17. Italian Beef is a Chicago classic. I didn’t realize this was a regional dish until I tried to find it in Saint Louis and couldn’t. Al’s #1 Italian Beef on Taylor Street in University Village claims to have the best in the city, and many locals agree. However, Bari’s Deli on Grand Avenue is an up and coming contender. Some even claim that it’s better. No matter where you get it (just, please avoid the roadside stands) Italian beef is a Chicago classic.
18. Grab lunch in The Walnut Room at Macy’s on North State Street. It was the first restaurant opened in a department store, and is the longest running restaurant in the United States. Since 1907, they’ve been serving up lunch, dinner, and tea for shoppers and guests alike.
19. If there’s one food Chicago is known for, it’s pizza. Locals debate as to which place serves up the best slice, but I’ve been told by multiple people that Giordano’s is the place to go. Lou Malanti’s, however, boasts the first slice of deep dish ever sold. If you really want to decide for yourself which slice is the best, go on a pizza crawl. Try different pizzas around the city and make a definitive opinion.
20. Chicago has the largest population of Polish settlers in America, as shown by the fact that Illinois celebrates Casmir Pulaski Day (a Polish war hero) every year. This means there’s some top-notch Polish food in the city. Staropolska Restaurant is known for its delicious pierogi, with both sweet and savory fillings.
21. When small plates and alcohol come together, a good time is sure to be had. That’s the exact combination Ada Street strikes in the Wicker Park neighborhood. Walk-ins are welcome all day except 5:30 to 6:30 at night, which is their busiest time. The quaint atmosphere and plates designed for sharing make this a great place to spend time with your partner.
22. If you’re looking for a place to grab a great brunch and coffee, check out Wildberry Pancakes and Café on Randolph Street. Pancakes are obviously their specialty, but they offer a wide variety of breakfast food in huge portions. Their coffee is also top notch.
23. Located on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Everest Bar and Restaurant is a premier French restaurant that has landed multiple awards, as well as a spot on The Food Network. If the view and the awards aren’t enough to convince you, their menu most definitely will. Featuring delicious options from appetizer to dessert (including sweet soufflés and grass-fed rack of lamb) Everest is sure to satisfy you.
24. Publican Quality Meats is a locally owned meat shop and restaurant on Market Street. They pride themselves on using local, organic farms, and providing the best quality meat they can to their customers. Stop by for a hardy barbeque lunch, or for a delicious savory dinner.
25. Pops for Champagne is a bar on North State Street that offers more than 200 varieties of champagne and sparkling wine. They rotate varieties every week to keep things fresh. Head up Sunday through Tuesday to hear some live jazz music, and Mondays for half priced small glasses of champagne.
26. Pasta Palazzo is a cozy Italian café in Lincoln Park, and it comes highly recommended from my cousin, Joy. She claims their homemade stuffed gnocchi is some of the best she’s had, and that’s not the only delicious sounding item on the menu. Their dinner menu covers a variety of handmade fresh Italian cuisine, with the promise that you’ll love the food and, most importantly, the atmosphere.