Chicago is known for a few perks: its incredible art and science culture, its abundance in museums, and its beautiful Lakeshore path, perfect for cyclists, runners, and dog walkers, alike. Yet, it’s also home to some of the best restaurants in Chicago, receiving both Michelin praises and high marks amongst residents and tourists. If you’re visiting the Windy city, there are some legendary foods you must eat in Chicago before heading back home. Make sure to hit these 7 stops. Your taste buds will thank you!
Chicago-Style Hot Dog
There’s nothing quite like a Chicago style hot dog to really whet your appetite. Whether you go to Wrigleyville Dogs, Chicago’s Dog House, or Belly Shack, among others, you really can’t go wrong. With a dill pickle spear, tomato slice, chopped onions, yellow mustard, relish, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt, it’s the perfect combination. Remember: steer clear of the ketchup!
Goat From Girl & The Goat
That’s right, a goat offering from Stephanie Izard’s renowned “Girl & The Goat” restaurant along Chicago’s “restaurant row” in the West Loop. With a whole menu section dedicated to “goats,” you’ll have plenty of options. It’s not only incredibly trendy and innovative, but it’s the perfect setting to try something you’ve never dared to eat before. Make sure to book in advance, as reservations can be hard to come by on short notice.
Heading to Portillo’s is necessary when visiting Chicago. Ordering the Italian beef sandwich, fries, or the delicious, creamy, chocolate cake shake will probably be one of the best things you’ve ever tasted. Finding great food to eat in Chicago isn’t hard, but missing out on Portillo’s could be heartbreaking. Use your time wisely, and get your stomach ready for a truly memorable experience the whole family will love. Want more Italian beef? Head to Al’s Italian Beef, which is another worthy Chicago staple.
Black Dog Gelato
Who cares if it’s the middle of winter? There’s always an opportunity to enjoy Black Dog Gelato and savor all its unique, sensational flavors. One of the best things to eat in Chicago can definitely be ice cream, and when it comes to flavor combinations, such as Goat Cheese Cashew Caramel, Maple Cayenne Bacon, and White Chocolate Banana Curry, it’s pretty hard to not be pleased with your visit. Brace the outdoors, no matter the weather, and enjoy every spoonful. If you want a different icy treat, you can also try a Chicago classic, the Original Rainbow Cone, anytime between March and November.
A Real Chicago Donut
Without a doubt, it’s a fact that Chicago has the best donuts. Besides being gigantic, the original flavors and textures make them stand out. With so many donut shops and treats to choose from, it might be hard to make a decision. A solution? Get a box, and share with others, or try a different donut, from a different locale, for each day of your trip. Great options include Stan’s Donuts, Glazed & Infused, and Firecakes. To get both your bites and steps in, there are tons of free activities in Chicago that will keep you moving and digesting.
A Great Chicago Burger
It’d be a shame to not try one of the best burgers in Chicago during your trip. Known as one of the elite burgers in America and a food you must eat when visiting Chicago, Au Cheval is famous for its cheeseburger and classy knife presentation, splitting the bun right down the middle (but we doubt you’ll want to share it). For a more innovative, creative style, opt for a patty at Kuma’s Corner, or go for a more sophisticated bite with burgers at Eight Bar and Patio or The Loyalist.
No Chicago food list would be complete without Garrett Popcorn. Not only can you get a whiff of the delicious, caramel and cheese infused blend from a mile away, but you can taste Garrett’s perfect flavor combination, the “Chicago mix,” at one of the many locations around the city. If you’re on the Magnificent Mile stop, it makes for a delicious snack when your energy stores from shopping are running low.
A bonus? If you’re lucky to score a reservation at Avec, try the chorizo-stuffed medjool dates. It’s a signature item that’ll be there on all your travels!