Chicago is known for its diverse cuisine and vibrant culinary scene. From deep-dish pizza to steak and seafood, the Windy City has something for every taste bud. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best restaurants in Chicago, highlighting what makes each one a must-visit spot.
1. Alinea – For an unforgettable fine dining experience, Alinea should be at the top of your list. The restaurant, led by head chef Grant Achatz, offers a multi-course tasting menu that incorporates avant-garde cooking techniques and unique presentation. Expect to be wowed with dishes like edible helium balloons and a tableside presentation of a dish on a tree branch.
2. Girl & the Goat – Located in the West Loop neighborhood, Girl & the Goat serves up bold, flavorful dishes with an emphasis on sustainability and locally-sourced ingredients. Helmed by Top Chef alum Stephanie Izard, the restaurant has become a Chicago institution since its opening in 2010.
3. Pequod’s – When it comes to deep-dish pizza, Pequod’s is widely regarded as one of the best in Chicago. The pies at this Lincoln Park institution are known for their caramelized crusts and generous toppings. Be sure to order the sausage and pepperoni combo for the ultimate Chicago-style pizza experience.
4. The Publican – If you’re a fan of pork and beer, The Publican is the place to be. This Fulton Market spot is a beer hall and pork-centric eatery all in one. Don’t miss out on the pork rinds or the charcuterie, and wash it all down with one of the 100+ beers they have on tap.
5. Giant – This Logan Square restaurant may have a small name, but its flavors are anything but. Giant’s shareable plates are playful and inventive, highlighting seasonal ingredients and unexpected flavor combinations. The fried chicken and steak tartare are standouts.
6. Gene & Georgetti – For those looking for a classic, old-school steakhouse experience, Gene & Georgetti should be on your radar. This River North spot has been serving up prime cuts of beef and Italian fare since 1941. The atmosphere is old-fashioned and charming, making it a popular choice for special occasions.
7. The Violet Hour – While not a restaurant per se, The Violet Hour is one of the most highly-regarded cocktail bars in the city. The speakeasy-style bar offers a rotating menu of creative, expertly-crafted cocktails. The atmosphere is dimly lit and intimate, making it a great spot for a date or a night out with friends.
Overall, Chicago’s culinary scene is diverse and exciting, with something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a high-end tasting menu or a classic Chicago-style hot dog, you’re sure to find it in the Windy City.