Chicago is a city with a vibrant food culture, filled with some of the country’s best restaurants. But if you’re a foodie looking for something off the beaten path, Chicago has some hidden gems that are worth checking out. From secret bars to hole-in-the-wall eateries, here are Chicago’s best-kept secret restaurants for foodies.


This hidden gem is a family-owned and operated Korean restaurant located in West Rogers Park that serves some of the best bibimbap in town. The restaurant has an unassuming exterior, but step inside and you’ll find a cozy atmosphere with friendly staff, traditional Korean decor, and tasty food. Their bibimbap is served in a sizzling hot stone bowl and is packed with crispy vegetables, seasoned beef, and a perfectly cooked egg. Don’t forget to try their kimchi and Korean pancakes!

The Violet Hour

The Violet Hour is a secret bar located in Wicker Park that serves some of the city’s best cocktails. To get in, you need to ring a doorbell to gain entry into the unmarked entrance. Inside, you’ll find a dimly lit atmosphere with vintage decor, plush couches, and a menu of seasonal cocktails that change regularly. The bartenders here are passionate about their craft and can whip up a custom cocktail based on your preferences.

Ina Mae Tavern

Ina Mae Tavern is a cozy New Orleans-inspired restaurant located in Wicker Park that serves some of the city’s best fried chicken and po’ boys. The restaurant is named after the owner’s great-grandmother and has a charming interior with plenty of Southern flair. They aim to transport you to the heart of the French Quarter with their menu of NOLA classics like crawfish étouffée, gumbo, and jambalaya. But their fried chicken steals the show – it’s crispy, juicy, and full of flavor.

Birrieria Zaragoza

This hole-in-the-wall eatery in Archer Heights specializes in birria, a traditional Mexican dish made with goat meat that’s been slow-cooked for hours. The family-run restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall, but don’t let its unassuming location fool you – they serve some of the best birria in the city. Their birria is served with soft tortillas, onions, cilantro, and a spicy consommé for dipping. Be sure to try their goat tacos and quesabirria too!

The Bristol

The Bristol is a neighborhood restaurant located in Bucktown that serves elevated American cuisine with a focus on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant has a cozy interior with wood paneling, leather banquettes, and a fireplace – the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or date night. The menu changes regularly, but you can always expect to find creative and delicious dishes like crispy fried chicken thighs, wood-grilled steak, and homemade pasta.

Chicago has no shortage of amazing restaurants, but these secret spots offer a unique dining experience that’s worth seeking out. Whether you’re in the mood for Korean cuisine, craft cocktails, Southern comfort food, or Mexican birria, these hidden gems have got you covered.