Chicago: My Favorite Places to Dine

I frequently get asked where to dine in Chicago and thought I would put together a list of my favorite places.   Besides shopping and fashion, I LOVE food and eating out.  Here are my top picks:

My top two favorites:

  • Goosefoot – my husband and I recently went and I was floored.  Best food I’ve had (although I haven’t been to Alinea and Next – which are next on my list).  A must go if you are foodie and definitely make your reservation months ahead.  You can make reservations on and for the price point of $90 per person and BYOB I say make that reservation today.
  • Girl & the Goat – been here several times and the best way to dine here is with a group of 4 or 6. You can try and share everything on the menu and be adventurous!  One of the best things is the pig face.  I love watching Top Chef and this is Stephanie Izard’s restaurant.  Reservations are very, very hard to get on the weekends – go for week nights.  

Love the food, scene and decor:

  • GT Fish & Oyster – my definite go to when I want a nice seafood restaurant.  I love the food, fishbowl decor and the chef is incredible nice! 
  • Nellcote – opened this year and it’s more about the scene & decor but I loved it despite the mixed reviews
  • RPM Italian – food is delicious, inside decor is beautiful and partly owned by Giuliana & Bill Rancic

If you love a small romantic setting and great food:

  • Takashi is in my neighborhood, delicious and a great intimate setting.  On Sunday’s only, they serve ramen and the best duck fat fried chicken appetizer.  
  • Henri  – my pick for a romantic meal – expensive but great for special occasions.  

For groups and easier to make a reservation:

  • Sunda – fun, yummy and location is great if you want to go to other restaurants and bars in River North after

For casual lunch and must go to Chicago places:

  • Xoco – love Rick Bayless and all his places but this is my favorite.  Be prepared for a line
  • Portillo’s – some go for the famous hot dogs, but I go there for my favorite italian beefs!  
  • Lots of pizza options, deep dish being the Chicago favorite:  Gino’s East, Lou Malnati’s, Uno’s and Pequod’s (my favorite)

There are many, many places to eat and I could probably go on for a while (and I’m sure I forgot one of my favorites and will remember once I hit publish), but these are typically the places I recommend to people.  On the top of my list to try next is Alinea.  

If the above is booked or not what you are looking for, try The Publican, Longman and Eagle, Avec, or Vera.  This is Chicago Magazine’s top 20 best new restaurant list here for more suggestions.

For drinks and rooftop bars, Refinery 29 had a great feature here.

If your visiting, a MUST TO DO is the Chicago architectural tour, check out my post on it here.  

For more readers who are used to my lookbooks – I’ll be back tomorrow!  



  1. Nicole
    June 21, 2012 / 7:16 am

    oh, I love Chicago! I haven't been in years but if I go back soon I'll have to check out your recommendations!

  2. Chelsea
    June 21, 2012 / 10:31 am

    I absolutely adore Chicago-it's hands down one of my favorite cities! I was just there at the beginning of June (for work) and would have loved have had these recommendations! We ended up at the Gage one night (which was fantastic), but I'm always more interested in local recommendations. Consider this bookmarked for my next trip!

  3. Natasha Fatah
    June 21, 2012 / 11:57 am

    What a useful list – if I ever make my way to Chicago I'll be sure to check these recommendations! xoox~Natasha Fatah~~Natasha Fatah~

  4. Outside Looking In
    June 21, 2012 / 12:25 pm

    Great recommendations! Nothing like a little Gino's East—-yum, yum, yum! Maybe next time I'm in Chicago I'll venture out more now that I know where to go.

  5. Jessica @ Littlemiss312
    June 21, 2012 / 1:34 pm

    I love all of these! I've been to a handful but the rest are all on my (long) list of places I want to try! I'm a major foodie so I love to hear about new places! (P.S you should try III Forks – I went there last weekend and it was fab. Really cool rooftop deck too!)

  6. Amanda {}
    June 21, 2012 / 4:35 pm

    seriously fantastic!! I have Chicago down as one of my go-to places to visit so will definitely try as many of these places as I can when I get the chance to go!<

  7. still being [molly]
    June 22, 2012 / 1:39 am

    i love chicago! what an amazing city!

  8. Trinnah
    June 22, 2012 / 2:19 am

    My husband and I love to go to Portillo's when we're there, but most of the time, I always make him take me to Joy Yee's or Seven Treasures after clubbing. Haha! I miss Joy Yee's smoothies. There's this place in OakLawn called Rosie's where they have awesome gyros, and I miss that the most. 🙂

  9. Josie
    June 22, 2012 / 3:25 am

    I've never been to Girl & The Goat but I'm DYING to try it! I looove Chicago eating. So delicious — especially, of course, the pizza.xo

  10. Tabitha
    June 24, 2012 / 12:32 pm

    Great list – you just reminded me that I have pics to post of Henri. I love XOCO – I hate that it's closed on Sundays and Mondays though.

  11. Kim (A Very Sweet Blog)
    June 25, 2012 / 4:07 pm

    i'm making a mental note of this post. if i visit Chicago, I'll definitely refer back to it :D

  12. nail art
    July 1, 2012 / 3:24 am

    What a useful list

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