Chicago, Illinois

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= American (Traditional)[edit]

  • Choppers
    • Choppers is an excellent burger place with great shakes as well. Everytime my husband orders a triple cheeseburger, they slip in a fourth patty! Everytime I order a single cheeseburger, THEY SLIP IN AN EXTRA PATTY! I have no idea why they do this! The burgers are really big, even just the single, so if you get a peanut butter shake (and you should do this), expect to be saving half of the burger for breakfast. 1659 N Ashland Ave Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 227-7800
  • Frank's Chicago Shrimp House II
    • This is a tiny place with some of the best greasy junk food ever. Shrimp, as you can probably guess by the name, is the main attraction, but they have fried oysters, scallops (the absolute best thing on the menu oh God oh God), chicken, catfish, and cod too among other things I'm probably forgetting. Everything is sold by weight, instead of a small you order a 1/4 pound of whatever it is you want. It's REALLY cheap, like amazingly so, and everything is fresh and great! Even though it's a seafood place, you have to order the chicken. It's so tender and soft, the meat practically chews itself! There is no seating available, everything is to go. 5439 W Addison St Chicago, IL 60641(773) 286-2533
  • Kuma's Corner
    • A bar with a heavy metal theme, Kuma's is getting famous for its excellent burgers, which are huge and served on a pretzel-bread bun (and named after metal bands). I've tried several variations, they're all great, so order whichever sounds best to you. Their mac and cheese is also to die for. You choose your own mix-ins...I think we had scallions and prosciutto in ours and it was awesome. Artery-cloggingly awesome. Kuma's is tiny and tremendously popular, some come early or expect to wait about an hour for a seat. 2900 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago, IL 60618 (773)604-8769
  • White Palace
    • This is an ancient diner (built in the 1930s) that is open 24 hours. Really, really open 24 hours--this place never closes. Dependable service, cheap food, and I've never had anything bad on the menu. It can get crowded on weekends, especially in the morning, but if you find yourself near the loop late at night and you've got a car, head over to the White Palace. Be sure to check out the awesome mural full of Chicago personalities. 1159 S. Canal St. Chicago, IL 60607 312-939-7167

Bakeries[edit]

  • Cupcakes
    • Horribly over priced but so good cupcakes. What makes them so good? The perfect butter cream frosting. Grandma cannot compete. It's just so over priced that it HURTS. They have a couple staples, then the rest of the flavors are changed weekly and they're always interesting if not down right weird (Dr. Pepper cupcakes?? Sounds great!). They only have 8 different flavors available at a time. Parking is horrible, this is Lincoln Park we're talking about! 613 W. Briar Street Chicago, IL 60657 (773) 525-0817
  • Miara's Bakery Deli & Beverages
    • Miara's is a liquor store and bakery all rolled into one! Maybe some old Polacks come here for the drink, but most people come here for the delicious paczkis and other Polish treats, so I'm categorizing it as a bakery. Paczki (pronounced poonch-key) are basically Polish yeast donuts and they're very good. They're so good here that they sell out by midday, so come in early and get them while they're fresh! My favorite are the custard, but the jam ones are pretty tasty as well. Every Fat Tuesday, my Polish mother in law gets these for the family. 7053 W Addison St Chicago, IL 60634 (773) 725-3818
  • Pasieka Bakery
    • Nice Polish bakery with excellent paczkis! They have a chewy dough and are filled with fresh custard or jelly. They also sell all kinds of delicious bread including my favorite, Polish rye. The earlier you come in the morning, the better everything will be! 3056 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL 60618 (773) 278-5190
  • Sweet Thang
    • If you eat a pastry from here, I don't know if any other sweet will ever taste good again. That's how delicious this French style patisserie is! Choose from an assortment of individual sized tarts, mousse cakes, croissants, and other treats or order a beautiful cake for your next party or wedding. They also have a small lunch menu and a coffee menu as well. 1921 W North Ave Chicago IL 60622 (773) 772-4166

Bars[edit]

  • The Nutbush
    • Let's go cruisin' guys. 7201 N. Franklin Forest Park IL 60131 (708) 366-5117
  • The Map Room
    • Known among beer enthusiasts as one of the best bars in the city. Has an excellent selection of Belgian and craft beers, with friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere. 1949 N. Hoyne Ave. Chicago IL (773) 252-7636
  • Delilah's
    • A bar with a decidedly punk rock attitude and clientele, and different kinds of music playing every night of the week. Delilah's also boasts a superb selection of both beer and whiskey, a rare combination for most bars. 2771 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago IL (773) 472-2771
  • The Hopleaf
    • While the Hopleaf has an extensive beer selection, its true claim to fame is in its specialty: Belgian-style mussels with frites. The Hopleaf has both a bar and a dining area, but their bar staff can sometimes be rude during peak hours. 5148 N. Clark St. Chicago IL (773) 334-9851
  • Piece
    • What two things go better together than pizza and beer? Piece specializes in both, as they serve excellent pizza and brew their own house beers. 1927 W. North Ave. Chicago IL (773) 772-4422

Catering[edit]

  • Big Delicious Planet
    • Pricey, but worth every penny. They used to cater for my job functions all the time and it was always great. The best thing about them is that the food never seems catered, it tastes, smells, and looks like it was just made for you in a kitchen five minutes beforehand. I guess the best word to describe the food is classy! 451 N Elizabeth St Chicago, IL 60622 (312) 455-1019

Chinese and Dim Sum[edit]

  • Blue Willow Chinese Restaurant
    • I love this place for greasy Chinese take out. Sure, it's not that authentic, but it's down right comforting. This was the take out restaurant of choice for my family growing up. They have the greasiest and tastiest spicy Mongolian beef that I've ever had and their eggrolls are some of the best in the city. I'm pretty sure they put peanut butter in them! But don't worry, it's good, not gross. Their menu is very basic, but almost everything is really good. Just watch out for the crab rangoon, it's pretty nasty. 2418 W Fullerton Ave Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 384-6499
  • Phoenix Restaurant
    • Phoenix has the best dim sum in Chicago for sure! I love the eggplant stuffed with shrimp, gooey rice noodles stuffed with meat or seafood, and the deep fried taro balls filled with pork. The cart ladies here seem pretty disgruntled most of the time. Dim sum is a lot of fun for kids because of the novelty of the way you order your food and the large selection available, so bring your kids! Your wallet won't hurt from eating here either.
    • e: Phoenix is also great for dinner if you don't want to fight the dim sum crowds. Try the soup dumplings, they're fantastic. 2131 S. Archer Avenue Chicago, IL 60616 (312) 328-0848
  • Sun Wah
    • A barbecue joint on Argyle, complete with roast ducks and pigs hanging in the window. Dishes here can be a bit hit-or-miss in my opinion, but I'm not a fan of syrupy sweet & sour style things so my opinion may be skewed. I do however love their char siu pork (I believe listed as honey bbq pork on the menu), which despite being listed as honey bbq, has just the right amount of sweetness, soy sauce chicken, and their whole crab with black bean sauce. Sun Wah is also seriously cheap, and when I say cheap I mean you can get a meal for under $5 if you want. Even the crab dish is affordable, though more expensive than most of their other dishes. 1134 W Argyle Street (at Broadway St) Chicago, IL 60640 (773) 769-1254
  • "Little" Three Happiness Restaurant
    • There are two restaurants with the name "Three Happiness" in Chinatown. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you ever go to the larger one. Seriously the worst Chinese food I have ever had in my life. "Little" Three Happiness, however, is great hole-in-the-wall Chinese, the kind of place where you can feed 2 people for under $20. I like their pork fried rice and have heard good things about the salt-and-pepper shrimp although I have yet to try it. 209 W Cermak Rd Chicago, IL 60616 (312)842-1964

Coffee and Tea[edit]

  • Icosium Kafe - Crepes and Coffee Palace
    • Ok, this isn't just a coffee house, but I had no idea how to categorize this. Ummm, this place is the shit? Yeah, that about covers it. The coffee is awesome, the crepes are awesome, the everything is awesome and it's really cute inside. This is a perfect first date place because it makes you seem cool and the food is good and it's pretty inexpensive so you can be Mister Big Spender for the evening. They specialize in, well crepes and coffee! The crepes aren't just sweet though, in fact the majority of them are savory meals. You can either build your own crepe from a bunch of different ingredients, or you can pick a crepe combo from the menu with predesignated ingredients. I like to build my own crepe, it's so much cooler. Try the Algerian lamb sausage merguez , it's really good, and if you're not stuffed, don't forget to get a dessert crepe afterwards! 2433 N Clark St Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 404-1300

Grocery Stores[edit]

  • Caputo's Fresh Markets
    • Caputo's is a local Italian grocery store chain and possibly the BEST grocery store(s) in all of Chicagoland! The freshest produce, cheap meat, delicious pastries, great imported foods... Caputo's has it all and doesn't break the bank. Once I started shopping here, I never set foot in a Jewel again. There was no need to! When I can get beautiful asparagus for 99 cents a pound, house made hot Italian sausage for $1.99 a pound, imported prosciutto for $7.99 a pound (granted this was on sale, but it seems to go on sale a lot), and all manner of interesting pasta and stinky cheeses for dirt cheap, why would I EVER go back to a normal grocery store? Everything is cheaper and better here. Make sure you check out their dessert counter, unlike regular supermarket bakeries, their cakes and treats are actually GOOD! And authentically Italian to boot! 2560 N Harlem Ave Elmwood Park, IL 60707 (708) 453-0155
  • Fox & Obel Food Market
    • Fox & Obel is for graduates of Billionare School only. It's like Whole Foods thought to themselves "Ok let's get even MORE pretentious with even cooler and better and more tempting food and wayyyy more expensive". I really do like it here, but it's like a once in a great while treat only. They have lots of yummy prepared foods.
    • Chiming in to add that yes, it is expensive, but worth a visit. I mainly come here for their bakery desserts which are excellent, and occasionally for their cafe, which serves good food at surprisingly affordable prices. Typically I won't come here for grocery items unless I'm looking for something specific and high-end. 401 E Illinois Street Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 410-7301
  • Produce World
    • Produce World is almost as good as Caputo's, except it's more Eastern European than Italian. Lots of fresh veggies, great deli case, good meat, and a huge assortment of fantastic Eastern European dairy treats and chocolates! In fact, there's a whole aisle dedicated JUST TO CHOCOALTE BARS! Also way cheaper and better quality than the big chain supermarkets. Do yourself a favor and get some bacon from the deli counter, just make sure you specify that you want it sliced thin. Mmmmm...Bobak's.... 8325 W Lawrence Ave Norridge, IL 60706 (708) 452-7400

Hot Dog Stands[edit]

  • Alexi's Bar & Grill
    • This is a hot dog stand in front and a bar in the back. Lots of homeless people like to hang out in here, but the food is really really really good. They have the most amazing burgers and gryos. Their tzatziki sauce is awesome and very garlicky. The menu consists of your average hot dot stand fare and then some and they have a breakfast menu. Seriously though, great gyros and they're huge! This place is kind of like a hidden gem since it's seemingly only frequented by old men, fat hoochies, and homeless people, yet it's smack dab in the middle of ultra hip Wicker Park. 1225 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 235-4151
  • Gene & Jude's Red Hot Stand
    • Gene & Jude's...what to say...where to begin. This is heaven. This is it! I found it! It's A) Cheap as fucking dirt. Two can easily eat here for under $10. It's B) Fucking orgasmically delicious. I don't normally like soft fries, but these are so gooooooooooood! They're hand cut and this place is famous for putting them on top of your 100% delicious beef hot dog. And C) They have generic orange and grape "drink", which is perfect against those spicy sport peppers! My only warning here is don't you dare ask for ketchup because you'll get yelled at (and rightly so). 2720 River Road, River Grove IL 60171 (708) 452-7634
  • Hot Doug's
    • Technically a "gourmet sausage shop", Hot Doug's is located in Logan Square and offers a multitude of encased meat treats. Though Doug does serve a regular Chicago style dog along with some other classic staples like bratwurst and Polish sausage, the real reason to go is for sandwiches like the Blue Cheese Pork Sausage with Creamy Pear Sauce and Smoked Almonds or the Roasted Artichoke Chicken Sausage with Artichoke Tzatziki, Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese. I would, however, skip the duck fat fries because they didn't taste any better to me than the regular ones and cost twice as much. 3324 N. California, Chicago IL 60618 (773) 279-9550
  • Susie's Drive-In
    • Susie's is not for the faint of heart. It's dirty, cramped, and really mean fat ladies yell at you from behind the counter, but all the abuse is worth every second of the heart attack-inducing food. This place is famous for their shakes (60 flavors that you can combine any way you want) and their cheese fries. Honestly, the cheese fries themselves are so mind boggling that they probably deserve their own entry, but I digress. Basically, they're huge, come in a taco salad shell bowl, and you can throw pretty much any kind of meat on top that you can think of, including, but not limited to, gyros, steak, and meatballs. The rest of the menu is huge, cramming more items into this tiny hot dog stand than some full size restaurants. Open all night, or at least until 5 am. 4126 W Montrose Ave, Chicago IL 60641 (773) 283-6544

Ice Cream, Frozen Yogurt and Gelato[edit]

  • Bobtail Soda Fountain
    • Bobtail is pretty over rated, but not the worst. The ice cream in general is rich, creamy, and fresh. It's better than a Baskin Robbins, but not by much. Their merlot ice cream doesn't have any merlot taste to it and the milkshakes seem to always end up milky rather than thick.
    • e: I admit I've only been to Bobtail once, but I had the pumpkin ice cream (it was in the fall around Halloween) and I thought it was fantastic. Worth a visit for ice cream, though after hearing the above I'll probably ask for samples before ordering. 2951 N Broadway St Chicago, IL 60657 (773) 880-7372
  • Berry Chill
    • Finally a Korean-style fro-yo place in Chicago! As a California transplant, I missed my tart yogurt. A word about K-style yogurt if you've never had it: basically, it tastes like yogurt, the kind that comes in cups at the grocery store, and not like ice cream or the kind of fro-yo that was popular in the '90s. So, if you enjoy the taste of yogurt, I recommend it, but don't go expecting TCBY or you'll be disappointed. That said, Berry Chill, while not quite as good as Pinkberry, Red Mango and other Cali spinoffs, is pretty damn close. It's very refreshing, and quite addictive. I like the Original flavor best, with fresh fruit topping. Beware though, on warm days there may be a line out the door. 635 N. State St. Chicago, IL (312) 266-2445
  • Caffe Gelato
    • One of the better places to get gelato in the city. This place is only open in the spring and summer and don't let the rude Euro girls who work there scare you away. Some flavors are hit or miss, but the almond and banana gelato are consistently good. Their cones are really good, so I suggest getting one! 2034 W Division St Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 227-7333
  • Margie's Candies
    • The best thing about Margie's is that it never changes! There aren't a ton of different flavors to choose from, but everything is home made and their sundaes, ice cream sodas, and other treats are generally good. This place has been around forever, maybe since the 20's? It certainly looks like it since the decor hasn't been changed in the last 60 years or so. It's a little creepy and a lot cool, especially for children. They also make old fashioned favorite candies like turtles and truffles froms scratch, but everyone comes here for the ice cream. VERY CROWDED IN THE SUMMER OH GOD. 1960 N. Western Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 384-1035
  • Original Rainbow Cone
    • This place a south side classic! Expect long lines in the summer and order the Original Rainbow Cone dammit! You may think the flavors don't go together, but then I'd have to tell you to shut your mouth and you're wrong and you should just shut up and eat it wise guy. I don't know how long it's been around for sure, but I know it's been more than 80 years. This place is worth the drive, even if it's just to say that you ate here. 9233 S Western Ave Chicago, IL 60620(773) 238-7075

Italian[edit]

  • Rex Italian Foods
    • Though at first glance this place is just a little Italian grocery, the real attraction here is their deli and hot meals. Rex's is inexpensive and consistently delicious and serves the best simple, Italian comfort food in the city. You have to try the caprese sub, a monster sandwich piled high with prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. I believe the 12" is only $8.99, a real deal since prosciutto is expensive. Also, the creamy chunks of polenta they have during Lent are the best I've ever had. They're served warm and doused in their house marinara, which is amazing. They also have a small selection of their own home made sauces, pastas, and select dishes in the freezer section to take home, along with other imported goods from Italy. The house made giardinare is the best I've ever had. 4431 N Harlem Ave Norridge, IL 60706 (708) 457-0177
  • Zia's Trattoria
    • This place is seriously amazing, from the comfortable atmosphere to the amazing food. If you eat here, you have to try the soft polenta as a side dish. I've tried to recreate it at home, but I fail. This is a really nice place for a date AND for your mom! Get Ma outta that Olive Garden rut and bring her here for some real Italian food. Yum!6699 N Northwest Hwy Chicago, IL 60631 (773) 775-0808

Japanese[edit]

  • Itto Sushi
    • This is a comfortable, cute little restaurant with excellent food. They have some of the best sushi I've had in Chicago and they don't skimp on the fish! Everyone loves the teriyaki, it's the sauce man, I think there's crack in it. It's definitely the best teriyaki I've ever had, who cares what kind of meat is in it! Though salmon teriyaki is really good, as well as mackeral. The soba and udon dishes are also excellent. This isn't a hipster place with dark lighting and loud music, it's quiet and relaxing, you just come here for the food and the food is perfect. They have their own parking lot, thank God. 2616 N. Halsted Street Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 871-1800
  • Ringo
    • BYOB with fresh, delicious sushi and great specials. I had the best oysters that I've ever had in my life here. This place is relatively inexpensive, at least for Japanese food, and I've never had anything that I didn't like yet. Parking is a BITCH in this neighborhood though. 2507-09 N Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 248-5788
  • Sushi Wabi
    • I hate hate hate the atmosphere here, but I have to admit the food is damn good. Most people probably love that it's dark, loud, and filled with beautiful people, so go here later at night and get drunk and have fun. Cranky old farts like me will go at 5:00 PM to avoid the crowds, noise, and too loud music thankyouverymuch. I can't remember that well, but I know the sashimi was great and fresh and we had the most interesting appetizer which was whole deep fried mini crabs that you popped in your mouth. Awesome! 842 W. Randolph Chicago, IL 60607 (312) 563-1224

Korean[edit]

  • San Soo Gab San
    • The best thing about this place is that it's delicious Korean BBQ open until 5 am! The second best thing about it is that it's not that expensive and the portions are gigantic. It can get pretty crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, but it's worth it! 5247 N Western Avenue Chicago, IL 60625 (773) 334-1589

Mexican[edit]

  • Arturo's Tacos Mexican Food
    • 24 hour fast food Mexican style. Gorge yourself on dirt cheap tacos, tortas, burritos, and sopes that are delicious and horrible for you. The service here is GOD AWFUL and the waitresses don't speak english, but it's worth it for the food. Steamed beef tacos, pastor tortas, and any kind of sope are the winners here. Two people can eat for $10.00 total. 2001 N. Western Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 772-4944

Middle Eastern[edit]

  • Haifa Cafe
    • If you work downtown and are sick of the same old shit everyday, this is a great alternative. There are a few locations in the loop, and while it's not the best Middle Eastern food ever, it's better than a McDonald's. The falafel sells out early, but I think the eggplant sandwiches are better anyway. The hummus is kind of weird, but it's not really bad and the tabbouleh was actually downright wonderful, maybe one of the best I've ever had. The one on Wells is the only one I've ever been to. 19 N. Wells Street Chicago, IL 60606 (312) 214-1144
  • Pita Inn
    • This is a much loved and well known Middle Eastern "fast food" restaurant with a few locations in the Chicagoland area. It's very cheap, very delicious, and incredibly popular. Personal favorites are the gourmet falafel sandwich, kibbeh, and baba ganoush. You know it's good because the restaurants are always packed with people who come from wherever food like this originated (Lebanon? Armenia? You know, all those countries). This location in particular is my favorite because it's A LOT less crowded than its Skokie cousin and the food is just as good. 9854 N Milwaukee Ave Glenview, IL 60025 (847) 759-9990
  • Sultan's Market
    • While I am personally not that into this place, a lot more people seem to like it than dislike it and it's in an area where a lot of people seem to end up (Wicker Park), so I'm including it. Falafel, hummus, you know the drill. If I remember correctly, it's like a Middle Eastern corner store with a salad bar and a counter to order other stuff from. Tons of people love this place, but Pita Inn is way better so there! 2057 W North Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 235-3072

Polish[edit]

  • Andy's Deli
    • This is a great place to get a sandwich. They're always huge, with meat and cheese piled high on delicious Polish bread and topped with a delicious Polish dill pickle, all for about $3.50. The sandwiches are so big that I have to take some of the meat off, and even then I can only eat half of one at a sitting. They also have some hot food like pierogi and soup that are yummy. This place closes early and not everyone speaks english, so be warned! 1721 W Division St Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 394-3376
  • Podhalanka
    • There is NOTHING like Podhalanka for some seriously great, comforting Polish food. The menu is reasonably priced and stocked with Polish goodies. My favorite is the golabki (stuffed cabbage), I just can't get enough of it. The pierogi is fluffy and cooked in plenty of butter and onions and the potato pancakes are huge and greasy, just the way I like 'em! They also have very good soups (except for the chicken noodle STAY AWAY) and a bowl is under $3.00 and comes with lots of good, Polish bread, a perfect lunch when you're on a budget. The inside is a pretty dumpy with a couch (?!?!?!?!?!?) in the middle of the place, but don't let that put you off! Just grab a stool at the counter and place your order. You will be rewarded with all the free, sweetened hibiscus tea you can drink. The woman who's almost always the one taking the orders here seems stand offish and intimidating at first, but she's really very nice. 1549 W Division Street Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 486-6655

Puerto Rican[edit]

  • Borinquen Restaurant
    • This claims to have invented the jibarito, but I don't really care who invented it as long as it continues being made so that I can eat them! What is a jibarito? It's a sandwich made by slicing unripened plantains length wise and deep frying them, then using them as "bread" for a sandwich. The sandwich is filled with meat (not like a lunch meat, more like some sort of slow cooked or roasted meat like steak), cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato and it's topped with fried garlic. It's seriously awesome and the best jibarito here is the traditional slow cooked pork. Also, I just recently learned that this is a Chicago only thing, so add it the list of amazing Chicago originals like Italian Beefs, deep dish, and our kind of hot dogs. The arroz con gandules (pigeon peas and rice) that comes on the side is almost better than the sandwich and they have great bacalaitos, which are deep fried crunchy salt cod fritters. I've never dined in, only take out, so I don't know about service, but it just seems like the kind of place where service is horrible. 1720 N California Ave Chicago, IL 60647 (773) 227-6038

Spanish[edit]

  • Cafe Iberico
    • This is an extremely popular, inexpensive tapas restaurant and bar in the Gold Coast. It's reliable and everything's fresh and tasty, especially the sausage with saffron, potatoes, and peppers. I suggest taking public transportation unless you want to pay for parking/commit suicide after circling for hours looking for somewhere to park. 737 N La Salle Drive Chicago, IL 60610 (312) 573-1510

Thai[edit]

  • Tie Me Up Noodles
    • Yum, this is my favorite Thai restaurant in the city. They have the absolute best Thai iced coffee ever in the entire world, I think I could drink 5 in one sitting if I allowed myself. It's not too sweet, which is the downfall of most that I've tried. In general, the food is really good here. I think I've maybe had one or two things that I wasn't impressed with in the 10 years I've been eating here, and even then it was nothing that downright disgusted me. Eating in is weird though. The back half of the dining room looks like someone's messy living room? And there's always fat little Thai kids running around because their parents work there. If you order out, they have amazing coupons. If you spend a meager $10, you get a free appetizer of gyoza, spring roll, or Thai egg rolls! If you spend $20, you get a free appetizer of crab rangoon or satay! If you spend $30, you get a free entree of fried rice (which is surprisingly one of the best things on the menu), pad thai, or pad see iew! It's insane! Try the Thai fried rice, curry friend rice, penang curry, and pad woon sen with duck. I only wish they had a larger delivery area. 434 W Diversey Pkwy Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 404-1145