Chicago, the Windy City, is known for its deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and Italian beef sandwiches. But the city’s food scene has come a long way from these iconic dishes, evolving into a kaleidoscope of culinary experiences that can satisfy any palate. From trendy new restaurants to cultural food hubs, the diversity in dining options continues to bloom, making it one of the top food destinations in the world.
With over 77 neighborhoods, each with its unique food culture, it’s almost impossible to find a place in Chicago where the food isn’t delicious. To get a sense of the diverse range of culinary experiences, starting with Wicker Park, one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods, where new and innovative restaurants are popping up like mushrooms. The neighborhood boasts of globally-inspired cuisine that can be found at any budget, such as the casual and affordable crave-worthy breakfast sandwiches at Dove’s Luncheonette or modern and elevated Italian fare at etta.
Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, located in the city’s Lower West Side, is a cultural hub for Latinos and other immigrant populations, attracting foodies from all over the city. Here, you can indulge in authentic Mexican cuisine at Taqueria El Milagro, Birrieria Reyes de Oaxaca, or Carnitas Uruapan. Also, the neighborhood features various street vendors selling tamales, elotes, and other Mexican street food.
Chinatown is another neighborhood in Chicago that benefits from the diversity of the city’s culinary scene. If you crave some excellent Chinese food, as well as Vietnamese, Japanese, and other Asian cuisines, this is the right neighborhood for you. You can head over to Wentworth Avenue and stop at one of the traditional teahouses, including Chiu Quon Bakery, where you can enjoy some dim sum or char siu bao. For dinner, check out MingHin Cuisine, an upscale dim sum restaurant, or Lao Sze Chuan, where you can indulge in some Szechuan-style dining.
Some of the food neighborhoods in Chicago are less ethnic-based and are more globally influenced. For example, West Loop has become a culinary destination over the years, boasting a fantastic selection of excellent restaurants, such as Girl and the Goat, Au Cheval, or Next, which has featured multi-course dinners inspired by various countries such as Spain, Thailand, and Japan.
Chicago’s food landscape is continually evolving and expanding, and the city has become a melting pot of different cuisines, featuring food from every continent. It’s almost impossible to visit every corner of the Windy City and sample all the delicious food that it has to offer. The above-listed neighborhoods are just some of the highlighting areas that serve as perfect starting points. However, one thing is for sure: Chicagoans have a never-ending love affair with food and with the range of cuisines the city has to offer, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.