Chicago is a city known for its culinary craft. Taste the wide variety of cuisines at these favorite restaurants and see why Chicago is considered a top gourmet destination, and host city for the 2015 James Beard Awards.
If you appreciate farm-to-table, Homestead (below) in West Town is a great option. Grab a seat on the rooftop overlooking the restaurant's outdoor farm and hanging garden, where ingredients are grown fresh and picked daily.
The fresh trend rules at River North's Siena Tavern, where ingredients live on the walls, literally. The Italian restaurant from "Top Chef" alum Fabio Viviani serves up from-scratch delicacies with ingredients picked from its garden walls. Insider tip: Order the coccoli as an appetizer, you'll love every cheesy, creamy bite.
In River North, The Boarding House's (below) decor is just as impressive as its extensive wine selection and wine-inspired cuisine. Grab a drink at the bar on the first floor, or enjoy dinner on the third floor underneath the impressive ceiling installation made from more than 4,000 wine bottles.
Chicago's history plays a big role in its food. Trendhermen in Wicker Park provides diners with a wonderful example of the past and the present colliding for a great dining experience. This contemporary American restaurant is located in the building that housed the old Luxor Russian Baths of the 1920s.
Logan Square's Longman & Eagle is a modern twist on an old neighborhood inn, where you will fell right at home with a glass of whiskey and ever-changing adventurous dishes.
Relax in the rustic, applewood-scented atmosphere of Nightwood Restaurant (below) in Pilsen. This classic Midwestern tavern, and winner of a Bib Gourmand award, cooks with simplicity, offering dishes like spit-roasted chicken, slow-cooked pork and squash grilled over an open flame.
And if simple and straightforward is your dining style, check out Carriage House in Wicker Park, where modern meets Southern country fare. This restaurant offers a taste of down south in the north with small plates like fried green tomatoes and family-style meals of lowcountry boil perfect for sharing.
In Chicago, you can experience cuisines from all over the world without traveling very far. For a taste of Latin America, head over to local hangout Big Star in Wicker Park. The Mexican street food concept from award-winning chef Paul Kahan features seasonally inspired tacos with fresh toppings like catfish, grilled pineapple and pork belly, as well as an extensive bourbon menu.
Travel to South America as you dine at Tanta in River North, a Peruvian restaurant serving beverages inspired by pisco, a grape brandy made in Peru. At Sumi Robata Bar, a Japanese restaurant in River North, grilled meats and sashimi are the main focus. The wait can be long, but it's worth it.
If you're a night owl looking for a good bar, Chicago has you covered. Drinks reign supreme at Three Dots and a Dash, a tiki-inspired River North hot spot. Enjoy drinks like Painkiller No. 3 and Tall as a Tree and Twice as Shady. Sip slowly and enjoy.
Dusek's in Pilsen is a restaurant/beer hall featuring an extensive list of food-focused beers that pair perfectly with the hearty, farm-to-table menu.
Photos Courtesy of: Adam Alexander; Homestead; The Boarding House; Anthony Tahlier; Big Star