CHICAGO FOODIE CHECKLIST

From our classics to our new restaurants there is literally something for everyone in Chicago.

Top Chicago Restaurants | Boka, Oyster Bah

March 23, 2016 | Dining

Chicago is a city of big dreams, broad shoulders — and hearty appetites.

Thinking about Chicago's place in the food world, this city stands tall with a culinary legacy that continues to evolve. Neighborhoods are just as much a dining destination as downtown. Farm fresh means literally from the bounty of the Midwest. Ethnic eats are driven by family traditions, and also 4-star chef driven. And steak is not something to be taken lightly.

So how to go about finding Chicago restaurants to add to your bucket list? Especially with over 4,980 restaurants in Chicago to choose from? Find some picks below to whet your appetite — and inspire your Instagram. We've lined up some classics to go along with all the top new restaurants everyone is buzzing about for every meal in the day.

Read it and eat! Oh and tag us too @choosechicago #mychicagopix

 

BREAKFAST

Top Chicago Restaurants for Brunch | Dove's Luncheonette, Beatrix, Cochon Volant

Breakfast Newbies

Cochon Volant
Loop: 100 W. Monroe Street
A "Proper French Breakfast" category covers several eggs benedict options, but who can resist the stacks of pancakes or a waffle named Monsieur Foster? 

Beatrix
River North: 519 N. Clark Street & Streeterville: 671 N. St. Clair
Take your breakfast essentials, use healthy wholesome ingredients, and give them a global spin — there you have the ingredients for a perfect morning start. Indulge in the Honey Butter Cinnamon Rolls or Angel Food Cake Muffins in the bakery display case to make it even better.

Dove's Luncheonette
Wicker Park/Bucktown: 1545 N. Damen Avenue
This slick diner has retro appeal, and combines a soulful 60s soundtrack with Southern-inspired Mexican fare i.e. Breakfast Taco Norteño with Chayote Kimchi or Burnt Ends Hash with Queso Fresco.

The Winchester
West Town: 1001 N. Winchester Avenue
Sunny digs and laid back vibes set the scene here, while clean and simple dishes dot the menu — think Avocado Toast, Quiche Lorraine and Cold Smoked Salmon.

Chop Chicago
South Loop: 1017 S. Delano Court
Johnny Cakes, Philly Cheesesteak Benedicts AND Crab Cake Benedicts? Be sure to come hungry. 

Do-Rite Donuts
Loop: 50 W. Randolph Street & Streeterville: 233 E. Erie Street
This eat-on-the-go option features creative concoctions (Irish Stout Cake Donut with Whiskey Glaze was a St. Pat's smash hit) and celebrity collaborations alongside old favorites like Chocolate Glazed.

 


Breakfast Classics

Sweet Maple Café
Established 1999

Little Italy/University Village: 1339 W. Taylor Street
Made-to-order old fashioned favorites are crowd pleasers, and crowds there are aplenty. Tough choices await once you get a table: Hot Cheddar Grits or Plain Ol' Grits, Cornmeal or Sweet Milk Biscuit, Bacon or Bone-in Ham.

Lula Café
Established 1999
Logan Square: 2537 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Their list of purveyors reads like a who's who in local farming, and the list of awards this neighborhood mainstay has won is even longer.

Janik's Café
Established 2003
West Town: 2011 W. Division Street
Three words: breakfast all day. You can't beat the prices, or find friendlier service, than at this family-owned spot slingin' basics like Steak and Eggs and the Denver omelet. 

 

LUNCH

Top Chicago Restaurants for Lunch | Nico Osteria, Cherry Circle Room, Nana

Lunch Newbies

Nico Osteria
Gold Coast: 1015 N. Rush Street
Watch all the action unfold in the open kitchen, but once lunch is served, dig in! From simple salads to stunning pastas to big ticket items like Salt Crusted Branzino, the authentic Italian menu lets the ingredients shine. Caffè Corretto is a must afterwards to combat the afternoon food coma.

River Roast
River North: 315 N. LaSalle Street
Waterfront views, spacious dining rooms and a James Beard-award winning chef. This is tavern fare gone contemporary. Go with the roasts cut tableside: a wood-smoked whole chicken pairs perfectly with a side selection of market fresh "roots shoots and veggies".

Cherry Circle Room
Loop: 12 S. Michigan Avenue
Walking through the historic Chicago Athletic Association Hotel is an experiment in time travel. The Drawing Room, Milk Room and Game Room are enticing stops, but this handsome hideaway is worth seeking out. Particularly for the prettiest Tuna Niçoise Salad you ever did see. P.S. We suggest the alley entrance to conjure up plans for a secret rendezvous.

The Promontory
Hyde Park: 5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West
"Hearth to table" means just that — the aroma of wood burning in the open fire oven gives a rustic touch to the meats, vegetables and breads. The multi-purpose space also boasts a bar and music hall.

 


Lunch Classics

Home Run Inn
Established 1947
Multiple locations
The classic pizza pies have been a favorite for generations of South Siders, and with a new location that set up base in Lakeview, this Chicago chain now touts proximity to both city baseball stadiums.

Wishbone
Established 1992
West Loop: 1001 W. Washington Street

Breakfast is always a winner here, but lunch is no slouch. Blackened Catfish and Jambalaya Cajun Stew are some of the top offerings, while a slew of vegan options also aim to please.

Coco Pazzo
Established 1992
River North: 300 W. Hubbard Street
It is only fitting that this Tuscan-inspired eatery exudes warmth and hospitality.

Nana
Established 2009
Bridgeport: 3267 N. Halsted Street
Local, sustainable and organic don't even begin to explain the deliciousness that is Avocado Fries served with Cilantro Chipotle Lime Aioli.

 

DINNER

Top Restaurants in Chicago for Dinner | Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, Swift & Sons, Spiaggia

Dinner Newbies

Buck's Chicken & Biscuits
West Town: 1700 W. Division Street
Flying under the banner of "Southern fried funk", this late night eatery dishes out heaping servings of its namesake specialties, plus punch bowls big enough to socialize over.

Oyster Bah
Lincoln Park: 1962 N. Halsted Street

Icy platters of fresh seafood take center stage here: oysters (there are several varieties coming in daily) are shucked to order while other staples like Fish and Chips and Lobster Rolls round out the offerings.

Swift & Sons
West Loop: 1000 W. Fulton Market
This premier new steakhouse also honors Chicago history with nods to the past in the decor, in its location and even in its name.

Intro
Lincoln Park: 2300 N. Lincoln Park West
A hand-selected rotation of chefs from around the country take up residence here, offering new and creative menus in the spirit of collaboration.

The Duck Inn
Bridgeport: 2701 S. Eleanor Street
Mid century mod and one of the city's most esteemed — and Chicago proud — chefs. This neighborhood gem touts both style and substance.

 


Dinner Classics

Gene & Georgetti's
Established 1941
River North: 500 N. Franklin Street
This is tradition at its best, and when it comes to massive cuts of red meat broiled to simple perfection, they deliver. 

Spiaggia
Established 1984
The Magnificent Mile: 980 N. Michigan Avenue

The only 4-star Italian restaurant in Chicago, Chef Tony Mantuano's Spiaggia is a venerable institution that not only expresses a deep devotion and understanding of its cuisine, but has also become synonymous with style and sophistication.

Cafe Ba Ba Reeba
Established 1985
Lincoln Park: 2024 N. Halsted Street
Chicago's first-ever tapas restaurant is still growing strong after 30 years. Fill up on tapas (the famous small dishes of Spain), pintxos (one-bite appetizers from Northern Spain) and paella (a traditional Valencian rice dish). The sangria is reason alone to drop in.

Phoenix Restaurant
Established 1996
Chinatown: 2131 S. Archer Avenue
The bustling of carts, the steam rising from the bamboo baskets, the chatter of fellow diners... this is dum sum time and Phoenix is one of the early pioneers.

Boka
Established 2003
Lincoln Park: 1729 N. Halsted Street
With four consecutive Michelin Stars, a Food & Wine Best New Chef and Pastry Chef already under its belt, Boka continues to evolve. 

Quartino Ristorante
Established 2005
River North: 626 N. State Street
The energy at this Italian restaurant and wine bar is infectious and the food is downright heart-warming. Helmed by the perennially-cheerful Chef John Coletta, the kitchen bustles out rustic small plates, including artisanal spreads of formaggi, salumi and spuntini.

 

Photo credits:  Boka (Jeff Kauck), Oyster Bah, Dove's Luncheonette (Sandy Noto), Beatix, Cochon Volant (Jessica Hirsch), Nico Osteria (Derek Richmond), Cherry Circle Room (Clayton Hauck), Nana, Cafe Ba Ba Reeba, Swift & Sons, Spiaggia (Huge Galdones)

Coco Pazzo
300 W. Hubbard St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 836-0900
Quartino Ristorante & Wine Bar
626 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 698-5000
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!
2024 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 935-5000
Gene & Georgetti
500 N. Franklin St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 527-3718
River Roast
315 N. LaSalle St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 527-1417
BOKA Restaurant
1729 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 337-6070
Beatrix - River North
519 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 284-1377
nana
3267 S. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 929-2486
Wishbone Restaurant
1001 W. Washington Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 850-2663
Nico Osteria
1015 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60660
(312) 994-7100
The Duck Inn
2701 S. Eleanor St.
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 943-7600
The Promontory
5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W
Chicago, IL 60615
(312) 801-2100
Janik's Cafe
2011 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 276-7930
Cochon Volant
100 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 236-1234
Intro
2300 N. Lincoln Park West
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 868-0002
Spiaggia Restaurant and Lounge
980 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-2750
Beatrix - Streeterville
671 N. St Clair St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 642-0001
Cherry Circle Room
12 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 792-3515
Chop Steakhouse
1017 S. Delano Ct.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 461-9333
Oyster Bah
1962 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-3000
Home Run Inn Pizza
3215 N. Sheffield Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 525-9696
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