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The 36 Best Things to Eat in Chicago (and Where to Eat Them)

By | Last Updated : 17th June 2016

Updated 4/11/2016. We added 15 food in the list #37 to #51

The Windy City has a lot more to offer than the Deep Dish Pizza.

1. Korean BBQ Tacos

Korean BBQ Tacos

What is it: Your friendly neighborhood Chicago tacos, with a Korean twist. Eat it with kimchi fries for a near-religious experience.

Where to eat it: Del Seoul, 2568 N Clark St

DelSeoul.com h/t Chicago Taco Talk

 

2. Frenchy’s Fantasy Triple Decker Sandwich

Frenchy’s Fantasy Triple Decker Sandwich

What is it: A ridiculously huge sandwich of rare roast beef, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, sugar cured bacon and Russian dressing.

Where to eat it: Perry’s Deli, 174 N. Franklin St.

PerrysDeli.com

 

3. Jianbing (Chinese Crepes)

Jianbing (Chinese Crepes) at Nali, Chicago

What is it: Mung bean-milled crepe filled with eggs, herbs, fried wonton crackers and chinese sauces. Try the old school version with Hongshao Pork Belly and sweet soy sauce.

Where to eat it: Nali, at The Nosh, 2 N Riverside Plaza. Website:  EatNali.com

4. Canelé

Canelé at La Boulangerie, 915 W Belmont Ave, Chicago

What is it: A small French pastry with a thick caramelized crust and a soft, gooey custard center.

Where to eat it: La Boulangerie, 915 W Belmont Ave

Website: LaBoulangerieChicago.com

 

5. Broiled Lemon Whitefish

Broiled Lemon Whitefish at Brown Bag Sea Food Co., 340 East Randolph, Chicago

What is it: No-frills, high-quality whitefish broiled and flavored with lemon. Simple and delicious.

Where to eat it: Brown Bag Sea Food Co., 340 East Randolph

Website: BrownBagSeaFood.com

 

6. Chorizo-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates

rizo-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates at Avec, Chicago

What is it: An iconic Chicago dish that features medjool dates stuffed with Spanish chorizo and wrapped in bacon. Avec does it with a piquillo pepper-tomato based sauce.

Where to eat it: avec, 615 W Randolph

Website: AvecRestaurant.com

 

7. Saffron Bigoli with Duck Ragout Sauce

Saffron Bigoli with Duck Ragout Sauce

What is it: Bigoli pasta flavored with saffron and served with a ragout sauce of duck, white wine, tomatoes, and onions

Where to eat it: Boka Restaurant, 1729 N. Halsted St.

Website: BokaRestaurant.com

 

8. Apple-Pear Mascarpone Pizza

Apple-Pear Mascarpone Pizza, Chicago Fire Oven, 5440 N. River Road, Rosemont

What is it: A dessert pizza of apple-pear mascarpone sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Where to eat it: Chicago Fire Oven, 5440 N. River Road, Rosemont

Website: ChicagoFireOven.com

 

9. Deep Dish Pizza

Deep Dish Pizza, My Pie Pizzeria, 2010 N Damen Ave, Chicago-60647

What is it: Chicago’s biggest export, a thick pizza made in a deep dish and slathered with a spicy tomato-based pizza sauce.

Where to eat it: My Pie Pizzeria, 2010 N Damen Ave

Website: MyPiePizza.com

 

10. Elvis Frozen Custard

Elvis Frozen Custard, Scooters Frozen Custard, 1658 W Belmont Ave, Chicago – 60657

What is it: Thick, gooey vanilla custard with Reese’s peanut butter cups and Elvis’ favorite fruit, bananas.

Where to eat it: Scooters Frozen Custard, 1658 W Belmont Ave

Website: ScootersFrozenCustard.com

 

11. Ahogada Torta (Mexican Sandwich)

Ahogada Torta (Mexican Sandwich),  Xoco by Rick Bayless, 449 North Clark Street, Chicago

What is it: A Mexican sandwich of golden pork carnitas, black beans, tomatoes, and arbol chile broth, by Chef Rick Bayless

Where to eat it: Xoco by Rick Bayless, 449 North Clark Street

Website: RickBayless.com

 

12. Nashville Hot Chicken Biscuit

Nashville Hot Chicken Biscuit at  The Roost Carolina Kitchen, 1467 W Irving Park Rd

What is it: Chicken breast battered with cayenne and hot sauce and served between freshly baked biscuits

Where to eat it: The Roost Carolina Kitchen, 1467 W Irving Park Rd

Website: TheRoostCarolinaKitchen.com

 

13. Black Bean Empanada

Black Bean Empanada

What is it: A Chilean favorite – savory black bean stuffed inside a sweet pastry.

Where to eat it: Cafe Tola, 3612 N. Southport

Website: @CafeTola

 

14. Togarashi Spiced Fries

Togarashi Spiced Fries

What is it: Crispy potato fries tossed in togarishi – a Japanese spice blend of chili pepper flakes, roasted orange peel, ground ginger, and black sesame seed.

Where to eat it: Belly Shack, 1912 N Western Ave

Website: BellyShack.com

 

15. Triple ‘Cheezborger’

Triple ‘Cheezborger’

What is it: Three beef patties inside a Kaiser bun from one of Chicaog’s most famous food stops

Where to eat it: Billy Goat Tavern Original, 430 N Michigan Ave at Lower Level

Website: BillyGoatTavern.com

 

16. BBQ Shrimp Flat Bread

BBQ Shrimp Flat Bread

What is it: Grilled shrimp served on crispy flat bread with chipotle soy BBQ mozarella cheese on top.

Where to eat it: Chant, 1509 E 53rd St.

Website: ChantChicago.com

 

17. Beijing Duck Feast

Beijing Duck Feast

What is it: A two course meal. The first course is Beijing Duck (Peking Duck) roasted and carved at the diner’s table. The carcass is then taken away and turned into a broth for the second course.

Where to eat it: Sun Wah BBQ, 5039 N Broadway

Website: SunWahBBQ.com

 

18. Mac and Cheese Pizza

mac-n-cheese

 

What is it: Macaroni noodles and cheddar cheese pizza with a homemade creme fraiche base

Where to eat it: Dimo’s Pizza Wrigleyville, 3463 N Clark St.

Website: DimosPizza.com

 

19. Chocolate Pecan Pie

Chocolate Pecan Pie at Bang Bang Pie, 2051 N California

What is it: A classic pie with dark chocolate, pecans, maple sorgum filling and graham crust.

Where to eat it: Bang Bang Pie, 2051 N California

Website: BangBangPie.com

 

20. Flaming Saganaki

Flaming Saganaki

What is it: A thick slice of kesari cheese flamed in brandy

Where to eat it: The Parthenon, 314 South Halsted Street

Website: TheParthenon.com

 

21. Sweet Fried Plantains

Sweet Fried Plantains at Pecking Order, 4416 N Clark St

What is it: Deep fried sweet plantains topped with jackfruit chutney

Where to eat it: Pecking Order, 4416 N Clark St

Update: Pecking Order closed operations on July 26, which means you can no longer eat these delicious sweet plantains. I’ll find a replacement dish and a replacement restaurant and update this asap.

 

22. Chinese Pork Banh Mi

Chinese Pork Banh Mi

What is it: Classic Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwich with Chinese Pork (Xa Xiu) in cheese char siu sauce served in toasted French bread.

Where to eat it: Ba Le, 5014 N. Broadway St.

Website: BaLeSandwich.com

 

23. Shish Kabob

Shish Kabob

What is it: Straight up, no nonsense shish kabob

Where to eat it: Mr. D’s Shish Kabobs, 6656 W Diversey Ave

Website: Mr. D’s on Yelp

 

24. Moroccan Chicken Bastilla

Moroccan Chicken Bastilla

What is it: A traditional Moroccan pie made with phyllo dough. Layers of chicken follow layers of eggs which follow a final layer of almond paste.

Where to eat it: Shokran, 4027 West Irving Park Road

Website: ShokranChicago.com

 

25. Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast

Cheesecake-Stuffed French Toast

What is it: Your classic French toast with a cream cheesecake filling. Topped with a generous helping of strawberries glaze.

Where to eat it: Cozy Corner Restaurant & Pancake House, 4356 W. Diversey Avenue

Website: CozyCornerRestaurant.net

 

26. Traditional Spicy Pork Tamale

Traditional Spicy Pork Tamale

What is it: Classic pork tamale topped with salsa verde, muenster cheese, chives and sour cream

Where to eat it: Estrella Negra, 2346 W. Fullerton Avenue

Website: EstrellaNegra.com

 

27. Tripe Florentine

Tripe Florentine

What is it: An Italian classic: tripe cooked with carrots, garlic, celery, onions and plum tomatoes. Topped with Parmesan.

Where to eat it: Riccardo Trattoria, 2119 N Clark Street

Website: RiccardoTrattoria.com

 

28. Pulled Pork Sandwich

Pulled Pork Sandwich

What is it: A Southern BBQ staple that’s difficult to find in Chicago. Tender shredded pork in BBQ sauce.

Where to eat it: Blackwood BBQ, 307 W Lake Street

Website: BlackwoodBBQ.com

 

29. ‘Nduja Pizza

Nduja Pizza at  Coalfire Pizza, 1321 W. Grand Ave

What is it: Pizza with Calabrian salami, fresh mozzarella, chopped basil and sauce.

Where to eat it: Coalfire Pizza, 1321 W. Grand Ave

Website: CoalfireChicago.com

 

30. Paratha Tacos

Paratha Tacos at En Hakkore, 1840 N. Damen Ave

What is it: Korean tacos with bulgogi wrapped inside flaky Indian parathas. Fusion food that actually tastes good.

Where to eat it: En Hakkore, 1840 N. Damen Ave

Website: En Hakkore on Yelp

 

31. Takoyaki

Takoyaki

What is it: Crispy fried octopus balls taserved with seaweed, sweet sauce, mayo and sesame sauce.

Where to eat it: Four Belly, 3227 N. Clark St.

Website: FourBelly.com

 

32. Duck Poutine

Duck Poutine

What is it: Classic French poutine – thick, hand-cut fries topped with shredded duck and melted manchego cheese.

Where to eat it: Paramount Room, 415 N. Milwaukee Avenue

Website: ParamountRoom.com

 

33. Arroz Gordo (“Fat Rice”)

Arroz Gordo (“Fat Rice”)

What is it: Jasmine rice layered with Chinese sausage, salted duck, sofrito, Portuguese chicken thighs, char sui pork, linguica sausage, prawns, clams, tea eggs, croutons, and pickles. Basically, the kind of meal Ron Swanson would be proud to eat. It’s also one of the only few Macanese (i.e. people from Macau) dishes available in Chicago.

Where to eat it: Fat Rice, 2957 W. Diversey Avenue

Website: EatFatRice.com

 

34. Bacon Butterscotch Donut

Bacon Butterscotch Donut at Nightwood Restaurant, 2119 S. Halsted Street

What is it: Bacon makes everything better. Including butterscotch donuts.

Where to eat it: Nightwood Restaurant, 2119 S. Halsted Street

The restaurant changes its menu everyday, so depending on the day, you might or might not find this donut on the menu.

Website: NightwoodRestaurant.com

 

35. Chorizo Egg Roll

Chorizo Egg Roll

What is it: Classic egg roll made with chorizo sausage, sweet potato, queso fresco cheese, red cabbage, onions and avocado aioli

Where to eat it: Saucy Porka, 400 S. Financial Place

Website: SaucyPorka.com

 

36. Donut Ice Cream Sandwich

Donut Ice Cream Sandwich

What is it: Vanilla bean Ice cream wrapped inside thick, glazed donuts. Heart-attack food, but oh, so delicious.

Where to eat it: Firecake Donuts, 68 W. Hubbard Street

Website: FirecakeDonuts.com

Click her for  list #37 to #51

 

 

14 Responses to The 36 Best Things to Eat in Chicago (and Where to Eat Them)

  1. Ken Kai says:

    Dude.. tasty tasty. Not a good time to look at this I admit. It’s midnight here in Australia and I’m a late night snacker 🙂

    But really, I was had at #1. That is tasttyyyy! Korean BBQ tacos.. mm!

    Maybe the bacon butterscotch donut, too.. Dang!

    Nice to meet you Jay,

    Ken

  2. fatuglynerd says:

    The Pecking Order is no longer in business, and you forgot East Lakeviews Sesame Chicken at Ping Pong.

    • flavorverse says:

      I wasn’t aware of Pecking Order being out of business. Just checked…apparently, it happened just a couple of weeks ago (July 26, to be exact).

      Will modify the list accordingly.

      • fatuglynerd says:

        Cool. But yeah, you still need to check out Ping Pong. Seriously, best Thai Food in the city. 😀 Trust me.

        • flavorverse says:

          Added to my bucket list for Chicago. The Yelp reviews look pretty promising as well 🙂

          What would you recommend there?

          • fatuglynerd says:

            List of the best:

            Salt and Pepper Calamari
            Old Fashioned Egg Foo Young
            Sliced Chicken with Quinoa
            Pan-seared Dumplings
            Mee Goreng
            Malaysian Noodles
            Kung Pao Scallops
            Tea-Smoked Ribs
            Chinatown Eggroll
            and of course …
            The Seasame Chicken if you want a more mainstream dish.

            … Let me know if and when you plan on going and maybe I can sort out some kind of meal comp / discount for you. A close friend owns the place, but that’s not why I’m advocating how good the food is. The reason I know this friend is simply because I have gone back to his restaurant so many times.

          • jenn says:

            mr beef!! for sure best beef in the city…there is also a bar called Lockdown- this place is absolutely amazing. the atmosphere is laid back and cool the food is amazing and you can get a tall boy pbr and a shot of Jameson for 5 bucks!! where in chicago can you do that?!?!?

          • flavorverse says:

            @jenn thanks, sounds great i will check their beef menu. I stop drinking alcohol since 2014.

  3. Grant Chuggy Bear Shindo says:

    I’d add:

    1. Crispy fried pig’s ear from Purple Pig
    2. Pig’s face from Girl and the Goat
    3. Corned beef from Manny’s deli
    4. Thuringer sausage from Hot Doug’s (sad they’re closing!)
    5. Cubano from Tortas Frontera and El Cubanito
    6. Corned beef and sharp cheddar sub from the deli in the Peoria Packing store

  4. A good list, but in no way complete…but it did it’s job; (adding restaurants to dining list)

  5. Pingback: Link Love | Just a Chi Town Girl

  6. Brittany says:

    Paramount room no longer has the duck poutine, very very sad

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