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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.

 

DAY 1

XOCO Chicago

 

MORNING

❏ 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 gelato.

 

AFTERNOON

❏ Learn to make deep-dish pizza at home with a cooking class at Pizzeria Uno. The one you make there will be your lunch.

 

EVENING

❏ 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.

 

DAY 2

Mindy's HotChocolate

 

MORNING

❏ 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 neighborhoods.

❏ Browse Damen Avenue's inimitable shops for gifts at Stitch and Red Balloon Co.

❏ Visit Local Foods Market and Cafe for locally-sourced meat, dairy and produce. 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.

 

AFTERNOON

❏ 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.

 

EVENING

❏ 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!

spice of life tours 2

Sample some of the city's phenomenal fare on a guided food tour.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Spice of Life Tours takes guests to ethnic neighborhoods and immerses them in cultural experiences.

Related Listings

Naha
500 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 321-6242

A Tastebud Food Tour
1345 N. Greenview
Chicago, IL 60654
(219) 929-6648

Steppenwolf Theatre Company
1650 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 335-1650

Chop Shop
2033 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 537-4440

Mindy's HotChocolate
1747 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 489-1747

Chef Driven Food Tours
5701 N. Sheridan Rd.
Chicago, IL 60660
(312) 605-0643

BOKA Restaurant
1729 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(312) 337-6070

Thompson Chicago
21 E. Bellevue Pl.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 266-2100

Chicago Food Planet Food Tours
1564 N Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 932-0800

Eataly
43 E. Ohio St.
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 521-8696

Xoco
445 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 661-1434

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