18 Things You Have to Eat If You Call Yourself a Chicagoan
With more than 30 Michelin-starred restaurants in city limits, it’s not hard to find a good meal in Chicago. Where to begin? With these 18 must-try spots, from high-end Michelin faves to comfort food classics.
Chocolate Cake at Portillo’s
Fresh-baked every morning; no wonder it’s so moist.
Multiple locations; portillos.com
Pan Pizza at Pequod’s Pizza
The only deep dish with a crispy, caramelized crust.
Multiple locations; pequodspizza.com
Tasting Menu at Alinea
The highly creative plates (think cold nasturtium soup…whatever that is…) feed your belly and your mind.
1723 N. Halsted St.; 312-867-0110 or alinearestaurant.com
Cheesecake at Eli’s
Creamy, buttery and a little bit salty—there’s a reason you can find this stuff at grocery stores and sporting events across the city.
6701 Forest Dr.; 773-308-7015 or elicheesecake.com
Seoul Sassy Chicken Wings at Crisp
If we could, we’d put the ginger-soy dressing on everything. Based on the lines out the door, we’re not alone.
2940 N. Broadway St.; 773-697-7610 or crisponline.com
Green Beans at Girl & the Goat
Fish sauce for umami, cashews for crunch. And thus, our green bean love affair was born.
809 W. Randolph St.; 312-492-6262 or girlandthegoat.com
Turtle Sundae at Margie’s
Nuts, whipped cream, caramel, hot fudge and a wafer cookie on top—because why stop at just a cherry?
Multiple locations; margiesfinecandies.com
Cheeseburger at Au Cheval
It’s been named best in the country, and we’re pretty sure it has something to do with that fried egg on top.
800 W. Randolph St.; 312-929-4580 or auchevalchicago.com
Hot Chocolate at Hot Chocolate
You can’t improve on this recipe made with hot fudge and homemade marshmallow...unless of course you add one of the specialty cookies on the side.
1747 N. Damen Ave.; 773-489-1747 or hotchocolatechicago.com
Taco at Taqueria El Milagro
Stuffed with perfectly grilled steak, but only $3.50 a pop. This is the true value meal.
Multiple locations; el-milagro.com
Peking Duck at Sun Wah
Call ahead for this off-menu item. The spread of duck bao, fried rice and soup are totally worth the effort.
5039 N. Broadway St.; 773-769-1254 or sunwahbbq.com
Ice Cream at Original Rainbow Cone
The answer to your indecisive, can’t-pick-a-flavor days.
9233 S. Western Ave.; 773-238-7075 or rainbowcone.com
Bacon-Wrapped Dates at Avec
This variation comes stuffed with chorizo and drizzled with piquillo pepper tomato sauce. No wonder it has such a cult following.
615 W. Randolph St.; 312-377-2002 or avecrestaurant.com
Chicago Dog at Superdawg
Yeah, you can get a hot dog (no ketchup!) at plenty of stands, but this old-school drive-in is the only spot where it’s served with a side of kitsch.
6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-763-0660 or superdawg.com
Garrett Mix at Garrett’s Popcorn
You can smell it wafting from blocks away: The crunchy, nutty goodness is irresistible.
Multiple locations; garrettpopcorn.com
Steak at Chicago Cut
Whatever cut you choose, it’s been dry-aged 35 days before hitting your plate. Oh, and the riverside views do not fail to impress.
300 N. LaSalle Dr.; 312-329-1800 or chicagocutsteakhouse.com
Italian Beef Sandwich at Al’s
Whether you choose wet or dry, the original Italian beef sandwich gets served up on a Gonnella roll and topped with giardiniera.
Multiple locations; alsbeef.com
Cinnamon Roll at Ann Sather
Buttery, gooey and as big as your fist—only in Chicago could this be considered a side.
Multiple locations; annsather.com