The seasonality of the economy favors the Emerald City of America’s heartland more than almost any other region in the country. The best restaurants in Chicago are recognized as some of the most exciting in the country.
These restaurants get their farm-fresh ingredients from all over the state of Illinois and the neighboring states of Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. These are some of our favorite restaurants in Chicago right now, and they range from having renowned chefs to providing memorable dining experiences through their hospitality and haute cuisine.
1. Lula Cafe
Lula Cafe opened its doors in 1999 as a modest business on Kedzie Boulevard, equipped with a four-burner range stove and an assortment of scratched and damaged pots and pans from thrift stores. Today, spanning three storefronts, it is a founding member of the nationally recognized Logan Square culinary community and a celebrated forerunner of the “farm to table” movement in Chicago. Additionally, it was one of the first restaurants in the country to serve locally sourced ingredients.
Lula’s cuisine has developed into a kind of humble maturity, adventurous yet grounded; it is a bohemian bistro of the unclassifiable style. This is mainly because the chefs there are self-taught and eager to cook against categorization. To celebrate birthdays and first dates, taste through the seasons, brunch with friends after a night out, read a book at the bar with a glass of wine, bite through the seasons, and taste through the seasons, we invite you for any occasion. At Lula, we believe that anything is not only possible but also desirable and welcome.
2. Birrieria Zaragoza
Located at Pulaski Rd, cross street between 48th and 49th Sts, Birrieria Zaragoza has everything a person could ever want. Coffee with cinnamon and sugar freshly made salsa, and big tortillas cooked on the stovetop. Its main purpose is to enhance the unique dishes of chopped goat meat offered here. While some birrierias marinate their goat in a consommé before serving, Its goat is marinated in a tomato-based broth that is poured over it right before eating. Now, you can have one of the city’s best goat tacos with only a hefty helping of the restaurant’s complicated hot sauce, a squeeze of lime, and some onions on the side.
Chef Williams’ first solo concept, Virtue, a southern-inspired fine dining restaurant in the heart of Hyde Park, opened in November 2018. Williams is the owner and executive chef, bringing his extensive knowledge and experience in the culinary arts to the local community while ensuring the business’s smooth running and the highest quality food.
At Virtue, you can virtually feel the spirit seeping from the food at this Hyde Park restaurant. Whether he is serving up his famous collards with chunks of smoked turkey flesh, or serving up his fried green tomatoes with soft shrimp and creamy rémoulade, Chef Williams cooks from the heart.
4. The Bristol
The Bristol may be an American eatery in Chicago’s Bucktown area. The Bristol has established itself as a go-to spot for Chicagoans, off-duty chefs, and tourists searching for a delicious meal or Sunday brunch. Handmade pasta, charcuterie, and farm-fresh veggies are all on the menu, as is an approach to cooking that uses the whole animal, from nose to tail. More than two hundred beverages are represented on the list, and there are beverages from all corners of the globe.
The Bristol has ample private space on the hotel’s second floor that can be set up for various events, from business dinners to wedding receptions. At The Bristol, you can expect to be greeted with a friendly face, welcomed with open arms, and treated to an unforgettable experience.
Lardon is open 24 hours a day and specializes in butchering whole hogs from nose to tail. They serve a wide variety of charcuterie on wooden boards or layers on deli bread. The dining room features a curing room where rows of soppressata, finocchiona, and Spanish chorizo are displayed for all to see. You absolutely must try the rosemary truffle lardo. In need of some greens? Toss some broccoli and zucchini with tarragon and green goddess dressing and eat it as a salad.
It’s a pastrami sandwich is unrivaled in Chicago. It turns out that Chicago’s finest pastrami makes for a fantastic Reuben; adding goat gouda and housemade sauerkraut helps cut through the richness without masking the pastrami’s smokiness, making for a very memorable sandwich. The finocchiona and butter sandwich, with its layer of salty arugula, is another example of a clever sandwich structure.
Located at Fulton Street in Chicago, Ever is the focus of the chef with a Michelin star, Curtis Duffy, and his business partner, Michael Muser’s creative devotion. Architects LSA developed the dimly lighted and beautiful dining area, winners of the James Beard Award for Architecture. It is almost as remarkable as the meal. Ever, dubbed “creative obsession” by Duffy, guarantees a one-of-a-kind dining experience that is elegant, ambitious, and intense, with a price tag that matches these descriptors.
7. Rose Mary
Chef Joe Flamm, the winner of the reality cooking competition Top Chef, has finally opened his long-awaited Fulton Market restaurant, Rose Mary. Flamm’s grandmothers, Mary Rose and Mary, inspired the restaurant’s name, and the menu features an amalgam of Italian and Croatian dishes that he dubs “Adriatic drinking food.”
Flamm’s homemade pasta and other shellfish, spices, and vegetables make the dishes at Rose Mary fresh and lively. A charcoal stove is used for most of the cooking. Some of the bar bites on the menu include grilled clams with smoked ramp butter, zucchini fritters, tuna Crudo with crispy capers, shallot-beef fat vinaigrette, and veal aioli. There are heartier options such as pork ribs, risotto in the style of Skradin (Skradinski riot) made with braised veal breast, tomatoes, Parmigiano cheese, and chicken thighs, and lamb ragù in the manner of Abruzzi served over house-extruded Mafaldine pasta with ground lamb, shishito peppers, and Caciocavallo cheese. Dessert options include various flavors of gelato and sorbetto.
8. Taqueria Chingón
The word “chingón” literally translates to “badass” in English, and you’ll hear it a lot in Hispanic households. In this particular version of the pork taco, Chef Ascencio and his business partners Sotero Gallegos (La Sardine) and Oliver Poilevey (Le Bouchon) sub in mushrooms and celery root for the traditional ground pork. The vegan taco has a surprising flavor resembling that of flesh and is topped with avocado salsa and pineapple.
They do not stop there; instead, they continually insert opulent delicacies such as truffles, sweetbreads, and foie gras into tortillas that they make at home, drawing inspiration from the restaurants in which they have previously worked. While the duck carnitas with chicharrón and orange is a riff on the classic French duck à l’orange, the Costilla is inspired by a pasta dish that Ascencio created at Bar Lupo and used pork, hazelnuts, and herbs.
9. Andros Taverna
Andros Taverna is a contemporary Greek restaurant owned and operated by Chef Doug Psaltis in the center of Logan Square. They provide refined Mediterranean cuisine that is served from the heart. Andros Taverna is a story of culinary tradition, the purity of flavors, and genuine hospitality. The multicultural taverns of Greece inspired it.
At Andros Taverna, the menu focuses on fresh, feel-good Mediterranean cuisine. For example, you may chow down on baked feta and eggs for brunch, and for dinner, you can choose a Mezza collection that is heaped high with spreads, olives, and crudités. Do not pass up the desserts prepared by pastry chef Hsing Chen, featuring a vanilla custard pie topped with cinnamon, honey, and pistachios and served on a phyllo crust, as well as kourabiedes almond cookies.
Inspired by Chef Grant Achatz, Alinea is a Chicago institution that consistently ranks as the top restaurant in the United States. The elegance of attentive service is on full display from the moment you walk in the door until you leave with your full stomach and empty juice glass.
Most of the customers were couples out on dates, even though the salon’s capacity is for groups of up to six individuals. Dishes with cryptic titles like “spectrum,” “glass,” and “yellow” were placed on the table’s menu. Between courses, guests play a guessing game, speculating on what might come next and how it might be presented. The first dish, aptly titled “ice,” is served in a wobbly ball of ice, which you must balance on your spoon while it freezes to hold spot prawn, banana, and coconut.
Monteverde is an Italian restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop. It is known for its innovative fusion of Italian cuisine with flavors and techniques inspired by Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s travels and upbringing in various cultures. By incorporating global products and cooking techniques not typically seen in Italian kitchens, Monteverde presents a novel approach to enjoying Italian cuisine.
Using only ingredients sourced from the Midwest and Italy, Monteverde follows Grueneberg’s philosophy of “following the food” to guarantee that everything we use is produced ethically and sustainably. The Pastificio is the beating core of the restaurant, where our skilled staff makes a wide selection of pasta from scratch every day. At Monteverde, flour is king.
Since 1990, Irazu has been bringing the cuisine and flavor of our country to customers, and for our family, it has been the realization of the ideal American dream. You’ll be greeted by friendly faces, enticing aromas, and upbeat Latin music as soon as you come through the front door.
Irazu is the place where the first oatmeal shake was ever made! The recipe is one only the family uses and has been handed down from parent to child over the years. The “Casado,” which translates to “married,” is the most popular item on our menu. It is a traditional dish from Costa Rica that consists of white rice, black beans, sweet plantains, cabbage salad, thinly sliced rib eye steak, chicken breast, or tilapia, all of which are topped with an egg cooked over easy.