Restaurants in Chicago
By some estimation there are over 6,000 restaurants in Chicago, representing just about every cuisine across every price range imaginable. It can certainly be a thrilling experience to eat an authentic Ethiopian meal or a true south Goan curry under the shadow of the Sears Tower.
Chicago has been earning a growing reputation at the cuisine capital of America, with its concentration of award-winning chefs and world-beating fine dining establishments. Two local restaurants - Alinea and Charlie Trotter's - recently made the influential San Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list for 2008.
While Chicago offers everything from haute cuisine to hotdogs with all the trimmings, its true specialty is the world-famous deep-dish pizza invented at Pizzeria Uno in 1943 and now available throughout the city.
Top areas for dining include trendy Lincoln Park, China Town, Little Italy, and Pilsen, a Mexican neighbourhood.
Located in the Wicker Park area, this authentic and very retro Italian eatery conjures up images of wholesome Italian fare being cooked up in the kitchen by real Italian mammas. With homemade ravioli, Veal Parmigiana and their flagship dish, Chicken Vesuvio with roasted potatoes, peas, white wine and garlic, this cosy Chicago favourite is one of the best when it comes to tasty Italian cuisine. Open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner. Saturday and Sunday dinner only. Reservations accepted.
Address: 1824 W. Wabansia Ave
Telephone: (773) 227-2300
Penny's Noodle Shop
Established by Thai native Penny Chiamopoulous, this simple and spacious Chicago eatery serves some delicious authentic Thai cuisine and other Asian fused dishes to perfection. Sample everything from Crab Rangoon, a crispy dumpling stuffed with cream cheese and seafood, and Tom Yum soup to Hot Pepper Noodles and Thai ravioli dumplings stuffed with shrimp & pork and served with BBQ pork, lettuce, green onions, cilantro and peanuts. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations not accepted.
Address: 950 W. Diversey Ave
Telephone: 773 281 8448
Arun's has been called the finest Thai restaurant in the city and possibly the country too. Dinner is an ever-changing fixed-price menu comprising of a gourmet banquet of 12 exquisitely presented courses that puts the efforts of other Thai kitchens to shame. A special menu can be designed to suit individual tastes on calling ahead. The culinary experience is complemented by traditional Thai décor and displayed artwork. Reservations are required with a credit card. Closed Monday. Dinner only.
Address: 4156 North Kedzie Avenue, Irving Park (North Side)
Telephone: (773) 539 1909
Namesake of celebrity chef Charlie Trotter, this multi-award winning restaurant is regarded as one of the world's finest restaurants, producing haute cuisine that is highly original and inspired by subtle European and Asian influences. Trotter prides himself on the ability to combine foodstuffs and unusual flavour sensations in an unparalleled way and prepares his menus daily from the best of what is available seasonally. The Charlie Trotter's dining experience is through three fixed-price multi-course tasting menus: the Grand menu, which combines seafood, meat and grains, the Vegetable Menu and the Kitchen Table Menu. Advance reservations essential. Closed Sunday and Monday. Dinner only. Jacket required.
Address: 816 West Armitage Avenue, Lincoln Park
Telephone: (773) 248 6228
Towering above the city with commanding views from the 40th floor, Everest is one of the city's premiere French dining rooms offering the world-renowned cuisine created by Alsatian chef Jean Joho. His distinctive style is a blend of 'noble' and 'simple' ingredients for unusual flavour combinations, such as caviar or foie gras with potatoes or cabbage, drawing inspiration from the cookery of his native Alsace. Everest includes classics like lobster and lamb, as well as a vegetarian menu, and some creative desserts. Closed Sunday and Monday. Dinner only. Reservations required.
Address: 440 South LaSalle Street, 40th Floor, One Financial Plaza building (The Loop)
Telephone: (312) 663 8920
The black and white interior splashed by the colour of carefully chosen artwork provides a minimalist yet elegant setting for the prestigious patrons of Tru and its superb progressive French cuisine. The menu is divided into several fixed-price options ranging from three courses to a variety of multi-course 'collections' that showcase the creativity of the chefs. Excellent service, exquisite presentation and award-winning desserts compliment the dining experience. Closed Sunday. Dinner only. Reservations essential and jackets required.
Address: 676 North St Clair Street (Near North)
Telephone: (312) 202 0001
Morton's of Chicago
King of the Chicago-style steakhouses, Morton's on North State is the original restaurant and upholds it reputation against stiff competition with huge succulent steaks cooked to perfection. It is famous for its signature tableside menu presentation, where a trolley is rolled out containing main course selections that are described in appetising detail by the server. The menu features a variety of cuts, including the house speciality, the 24-ounce (680g) porterhouse steak, as well as fresh fish, lobster, veal and chicken. Open daily for dinner. Reservations recommended.
Address: 1050 North State Street (River North)
Telephone: (312) 266 4820
The award-winning husband and wife team Rick and Deann Bayless serve authentic Mexican cuisine recreated from recipes gathered from across the border in both the casual Frontera Grill and in the adjoining, classier fine-dining Topolobampo. Frontera is brightly coloured and vibrant, with a changing menu based on Mexican home cooking. Topolobampo offers a luxury menu composed of pricier ingredients, including wild game and regional specialities. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday. Frontera accepts reservations for parties of five or more only; otherwise the waitlist can be very long. Reservations are accepted, and are recommended at Topolobampo.
Address: 445 North Clark Street (Near North)
Telephone: (312) 661 1434
The high ceilings, clean lines, crisp white tablecloths and black and white photos clinging to the walls create an ambient yet stylish and sophisticated dining experience, where the Indian-Latin food is as contemporary as the restaurant. Indian tapas such as cilantro tamarind shrimp, coconut chilli mussels, and duck vindaloo arepa tantalise the taste-buds, while signature dishes include chilli-glazed blackened tamarind ribs served with amchur tortilla crisps and a sweet corn salsa, or fiery culinary delights such as the Desi goat curry in a rich Indian gravy served with naan. This restaurant lives up to its reputation as one of Chicago's finest eateries and does not disappoint. Reservations recommended on weekends. Open Monday to Friday for lunch and dinner. Saturday and Sunday dinner only.
Address: 10 W. Hubbard St
Telephone: 312 527 4060
Chicago's chicest diners and celebrity clientele flock to this sought-after addition to the West's 'Restaurant Row', where the smart minimalist interior is the perfect backing to the ornate food presentation and creative renditions of French-influenced contemporary American food. The exterior of the restaurant is as stylish as the food, and the seasonal menu is creative yet simple and features dishes such as wood-grilled California sturgeon with English peas, braised peanuts, crispy bacon and bourbon carmel. Closed Sunday. No lunch Saturday. Reservations recommended.
Address: 619 West Randolph Street (West Loop)
Telephone: (312) 715 0708
Top-quality sushi and sashimi dishes are to be found in this funky-hip eatery that exudes a youthful ambience. Fresh fish is flown in daily for the sushi bar where several inventive chefs whip up a list of delicious offerings to order. Upstairs the futuristic saké lounge is the city's hippest place to sip saké or vodka with passion fruit. Dinner daily. Reservations recommended.
Address: 2020 West Division Street, Wicker Park
Telephone: (773) 862 8500
Claiming one of the prettiest settings in the city, North Pond is situated within the famous Lincoln Park, in a building that was originally an ice skaters warming house, overlooking Chicago's skyline. In keeping with the natural setting, chef Bruce Sherman emphasises organic produce and simple but delicious seasonal cuisine. The wine list focuses on boutique vintners. Dinner Tuesday to Sunday, lunch Tuesday to Friday (June to September), brunch on Sundays. Reservations recommended. Jacket and tie recommended for dinner.
Address: 2610 North Cannon Drive, Lincoln Park
Telephone: (773) 477 5845
Pizzeria Uno Chicago
Pizzeria Uno is famous for its original Deep Dish Pizza, a pie-like crust stuffed with meat and fresh vegetables and cheese. This Chicago-style pizza originated at Pizzeria Uno in 1943 and both locals and out-of-towners pack into the panelled rooms for a filling meal. Other delicious dishes on the menu include Angus Beef steaks, ribs, and inventive new creations such as Chicken Milanese or Spicy Chicken Flatbread. There is often a wait, but regulars maintain it is more than worth it. Open from 11am daily.
Address: 29 E Ohio Street
Telephone: (312) 321 1000
Hot Doug's Inc
This modest-looking restaurant in Avondale is famous as the best place to get a Chicago-style hot dog, which traditionally consists of a steamed beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun with all the condiments and trimmings you can imagine, including mustard, onions, sweet pickle relish, dill pickle slices and tomato wedges. Hot Doug's has an extensive menu though, including duck and rabbit sausage and Greek gyros, and many of the menu items are named after celebrities. Queues can be long at busy times, and remember to bring cash, as Hot Doug's doesn't accept cards or cheques. Open Monday to Saturday 10:30am-4pm.
Address: 3324 North California Avenue
Telephone: (773) 279-9550
This restaurant is wildly popular for two things: the cheese fries and the cheeky attitudes of the staff. Modelled on a 50s-style diner, there are neon lights on the wall, waitresses dancing on the tables, and the brightly-coloured restaurant spans nearly a block. They say everyone needs to 'Eat at Eds' at least once. So go for a burger and chocolate shake, and save your change for the eight gumball machines!
Address: 640 N. Wells St.
Telephone: (312) 664-1707
Chicago-style deep dish pizza is famous, and some of the best you'll find is at Gino's East, baked fresh in cast-iron pans. The decor adds to the fun with walls covered completely in graffiti and etchings, and it's a tradition to contribute your mark once you've eaten there. Open 11am-9pm Monday to Thursday, 11am-11pm Friday and Saturday, and 12pm-9pm Sunday.
Address: 633 N. Wells St.
Telephone: (312) 943-1124
Voted the best barbecue in Chicago, Smoque serves traditional Midwest barbecue like applewood-smoked baby back and St. Louis-style ribs, brisket (smoked for 15 hours), pulled pork (smoked for 12 hours) and sides like cornbread and mac and cheese. The restaurant is casual, and diners stand in line to order at the counter. Smoque's location outside of downtown Chicago makes it inconvenient for some tourists, but it is located near an El station and most diners say it's worth the trip! Open Tuesday to Sunday 11am-9pm, closes 10pm on Friday and Saturday.
Address: 3800 North Pulaski Road, Irving Park
Telephone: (773) 545-7427
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