Best Restaurants in Chicago

best restaurants in chicago: chicago food guide

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One of the things people ask me for most is the best restaurants in Chicago. Whether you want a good brunch or the best deep dish pizza in the Windy City, there are tons of restaurants to try. After a year and a half, I’m rounding up the restaurants that have blown us away! These are the places to eat in Chicago if you’re planning a trip.

If visiting Chi town is on your list this summer, make sure to check out my Chicago travel guide before you go. I also did a post on the best healthy restaurants in Chicago before too if you’re into clean eats. I will keep updating this list as we find new restaurants. A word of warning: make a reservation as far in advance as possible – Chicago restaurants are incredibly hard to get into! We are trying a new restaurant called Katana on Friday!


RPM Italian. I’ve been to this restaurant more times than any other restaurant in Chicago (excluding the restaurants in my office building). The ambiance is amazing, the food is always on point, and the portions are perfectly sized. It’s great for a business dinner, a girls night, or even just cocktails.


Bad Hunter. This is one of my favorite spots on this list. Bad Hunter is a “veg forward” restaurant which basically just means that they get creative with their vegetable sides. They still serve quite an array of meat options and their menu changes seasonally. Just like almost everything in the West Loop, the vibe is trendy and the decor is stellar. We will definitely be going back.


Ema. This is one of my favorite restaurants that I constantly find myself craving. All of the hummus’ are amazing – do the sampler – and every dish is incredible. The restaurant is also incredibly cute which makes it one of my top places to eat in Chicago.


Duck Duck Goat. This restaurant is part of an ultra trendy trio in the West Loop. The other 2 are Girl and the Goat (also delicious) and The Little Goat.


Lou Malnati’s. For deep dish pizza, this is the best of the best. Lou’s has been on every food show in America I feel like. It’s that amazing. There are several locations in Chicago so go to whatever is closest!

Piece Brewery and Pizzeria. This spot is fun for groups. We actually went to Piece several times before we moved here. It’s always a good time.


Mercadito. This is another spot we’ve been to multiple times. They have 6 different kinds of guacamole and it’s in the heart of River North. It’s not as authentic as something you’d find back home in Southern California but the drinks are amazing. If you have the chance, go to one of their Experiential Dinners. Matt and I went in April and it was AMAZING. They’re held once a month and they fly in a chef from Mexico! Tickets are $85 but we got 7 courses, 5 specialty cocktails, and 4 tequila tasting (AKA shots) so it’s a great value and such good food too.

Barrio. This is a new spot that just opened with another great vibe. There are tons of options on the menu and if you don’t feel like eating a full meal, just grab a cocktail.


Sunda. A little on the pricey side but Sunda has one of the best sushi rolls that I (as a vegetarian) have eaten. It’s sweet potato! Their whole menu is a little on the experimental side but in the best way.

Katana. A must go and it’s also right in the heart of River North! They have a robata bar, a sushi bar, and a cocktail bar. The dishes were creative yet not too crazy and the elevated flavor palette was there on every dish (even the edamame). Everything we tried was amazing!

Healthy Eats

True Food Kitchen. I had to give this California eatery a spot on my list. It’s a chain restaurant but it’s still a great spot to go especially if you’re staying near Michigan Avenue. It’s not as fancy but I’d be lying if I said Matt hadn’t been here on date night a few times!

Left Coast. Another easy quick spot to grab a bite. It’s more of an “on the go” spot but the food is amazing.

Do you have any favorite restaurants in Chicago? What are your favorite places to eat in Chicago?

10 thoughts on “Best Restaurants in Chicago

  1. Thanks for the Chicago food recos. I’ve been to a couple but I will definitely be trying Mercadito and Barrio. I’m always on the lookout for new places to eat good food.

  2. Chilam Balam in east Lakeview! You’ll have to get out of downtown, but it is a hidden gem that is still my favorite in the city after living here for 9 years and eating at a LOT of restaurants!

Let me know what you think!