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A Foodie's Guide to Chicago

Chicago

When you think of eating out in Chicago, the first thing that comes to mind is pizza! I certainly had my fair share of it during my visit, but sadly, you can’t eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, here’s a guide to Chicago’s top foodie spots, for life beyond pizza.

Intelligentsia Coffee - Image: Emily Tyson

Intelligentsia Coffee

Image: Emily Tyson

For Coffee and Donuts - Intelligentsia Coffee

As someone who’s a bit of a coffee snob, I like to do my research beforehand. I tend to only have one cup a day so it needs to be a gooden. Intelligentsia Coffee has a few coffee bars in Chicago and it did not disappoint. We visited the Wicker Park Coffeebar which was extremely aesthetically pleasing with its contemporary Nordic interior and relaxed, hipster vibe. We both opted for an oat milk flat white with an artisan donut from Firecakes bakery. I can confirm both the coffee and the donuts were insanely delicious.

Chicago Bagel Authority - Image: Emily Tyson

Chicago Bagel Authority

Image: Emily Tyson

For the Best Bagels in Town - Chicago Bagel Authority

Whilst we’re on the subject of circular shaped food with a hole in the middle...let’s talk about bagels. Why are they so great? Chicago Bagel Authority has two locations in Chicago and offers an extensive list of bagel combinations with something for everyone. I had the ‘Ravenswood’; roast beef, smoked cheddar, horseradish, mayo, lettuce & tomato. Easily the best bagel I’ve ever eaten.

Furious Spoon Ramen - Image: Emily Tyson

Furious Spoon Ramen

Image: Emily Tyson

For Something Warm On a Cold Night - Furious Spoon Ramen

I visited Chicago at the end of October and it was beyond cold. It snowed so much the locals had actually postponed Halloween and parents were advised to take their kids Trick or Treating a couple of days later when the temperature had risen from freezing point! Needless to say, it was the perfect weather for comfort food and a big bowl of steaming ramen. Furious Spoon is a Tokyo style, casual ramen shop. They make everything fresh in-house, the food comes out quickly and the service is excellent. The ramen itself was outstanding. From the moment we received our food, we immediately stopped talking, our heads were down, slurping away. We loved it so much, we intended to go back the following night but decided on pizza instead!

Lou Maltani's - Image: Emily Tyson

Lou Maltani's

Image: Emily Tyson

For the Best Deep Dish - Lou Maltani’s

Lou Maltani’s is a family-owned pizzeria, famous for their Chicago-style deep dish pizza. We were told a deep-dish pizza would take around 45 minutes to arrive and a small size serves two. We ordered a small, cheese deep dish to share. However, when it arrived, we realised we probably could have shared the personal size, designed for one. The best way I can describe this pizza is to imagine that an extremely cheesy pizza and a crusty, buttery pie had a baby together. I’ve honestly never had anything like it and it was heavenly.

Another famous deep-dish pizzeria in Chicago is Giordano’s, a rival to Lou Maltani’s and the other half to controversial Chicagoan debate; which is the better deep dish? When we tried Giordano's pizza, for me, the crust was a little too soggy with a little too much sauce. We were however eating it during an NFL game so perhaps our experience wasn’t quite the same. I’d recommend trying both if you have time, otherwise, opt for Lou Maltani’s!

En Hakkore 2.0 - Image: Emily Tyson

En Hakkore 2.0

Image: Emily Tyson

For a Healthier Option - En Hakkore 2.0

After a night of deep-dish pizza, the next day, my body was screaming for some vegetables! We stumbled upon En Hakkore 2.0 sushi and poké restaurant in Wicker Park, and I could not have been happier! I had a beautifully presented tofu poké bowl with an array of rainbow coloured vegetables. I would highly recommend. 

Goose Island Brewery and Taproom

Goose Island Brewery and Taproom

For an Ice Cold Beer - Goose Island Brewery and Taproom

Although not technically a ‘foodie’ spot, Goose Island Brewery and Taproom on Fulton Street was a real highlight. With a lovely chilled out vibe and a substantial amount of beers on tap, we spent a couple of hours here sampling a few. My favourite was the Next Coast IPA, Indian Pale Ale. Brewery tours are also available Thursday to Sunday, we visited on a Wednesday so sadly missed out.

Unfortunately, we were only there for three full days and we tried to fit in as many places as possible. However, there were still a few recommended places that we would have loved to visit. My recommended list for next time...

  • Au Cheval: a tiny diner with amazing burgers. This place is known for its outrageously long queues and we ran out of time.
  • The Allis: A Soho House hangout, open to the public and a great brunch spot.
  • Bang Bang Pie Shop: a small all-day cafe serving up a variety of sweet and savory pies and biscuits.
  • Big Star: a must do if you’re in the mood for Mexican food.
  • Bub City: a barbecue place with live music. We chose not to visit as we were heading to Dallas, Texas after Chicago and figured we would eat all the barbeque food there.
  • Andy’s Jazz Club: a low key, intimate jazz club with great food and drink.
  • Jenni's Splendid ice cream: I LOVE ice cream but it was snowing and I thought that might be crossing the line.
  • Mother Hubbards: A sports bar with incredible chicken wings.

Written by Emily Tyson

Having always had a love for travel and new adventures, Emily spent two years living and working in Sydney. With this providing easy access to other parts of Australia, New Zealand and Asia, she’s been lucky enough to explore some of the most incredible places in the world. Some of her best travel experiences are usually when she discovers a beautiful beach, a scenic hike or most importantly, good coffee.

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