Chicago Dining Guide

I spent three wonderful years eating my way through Chicago.  I don’t want all my delicious recommendations to go unheard so I put together a Chicago dining guide for you.  For more recommendations about sights to see, places to shop, and where to stay in the best city around, feel free to email me!

Sandwiches:
Hannah’s Bretzel (http://hannahsbretzel.com/)–They make all of their sandwiches on fresh pretzel baguettes and it’s absolutely wonderful.  My favorite is Sergio’s Special or the Grass Fed Sirloin sandwich.  They have a few locations across the city and are great if you just want a quick lunch!
Eleven City Diner (http://www.elevencitydiner.com/)–This is a modern version of an old-school Jewish deli and it is absolutely ridiculous.  Their entire menu looks WONDERFUL and I can’t wait to eat there again.  I got one of their melts and it may be the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten.  They were featured on the food channel which makes me feel a little famous for eating there.  Just sayin’.
Grahamwich (http://www.grahamwich.com/)–This sandwich shop was started by Graham Elliot and has the coolest sandwiches.  Their grilled cheese is wonderful and so is their veggie panini.  They also offer really unique sides like truffle-oil Parmesan popcorn or Orange ginger soda.
The Bourgeois Pig (http://thebourgeoispigcafe.com/)–Okay maybe I lied when I said 11 city diner served the best sandwich I’d ever had.  Bourgeois Pig might be the winner of that award.  They serve these incredibly warm/delicious sandwiches on the most amazing bread ever.  The atmosphere in this restaurant is so cozy and they have some really delicious teas as well.Pastoral (http://pastoralartisan.com/)–My dad and I love this place.  It’s a small cheese and wine shop that serves these wonderfully unique sandwiches.  Served on french bread with delicious meats and cheeses it’s one of my favorite places to grab a sandwich.  They also have a great olive bar complete with pickled garlic that is unreal.  If you’ve never had pickled garlic before run, don’t walk, to pastoral.
Best Breakfast:
Yolk (http://yolk-online.com/)– Big servings of piping hot and wonderful breakfast/brunch foods.  It’s pretty loud in this restaurant but their food is just so good…  Their huevos rancheros make my soul happy.  Hit up yolk for breakfast then check out museum campus where the Aquarium, History Museum, and Planetarium are.  It’s a really fun area and definitely a great spot for brunch.
Milk & Honey (http://www.milkandhoneycafe.com/)– Everything I’ve ever had from Milk & Honey is wonderful.  I only classified them as breakfast because they have a crazy amount of brunch foods that will roll your socks down.  You can also just order a bloody mary and people watch because Wicker Park is a fascinating place.  They make the best chai tea latte I’ve ever had in my life.  It took me like 20 minutes to get there and I used to make special trips just for their chai!  They have fantastic lunch as well so if you don’t make it for breakfast you can enjoy a sandwich or wrap. (EC)
Floriole(http://www.floriole.com/)– This restaurant is everything I’ve ever wanted in a restaurant.  Their menu is seasonal/local and they have the most amazing tea!  It’s located in a really cute area but even if it wasn’t it would be worth the extra trip.  They were also featured on the food channel for being awesome.  Enough said.Orange (http://www.orangerestaurantchicago.com/)–This is another killer brunch spot.  I love their savory sandwiches and I dragged my entire extended family there for Easter brunch last year.  They have a few locations throughout the city so if you’re looking for a convenient brunch spot this is perfect.
Dinner:
Ahhh deep dish pizza.  It’s a tourist staple and even though I’m pretty sick of it you should still make it a priority to grab some.  My favorite places for deep dish are Pizzeria Due (http://www.unos.com/), Pizano’s (http://www.pizanoschicago.com/), and Giordano’s (http://www.giordanos.com/).  You really can’t go wrong at any of the deep dish places and people will tell you Gino’s East is their favorite but when I ate there they burnt my pizza and the flavor was just average.  If I’m going out for deep dish I generally just go to Pizano’s because they use beer in their crust and that is the best thing..ever…
Hackney’s (http://www.hackneys.net/) is another favorite of mine.  They have a really yummy burger (and some great vegetarian options) plus a ton of great beer.  If you go to hackney’s make sure you order their house-made potato chips and coat those bad boys with a lot of hot sauce.  You won’t be disappointed!
Another great place to grab a burger is DMK Burger Bar (http://www.dmkburgerbar.com/).  Their burgers are a little more classy and unique.  The wait can be kind of long but I felt like it was worth it!  They also make a mean margarita :).
Kuma’s Corner (http://www.kumascorner.com/) this is the best burger I’ve EVER had in my life.  It has ruined all other burgers for me because none will ever measure up.  They have the most unique menu and atmosphere that no explanation can really do it justice.  If you’re going to Kuma’s Corner (and you should) make sure you bring a lot of patience and maybe a hip flask.  The wait is outrageous but it’s worth every excruciating minute.  Once inside the restaurant you will be serenaded by really loud metal music so if that’s not your cup of tea get over it and focus on the burger.  Just…go.  Right now.

Tocco (http://www.toccochicago.com/) This isn’t deep dish but Tocoo makes a really good pie.  The decor in the restaurant is really cool but kind of confusing–just power through it because their pizza is WONDERFUL.  I got one with olives, mushrooms, ham, artichokes, and fried eggs.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Ent.o Village Grill (http://etnogrill.com/) A divine burger.  No, really.  It’s divine.  The meat is fresh, the toppings are unique, the atmosphere is cozy, and the people-watching is fantastic.  It’s like Kuma’s Corner without the wait.  Check out my Eating Chicago post for a more complete review!

Dessert:

Sweet Mandy B’s (http://sweetmandybs.com/)– This is a really cute bakery.  They have cookies as big as your head, great cupcakes, and other yummy desserts like brownies and these ridiculous caramel apples.  They’re right next to Floriole so if you’re in the area you may as well stop by both places!

More Cupcakes (http://morecupcakes.com/)–I’ve never been to their brick & morter storefront but I have had the pleasure of grabbing a cupcake from their food truck.  They have some pretty unique flavors like maple bourbon and s’more so if you’re in the area and need a cupcake it’s pretty delicious!

Pinkberry (http://www.yelp.com/biz/pinkberry-chicago)–I couldn’t resist adding this to my list.  I love pinkberry’s frozen yogurt and it’s definitely one of my favorite places to grab ice cream.  Their salted caramel or peanut butter flavors are my favorite!!

*EC= Eating Chicago.  A feature that takes you through my favorite eats in Chicago.  Click the “EC” link for a more in-depth review of a restaurant.

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