In this section, you will discover that food is a full experience of all senses; it is art and poetry! I would like to share with you my personal favorite culinary experiences!
hicago is no longer a simple meat and potatoes town. Restaurants in the nation’s third-largest city have grown to a level of sophistication that rival any food scene in the country. Whether it is the height of a hot summer or the depth of a frigid winter, there are some Chicago food experiences you should not leave without trying.
Chicago features many restaurants that highlight the city’s various ethnic neighborhoods, including Chinatown on the South Side, Greek town on Halsted Street, and Little Italy on Taylor Street- the Heart of Italy. The South Asian community along Devon Avenue hosts many Pakistani and Indian eateries. The predominantly Mexican neighborhoods of Pilsen and Little Village are home to numerous eateries ranging from small taquerías to full-scale restaurants. Several restaurants featuring Middle Eastern fare can be found along Lawrence Avenue, while Polish cuisine is well represented along Milwaukee Avenue on the Northwest side and Archer Avenue on the Southwest side. A large concentration of Vietnamese restaurants can be found in the Argyle Street district in Uptown. With so much diversity it is not, surprise people flock to Chicago for a true culinary not only experience but also trip! Twenty-five of Chicago’s restaurants have Michelin stars. There are also hot-dog stands, burgers from corner taverns, deep-dish pizza, food from all continents, old-school classics and numerous imaginative joints outside the rating system. Here are some of my personal favorites and not only mine, many people love them too!
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Personally, Lula Café is one of my personal favorites. It serves delicious, locally sourced food. With self-taught chefs and a willingness to cook against categorization, the menu at Lula has grown into a kind of humble maturity, risky but grounded a boheme bistro of the unclassifiable kind. Good for all occasions whether to read a book at the bar with a glass of wine, to celebrate birthdays and first dates, to taste through the seasons or to brunch with friends after a night out. Anything is possible and welcomed at Lula.
Another personal favorite is Monteverde. Located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, Monteverde is an Italian restaurant that blends the traditions of Italian culture and cooking with influences from Chef Sarah Grueneberg’s trips around the world, as well as her family heritage. Monteverde offers a new way to experience Italian food, highlighting some dishes that are deeply rooted in tradition while others have adventurous new flavors, through the use of global ingredients and cooking methods not usually seen in the Italian kitchen.
Another favorite spot, Virtue. You can practically feel the soul oozing from the menu at this Hyde Park restaurant. It is Chef Erick Williams’ love letter to the Southern experience of cooking through passed-down recipes and reimagined expressions. It is because Williams cooks with his heart, whether he is plating fried green tomatoes with tender shrimp and creamy rémoulade or he is fixing his famous collards, which arrive studded with hunks of smoked turkey meat. Second only to the food is the ambiance, which is sexy without trying too hard—perfect for a cozy date night when indoor dining resumes.
If you are looking for a fun spot, Superdawg Drive-In is the place. It is an old-fashioned drive-in where uniformed servers ferry hot dogs, fries and malts straight to your car window. Besides the nostalgia factor? Nearly everything on the menu, including the delicious namesake all-beef frank loaded with Chicago-style toppings, comes nestled amid crispy crinkle-cut “Super fries” in a colorful, cartoon-covered box. If you are not craving a hot dog, you will also find double-decker “Whooper burgers” and creamy “Super shakes.” Do not worry if you do not have a car, you can walk up and place an order at the window or get Superdawg delivered.
Whether you are a lifelong resident or simply visiting for the weekend, stuff your face at one of these restaurants will easily be among the best things to do in Chicago.
This belt-busting food scene shows no signs of slowing down! If you have tried something you love on this list, share it with me on the comments. I would love to hear about your experience!
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