Restaurants in Chicago, IL

Chicago has more distinctive local specialties than any other city. Some are unique, such as Italian beef, breaded steak sandwiches, chicken vesuvio, and shrimp de jonghe. Others were invented here or taken to unequalled extremes, like deep dish pizza, hot dogs dragged through the garden, Chicago mix caramel corn, and, arguably, the corned beef sandwich. Hyperbole aside, Chicago has a dizzying variety of eateries, plain and fancy, traditional and cutting-edge, foreign and domestic. South Side soul food, cooked in aquarium smokers, is in a class by itself. Quality, and quantity, of portions at the great steak houses defies modesty. At least two of the city’s donut shops would be among the nation’s top five. And pizza culture beyond the original deep dish is always expanding.

Chicago’s Most Famous Dishes

Burger on a tender bun with lettuce, tomato, onion, and mayo ... car hop service

Grilled Hamburger

Crisp-edge, creamy-center French fries sprinkled with salt

French Fries

Gravy-sopped Italian beef piled into a length of bread with spicy vegetable giardiniera

Italian Beef

Wedge of pie with tall yellow base and even taller meringue, flecked with toasted coconut


Chicago’s Best Restaurants

Red Hen Bakery - Muffins
Red Hen Bakery


Original Pancake House - Apple Pancake
Original Pancake House


Pizzeria Uno - Sausage Pizza
Pizzeria Uno


Billy Goat Tavern - Cheeseburger
Billy Goat Tavern


Lawry’s the Prime Rib


Al’s #1 Italian Beef


Maravillas Restaurant




Kevin’s Hamburger Heaven


Twin Anchors


Old Fashioned Donuts


Gino’s East


Doughnut Vault


Frances’ Deli


Stanley’s Tavern


Calumet Fisheries


m. henry


Diner Grill




Corned Beef Factory Sandwich Shop - Tom & Jerry Reuben
Corned Beef Factory Sandwich Shop


Tempo Café


Chicago Articles & Guides

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Caramel corn and cheese corn mixed together


The best caramel corn comes from butterflies combined with mushrooms. Some people use only mushrooms—the kernels that pop into smooth, round balls—but Sharon Yoder of Yoder Popcornsays butterflies—the kernels that...

Best Supporting City

From the shockingly priced cup of hot chocolate Tom Cruise drinks in the soigné Palm Court of The Drake Hotel in Risky Business ($4 in 1983) to the cheap eats Jim...

Billy Goat Tavern - Exterior

Live From Chicago

By the time John Belushi was elected Wheaton (Ill.) Central High homecoming king, Bill Charuchas had already made his reputation at Chicago’s Billy Goat Tavern & Grill parroting owner Sam Sianis’s...

Harry Caray’s - Interior Dining

The Past on a Plate

By Jane and Micheal Stern CHICAGO'S LIVELIEST culinary sport is rating city specialties. Food journalists and freelance eaters are forever debating whose Red Hots, deep-dish pizzas, Italian beef, and rib...


Before you eat a hot beef sandwich in Chicago, you need to talk to Chris Pacelli, Jr., who owns Al's #1 Italian Beef with his brothers Chuck and Terry....

Curbside, America

Before Ralph Nader, cars were fun. For generations of joyriders, a purring V-8 was a vehicle for play and pleasure. "Companion of carefree days" is how Chevy advertised itself...

Healthful Detours U.S.A.

As a matter of principle, we are committed to finding food with ample fat, from marbled steaks to chocolate cakes, but even we sometimes yearn for light fare. On...


Monday is the slowest day of the week at Manny's cafeteria, because Monday is the day people diet, trying to make amends for weekend excess. At Manny's, on Jefferson...

A photo of the original Rainbow Cone, a Chicago-style ice cream shop's signature treat featuring five flavors of ice cream on a single cone.

The Essential Cheap Eats in Chicago

We have for you a list of some of the top eats on a budget when you are visiting Chicago, Il.  This enticing city has it all from architectural...

The front entrance of Walker Brothers Original Pancake House

Chicago to Milwaukee, Twixt 3 Corned Beef Sandwiches

A road trip along the the southwest shore of Lake Michigan offers a wild taste-buds adventure (assuming you can get out of Chicago with any appetite remaining ... but...

The One Must-Eat Food in Each State, and Where To Get It

Unique Regional Dishes After 40 years and 5 million miles spent on the road looking for America's best regional food, we've assembled a list of the quintessential, must-eat food in...

Carminuccio’s - Stern Special

The Best Pizza In America | Roadfood Bests

Is there another dish as diverse as pizza? It can be an utterly simple tomato pie – nothing but sauce on crust – or it can be a multi-meat...

Poppy seed bun holds hot dog with mustard, relish, and pickle spear

The Best Chicago Foods | Roadfood Bests

Whatever you like to eat, Chicago has it – humble and swanky, familiar and exotic, healthful and decadent, from anywhere on earth and in every imaginable setting. But what...

Manny’s Coffee Shop - Sign

Best Authentic Unique Chicago Restaurants | Roadfood Bests

Are you looking a flavor that is unique Chicago? Eating experiences that are found only in the city or at their very best here? If so, savor these memorable...

Harry Caray’s - Steak

Best Restaurants in Chicago, Plain & Fancy | Roadfood Bests

If you are looking for a true taste of Chicago -- eating experiences that are unique to the city or at their very best here -- savor these memorable...

Mustard's Last Stand - Exterior

8 Best Casual Outdoor Dining Spots in Chicago

Outdoor Dining in the Windy City Some of the best casual outdoor dining in Chicago include meals that are eaten standing up at a counter or at outdoor tables. Here...

Chicken breast topped with peas and sided by potato logs

Chicago's Chicken Vesuvio | Roadfood Bests

Chicken Vesuvio is served nowhere outside of Chicago, and even many Chicagoans are unaware of it. A dish of sautéed and baked, bone-in, skin-on parts of chicken and wedges...

Pizzeria Uno - Sausage Pizza

Chicago's Many Pizzas

It is not quite right that deep-dish pie gets all the attention when it comes to Chicago pizza. Yes, the forkworthy casserole-style pizza was first created in Chicago, in...

Corned Beef Factory Sandwich Shop - Corned Beef Sandwich

Chicago Without Utensils

Long before the apotheosis of food trucks, Chicago was a city where a person could eat extremely well without picking up a knife and fork. Here is a day's...

Paper-thin crepes, dusted with powdered sugar, envelop bananas, walnuts, maple syrup and brown sugar


Why is brunch so wonderful? One, it almost always includes adult beverages. Two, it's far more bountiful than either breakfast or lunch. Three, there's no hurry to eat it:...

Beautiful Vintage Diners

The term diner has come to mean almost any inexpensive cafe that serves breakfast. But true diners are an elite class of eatery. They are mid 20th century design...

Chocolate layer cake frosted with caramel and pecans

Seductive Cafeterias

For some passionate eaters, a great cafeteria can be a source of tremendous anxiety. How on earth can a person choose from among dozens and dozens of good-looking desserts,...

Southern Kitchen - Pie

12 of the Best Pie Places in America

First, we apologize to the Stockholm Pie Company in Wisconsin, to Nick's Kitchen in Huntington, Indiana, to the Bang Bang Pie Shop in Chicago, and to Beardsley Cider Mill...

Laurel Diner - Corned Beef Hash

Heavenly Corned Beef Hash

The only possible happy exclamation incited by corned beef hash spooned from a can is "Arf!" But freshly chopped and sizzled to a crisp, crowned with poached eggs eager...

Destination Donuts

Donut devotion as fervid as the commitment devotees have for barbecue. Everybody has a favorite kind. From robust cake sinkers to featherweight glazed, styles vary dramatically. In our experience,...

The Varsity - Exterior Night

America's Best Remaining True Drive-In Restaurants

"Drive-in" has come to mean just about any cheap-eats restaurant with car-friendly parking. A genuine drive-in is a place where customers park and are waited on and eat in...

Pastrami Sandwich Honor Roll

Steamy hot, soft and supple, perfumed by spice and smoke, infused with the dripping succulence of animal fat, pastrami is the most voluptuous of delicatessen meats. Great pastrami sandwiches...

Julian Pie Company - Apple Crumb Pie

13 of the Best Places to Get Apple Pie in America

Crumb-topped, lattice-topped, or layered with caramel and welcoming a scoop of ice cream on top, apple pie is everywhere from coast to coast. For your pleasure, a baker's dozen...

Steak Houses: Roadfood Favorites

Many restaurants serve steak, but some places are dedicated to it. Although no great steak house is cheap, some of the best are extremely informal (like Doe's Eat Place...

America's Best Hot Dogs

There's no point getting into a flame war over which American hot dog is best. It's impossible, because the nation's hot dogs are so diverse.  However, we will go...

Midwest Urban Barbecue

When barbecue migrated up the Mississippi from its homes in the Deep South and in Texas, it took on a new personality -- similar to what happened to the...

Double decker Reuben sandwich

Midwest's Best Corned Beef Sandwiches | On 4-Star Rye

When people think of good corned beef sandwiches, they tend to envision New York, or maybe Miami or Los Angeles. But in fact, the Midwest's best corned beef sandwiches,...

Poppy seed bun holds hot dog with mustard, relish, and pickle spear

Chicago Red Hot | Hot Dog Street Food | Roadfood Bests

Chicago is a Hot Dog City Frankfurter historians believe the Chicago red hot (aka hot dog) was first configured in 1929. Abe "Fluky" Drexler first served it at the street...

Gravy-sopped Italian beef piled into a length of bread with spicy vegetable giardiniera

Chicago Italian Beef

More New-World than Old-Country, the Italian beef sandwich was invented on Chicago's near West Side and it has become a city signature dish as beloved as red hots. It...

Great Chicago Recipes

Chicken breast topped with peas and sided by potato logs

Chicken Vesuvio


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