21 Best Restaurants in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Diner

$ | Boystown Fodor's choice
Belovedby vegetarians and vegans, this eatery should also appeal to anyone simply looking for a satisfying, comforting meal. The Chicago Diner offers meat-free variations on favorites from a wide range of cuisine types—American, Mexican, Mediterranean, Thai—it’s all here, and it’s all delicious. You’ll want to save room for a milk shake so good you won’t believe it’s not dairy. Be prepared for a wait during peak dining hours.


$ | Lakeview Fodor's choice
This Lakeview hole-in-the-wall specializes in Korean fried chicken glazed in a variety of unusual sauces ranging from sweet and “Seoul spicy” to, as the menu puts it, “suicide.” Despite all that juice, the chicken still remains miraculously, well, crispy. The “Buddha bowl” bi bim bop and Korean burritos are also packed with freshness and flavor, especially when paired with traditional, tangy kimchi.

Walker Bros. Pancake House

$ Fodor's choice

Be prepared to stand in line for the mouthwatering apple cinnamon pancakes, a massive disk loaded with apples, or the German pancake, a puffy oven-baked circle topped with powdered sugar. There are several branches, but the original Wilmette restaurant is where scenes from the 1980 movie Ordinary People were shot.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Billy Goat Tavern

$ | Near North Side

Behind and a level down from the Wrigley Building is the inspiration for Saturday Night Live's classic "cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger, cheeps, no fries, no Pepsi, Coke" skit. Grab a greasy burger at this no-frills grill, or just have a beer and absorb the comic undertones.

Caffè Baci

$ | Chicago Loop

For breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack, this is a great find. Try a "Jojo," the bistro's signature sandwich—it's a filone (an Italian baguette) stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella, artichoke hearts, basil, and plum tomatoes.


$$ | Hyde Park

Asian fusion is the name of the game at this lively Hyde Park restaurant, where Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, and other influences mingle on a menu that ranges from classic to creative and even includes some American staples for tamer diners. With an energetic atmosphere, plenty of dishes for sharing, and a menu that takes dietary restrictions into account, Chant is an easy spot for groups to gather.

Edzo's Burger Shop


Northwestern students and suits line up here for burgers (ground in-house), nine kinds of french fries (try the ones with truffle salt and Parmesan), and spicy Mexican-chocolate shakes.

Gino's East

$$ | River North

Grab a seasonal brew and watch a game on the big screen, fill up on yummy Chicago deep-dish pizza, or catch a nightly stand-up comedy act at the graffiti-covered Gino's East.

Heaven on Seven

$ | Chicago Loop

This Loop legend is famous for casual Cajun breakfasts and lunches that have area office workers gladly lining up to be served.

Medici on 57th

$$ | Hyde Park

Opened almost 60 years ago, Medici has served generations of University of Chicago students and faculty, many of whom carved their name on the tables and walls.

Nookies Too

$ | Lincoln Park

Heaping breakfasts, available anytime, make this spot a favorite with the neighborhood's late-night crowd. There are also branches in Old Town, Lakeview, and Edgewater.

Oasis Cafe

$ | Chicago Loop

If your taste buds crave a quick Middle Eastern fix, make your way to the back of the Jewelry Mall, walk up to the counter, and place your order for creamy hummus, crispy falafel, grape leaves, a shish kebab sandwich, or another snack. It isn't fancy, but it's good, and the service is snappy.

21 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60602, USA
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Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Mon.–Sat. 10–5 pm, Closed Sun.

Petersen's Ice Cream


This old-fashioned parlor, which sells sundaes, shakes, malts, and cones of homemade ice cream, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2019.


$ | Little Italy

Head to this branch of a local restaurant empire for salads, house-made pasta, and its famous thick, bready squares of pizza.


$ | Hyde Park

This cash-only Hyde Park institution serves big portions of no-frills diner classics cafeteria-style. President Obama ate here often during his University of Chicago days, and the restaurant still posts a “President Obama’s Favorites” menu.

Woodlawn Tap

$ | Hyde Park

At this favored, no-frills tavern, locals and university students gather for beer, burgers, and Reuben sandwiches. On Sunday nights, jam sessions complement the pub grub.