Though first-time visitors might come to Chicago for the
culture and architecture, many return travelers come for the food. The city,
with its quintessential cuisines like Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian beef,
has also proudly earned its share of accolades for its critically acclaimed
chefs and award-winning restaurants.
Find the best restaurants in Chicago on this 2-day itinerary, or check out our roundup of top food tours for a guided foodie adventure.
❏ Start the day with a chorizo egg empanada at Chef Rick
Bayless' street food focused cafe, Xoco (pronounced SHO-ko). Sugar-coated crunchy churros are a sweeter alternative, especially when dipped in the shot of chocolate.
❏ Then pay a visit to Eataly Chicago. Browse the
market mall for kitchen goodies and gadgets or take a cooking class. Eataly
also vaunts 23 inspiring eateries serving up everything from antipasto to
❏ Learn to make deep-dish pizza at home with a cooking class
at Pizzeria Uno. The one you make there will be your lunch.
❏ If you still have
an appetite, treat yourself to an early dinner of lamb loin with pistachios,
yogurt, rhubarb and chickpeas at Michelin-starred Boka.
❏ Attend a play at the
renowned Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
❏ Spend the day in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area. Enjoy a rich
breakfast of freshly baked donuts and coffee to-go from Stan's Donuts. Specialties include the Captain Crunch Bismark and Nutella Banana Pocket but you can't go wrong with a classic like the standard Glazed.
❏ Walk The
606, a new elevated park and trail system that stretches through several
❏ Browse Damen Avenue's inimitable shops for gifts at Stitch and Red
❏ Visit Local Foods Market and Cafe for locally-sourced meat, dairy
Take a peek into Chicago's first sustainable whole-animal butcher shop, The Butcher & Larder, then grab a counter seat at Stock cafe for the freshest farm eats coming in from around the Midwest.
❏ Lunch on seasonal quiche, the Slagel Farms beef burger or the to-die-for mac ‘n' cheese at
Mindy's HotChocolate. Chef/owner Mindy Segal was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for "Outstanding Pastry Chef" in 2012 and her medal and several other nominations line the entrance.
❏ Or opt for the porcheta deli sandwich at Chop Shop, a
prized butchery, restaurant and event space.
❏ Discover the area's celebrated
historic architecture via the Flatiron Arts Building, North Avenue Baths
Building and the mansions on Beer Baron Row along Hoyne and Pierce avenues.
❏ For dinner, dine on crisp soft shell crabs at another Michelin-starred
restaurant, Mediterranean-American Naha.
❏ Get your beauty rest at Gold Coast
original luxury boutique hotel Thompson Chicago.
❏ Sip a
nightcap downstairs at Salone Nico. Ask to see the Japanese Whisky menu.
Plus... Chicago Food Tours!
Sample some of the city's phenomenal fare on a guided food tour.
- Savor timeless Chicago flavors on a guided walking
Tastebud Food Tour. Ask about the 1893 World Columbian Exposition Food Tour led
by "Chicago's Gold Coast Queen" Bertha Palmer.
- Graze in ethnic eateries and one-of-a-kind shops from Chinatown to Old Town during a
Chicago Food Planet Food Tour. This veteran operation (10 years and counting!) has been rated #1 Tour Company in Chicago by TripAdvisor.
- Take a Chef Driven Food Tour. It's like having your own
personal chef drive you around to sample food featured on the Food Network and
the Travel Channel.
- Spice of Life Tours takes guests to ethnic neighborhoods
and immerses them in cultural experiences.