Whether interested in burgers, brats, steaks, or vegetarian fare, the Second City has just about any meal combo you can dream up. While most Chicagoans have probably had enough deep dish pizza to last a lifetime, visitors to the city would be missing out if they passed on the opportunity to taste the city’s most famous dish.
Nookies 1746 N. Wells St. (312) 337-2454 With locations in Old Town, Lincoln Park (Nookies Too), Lakeview (Nookies Tree), and Edgewater (Nookies Edgewater), Nookies is the perfect place to dine before a night on the town, as well as recover the next morning. While Nookies Edgewater boasts a full bar, patrons of the other locations are welcome to BYOB.
Wishbone 1001 W. Washington Blvd. (312) 850-2663 Located in the West Loop, Wishbone is ideal for those with a big appetite. Serving southern-style favorites like North Carolina style crab cakes, crawfish cakes, jambalaya cajun stew, and shrimp and grits, the location boasts one of Chicago’s heartier menus.
Chicago Diner 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave. (773) 252-3211 Located in Logan Square as well as in the heart of Boystown, Chicago Diner is a must for vegetarians. Using the slogan, “Meat free since ‘83,” the diner serves up must-have vegan shakes, quinoa chili, roasted vegetable polenta, and vegetable stir fry better than just about anywhere else in the midwest.
Ann Sather 3415 N. Broadway (773) 305-0024 With locations in Lakeview, Edgewater, and on the outskirts of Boystown, Ann Sather is worth visiting if for no other reason than their world-famous cinnamon rolls. Open daily at 7am, Ann Sather is a great choice for anyone in search of standard breakfast fare.
Melrose Restaurant 3233 N. Broadway St. (773) 327-2060 The Lakeview diner boasts an extensive menu with everything ranging from eggs to seafood to pasta and pie. Melrose Restaurant is perfect for groups on a budget.
Joy's Noodles and Rice 3257 N. Broadway St. (773) 327-8330 Another BYOB Boystown mainstay, Joy’s Noodles and Rice offers a number of Thai classics. The spicy basil leaves, garlic chicken noodles, and pad thai are must-try dishes.
Penny's Noodle Shop 1542 N. Damen Ave. (773) 394-0100 Now inhabiting five locations throughout the Chicagoland area, Penny’s Noodles’ Wicker Park/Bucktown makes for a quick and affordable place to refuel, especially for those looking to enjoy a night out in the hipster-filled neighborhood.
Shaw's Crab House 21 E. Hubbard St. (312) 527-2722 Seafood lovers take note. Shaw’s Crab House is a must try on any journey through the city. Serving top-grade shellfish, oysters, and sushi, and sashimi, Shaw’s is an upscale fish house with an appropriately upscale price tag.
Moody's Pub 5910 N. Broadway St. (773) 275-2696 Moody’s can be described in two words: beer and burgers. Home to one of Chicago’s most peaceful patios, Moody’s Pub is the perfect place to catch up with friends, old and new.
Star of Siam 11 E. Illinois St. #1 (312) 670-0100 Describing themselves as “the most fashionable Thai restaurant,” Star of Siam proves to be one of the city’s more aesthetically-pleasing dining locations in the city. Located in the Gold Coast, Star of Siam is a great place to meet post-work for those coming into town on business.
Heaven on Seven 600 N. Michigan Ave. (312) 280-7774 Between the gumbo and the jalapeno cheddar corn muffins, Heaven on Seven ranks as one of the best places in Chicago to find southern-style cooking. Additionally, the Loop-based location offers a wide array of gluten-free options.
Pasteur 5525 N. Broadway St. (773) 728-4800 Located in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, Pasteur offers some of the city’s most authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Closed on Mondays, Pasteur is open Tuesday through Sunday starting at 11 a.m.
El Nuevo Mexicano 2914 N. Clark St. (773) 528-2131 El Nuevo Mexicano is worth checking out if for no other reason than their absolutely phenomenal margaritas. Offering a full bar, the restaurant’s upscale appearance and delicious, authentic Mexican options make this Lakeview a great option for those planning a date night.
Kopi Travelers Cafe 5317 N. Clark St. (773) 989-5674 This Andersonville hole-in-the-wall offers a number of delicious vegetarian and health food options, as well as some of the city’s best selection of caffeinated beverages. Weekends at Kopi bring out Chicago’s artists and writers, many of whom spend their time sketching between sips of coffee or typing away on their keyboards.
Heartland Café 7000 N. Glenwood Ave. (773) 465-8005 The Rogers Park restaurant has a rich history of overt liberal political leanings. While running for U.S. Senate, then-state senator Barack Obama once held a rally at Heartland, and the walls have frequently been home to pictures and quotes from the likes of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and in 2012, when Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was fighting back against a recall effort, Heartland’s dining room more closely resembled the office of a Democratic political operative than a restaurant. In past years, the restaurant has fallen on hard times, though they continue to offer some of the best food found on Chicago’s far-north side.
Chicago is famous for deep-dish pizza, but most of the best known pizzerias have branched out as chains, sprawling throughout Chicago and the nearby suburbs. Here are some to consider: