Whenever I visit Chicago I like to shop and eat my way down Michigan Avenue. There are so many great restaurants in Chicago. I have a few stops I always have to make, but I also like to try new places. This summer we spent a fun getaway weekend in Chicago with our old neighbors. They introduced us to a few new places they liked so I thought I’d share some of the spots where we ate and that I would recommend if you’re ever in the city.
1. Pizza is a must eat if you are in Chicago. I’m a little partial to New York pizza, but if you enjoy the deep dish style check out Lou Malnati’s. The crust has a delicious buttery taste much like a pastry and it’s our friend’s favorite pizza place.
2. Garret Popcorn is a Chicago staple. Oprah gave it a shout out on her show years ago and it’s worth the wait in line. The Garret Mix which is a mixture of caramel and cheese popcorn is my favorite. If you plan to bring some home go with the tin. I bought a friend a bag and it went stale by the time I got home. There are no preservatives in the popcorn and it’s best when eaten within 24 hours.
3. Yolk is a great place to eat for breakfast. They have a large assortment of breakfast specialties and the portions are pretty hefty. They have several locations in Chicago and also Indianapolis and Dallas.
4. Hash House A Go Go serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and specializes in what they call twisted farm food. They keep the fun in food while pulling from the experiences of farm fresh agriculture, live stock, and old recipes with a twist. My daughter and I shared the Chicken and Waffles which was wonderful and plenty big enough for two. Their portions are very large. Hash House A Go Go is also located in San Diego, Orlando, Las Vegas, Mohegan Sun, Connecticut and Nevada.
5. Portillo’s has been around since 1963 and first started as a hot dog stand. Their Italian Beef sandwich is delicious and a crowd favorite. They have numerous locations in Illinois and are also in California, Arizona and Indiana.
6. We learned about the restaurant Xoco from our shuttle driver. Chef Rick Bayless offers a creative menu with a contemporary twist to Mexican street food. I had the Cubana sandwich which is nothing like a traditional Cuban sandwich, but it was delicious and spicy. The place isn’t very big and be prepared to wait in line, but the line moves rather quickly.
7. Quartino is a great place to eat for Italian food. We didn’t have time to go there this last trip, but I’ve been several times and the food is delicious.
8. Eataly is a fun place to check out for all sorts of Italian foods. It’s a marketplace and has several eating places within the store. We didn’t eat dinner there, but everything looks delicious. My recommendation would be to grab a gelato or dessert there and pick up some Italian cookies to take home. There is also a location in New York.
9. Meat Restaurant in Chicago offers gourmet skewers to share. They have an assortment of small plates which can be shared between 2-4 people. The brussel sprouts are delicious and everyone thoroughly enjoyed sampling the skewers and side dishes. My friend has a gluten and other food allergies and she was able to eat almost everything they had to offer.
10. End your day with a cocktail in the Signature Room Lounge at the top of the John Hancock Building. The view of the city is spectacular and you can get some great photos. The Cucumber Collins is wonderful.
One last fun little place my nephew showed me which makes me SMILE is the Sprinkles ATM between Michigan & Rush Street. Great for a grab and go cupcake and no waiting in line.
Where’s your favorite place to eat in Chicago? Please leave a comment below and the next time I’m there I’ll check it out.