chicago dining guide

For my city guides, I try to have a mix of everything - new restaurants, iconic venues, and tourist spots worth a visit. These will range from casual cafes for breakfast to suit jacket fine dining. As with all guides, it is not exhaustive but hopefully full of wonderful recommendations that will help you make the most of your visit! Here's what I love in Chicago:

photo: business insider

photo: business insider

Au Cheval  

The open kitchen at this upscale "diner" works with ingredients ranging from bologna to foie gras.

800 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

photo: chicago mag

photo: chicago mag


Inventive small & large plates served in a cozy, minimalist space with communal seating.

615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661


The Purple Pig

Adventurous small plates plus house-cured meats & a lengthy wine list in small, lively quarters.

500 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611



Casual, brick-walled pizza pub where deep-dish pies with caramelized crusts are served until late.

2207 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

photo: 10best

photo: 10best


Creative American cuisine in a stylish, modern setting with a lounge & candelit back garden patio.

1729 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

photo: Chicago Reader


Chef Michael Carlson showcases inventive New American fixed-price menus in a simple, homey space.

1466 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

photo: star chefs

photo: star chefs

Girl & The Goat

Hot spot where Stephanie Izard serves up innovative small plates from a dramatic open kitchen.

809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

photo: thrillist

photo: thrillist

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

American surf 'n' turf restaurant serving upmarket fare & cocktails in a lavish 2-story space.

750 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

photo: tasting table 

photo: tasting table 

lula cafe

Inventive, market-driven food in a casual, funky space that hosts an especially popular brunch.

2537 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647


photo: pintrest

photo: pintrest

Mott St

Asian-inspired plates & craft cocktails served amid funky furnishings & communal tables.

1401 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

photo: bon appetite

photo: bon appetite


Funky-chic place serving modern, creative Korean-American fare plus wine & cocktails.

3500 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618

Smoque BBQ

Popular BBQ spot slinging ribs, brisket, pulled pork & more in a basic space with community tables.

3800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641

photo: serious eats

photo: serious eats

Frontera Grill

Chef Rick Bayless' always busy flagship where creative Mexican fare is served in a festive space.

445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

photo: eater

photo: eater

Fat Rice

Comfort food from around the world is served in a rustic space with communal tables & open kitchen.

2957 W Diversey Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

photo: chicago mag

photo: chicago mag


Voted best restaurant in the world, Chef Grant Achatz offers New American tasting menus featuring highly creative plates.

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614

photo: cbs chicago 

photo: cbs chicago 

mindy's hot chocolate

Hip family-friendly American eatery known for its seasonal fare, rich desserts & hot chocolate.

1747 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

photo: grub street 

photo: grub street 

The Publican

A creative seafood & pork-focused menu plus global brews in a hip setting with communal tables.

837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607

photo: Chicago Tribune


Stylish spot serving refined, contemporary Italian fare such as fresh pastas

1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607


Bang Bang Pie Shop

Rustic bakery with a rotating menu of homemade sweet & savory pies & biscuits for eat-in or takeout.

2051 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60647