• Franny the Traveler

Best Food Spots of Chicago

Updated: Jan 3, 2019


If you are coming to #Chicago, an empty stomach is a MUST! Chicago has a HUGE food scene to check out. Originally coming to Chicago for a long weekend, but then ending up stranded due to Tropical Storm Sandy hitting my home city, I had ample opportunities to explore the #foodscene. However, even with nearly a week there, I barely scratched the surface on foods to try.


Here are my recommendations for #foodspots to try (in no particular order) that will have your taste buds going “WOW:”


1. Lou Malnati’s


Chicago is known for its #deepdishpizza, so of course you gotta have it!  It is definitely different from any type other type of pizza that you may have had before (unless you are native to Chicago): the crust is high and the ingredients are stacked. Prior to arriving to Chicago, I was not aware that there are two competing deep dish pizzerias: one being Lou Malnati's, which is known as “the oldest family name in Chicago pizza." and the other being “Giordano’s”, which is more renowned.


Lou Malnati’s pizza was QUITE delicious. Ordering a pie seemed intimidating! Fortunately, I had someone to split it with. What I actually enjoyed the most, though, was their cookie pizza.


Picture this: A large chocolate chip cooked fresh in a metal pan that comes out sizzling with vanilla ice cream. I still imagine this dessert at times. YUM!


2. Giordano’s


Giordano's is Lou Malnati's fierce competitor. They claim that "the recipe for Giordano’s now-famous stuffed pizza is one that has evolved over 200 years", originating from Northern Italy. For me, it is hard to decide which is better, as they are both tasty (for different reasons). You should try them both and decide!


3. Garrett's Popcorn


I am familiar with Garrett's actually from trying it in New York. We have a store near Penn Station that former coworker from Chicago introduced me Garrett's Popcorn is well known for selling caramel crisp and cheese corn popcorn. The best is the Garrett mix, which mixes both of these flavors in a bag, allowing the extreme sweetness from the caramel crisp to be balanced by the very savory, cheesy flavor of cheese corn.

ABC 7 Chicago Picture

4. Bongo Room


The Bongo Room surely does brunch right! Although they may only be open until early afternoon,  they surely know how to serve mouthwatering food!  While I was there, I ordered the red velvet pancakes, which were decadently coated with a warm maple cream and toasted pecans.  I had also ordered a side of eggs, bacon, toast and hash browns, not realizing the HUGE portions that I would receive!



5. Blue Door Kitchen & Garden


This restaurant is owned by Oprah's former chef, Art Smith. In an effort to be a "farm-to-table" restaurant, it is actually named after Oprah Winfrey’s former Indiana property, Blue Door Farm features healthier versions of southern dishes. I got a chance to taste their deviled eggs, catfish and grits as well as hummingbird cake. Being a dessert fiend, I loved the hummingbird cake, which is a banana and pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting.



The highlight of the restaurant visit was meeting Art Smith in person and catching a picture!


6. Portillos 


Looking for a delicious Italian beef sandwich? Something cheap and filling? Definitely check out Portillo's, which is located inside a market at Ontario Place!  


7. XOCO


XOCO, Aztec for  "little sister," is a cafe of sorts that sells Mexican street food and snacks in a more high-end way such as empanadas, churros, and tortas. I tried out two of their desserts: a warm apple tart and a Mexican chocolate sundae!




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What are your favorite places to eat in Chicago?

Comment below!

About Me

Part-time traveler and full-time nationally award-winning educator. My passion for travel led me to start my travel blog so I could share the stories of my adventures and tips I have learned along the way as I conquer at least two new countries and two new states a year to reach 50 states & 50 countries by age 50.

 

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