24 Incredible Restaurants in Chicago, IL You Need to Try

Chicago, IL

Welcome to the culinary journey through the Windy City, Chicago.

This city is a paradise for food enthusiasts, boasting an array of culinary wonders.

The aromatic spice blends of various ethnic cuisines and the innovative creations of Michelin-starred chefs make it a unique gastronomic destination.

Chicago's restaurant scene mirrors the city's diversity, offering something for everyone.

For those seeking a fancy, intimate dining experience to celebrate a special occasion, or those in search of a cozy, laid-back spot for casual outings, Chicago caters to all tastes.

Prepare to embark on a gastronomic adventure, exploring the finest restaurants in Chicago, Illinois.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Lou Allen, Robert Dickerson, Helena Moyer, Gerald Hodges, Jean Funk, Matthew Morales and Betty Lynch.

Dell' Rooster Restaurant & Bar

When the weekends roll around, I'm always on the lookout for a special place that will give my tastebuds a real treat.

One fine Sunday, I found just the place, Dell' Rooster Restaurant & Bar.

From the moment I stepped through their doors, I was met with a welcoming ambiance adorned with colorful decorations and unique lighting.

The brunch options were an absolute delight.

I still remember biting into the crispy yet soft, chilaquiles, and the rich and comforting enchiladas.

And their coffee and mimosas?

Absolutely top-notch!

But it wasn't just the brunch that made an impression on me.

When I returned for dinner another day with a few friends, we were once again delighted by their wide drink selection.

My personal favorite was the Platino Blossom, a refreshing mix that hit just the spot.

As for the food, the Ropa Pal' Viejo made of oxtail was a standout amongst the appetizers, while the Short Rib Barbacoa and Seafood Paella were nothing short of spectacular from the main dishes.

Dell’ Rooster Restaurant & Bar · 1825 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Flour Power

If you're looking for authentic Italian pasta that will make you feel like you've been transported to the heart of Italy, look no further than Flour Power.

To say that the food at Flour Power is delicious would be a gross understatement. 

Every single dish I've had here is nothing short of a culinary masterpiece.

As soon as you step through their doors, you're greeted with a warm, inviting ambiance and the tantalizing aroma of fresh pasta.

The seating may be limited, but that in no way diminishes the charm of this snug little pasta haven.

My personal favorite is their meatball pasta dish.

The succulent meatballs are a symphony of flavors that perfectly complement the beautifully al dente pasta.

I also have to give an honorable mention to their focaccia.

It's hands down the best I've had in the city.

Ordering ahead is a must.

This place is a hit among fellow pasta enthusiasts, and for a good reason: their pasta dishes are second to none.

They also offer a 'bring your own bottle' service, adding a personal touch to your dining experience.

Trust me when I say give Flour Power a try.

And don't say I didn't warn you when you find yourself going back for more!

Flour Power · 1642 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Cedar Palace

Imagine the aroma of freshly grilled kebabs wafting through a vibrant, warmly lit environment.

That's Cedar Palace for you—my favorite place to unwind when the craving for Mediterranean food hits.

Nestled in the heart of our neighborhood, this place doesn't just serve food, it serves experiences.

My first tryst with Cedar Palace was rather spontaneous.

I was intrigued by their rave reviews and a staggering rating of 4.9 stars. 

Boy, were those reviews accurate!

Walking into Cedar Palace is like stepping into a slice of the Mediterranean.

The food, oh, the food!

Succulent kebabs, creamy hummus, and the most flavorful shawarma I've ever tasted.

While others might prefer the chicken, I must admit the beef shawarma simply took my taste buds on a joyride.

Each bite was rich, authentic, and cooked to perfection, reminiscent of traditional Middle Eastern fare.

Cedar Palace is more than just a restaurant.

It's a place where you can bring friends, family, or even a date for a memorable dining experience.

Just remember to carry some cash to avoid the 3.5% credit card fee.

And don't worry about parking; there's plenty of it on the street.

I highly recommend giving their garlic sauce a try; it's the crown jewel of their menu.

Cedar Palace · 655 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
★★★★★ · Mediterranean restaurant


When it comes to unique dining experiences, nothing comes close to the charm of Goosefoot

This intimate, fine-dining restaurant offers an innovative American menu that's always a delight to explore.

I remember my first visit like it was yesterday, a quiet evening celebrating a special occasion.

The ambiance is playful with a touch of elegance, the sounds of convivial chatter, and sprightly music filling the air.

It's BYOB, so you can bring your favorite bottle of wine to pair with the exquisite meal.

The food, oh the food!

It's not just eating, it's a culinary adventure.

Every dish, from the foie gras tart to the perfectly cooked duck and diver scallops, is a journey of flavors.

The portions might be small, but they're packed with so much taste and creativity it's truly a gastronomic masterpiece.

And each course comes with an explanation, a little story about its inspiration and creation, narrated with such passion.

Now, the service at Goosefoot is unlike any other.

It's not just about serving food, it's about creating a connection, a personal touch that adds to the charm of the place.

Be prepared, though, as a dinner here is not a rushed affair.

It's a slow, immersive experience that lasts for three hours or more.

Each course is thoughtfully spaced out, giving you time to savor and appreciate the flavors.

Yes, the wait between courses can be a bit long, especially if you're hungry, but trust me, it's worth every minute.

Goosefoot is more than just a restaurant, it's a testament to love for food and hospitality.

It may be small, and you might overhear the same explanations a few times, but that's part of its charm.

It's like a little food theater, a spectacle that engages all your senses.

Trust me, once you dine at Goosefoot, you'll want to come back for more.

Goosefoot · 2656 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
★★★★★ · Fine dining restaurant


"Oh, the places you'll find in your own backyard!"

I remember thinking to myself as I stepped into Kyōten, an upscale Japanese eatery and sushi bar in Chicago.

Nestled among the city's towering skyscrapers, the entrance can be a tad challenging to locate, particularly during the building's recent renovation.

But once you find it, you're in for a real treat.

With its omakase menu and sake pairings, Kyōten is truly a culinary gem.

Unlike many fixed menu venues, Kyōten's offerings are satisfyingly filling.

Each dish is a unique creation, reflecting the chef's personal touch, expertise, and an exciting array of ingredients.

One of the highlights of my dining experience at Kyōten was the private dining experience.

It was an evening of sheer perfection, with superior service and an array of dishes that took my taste buds on a global journey.

To top it all off, Kyōten executes a charming gesture that sets it apart from the rest – they send you home with sushi for the next day's breakfast!

Yes, it's a bit on the pricey side, but the exquisite culinary experience and the value of the ingredients make it absolutely worth it.

After all, who wouldn't love a Michelin star-worthy dining experience right in their own city?

Kyōten · 2507 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
★★★★★ · Sushi restaurant

Torchio Pasta Bar

I still remember the first time I walked into Torchio Pasta Bar, a charming little corner restaurant in our neighborhood.

Little did I know then that this Italian eatery would become my go-to spot for all my pasta cravings.

The intimate setting with a lovely patio is perfect for both a quick bite or a leisurely dinner.

But what truly sets Torchio apart is the housemade pastas.

Each dish is a work of art, crafted with care and cooked to perfection.

I've lost count of the times I've savored their Tuscan Chicken.

The meat is so tender it melts in your mouth.

Drenched in a zesty lemon sauce, every bite is a delight, especially when paired with a side of perfectly cooked asparagus.

Their margaritas are also a must-try, with the right amount of spice and strength.

However, what truly cemented Torchio Pasta Bar's place in my heart was their pasta dishes.

Their Scallop & Fettuccine is a standout.

The generous portion of scallops and the lemony fettuccine is a surprising but delightful combination.

The Roasted Mushroom Risotto is another favorite, rich and creamy, a dish that leaves you wholly satisfied.

The service, too, at Torchio is commendable.

However, do be prepared for a bit of a lively atmosphere, especially when the restaurant is full and the music is playing.

But trust me, once you've had a taste of their offerings, you won't mind the buzz.

Torchio Pasta Bar · 738 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

1308 Chicago

If you're looking for a hidden gem in the city, you need to check out 1308 Chicago.

It's one of those places that draw you in with its charm and intimate vibe - perfect for a date or a quiet meal.

And when the weather plays nice, you can enjoy your meal on the patio and make the most of those summer days.

But let's get to the real star attraction - the food.

Every dish on the menu is a culinary masterpiece, a testament to the love and skill that goes into every detail.

The pasta, oh the pasta, is cooked to perfection and served with a creamy ricotta that melts in your mouth.

And then there's the unique corn ribs, an absolute taste revelation.

Crunchy, sweet, and absolutely addictive - these are the kind of dishes you'll be dreaming about for days.

From the kale salad to the burger and roasted chicken, there isn't a dish on the menu that lets you down.

Every bite is a flavor explosion that leaves you craving more.

Don't let the skeleton crew fool you.

Yes, the service might be a bit slow, but in my opinion, it just gives you more time to soak in the ambiance and savor every mouthwatering bite.

Yes, the cocktails are a bit pricey, but the beer is wildly affordable and perfect to pair with the amazing food.

What's more, it's a black and women-owned restaurant, and there's nothing better than supporting local businesses while enjoying a fantastic meal.

1308 Chicago · 1308 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
★★★★★ · New American restaurant

Chicago Lunchbox

There's something about the bustling city of Chicago that always leaves you craving for a hearty meal that doesn't take too long to grab.

That's where Chicago Lunchbox comes into play.

It's this great little Asian fusion joint right here in the heart of the city, perfect for those who enjoy comfort food with a unique twist.

My first experience at the Chicago Lunchbox was an absolute delight.

The food was fresh, well-cooked, and packed with flavors that made your taste buds sing.

It might not have the most extensive menu, but it offers so many options to customize your bowls I never felt limited in my choices.

I remember having a delectable Viet rice box with meat charred to perfection, tangy pickled veggies, and cooling cucumbers.

Surprisingly, the rice, often a bland filler in many dishes, was well seasoned and didn't leave me feeling stuffed or craving more.

What adds to the charm of the place is how you can choose the way you want to eat.

One time, I had my meal in a hoagie roll, and it was nothing short of fantastic.

It's definitely going to be my go-to meal when I next bring friends over for a boat tour.

They are super friendly and always make sure you have a great time.

Also, did I mention that a full meal here just costs a little over $10?

Definitely a steal for such a flavorful, satisfying lunch.

Chicago Lunchbox · 400 S Financial Pl, Chicago, IL 60605
★★★★★ · Asian fusion restaurant


One cannot simply walk past Jeong without being drawn by the unique blend of Korean and Modern-American vibe this place resonates.

Tucked away on a street corner, the stylish pathway leading up to the restaurant sets the tone for the enchanting experience that's about to unfold.

The menu at Jeong is nothing short of a gastronomic delight.

I remember trying their tasting menu, which was a symphony of flavors, so harmonious and meticulously crafted that it left me in awe of the culinary expertise that goes into each dish.

From the delightful Australian Wagyu to the subtle nuances of the hi-chew and scallop, every bite was an experience, a journey into the heart and soul of Korean cuisine reimagined with a modern twist.

The drinks, too, are a high note of the dining experience.

While I didn't partake in the wine pairing, the options I had were indeed tasteful and complemented the meal perfectly.

As the seasons change, so does the menu, and I find myself eagerly anticipating what new wonders Jeong's kitchen will conjure up.

This is not just a restaurant; it's a culinary theater, and every act is as memorable as the last.

Jeong · 1460 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
★★★★★ · Restaurant


One fateful night, I found myself stepping through the door of Oriole, a high-end kitchen tucked away in Chicago's bustling streets.

A word of caution, though: this isn't just a restaurant; it's a transformative experience that would challenge your conception of what dining could be.

The moment I entered, I was greeted by an intimate atmosphere with an air of exclusivity that made the entire experience feel like a private affair.

What truly stood out was the restaurant's willingness to go above and beyond to cater to my dietary restrictions, a level of service that you'd expect from a two-star establishment.

The highlight of the evening was, without a doubt, the extended New American tasting menu.

Every dish was a masterpiece, beautifully presented and explained in meticulous detail.

I found myself enthralled by the chef's innovative culinary techniques and unexpected combinations; each dish was a journey of flavors and textures that was nothing short of a culinary symphony.

The drinks deserve a special mention.

I opted for the non-alcoholic pairing, a decision I didn't regret.

Each beverage was skillfully crafted to bring out the subtle notes in the food, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Each interaction was a testament to their passion for the culinary arts, and it was infectious.

It's safe to say that dining at Oriole was not just a meal; it was an event, a memory that still brings a smile to my face.

Oriole · 661 W Walnut St, Chicago, IL 60661
★★★★★ · Fine dining restaurant

Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio

I cannot forget the first time I stepped into Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio.

The place was teeming with activity – a perfect blend of chatter, clinking glasses, and the sweet aroma of simmering sauces.

It's always buzzing with energy, an infectious vibe that's hard to resist.

The sight of fresh tortellini being expertly crafted behind the counter was fascinating to watch.

It's not every day you get to see your meal prepared from scratch with such finesse.

It was, in itself, an experience that heightened our anticipation for the feast to come.

We decided to dine family-style, sharing each dish as it arrived.

Every plate was a work of art, flaunting vibrant colors and enticing aromas.

The taste was equally impressive.

Each mouthful was filled with layers of flavor, a testament to the restaurant's attention to detail and commitment to using the freshest ingredients.

The dishes weren’t cheap, but the taste and presentation were worth every penny.

They were not just friendly, they were genuinely interested in making our experience memorable.

Their recommendations were spot-on, and they went out of their way to ensure our comfort and satisfaction.

Despite the tempting array of dishes on the menu, save room for dessert, especially the tiramisu.

It's a generous serving, easily enough for two.

The balance of sweet and bitter, the creaminess, and the bold coffee flavor made it the perfect finale for a remarkable meal.

Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio · 1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

Kizami Sushi

Nothing beats a night out at my favorite sushi house in the city – Kizami Sushi

Nestled within the cool, brick-lined walls of this local gem, I found myself immersed in an extensive menu of Japan's finest offerings.

Every visit feels like an adventure, discovering new dishes and exploring unique flavors.

The much-anticipated journey begins as soon as you step inside.

The rustic brick walls contrasting with the modern decor give an inviting, warm, and cozy atmosphere, almost transporting you straight to Japan.

One of my favorite things about this place is that it's not just about eating sushi - it's about experiencing it.

The menu is a gastronomic wonder, featuring everything from the traditional sushi to the exotic caviar and even locally sourced Japanese cuisine.

The sushi here is absolutely top-notch, with each piece crafted to perfection, tantalizing your taste buds with every bite.

But what truly sets Kizami Sushi apart is the unparalleled customer service.

And did I mention the bathrooms?

Immaculately clean and well-maintained, they are a testament to the restaurant's commitment to providing an all-around comfortable experience.

Kizami Sushi · 2235 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
★★★★★ · Japanese restaurant

Uncle Mike's Place

There’s no better way to start your day than digging into a hearty Filipino-American breakfast at Uncle Mike’s Place

As someone who frequently dines there, I can vouch for the generous portions and cozy atmosphere that make this no-frills joint a local favorite.

Whether you’re a fan of traditional Filipino breakfasts like longanisa or prefer classic American dishes, Uncle Mike's has something for you.

I've had my fair share of their extensive menu, and while I enjoyed their steak and pork chops, it was the longanisa breakfast that won me over.

This flavorful Filipino sausage is something to write home about, and I highly recommend it to all meat lovers.

Another thing that sets this place apart is the congee they give you as soon as you sit down.

It's a comforting rice porridge with a surprising twist - a lemon embedded inside!

It took me a few visits to get used to adding lemon to my porridge, but now the tangy zest has become an integral part of my Uncle Mike's experience.

But don't just take my word for it.

Even during busy weekends, the wait isn't usually long.

You might get lucky like I did and find a table right away.

And with free street parking available, it's just another reason why Uncle Mike's Place has become my go-to spot for a hearty breakfast downtown.

But if you're not a meat-eater, you might find your choices somewhat limited.

The Filipino offerings lean heavily on meat, so I would suggest sticking to the American menu.

Their fish dishes are alright, but I prefer using them as a topping for my garlic rice, kind of like a flavored garlic with fish rice.

Uncle Mike’s Place · 1700 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
★★★★★ · Filipino restaurant

Golden Bull Restaurant

Have you ever tried to imagine what having dinner at a big family gathering might feel like in China?

Well, you don't need to ponder anymore.

The Golden Bull Restaurant in Chicago is the answer to that.

It's more than just an eatery, it's an experience.

There's a certain charm in this place that makes you feel right at home.

On one occasion, they literally chased my group down the street when there was a table ready for us even though there was a miscommunication about the wait time.

The food, oh the food!

If you're looking for authentic Cantonese-style Chinese food, this is your haven.

The hand-pulled chicken is a revelation, so flavorful and tender you'll be reaching for seconds before you know it.

However, don't underestimate the leafy vegetables.

They are cooked in a style of your choice and are a delight to the taste-buds.

They also cater to those who are more inclined towards American-Chinese style dishes.

One thing you should know is that the servings here are more than generous.

A feast for a group of 7 at the Golden Bull Restaurant left everyone super full, satisfied, and with enough leftovers for everyone to take home. 

Now, that's a testament to the value for money you get here.

Keep in mind that the place often gets packed, so making a reservation is a wise move.

This, combined with their friendly service, is a breath of fresh air in the ever-busy restaurant scene in Chicago.

Highly recommended is the salted fish and chicken rice paired with the tenderloin steak cooked in black pepper.

Trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Golden Bull Restaurant · 242 W Cermak Rd, Chicago, IL 60616
★★★★★ · Chinese restaurant

 Del Seoul

Every neighborhood has its own hidden gem, and for Lincoln Park, it's the unassuming corner eatery, Del Seoul.

The place might not look like much from the outside, but it's a hub for some of the most delectable Asian fusion eats in the city.

From the moment you walk in, you're welcomed by the aroma of Korean BBQ.

The menu is simple but powerful, offering a range of mouthwatering delights.

My favorite has to be the Korean BBQ tacos; they hit the spot every single time.

The banh mi sandwiches are also a must-try; they're stuffed with the most flavorful fillings.

And let's talk about the prices!

Considering the generous portions and the quality of the food, these guys could easily charge more, but they don't.

Feeling fancy?

Try the tempura fried haddock taco or the fried shrimp taco.

The spicy pork taco?


And if you're really hungry, the K-town chicken wings could easily make up a meal of their own, and a memorable one at that.

The best part about Del Seoul is the counter service.

It's fast, it's friendly, and it never fails to make me feel welcome.

I love to grab the outdoor table on a sunny Friday afternoon and enjoy a chilled bottle of Soju for just $14!

Yes, you read it right!

As exciting as Chicago's food scene is, Del Seoul has a unique charm of its own.

It's a place that makes you feel like you're in a bustling street in Seoul, enjoying the local foods right here in the middle of Lincoln Park.

Looking forward to my next visit!

Del Seoul · 2568 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614
★★★★★ · Korean restaurant

Mogadishu Restaurant

"In my neighborhood, local culinary explorers like me are blessed with a delightful African gem – the Mogadishu Restaurant.

Have you ever tasted the warmth of Somali culture embodied in its flavorsome dishes?

If not, you're in for a real treat.

This small, casual spot doesn’t stand out much from the outside, but step inside and you are welcomed by the aroma of authentic Somali cuisine.

Mogadishu is known for its generous portions of Somali meats, rice and vegetables, all served in a home-style, cafeteria-like fashion.

Although some might argue that this method doesn't guarantee the freshest of meals, I feel it adds a certain charm and an air of homeliness to the place.

During one of my visits, I decided to go with their chicken.

The flavor is absolutely unique and something that keeps me coming back.

And if you're ever there, don't miss out on their black tea.

It's flavorful, warm, and the perfect sip to finish off your meal.

Being a casual diner myself, I love getting my food to go.

The chicken is always tender, and paired with moist rice and fresh veggies, it makes for a delightful meal.

The prices are justifiable considering the portion sizes and the unique culinary experience they offer.

For those interested in trying something new or simply enjoying good food, this is the place to be.

Mogadishu Restaurant · 931 N Orleans St, Chicago, IL 60610
★★★★★ · East African restaurant

Ciccio Mio

You wouldn't believe the rush of excitement I felt when I finally got a table at Ciccio Mio, a cozy Italian restaurant nestled in the heart of River North.

It's an intimate eatery with barely 11 tables, each one seemingly more coveted than the last.

It's one of those places where you need to plan your visit in advance, as walk-ins don't stand a chance.

So, when I managed to secure a table at 4 pm, I took it without second thoughts.

Walking into Ciccio Mio, I was immediately taken by the low-lit, traditional interior adorned with art - a spectacle for the eyes. 

The service was stellar, reminding me of the service I've received in Italy itself.

Onto the food - a highlight of the night.

The menu, a classic representation of Italian cuisine, was packed full of variety.

They were also accommodating of any dietary restrictions or substitutions, a detail that completely won me over.

I ordered the spicy shrimp and Caesar salad, a meal that still lingers in my memory.

The shrimp was flavorful and cooked to perfection, while the Caesar salad was so generous that I wished I had asked for a half portion.

The evening concluded with an array of delightful desserts, leaving me satisfied and eager for my next visit.

You see, Ciccio Mio may be small, but the dining experience it offers is larger than life.

Ciccio Mio · 226 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse

Let me tell you, if you're a carnivore, dining at Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse is like ascending into meat heaven.

Located in the heart of Chicago, this upscale Brazilian chain is a must-visit for all meat lovers.

But don't let the upscale part intimidate you; it's the kind of place that makes you feel right at home right from the moment you step through those doors.

The first time I went there, I was celebrating a special occasion – my 10th wedding anniversary.

The waiter was incredibly attentive and even offered us a free dessert to celebrate our special day.

But let me tell you, the main event here is the meat.

My partner, a steak aficionado, was in paradise and rated the steaks five stars.

But even for someone like me, who isn't that into thick steaks, the variety of meats available was astounding.

My personal favorite was the Filet Mignon.

And the best part?

It's all-you-can-eat, carved right at your table.

To top it off, they also have an extensive salad bar to balance out all that meaty goodness.

Another time, I had a group of my friends over, and they were all first-timers at Fogo.

The unanimous verdict?

Totally worth every penny.

The price you pay is justified by the sheer quality of the food and the service.

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse · 661 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
★★★★★ · Brazilian restaurant

Provare Chicago

One step into Provare Chicago and you're instantly enveloped by the warm and inviting ambiance.

Their decor tastefully embraces urban sophistication, providing an atmosphere that is both hip and elegant.

Here's a little secret for you: request a table in Mandy's section.

Her impeccable service truly enhances what is already a delightful dining experience.

Now, let's talk food.

The restaurant is a culinary haven, offering an array of dishes that are not only generous in portion but also rich in flavor.

The seafood trio, lamb chops, and steak are among the main attractions.

But the unexpected stars of the show?

The salmon egg rolls and the seafood spinach dip.

Trust me, the dip is the best you’ll ever have.

It is an audacious claim, but you'll find it hard to argue after your first bite.

The drinks menu at Provare Chicago is equally impressive, boasting an extensive selection of refreshing cocktails.

One that particularly leaves a lasting impression is the Cottage Grove – a fun, memorable concoction you'll find yourself craving long after.

There is, however, one area that could use a little improvement.

The lighting, while not a deal-breaker, tends to be a bit on the brighter side for a full dinner/after-hours setting.

But, in the grand scheme of things, this minor detail is easily overlooked.

Upon sitting down, they warmly welcome you with a sample of their rum – sweet and tantalizing.

The check, for all that indulgence, comes to around $112, including the tip.

Provare Chicago · 1523 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

A while ago, someone asked me where to find the best calamari in the city, and without hesitation, I pointed them toward Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab.

I can confidently say that their calamari is the best I've ever had—delicate, perfectly fried, and utterly unforgettable.

But Joe's is not just about calamari.

Every dish there is an absolute treat, from the stuffed mushrooms that melt in your mouth to the steaks that are cooked to perfection.

The star of the show, however, has to be the stone crab.

The claws, priced according to the market, are fresh, juicy, and irresistibly tasty.

The seafood salad is another must-try.

Not only is it a visual feast with its generous heap of seafood, but it also provides an explosion of flavors that will leave you wanting more.

And don't even get me started on the crab cake—it's pure crab with no fillers, the way it should be.

If you ever find yourself in Chicago, do yourself a favor and make a reservation at Joe's.

I promise you won't regret it.

The place is usually packed during weekends, but you can easily find a seat during lunch hours on weekdays.

And yes, rumors are true.

They do serve the best-fried chicken in the city.

It's so good that it will make you forget about Gus's.

I remember my first time at Joe's.

Everything was perfect, and I've been going back ever since.

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab · 60 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
★★★★★ · Seafood restaurant

Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar

I must confess something: I'm pretty much obsessed with the Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar.

There, I said it.

I mean, how could I not be?

This place feels like an earnest love letter to my Eastern European roots, and I appreciate that more than words can express.

If you're in the mood for a dinner worth remembering, look no further.

Every plate that comes out of their kitchen is a work of art.

I remember the first time I saw the chef's plate, a smorgasbord of smoked fish that was as beautiful as it was delicious.

My heart might have skipped a beat.

And let's not forget their heavenly ice cream, all made in-house with a dedication that is palpable.

But their brilliance doesn't end with their food.

If you're in the mood for a drink, you're at the right place.

Vodka and caviar are the stars of the show here but don't underestimate their cocktail game.

I’m not a drinker, but the way they transformed the complex flavors of the shrub into a delicious non-alcoholic drink for me was an experience I won't soon forget.

Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar · 2700 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
★★★★★ · Eastern European restaurant


Every city has its culinary gems that beckon food enthusiasts from far and wide.

In our city, one of those shining stars is Aba, a posh Mediterranean delight nestled in the heart of the city.

One visit to Aba, and you'll be swooning over the creative fusion of Lebanese and Greek flavors, accentuated with a hint of Californian flair.

You can practically taste the sun-soaked Mediterranean shores with each flavorful bite.

The crispy short rib hummus might not have been my favorite, but the whipped feta, oh, it's simply to die for!

The zingy feta spread melts on your tongue, leaving you craving for more.

But Aba isn’t just about the food; it’s about the whole dining experience.

Whether you're catching up with friends or planning a romantic date night, the lounge-style rooftop patio offers a breathtaking view of the city skyline.

With a glass of their finest wine in hand, the city’s twinkling night lights become the perfect backdrop to your evening.

However, it's not just the food and ambiance that make a dining experience memorable, the service plays a crucial role, too.

At Aba, the service could be hit or miss.

There have been times when I've been kept waiting despite having a reservation.

But then again, the courteous waitstaff never fails to apologize for any delays, often compensating with their warm hospitality.

Aba · 302 N Green St 3rd Floor, Chicago, IL 60607
★★★★★ · Mediterranean restaurant

Francesca's On Chestnut

When you love something, you savor it.

You take your time with it, and you appreciate every single bite.

With that thought in mind, I can't imagine going anywhere else for my Italian food cravings but Francesca's On Chestnut.

When I entered Francesca's, I was instantly taken by the sophisticated ambiance, highlighted by the dark wood paneling, which gave the space an intimate and cozy feel.

Now, let's talk about the food because, honestly, it's a gastronomic revelation.

The pasta - oh, the pasta - it was hands down the best I've ever had.

You can feel the authenticity and love poured into these classic Italian recipes.

One standout dish for me was their Halibut entree, which my partner and I often rave about.

It was cooked to perfection and was melt-in-your-mouth good.

Let's not forget about their imported wines and cocktails - they're the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

To round off the dining experience, I would highly recommend their cheesecake.

It's the best I've ever had, a perfect slice of velvety heaven that leaves you wanting more.

Francesca’s On Chestnut · 200 E Chestnut St, Chicago, IL 60611
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant


Stepping into S.K.Y., the first thing you notice is the bustling ambiance, a stylish setting paired with a laid-back lounge vibe, which resonates with Chicago's unique charm.

The inventive New American cuisine with global influences is designed for sharing, ideal for gatherings with friends or intimate dinners.

Transfixed by the culinary performance before me, one evening I found myself perched at the Chef’s Counter, an experience akin to having a personal showing of an elaborate dance.

It was like watching the heart of the restaurant beating in perfect harmony.

The brilliance of the kitchen extended to their dishes.

Each plate, a work of art, was as visually stunning as it was delicious.

I remember sampling the Chef Tasting, broadening my palate's horizons with every bite, each dish representing a harmony of flavors I hadn't previously encountered.

Sharing the experience with a companion, who ordered from the main menu, only added to the culinary adventure.

S.K.Y. · 1239 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Final Thoughts

Chicago, Illinois' food scene is indeed a gastronomic paradise that never ceases to satisfy and surprise.

I can't wait to explore more of its hidden gems and relish the delectable journey.

So, here's to more food adventures in the Windy City!

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