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Chicago Restaurant & Bar Guide

Chicago Restaurant & Bar Guide

Chicago boasts a diverse selection of outstanding restaurants, all with their own unique twist on traditional dishes and classic eats. In Chicago, you can discover cuisines from around the world or stick to the hometown favorites. From Chicago-style Italian beef to the world-famous culinary genius of Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago restaurants have evolved into a trend-setting gastronomic force.

For a taste of what Chicago restaurants have to offer, browse by neighborhood or cuisine type.

Featured Chicago Restaurants

Four Farthings (American)
This old-fashioned restaurant and bar is a delightful combination of neighborhood pub and upscale dining. One side of the establishment is a European-style tavern, complete with dark wood décor, mirrored partitions and vintage light fixtures. The other half of Four Farthings is a white tablecloth dining room with outdoor sidewalk seating in the summer. The restaurant stocks a notable selection of wine and is known for its excellent entrée specials. From their table, guests can view the open kitchen where seasoned chefs prepare everything from sautéed crab cakes and broiled swordfish to grilled prime rib and fried chicken fingers. In the bar, weekday deals include half-off appetizers during happy hour and $3.50 bottles of select domestic beer. Live musicians and singers play on the weekends and Thursday is always Karaoke night, so don’t forget to practice your favorite tunes!

Smoke Daddy Restaurant (Barbeque)
1804 West Division Street
(773) 772- MOJO
Set in Chicago’s artsy Wicker Park neighborhood, Smoke Daddy’s is a favorite for all things BBQ – and free live music, every night of the week. While the menu offers a lineup of classic barbeque dishes, Smoke Daddy’s venue offers a lineup of local blues and jazz musicians. Top sellers at Smoke Daddy’s are pulled pork sandwiches and, of course, the ribs. You can get spare ribs, baby back ribs, rib tips or try them all with the sampler plate. Pair your choice with a couple southern-style sides, such as sweet potato fries, smoked pit beans, cornbread, or mac-n-cheese. For dessert, Smoke Daddy treats its customers right with southern fried apple pie, iron skillet brownies and Granny O’s banana puddin’.

Ann Sather’s (Breakfast/Brunch)
This popular a.m. destination serves up delectable Swedish cuisine and mouth-watering signature breakfasts. There are three Ann Sather’s restaurants located in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, one at 3416 North Southport, one at 3411 North Broadway, and another at 909 West Belmont. In addition to traditional Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, Swedish meatballs, and Swedish potato sausage, guests can indulge in everything from homemade hash browns to Mexican-style omelets. The cafés are only open until 2 or 3 in the afternoon, still the lunch offerings are pretty extensive with soups, salads, and hot or cold sandwiches.

Nookies (Breakfast/Brunch)
Nookies is an all-American diner that serves up great food and big portions for not a lot of money. Nookies has three locations, all situated on Chicago’s North Side. The original Wells Street establishment and Nookies Too on Halsted are both located in Lincoln Park, and further up Halsted, in Lakeview, is a third site, dubbed Nookies Tree. On weekends, you’ll probably have to wait to eat at any of the Nookies because there is usually a large crowd of late-morning/early-afternoon patrons who have the same idea. No one can resist the humungous omelets and specialty French toast! Nookies is known for their breakfast and brunch, but their menu is large-scale and offers a good variety of items for every meal.

Tango Sur (South American)
3763 North Southport
(773) 477-5466
Argentina is famous for their beef, so what would an Argentine restaurant be without a tasty selection of choice cut steaks? Tango Sur is true to the origin of its cuisine and serves an amazing menu of parrilla (grilled) meats that include thick filets, mouth-watering strip steak, twelve-once sirloin, and juicy slabs of ribs. While red meat is the preferred order at Tango Sur, the chicken, fish and pasta options are also exquisitely prepared. Balanced with an intimate candle-lit atmosphere, the rustic wood interior at this Lakeview bistro is enchanting and very romantic. Tiny tables for two are packed into the space, but the close quarters just seem to make the restaurant that much more authentic. Contrary to what you might expect, Tango Sur is BYOB. So don’t forget to bring a bottle of wine to accompany your meal. One more tip: Get there early because it fills up completely after 7 p.m.
Las Piñatas (Mexican)
When in Old Town, the best place for authentic Mexican food is Las Piñatas. This family-owned restaurant is a no frills joint with the welcoming charm only a mom-and-pop establishment can possess. A basket of fresh tortilla chips and salsa are brought to the table as soon as you sit down. The menu generally requires a little more time to look over as the list of entrées, specials and combination platters is lengthy and descriptive. Deciding on a drink should be a no brainer, though, because the margaritas are touted by locals as the best around. Available on the rocks or frozen, these refreshing beverages always get rave reviews and you can order by the glass or pitcher.

Coast (Japanese/Sushi)
2045 North Damen
(773) 235-5775
This über-trendy Bucktown sushi bar was a hit when it opened in 2003 and has managed to maintain its popularity, making it a hard place to get into if you don’t make reservations in advance. The Nuevo-Asian décor gives the restaurant a chic, organic allure that is carried through to the New-Japanese cuisine. While Coast has the usual sushi standbys like California rolls and miso soup, the specialty appetizers and signature maki are not to be missed. Every order is presented with the panache of an artist and every bite is obviously the creation of a master. An evening out at Coast can be a bit pricey, but the fact that it is BYOB helps knock a few bucks off the bill.

Greek Islands Restaurant (Greek/Mediterranean)
200 South Halsted
(312)782-9855
Greek Islands is a Greektown staple that has doled out traditional Mediterranean dishes since the early 1970s. Anyone who enters this delightful family-style restaurant will feel like they’ve walked into someone’s home. The friendly service and warm environment set the tone for a thoroughly enjoyable experience, bolstered by exceptionally good food. The menu boasts ingredients imported directly from Greece, including spices, cheeses, extra virgin olive oil, spices and wine. Family-style dinners are always a fun way to go – your table shares saganaki cheese and taramosalata (Greek caviar) to start followed by a Greek salad, then an appetizer of gyro meat comes out; your choice of entrée is next with a side of rice pilaf and potato or baked vegetables; finish off the meal with coffee and a little something sweet (baklava, galaktoburiko and karidopita).

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