These Are the 9 Best Salads in Chicago
We didn't say they were healthy
Whoever said salads are boring has clearly never had crab with pink pepper. Chicago restaurants have mastered the art of the crisp, refreshing dish--and the plates they’re serving up are as pretty as they are palate pleasing. Here are nine local salads we’ll be craving (and, let’s face it, snapping for social media) all spring.
The Baby Iceberg Salad at the Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago
The Peninsula Chicago dresses its dainty wedge salad with blue cheese, bacon, oven-dried cherry tomatoes and ranch dressing. And the fancy setting--with sunlight spilling in through floor-to-ceiling windows--adds to the refined vibe. Two pinkies up.
108 E. Superior St.; 312-337-2888 or chicago.peninsula.com
The Crab Salad at Fig & Olive
Fig & Olive’s spring menu is full of fresh, flavorful dishes--and the crab salad is a major standout. The pretty dish mixes jumbo lump crab with green apple, lime, cilantro, horseradish mayo and pink pepper. Go ahead and get a glass of bubbly--it’ll bring out the salad’s effervescent flavors.
104 E. Oak St.; 312-445-0060 or figandolive.com
The Chickpea Salad at Americano 2211
At Wicker Park’s European-style café, the fiber-rich salad is tossed in roasted-garlic tahini sauce and studded with cucumbers and roasted fennel. Save some room for dessert: You’ll be powerless against the banana-yogurt-cardamom teacake.
2211 W. North Ave.; 773-360-8757 or americano2211.com
The Brussels Sprout Salad at MAD Social
This salad is something of a celebrity among local foodies, and we’re attributing that to its yuzu-soy vinaigrette. Also in the mix: red cabbage, carrots, cilantro, toasted garlic chips, wonton strips and sesame seeds.
1140 W. Madison St.; 312-243-2097 or madsocialchicago.com
The Kale Salad at La Sirena Clandestina
Inspired by a beachside spot in Brazil, the Fulton Market restaurant has a kale salad with a near cult following. The dish is tossed with cotija cheese, pepitas, and roasted-poblano dressing; we hear it pairs beautifully with the expertly made caipirinhas.
954 W. Fulton Market; 312-226-5300 or lasirenachicago.com
The Kale & Quinoa Salad at Tortoise Club
If you like a supper-club vibe with your kale salad, Tortoise Club is your best bet. The River North restaurant serves a version made with red quinoa, candied pumpkin seeds, roasted butternut squash and white-balsamic vinaigrette.
350 N. State St.; 312-755-1700 or tortoiseclub.com
The Cobb Salad at Hampton Social
No summer is complete without a perfect Cobb salad, and Hampton House’s version comes pretty darn close. The hearty dish tops mixed greens with blue cheese, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, avocado and house dressing. Don’t forget to take a post-salad swing in the restaurant’s indoor hammock.
353 W. Hubbard St.; 312-464-0500 or thehamptonsocial.com
The Chipotle BBQ Chicken Salad at Latinicity
It’s lunchtime in the Loop and no ordinary salad will do. Here’s an easy fix: Head over to Block 37’s Latin-themed food hall and order the filling salad. It’s topped with BBQ chicken, queso fresco, roasted corn and--wait for it--avocado ranch.
108 N. State St.; 312-795-4444 or latinicity.com
The Jumbo Lump Crab Salad at Fremont
Sure, Fremont’s a bit of a party spot. But if you head there right after work--or for an early Saturday lunch--you’ll find a perfectly tame atmosphere and an insanely good salad. Along with meaty crab, the dish’s star ingredients are almonds, toasted chickpeas, smoked Gorgonzola cheese and a bright, feta-dill vinaigrette.
15 W. Illinois St.; 312-874-7270 or fremontchicago.com