Chicago Travel Guide

USA  #3 in Best Weekend Getaways
Credit

Courtesy of jaskoomerovic/Getty Images/iStockphoto

What to Eat in Chicago

Most people associate Chicago cuisine with three things: pizza, hot dogs and steak. They wouldn't be wrong. The Windy City has an ongoing rivalry with New York City over who can serve up the better slice – while New Yorkers prefer wide and flat, Chicagoans like their pizza with a deep crust that can carry loads of toppings. For hot dogs, New Yorkers like their hot dogs simple with potato buns and ketchup, mustard or relish, while Chicagoans enjoy their beef franks on a poppy seed bun with yellow mustard, chopped white onion, tomatoes, dill pickles, pickled peppers and a dash of celery salt.

Chicago is also known for its steakhouses – the Loop and the North Side are littered with fine dining establishments that serve prime cuts of beef. Some of the most reputed steakhouses include Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab and Benny's Chop House just off The Magnificent Mile and Bavette's Bar & Boeuf in the River North area. Just be warned: A good steak doesn't come cheap in this town.

Another Chicago dish that's popular with locals but not as well-known to tourists is the Italian beef sandwich. Created by Chicago's Italian immigrant community in the early 1900s, this seasoned roast beef sandwich soaked in meat drippings and topped with spicy giardiniera or sweet Italian peppers is found on many hot dog stand and restaurant menus. But, if you want to enjoy an authentic Italian beef sandwich, locals recommend visiting Portillo's. Two locations – one on West Ontario Street in River North and another on West Taylor Street near the South Loop – are available in the downtown area.

If you're looking to save on dining (but don't want to survive on pizza, hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches alone), move away from the downtown area into Chicago's more ethnic neighborhoods. Travel west for the hummus and tzatziki in Greektown, pasta in Little Italy or tacos in the Lower West Side. Or, head south of downtown to Chinatown for Asian specialties. If you're not sure what you're in the mood for, North Side neighborhoods like Streeterville, Lakeview and Lincoln Park boast eclectic restaurant scenes. Authentic Indian and Pakistani fare are also available west of the North Side's Rogers Park neighborhood along West Devon Avenue.

When you've got a hankering for a cold, crisp beer, consider touring one of the city's top breweries. Or, head out for a night on the town to one of the bars locals love, such as Cindy's rooftop bar or Jake Melnick's Corner Tap. And if you have time, locals say you should make reservations for brunch. Chicago is home to an array of brunch spots, including Lincoln Park's Nighthawk: AM, which serves up inventive items like Frosted Flakes-coated French toast sticks with bourbon maple syrup, or West Town's Beatnik, with its globally inspired menu and popular boozy slushies.

Find the Best Restaurants in Chicago

  • #1
    Smoque BBQ
    #1 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1457 reviewsTripAdvisor (1457)
    $ - $$ | American, Barbecue
    3800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641-3197
    Read More »
  • #2
    Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
    #2 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 3981 reviewsTripAdvisor (3981)
    $$ | Steakhouse, American, Seafood
    60 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611-3533
    Read More »
  • #3
    The Chicago Diner
    #3 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 238 reviewsTripAdvisor (238)
    $ - $$ | American, Diner
    2333 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647-2924
    Read More »
  • #4
    The Polo Inn Bridgeport U.S.A.
    #4 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 5 based on 295 reviewsTripAdvisor (295)
    $ - $$ | American, Grill, Healthy, Soups
    3322 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60608-6727
    Read More »
  • #5
    Girl & The Goat
    #5 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 3097 reviewsTripAdvisor (3097)
    $ - $$ | American
    809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607-2310
    Read More »
  • #6
    Steak 48
    #6 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 246 reviewsTripAdvisor (246)
    $$ | American, Steakhouse
    615 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611-2713
    Read More »
  • #7
    Boka Restaurant
    #7 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 605 reviewsTripAdvisor (605)
    $$ | American
    1729 N Halsted St Ste 1, Chicago, IL 60614-5537
    Read More »
  • #8
    Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe
    #8 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 4259 reviewsTripAdvisor (4259)
    $ - $$ | American, Cafe
    130 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601-6207
    Read More »
  • #9
    The Capital Grille
    #9 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 971 reviewsTripAdvisor (971)
    $$ | American, Steakhouse
    633 N Saint Clair St, Chicago, IL 60611-3234
    Read More »
  • #10
    Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken
    #10 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 177 reviewsTripAdvisor (177)
    $ | American, Fast Food
    233 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611-2926
    Read More »
  • #11
    Green Street Smoked Meats
    #11 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 305 reviewsTripAdvisor (305)
    $ - $$ | American, Barbecue
    112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607-2304
    Read More »
  • #12
    Molly's Cupcakes
    #12 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 301 reviewsTripAdvisor (301)
    $ | American
    2536 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614-1712
    Read More »
  • #13
    Bavette's Bar and Boeuf
    #13 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1453 reviewsTripAdvisor (1453)
    $$ | American, Steakhouse
    218 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654-4908
    Read More »
  • #14
    Alinea
    #14 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1440 reviewsTripAdvisor (1440)
    $$ | American, International
    1723 North Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614-5501
    Read More »
  • #15
    Eleven City Diner
    #15 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 1293 reviewsTripAdvisor (1293)
    $ - $$ | American, Diner, Deli
    1112 S Wabash Ave Loop - Museum Campus - Downtown, Chicago, IL 60605-2358
    Read More »
  • #16
    Doughnut Vault
    #16 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 458 reviewsTripAdvisor (458)
    $ | American, Contemporary
    401 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654-4902
    Read More »
  • #17
    Tanta
    #17 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 748 reviewsTripAdvisor (748)
    $ - $$ | Peruvian, Latin, Seafood
    118 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654-5206
    Read More »
  • #18
    Batter & Berries
    #18 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 341 reviewsTripAdvisor (341)
    $ - $$ | American
    2748 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614-1321
    Read More »
  • #19
    Nookies
    #19 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 393 reviewsTripAdvisor (393)
    $ - $$ | American, Cafe, Diner, International
    1746 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60614-5807
    Read More »
  • #20
    Monteverde
    #20 of 10,973 Places to Eat in Chicago
    TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5 based on 283 reviewsTripAdvisor (283)
    $ - $$ | Italian, European
    1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607-2008
    Read More »

Explore More of Chicago

Recommended

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019