best places to eat and stay in Chicago

Best Places to eat in Chicago

Chicago is one of the best American cities for foodies. Famous for its deep-dish pizza, if you want to taste the best, the place to go is Pizzeria Uno, where this richly filled pizza was invented in 1943. If you are craving American food and you are downtown, head to Portillo’s to eat the most delicious hot dogs the city has to offer. In my family, it is a must-visit place every time we come back to town.

As tourists, we often choose restaurants near the main attractions we visit, especially during the day. That’s why during your visit to the Art Institute of Chicago (my favorite spot in Chicago and a remarkable museum in the United States), you should check out its restaurant Terzo Piano, located on the third floor with a beautiful view of Millennium Park and the Pritzker Pavillion.

If you decide to spend your morning shopping on Michigan Avenue, a more intimate destination, especially for ladies, is the Ikram Café at the famous boutique or Marisol, the restaurant inside the Museum of Contemporary Art. If you’re touring Lincoln Park Zoo, the closest and best destination is The Kennison.

Heading south, if you visit the National Museum of Mexican Art and tour Pilsen, stop by Vietnamese kitchen Hai Sous or go to Dusek’s, the restaurant in the Thalia Hall, one of the best places to experience Chicago nightlife. Also in the south part of the city, and precisely in Chinatown, try the Korean-style fried chicken at Bonchon.

At dusk, my favorite destination both for the sightseeing and the quality of the food is The North Pond. To access this place you will walk inside the northern part of Lincoln Park and just in front of the restaurant’s main entrance, you will be amused by a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline.

Particularly during summer, enjoy dinner with a view by checking out one of the beautiful rooftops that the city has to offer. Top of my list for the striking panoramas is Cindy’s and Cerise. Among other rooftops in Chicago, my favorites for the quality of the food are the Shangai Terrace, offering a great selection of Chinese food, and NoMI which has a mix of international dishes.

Chicago is the home to two 3-star Michelin restaurants, Alinea and Grace, and twenty-four Michelin-rated destinations. Two of my favorites are Sixteen, with one of the most incredible panoramic views of the city, or Boka in Lincoln Park. If you want to try Midwest cuisine, then head to Blackbird, and if you are seeking a more traditional American destination, my top pick is Chicago Cut Steakhouse. Among the new American restaurants, Naha or Girl and The Goat are worth a try. If you’re after something more relaxed, The Publican or avec are two other American cuisine destinations well established in the Windy City.

If you are in the mood for tasting different national cuisines, good destinations are Tanta for Peruvian food, Topolobampo and Mercadito for Mexican, Sunda for Pan-Asian, and Momotaro for Japanese. My favorite Italian food is Pelago. Great food in a more relaxed atmosphere is offered at Riccardo Trattoria, while Piccolo Sogno deserves a reservation in the summer for an outside dining experience in its splendid garden.

Chicago is the home the deep dish pizza but also houses Spacca Napoli, which had the best Italian pizzas I’ve ever eaten, including outside of the U.S.! Located north of downtown, Spacca Napoli is in the residential area of Ravenswood – the trip here is worthwhile if you are craving authentic Italian pizza (and yes, I did it tons of times when I lived in Chicago).

Best Places to Stay in Chicago

Selecting a good hotel can be tricky if you are not familiar with the city and you are a first-time visitor. The following list of hotels (in alphabetical order) includes the finest places to sleep in Chicago if you want to pamper yourself in the best way possible.

The Ambassador

The Ambassador (former The Public) is a boutique hotel in the beautiful upscale Gold Coast neighborhood. I like the hall, the guest area, and the location.

Within walking distance or just one subway stop on the Red Line from downtown, a stay at The Ambassador feels more like a home away from home than like being in a hotel.

Athletic Association

Athletic Association is a charming hotel with a retro feel from the beautiful lobby to the gaming room. Comfortably located a short walking distance from all of the main attractions, its large workout area means that you’ll always have a place to burn off the calories consumed dining in one of the hotel’s arrays of eateries.

I love the vintage feel and Cindy’s Restaurant from which you can enjoy one of the best views of the city.

The Langham

The Langham is steps from Michigan Avenue and has a clean design, gorgeous pool, gym, and spa. The sublime traditional English afternoon tea here shouldn’t be missed.

What I love: The kid’s suite, which is a huge plus if you are traveling with toddlers.

The Peninsula

The Peninsula is on the upper side of Mag Mile (the nickname Chicagoans give to Michigan Avenue).

What I love: the unbeatable luxurious experience overall and the impeccable service.

Virgin Hotel

Virgin Hotel in the South Loop is more of a hipster destination with its British inspired interior design.

What I love: the makeup vanity in each room and the rooftop club Cerise.

Have you tried any of the restaurants or hotels suggested in my guide? How was your experience?

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