The 73 best restaurants in Chicago you have to try
Written by Madelyn Sherburn

The 73 best restaurants in Chicago you have to try

There's no shortage of fantastic food in this city, but these Chicago restaurants make our list of top eats.

On our latest roundup of the city's best eateries, we welcome venerable hot dog joint Gene & Jude's. It's joined by Spanish-inspired standout Bocadillo Market and Portage Park favorite Community Tavern. You can also scroll through Time Out Market Chicago's various vendors at the bottom of this list. The best restaurants in Chicago come in all shapes and sizes, from pizza joints and Michelin-starred heavyweights to some of the best cheap eats Chicago has to offer. The cuisines are just as varied, with every corner of the globe represented through Korean, Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean and Indian fare. Whether you're a lifelong resident or simply visiting for the weekend, stuffing your face at one of these restaurants is easily among the best things to do in Chicago. This belt-busting food scene shows no signs of slowing down, so we cut to the chase and ranked our essentials—the absolute best restaurants in town. Our editors scour the city for great dishes, excellent value and insider info. They pay their way and sometimes, like the rest of us, their delivery driver gets lost (here's how we eat through Chicago to make the list). We hope to provide an authentic snapshot of Chicago's ever-evolving dining experience right now: We update it constantly with the best new restaurants in Chicago as well as decades-old stalwarts that keep us coming back for more. It could be a mega-hyped destination restaurant or a remarkable food truck: If it’s on the list, we think it’s terrific, and we bet you will, too.

1. Oriole

What is it? A two-Michelin-starred fine dining experience from chef-owner Noah Sandoval. Why we love it: Chicago is home to a number of upscale tasting menus but few are able to match Oriole’s deft execution. Upon arrival, guests are escorted into a freight elevator and given a drink before the door opens to reveal the dining room. Though there’s no telling what Sandoval has in store each evening, you can look forward to a minimalist style of cooking that puts the spotlight squarely on the premium ingredients. Acclaimed mixologist Julia Momose and beverage director Aaron McManus complement the food with inventive cocktails and an Old World-inspired wine list.

2. Johnnie's Beef

What is it? An old-school Italian beef and ice stand over in Elmwood Park. Why we love it: Just like with deep dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs, locals will never agree on the best Italian beef maker. The closest to a consensus is Johnnie’s, a legendary spot that necessitates a pilgrimage to the suburbs. You’ll have plenty of time to decide on what to order as you wait in line behind regulars, but we suggest getting the beef—dipped and with hot peppers. Order a lemon Italian ice to cool your mouth off afterwards.

3. Birrieria Zaragoza

What is it? A family-owned Mexican spot in Archer Heights that's the G.O.A.T. when it comes to goat meat. Why we love it: Thick handmade tortillas, salsas made to order, bright-pink agua fresca—you can get all of that to go. Their only purpose, however, is to accompany the restaurant’s signature platters of chopped goat meat. Unlike other birrierias, this goat doesn’t touch a consommé until it’s plated, when some of the tomato-based broth is spooned over it. At that point, a good dousing of hot sauce, and maybe a squeeze of lime and some onions, is all you need for the city’s best tacos.

Written by

Madelyn Sherburn

Madelyn Sherburn

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