, you really can't go wrong.
Mindy's bakery has the most beautiful pastries in the city. With a vast, ever-changing menu, there's no one item that stands out above the rest. Whatever they have baked fresh the day you visit is going to be fantastic!
It's no secret that Chicago has some pretty heavy food. While delicious, you may find yourself craving something fresh while you're there. That's where JuiceRx comes in. While i typically choose to make my own smoothies instead of buying them, JuiceRx is my on exception. Their smoothies are thick, flavorful and filling. My favorite JuiceRx smoothie bowl topping? Obviously the chocolate hearts :)
Beacon doughnuts has a beautiful storefront and even more beautiful doughnuts. Chicago certainly loves their doughnuts, as there is an abundance of artisan doughnut shops, but I promise you won't be let down if you choose Beacon Doughnuts!