If there’s one thing I heard about before coming to visit Chicago, it was about the food. Yes, wind and cold weather came up more than once, but Chicago was continually praised by others for its restaurant scene. Before taking on this city in the Midwest, I had read all about pizza, hot dogs and plenty more, which made my anticipation even more urgent. Armed with Lactaid for my lactose-intolerance and Prilosec for any accumulated heartburn, I descended upon the Chicago neighborhoods to take on a mix of Asian, baked goods and vegan restaurants that I recommend to any visitor or local of Chicago. If you’re already salivating, read further to find out more about some of Chicago’s delicious culinary offerings at local restaurants and neighborhoods:
Once I learned Argyle was the Vietnamese neighborhood, I immediately picked up my grocery bags and headed to local grocery stores and bakeries. During my weekly trips to Argyle, it was hard to resist walking into every bakery and not have the desire to indulge in Bubble Tea everywhere I went. Recommended to me by locals, Tank Noodle is where I made my stop for a Vietnamese lunch of crunchy noodles and veggies. Although I’m not crazy about Pho, I’ve heard people rave about it and I’m sure if this Vietnamese soup is what you crave, Argyle is perfect place to satisfy your desires.
Greek Town and The Little Goat Bakery
Located near the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, Greek Town is a small area lined with Greek restaurants and shops. Although I was too full from lunch to indulge in any menus, I found what really entertains my tastebuds and curiosity: a Greek grocery store. Elea Mediterranean Food Market was a small corner grocery store, but among the cheeses, shelves of wine, packages of olive oil soap and chocolate, I felt like I found a little bit of Greece (as well as a much needed Christmas present I had been searching for all over the city). Wandering up Halsted, I found the acclaimed The Little Goat where despite my full stomach I indulged in a Devil’s Food Cupcake. Making note of this bakery and deli’s unique scenery and smells of fresh bread, I’ve already determined where I’ll go if I need a brunch place on a return visit to Chicago.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder
If you visit Chicago, eating the Deep Dish Pizza should definitely be on your list, but what should also be on your list? Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder in Old Town. A couple of things to keep in mind are that this restaurant only takes cash, you will have to wait and reservations are not available. Is it worth the wait? Abso-fucking-lutely. Why? Just order the Pizza Pot Pie and you’ll find out why. After a couple of failed attempts, I was determined to get up early and arrive when the restaurant opened. Luckily, my determination paid off and I was given a table right away and indulged in this Pizza Pot Pie everyone raved about. Its rich flavors and ingredients had me thinking about Pizza Pot Pie for days. So, don’t be deterred by the wait, especially since the servers are all incredibly helpful and friendly. Once you bite into your food, you’ll realize what the wait was all about.
Recommended to me by a local foodie, I decided to head to Cochon Volant after my stomach called while strolling through the Art Institute of Chicago. Normally I’m not crazy about meat, but after looking at the menu for Cochon Volant, I knew two things were certain: that I would order breakfast and that I wanted the Corned Beef Hash. Instantly I fell in love with the savory flavor of the corned beef and wasn’t bothered by eating meat. Although it was a little salty for my taste, I ate every bite and refused to waste any of this tasty dish. If the Little Goat is my brunch place, then Cochon Volant is my dinner place for a return visit to Chicago.
Chicago’s Dog House
When it comes to hot dogs I have major hesitations. You might think I’m crazy, but this comes from my experience as a kid when I ate hot dogs, went on an amusement ride and then threw up in my friend’s car on the way home. From that moment on, I refused to eat hot dogs, unless they were of exotic meat from Biker Jim’s in Denver, Colorado. My original plan was to skip hot dogs, even though Chicago is a city known for them, until I saw the menu for Chicago’s Dog House and realized it was only a couple of stops from mine on the Red Line. Biting into the Alligator dog, I knew I hadn’t made a mistake. Could this savory hot dog replace my love of Biker Jim’s? Maybe. Maybe…
Longman and Eagle
One dish I’ve found that I love over and over again is Chicken and Waffles. It may sound like a boring choice, but at Longman and Eagle in Logan Square, I found their Chicken and Waffles were anything but boring. With sweet potatoes and a pork belly hash on the side, I found my plate to be full of flavor and the perfect mix of salty and sweet. Looking around in the bar with a rustic feel, I realized this is exactly where I would take my friends on a night out for some good comfort food. Any takers?
The Chicago Diner
Initially a diner may not sound like a phenomenal place to get food, but I found at the vegan and vegetarian restaurant, The Chicago Diner, that this wasn’t the case. Eager to dive into a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Milkshake with dairy-free ice cream and the Titanic BLT Burger, I quickly found I had discovered paradise. I enjoyed each bite and was thrilled to find a delicious, meatless meal. I also found the diner to not be too far from Wrigley Field, which has me thinking this is exactly where I’d come back to meet family for a Chicago Cubs game. Summertime will come faster than I think, so perhaps this possibility isn’t as far away as it looks.
Even though friends, families and local foodies told me of so much more including The Purple Pig and The Girl and the Goat, I don’t feel I missed out on anything authentic or delicious. With some places reserved months in advance, I thought I might not get the chance to enjoy Chicago’s restaurant scene, but luckily I was able to enjoy plenty. If you get the chance to visit Chicago, I hope you can indulge in some of these delectable and delicious meals as well as soak in Chicago’s relaxed, laidback and friendly Midwest attitude that added to every last bite.
Hours and Locations:
Tank Noodle: 4953-55 North Broadway, Open Monday-Saturday 8:30am-10pm, Sunday 8:30am-9pm, Closed Wednesday.
Elea Mediterranean Food Market: 309 S. Halsted St., Open Monday-Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 9am-7pm, Sunday 10am-6pm.
The Little Goat Bakery: 820 W. Randolph St., Diner Open Sunday-Thursday 7am-10pm, Friday-Saturday 7am-12am, Bakery Open Everyday 6am-6pm.
Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder: 2121 North Clark St., Open Monday-Thursday 4pm-11pm, Friday 4pm-Midnight, Saturday 11:30am-Midnight, Sunday 11:30am-11pm.
Cochon Volant: 100 W. Monroe St., Breakfast Monday-Friday 6:30am-10:30am, Lunch Monday-Friday 11am-2pm, Dinner Monday-Friday 4pm-11pm, Weekend Brunch Saturday-Sunday 7:30am-3pm, Weekend Dinner Saturday-Sunday 4pm-11pm.
Chicago’s Dog House: 816 W. Fullerton, Open Sunday-Thursday 11:30am-11pm, Friday-Saturday 11:30am-3am.
Longman and Eagle: 2657 N. Kedzie, Open Monday-Friday 9am-2am, Saturday 9am-3am, Sunday 9am-2am.
The Chicago Diner (Halsted Location): 3411 N. Halstead St., Open Monday-Wednesday 11am-10pm, Friday 11am-11pm, Saturday 10am-11pm, Sunday 10am-11pm.
*I was not paid or given any compensation in exchange for these reviews. These opinions are solely my own recommendations. For more information please read my disclaimer and editorial and advertising policy.
This post is a part of Weekend Wanderlust hosted by A Brit and A Southerner, A Southern Gypsy, Casual Travelers, Justin Plus Lauren, Outbound Adventurer, Travel Tuesday hosted by Lauren on Location and Alkeks Abroad, Photo Friday hosted by Pierced Wonderings, and Travel Photo Thursday hosted by Budget Travelers Sandbox and Weekend Travel Inspiration hosted by Reflections Enroute, The Crowded Planet, Contented Traveller, Albom Adventures, Safari 254, FamiliesGo! and Malaysian Meanders.