Last week I spent six days exploring Chicago, it was my first visit to the city and after reading guidebooks and looking on Instagram I was geared up for some great food and drinks… it didn’t disappoint.
Chicago has so much to offer someone in search of good food, restaurants and bars everywhere you turn and all covering so many different cuisines and styles. Laid back sports bars, microbreweries, high end bars and restaurants, cafes, diners, so many to choose from!
As I’m a bit of a geek and like to be slightly organised I’d done a bit of research and made a list of some places I wanted to try, but equally we spontaneously happened upon so many places which turned out to be great too.
Breakfast, the most important meal of the day turned into a highlight, we were spoiled for choice (a reoccurring theme!). Some of the best places we went to were Kanela Breakfast Club – which had a brilliant varied menu, the sriracha hollandaise was so good, Goddess and the Baker – delicious avocado toast and amazing juice which came served looking like a cocktail, Beatrix River North – strong coffee and spicy shakshuka.
After the big breakfasts we didn’t really need lunch, the odd snack and a coffee or a beer kept us going through the day!
A couple of nights whilst we were there we had tickets to see ice hockey and basketball. It’s been a dream of mine to see the Chicago Bulls play since I was a kid, I finally got to see them, my favourite player didn’t play and they lost by a point… still it was a great night and the atmosphere was electric, plus they sold margaritas by the pint in the arena! Before the games though we wanted to find some sports bars near the United Center, the kind that the local fans would be at. We got recommendations and one place kept being mentioned, we saw the place and decided it wasn’t for us! We moved on and went to WestEnd one night and Park Tavern another, both turned out to have great food and they were full of locals headed for the games. Both served standard American style food, burgers, mac and cheese, nachos, what you’d expect. The beer choices at Park Tavern were amazing, over 40 beers on tap, plus we arrived just before the end of happy hour so we could take advantage of half price beers – our sever encouraged us to get a couple each before the prices went up!
On the other nights when we weren’t at games we tried out a couple of places in town and on one night be ventured out to the suburbs. It got to our last night and we hadn’t yet tried deep dish pizza, which we obviously had to do, we’d been asking locals where to try and none seemed to agree, they all had their own favourites for different reasons! We tried to get in to the place where it’s said to have first been created, Pizzeria Uno, but it was a Friday night and when we arrived it was too busy, so we ended up at their sister restaurant, Pizzeria Due. It was unlike any pizza I’d had before, cheese on the bottom, then toppings, then sauce all in a huge crust like an open pie. It was tasty but ridiculously filling, two slices and I was done! With no more room for beer we went for a walk and made our way to Andy’s Jazz Club for an old fashioned and some music to end the night.
There’s so many more places to eat and drink that I could ramble on about but I’ll just give you a couple more quick highlights!
Cindy’s – rooftop bar overlooking the Cloud Gate, the park and the lake.
Eataly – a huge two story place with Italian delis, restaurants, bakeries, cafes, bars. Beautiful cakes. I bought some different dried pastas to bring home – my souvenirs always seem to be food related!
Garrett’s – popcorn shop, a local tradition.
Cantina Laredo – a Mexican restaurant, we went for drinks at the bar, really good margaritas. We ended up ordering guacamole made table side, this was amazing!
Tortoise Supper Club – a 1920’s style bar, though it may not look like it is from the outside. Really great cocktails, get a martini.
The Green Mill – in Uptown, worth getting out of downtown to visit, an old haunt of Al Capone’s. Live music, perfect for a cocktail and dancing!
In between all the eating and drinking, we obviously saw some of the sights! We did the Tilt at 360 Chicago, you essentially lean on a glass panel whilst they tilt you out over the edge of the building, oh yeh, you’re on the 94th floor! Amazing views and not as scary as it sounds. We visited the pier, museums, galleries, did the bus tour which showed us all the sights. I’d definitely recommend you visit if you get the chance. Great people, architecture, art, sports, music and of course food and drink!