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12 of the Best Restaurants in Chicago - A Local's Favorites for Every Mood!

Looking for a great place to eat while in the Windy City? I’ve been a Chicago native for a solid eight years, and I’ve rounded up an even dozen of my absolute favorite places to grab a bite in this fabulous city. Regardless of your mood, tastes, or dietary restrictions, you can find something here that will make your day. I’m drooling as I write this. (TMI? Probs. But you’ll live.)

ANYWAY here are a local’s recommendations for the best restaurants in Chicago!

a slice of french toast with berries from Yolk in Chicago

Best Breakfast/Brunch - Yolk

Yolk is what breakfast dreams are made of, friends! Sweet, savory, hearty, light, vegetarian, meat-packed, they have it all! I visit Yolk frequently and have yet to settle on a “usual” because there are far too many delicious options. The closest thing I have to a ”usual” there is the side slice of the Very Berry French Toast that I often order as an add-on to my entrée of choice. Also the Horchata Cold Brew. Little pieces of heaven they are.

coffee and a cinnamon roll from Cafe Urbano

Favorite Coffee Shop - Café Urbano

This hip little west side spot has great Latin-inspired eats and a trendy atmosphere. I love both their Honey Cinnamon Latte and their Horchata Latte. (What can I say, I love a good Horchata coffee!) And their breakfast burrito. Friends, their breakfast burrito. It puts every other breakfast burrito I've ever eaten to shame. Get it with their chorizo for a true breakfast of champions.

For more on Chicago's cafe scene, click here!

Trusty Sit-Down Sandwich Spot - Jerry’s Sandwiches

You’ve never seen a sandwich menu like the menu at Jerry’s Sandwiches. It’s massive. And every single one of them sounds delicious. This is another place where it’s nearly impossible to find a “usual”, no matter how many times you drop in. Every sandwich comes with two sides, and you should do yourself a favor and make one of your sides the spiced apples.

a honey latte from Goddess and the Baker

Astounding Counter-Serve Lunch - The Goddess and the Baker

For the coffee, pastries, breakfast, or lunch of your dreams, stop in at The Goddess and the Baker! This counter-serve café and bakery serves the best quick and delicious lunch I’ve found, as well as one of my favorite coffee drinks in the whole city. (For the record, it’s their Wildflower Honey Latte.) Need more encouragement to visit? They’re incredibly queer-friendly and usually serving rainbow cake!

Classic Chicago-Style Pizza - Giordano’s

Confession: I’m not much of a deep-dish-eater myself. I order up a good Chicago-style pizza maybe twice a year, on special occasions or when I have visitors in town. But if you’ve got a craving for this uniquely Chicago cuisine, the place you have to go is Giordano’s. They’re a chain, so they’ll have locations all over the city, and they are truly the superior deep dish. (Anyone who tells you it’s Lou Malnati’s is a liar!)

a burger, fries, and beer from Crushed by Giants Brewing in Chicago

Favorite Trendy Local Brew Pub - Crushed by Giants Brewing

For a truly local craft beer experience in a fabulous setting, visit Crushed by Giants Brewing in River North! This place is a true local microbrewery: the only place you can buy their beer is in their restaurant. Their drafts rotate seasonally, and their food menu is upscale pub classics. I adore both their Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich and their CBG burger, which has bits of bacon mixed in with the ground beef! And yes you should spring for the side of hand-cut fries.

Best Ramen and Sushi - Blowfish Sushi and Ramen

This place is a little bit off the beaten track, but you should absolutely chase it down for the best ramen and sushi in the city. Personally, I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to sushi (this basic bitch loves a spicy salmon roll), but even my sushi-connoisseur friends swear by the signature rolls at Blowfish. And I would swear that same oath by their Spicy Brisket Ramen. Top it off with some green tea and some mochi and you’ll be the happiest possible camper.

fish and chips with whiskey from Mrs. Murphy and Sons' Irish Bistro in Chicago

My Go-To Irish Pub - Mrs. Murphy and Sons’ Irish Bistro

Do you not have a go-to Irish Pub? How do you survive without a go-to Irish Pub?!?

For a Public House in the truest possible sense of the word, get your ass over to Mrs. Murphy and Sons’ Irish Bistro. This Irish public house has everything you could possibly want: Irish classics like corned beef, shepherds pie, and bangers and mash, and a whiskey selection that is unrivaled in the area. (Order yourself some Writer’s Tears neat and thank me later.) Hang out by the bar and you just might be treated to live Irish folk music!

Truly Tasty Health Food - True Food Kitchen

For a meal that fits all the dietary preferences and restrictions bills, check out True Food Kitchen in River North! True Food focuses on sustainable whole foods. They have a menu packed with options that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and most importantly, delicious!

steak frites and a manhattan from Luxbar in Chicago

Hidden Gem for a Steak Dinner - Luxbar

For a fancy steak dinner, skip the overpriced steakhouses and get yourself a table at Luxbar. With a menu full of upscale American classics, this is a restaurant full of options, but the standout is the Build-Your-Own Manhattan menu and the Steak Frites. The Steak Frites are hearty, cooked to order, perfectly seasoned, and they cost less than $20. I’ve had steak frites in Paris. These are better. Run, don’t walk to Luxbar for your steak dinner.

Specialty Ice Cream - Lickity Split

For the best ice cream (well, custard actually) in the city, trek on up to the north side and visit Lickity Split. They only have three flavors at a time (chocolate, vanilla, and a seasonal specialty flavor) but those three are all they need! You can get any of these flavors in their specialty sundaes and concrete shakes, or you can build your own! Plus, the Sheridan Road location doubles as an old-fashioned candy store! You’ll be bouncing off the walls like a… well… like a kid in a candy store.

a pink guava cake with rainbow sprinkles from Jennivee's Bakery in Chicago

Chicago's Best Bakery - Jennivee’s Bakery

Cupcakes! Cupcake Glory! Of full-sized cakes! Filipino-inspired flavors! Trans-owned! Do I really need to keep selling you on this?!?!?

My favorite flavor is the Pink Guava. (Pictured here with the iconic Rainbow Sprinkles Upgrade!) But there’s also the Purple Velvet. And the Matcha White Chocolate. And the Chocolate Chip Banana Nutella. And the-

This list of local-approved Best Restaurants in Chicago is always growing!

Looking for another type of restaurant you don’t see listed here? Ask away! And happy eating!

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Love and Shenanigans,


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