Chicago Travel Series: Where to Eat and Drink in Chicago

January 8, 2020

Two posts in a day? What? This post on where to eat and drink in Chicago is the second part of the Chicago Travel Series:What to do in Chicago. Chicago has some great restaurants and many wonderful places to grab your favorite drink or even try a new one.

Where to eat in Chicago

Gino’s East- Gino’s East has perfected the art of Chicago-style pizza.  Like most of the pizza chains, there are several locations throughout Chicago. The Gold-Coast, Superior location has fun graffiti covered walls.  Between the golden crust, delicious sauce and loads of cheese, Gino’s East will change your opinion about how to eat pizza. 

Lou Malnati’s- If you have talked to anyone from Chicago about their favorite pizza place, 9 times out of 10 they will say Lou Malnati’s.  The Lincoln Park cafe location is great if you’re staying in the area, but it’s not a full service bar (although they do carry a variety of beer and wine)

Giordano’s- Another solid Chicago pizza place that should be on your list. Everyone has a different favorite, so why not try them all?

Portillo’s Hot Dogs– Chicago hot dogs are a “must-have” when you visit Chicago, and Portillo’s Hot Dogs are infamous.

Kim and Carlo’s Chicago Hot Dog Stand– Not only does this stand have Chicago style hot dogs, but they offer turkey and vegan style too.

Bruna’s Ristorante- Bruna’s has been around for almost 100 years making it the third oldest Italian restaurant in Chicago. The small restaurant feel combined with rich history and authentic Italian cuisine makes it worthy of a visit.

Zia’s Trattoria- If you’re looking for more fine dining Italian, then make a reservation at Zia’s. This beautiful restaurant serves fine Italian in Edison park. Each room in Zia’s has it’s own personality, so be sure to walk around while you’re there and take it all in.

Hoyt’s – If brunch and bottomless mimosas are your thing, you will not want to miss Hoyt’s. It’s a part of Royal Sonesta hotel located along the river. The food is good, classic brunch choices, but the bottomless mimosas are the perfect way to start your Saturday or Sunday.

Scout Waterhouse & Kitchen– If you’re looking for a fun bar before a game, or a place to settle in and watch it, look no further than Scout. Do yourself a favor and order the roast

Siena Tavern- Siena Tavern is a Chicago Italian kitchen with unique pizzas and entrees.  Order the caramelized Brussels sprouts pizza.  You won’t be sorry.  However, drink prices are a little steep, so keep that in mind when ordering (because the prices aren’t on the menu).

Forbidden Root- Enjoy beer flights, delicious crack cocktails and a curated selection of delicious food at Forbidden Root, Restaurant and Brewery.    Forbidden Roots cocktails have unique flavors mixed in.  Their mule even has their own “Sublime Ginger” beer. The dinner menu focuses on quality, not quantity.  Although there weren’t an overwhelming amount of choices, there were several vegetarian and healthy options. 

What to eat and drink in Chicago

Tavern on Rush- If you’re craving a delicious brunch, check out the menu at Tavern on Rush .  Their chilaquiles and eggs with chorizo was my favorite meal from one of my Chicago trips. The restaurant feels like a country club, with all of the dark wood paneling, but everything from the food and drinks, to the decor is picturesque.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

Big Star- Big Star knows their tacos.  Their menu is simple, tacos, chips and salsa, queso fundido, salads and a couple of sides.  Big Star’s al pastor and chorizo tacos were my favorite.  They have vegetarian friendly tacos as well.

Shake Shack- Yes, I realize we now have a Shake Shack in Dallas, but my first experience with this place  was in Chicago.  Their shakes are made with custard, so they are extra thick and creamy.  Their burgers are amazing and the shakes are even better, so stop in if you have never tried it.

Chicago Diner- If you are looking for a vegetarian/vegan restaurant with infamous vegan shakes, look no further than Chicago Diner.  

Where to grab a drink in Chicago

J Parker Rooftop Bar- The rooftop bar at Hotel Lincoln is one of the coolest in the city. It overlooks the city, Lincoln Park, and gives you an unobstructed view of the river. Their signature cocktails are just perfect.

Green Mill Cocktail Lounge– Take a step back into time, the 1920s to be exact at one of the most historical cocktail lounges in the country. The Green Mill is a historical jazz club where you can listen to live music and sit in Al Capone’s famous spot. Be sure to bring cash, since it’s cash only to get in and buy drinks, however don’t expect to overpay. Prices are extremely affordable.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

Yak-Zies- Yak-Zies is in Wrigleyville and right across the street from the stadium.  The food isn’t anything to write home about but the drinks are affordable and our waitresses are super friendly.  The bar has a fun atmosphere and great prices.  It is worth checking out next time you are in Wrigleyville.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

Headquarters Beercade- HQ Beercade is one of the coolest bars to visit in Chicago.  It is a giant arcade with alcohol where all games are free.  Go back to your childhood with a huge variety of arcade games to play while drinking.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

Signature Room Lounge- You can pay to visit 360 Chicago and get some amazing views of the city, or you can go to the Signature Room Lounge on the 96th floor and enjoy the view for free.  Grab a drink, walk around the lounge, and take photos from 96 floors above ground.  I am not exaggerating when I say they have the best chocolate martini I have ever had.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

Ladies, don’t forget to check out the restroom while you are there.  The whole back wall is a window overlooking Chicago, so grab a selfie with a view.

What to eat and drink in Chicago

The Wormhole Coffee- Walking in to Wormhole Coffee is like walking into a time machine to the 80s.  All of the walls are covered in posters with characters from famous 80s movies.  You will see figurines of 80s characters and a DeLorean like Back to the Future.  Their coffees are great, but this place is a must see for the decor.

Heritage Bicycles and Coffee- This cool bicycle and coffee shop is worth a stop for a cup of coffee. The coffee is great and the bicycles and gear are fun to look at.  This is a great coffee house to relax, read, or get some work done while you are in town.

If you are looking for fun things to do on your trip to Chicago, then check out post one of this series.

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What would you most love to try? Leave me a comment below.

  • Jessica Tondre September 12, 2016 at 6:56 am

    Love your tips! We go to Chicago once a year and are always searching Yelp! Now I just need you to do one on New York ;)!!!

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      Haha. I have been to NY several times before I started blogging. I just need to go back so I can get photos and do a refresher. 😉 Thanks so much.

  • Chrissy September 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Great tips! We loved Lou Malnati’s and we loved Chicago’s Deep Dish Pizza! Portillo’s was a must just like any kind of Chicago hot dog!

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 12:03 pm

      That deep dish pizza has a part of my heart for sure.

  • Mai Lyn Ngo September 12, 2016 at 9:47 am

    Wow you did A LOT in Chicago! It’s a great foodie city for sure and where i had my first shake shack burger! So good.

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 12:05 pm

      I did! I am always a go go go girl on trips. That food is incredible. I miss it already.

  • Christian Plush Simone September 12, 2016 at 11:41 am

    I gained 5 lbs reading this blog. This seems like a foodie’s dream.

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      Haha. It really is. I wish I could go back already.

  • dixya @food, pleasure, and health September 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    i have been to chicago couple of times but not visited any of these places. thank you for the recommendation. i love getting drinks and view from the signature lounge though. i have also heard great things about girl and the goat but we couldnt get reservation on time.

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      Next time you have a few more places to check out. I haven’t heard girl and the goat… I need to look at that next time.

  • Neely (@Neelykins) September 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Tavern on Rush is one of my favs! I love Ginos too! So much fun.

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Food twins! 🙂

  • Rebecca Hicks September 12, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Wow I shouldn’t have read this while hungry! That pizza looked AAAHHMMAAZING. I need to visit Chicago, if only to try some authentic deep dish pizza! And girl… You did a LOT while you were there. I’m impressed!

    • Jessica September 12, 2016 at 6:19 pm

      haha. I shouldn’t have written it while hungry. Every time I see a photo I get hungry all over again. We need to go to the Ginos East in DFW. It is super authentic and tastes exactly the same (they sell a frozen one at Central Market too that is legit).

  • Jessica September 13, 2016 at 8:17 am

    I have never been to Chicago but this makes me want to go, the food and locations look amazing!

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:42 am

      It’s a foodie dream for sure. 🙂

  • candy September 13, 2016 at 9:14 am

    Love going to Heritage General Store when up visiting Chicago. A person could eat their way around Chicago.

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Absolutely! I like to eat my way through most cities. 😉

  • Marlynn @ UrbanBlissLife September 13, 2016 at 10:13 am

    I haven’t really spent a lot of time in Chicago but really need to! I hear the food is amazing, and this looks like a fun spot. Love the neon sign 🙂

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:43 am

      It is a blast! One of my favorite U.S. Cities

  • Katherine Turro September 13, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Chicago is such a cool and fun city and I had an amazing time when I went a few years ago! I love your recommendations!

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Thanks, Katherine. It is one of my favorite cities for sure!

  • Lindsey September 13, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    Yay!! This is awesome! LOVE your page, by the way! My husband and I are going to Chicago in March and it’ll be his first time. I will definitely be using your recommendations! Thanks so much!

    • Jessica September 14, 2016 at 11:48 am

      Thanks, Lindsey! That means a lot coming from you. I hope you have an amazing trip. There are so many great things to do and places to eat. 🙂

  • Stephanie Suire September 14, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    What a fun trip!!! I have never been to Chicago, so I will pin this for when I do plan a visit. Sound like pizza, beer and hot dogs are a must when I visit. Great recommendations.

    • Jessica September 15, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Absolutely! You got it in a nutshell. haha. Thanks for the pin, Steph!

  • Betsy September 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Coming over from Grow Your Blog! Cracks me up when people love Yak-Zies, it’s always the last resort, end of a night of drinking place haha. Let me know if you need any recommendations for your next visit there are definitely some must visit/eat places you need to try!

    • Jessica September 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Haha. Like I said, the food was meh, but the people were fun. Honest to goodness, we went in three places not serving food at the time we were there (like 11:30-12:00ish game day), and this was the first place that said they were.

  • Anushka Wickramaratne September 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    This is so helpful, Jessica! Chicago has been on my bucket list for the longest time and it will definitely make planning a trip there less stressful with all these places in mind. (: