Where to Eat in Chicago

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    A foodie guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    At the end of June, Gina, Brandy, Rachel, and I planned a girls weekend mini getaway to the windy city, Chicago! All the places we ate at were a drop in the bucket with what Chicago has to offer. I’m definitely going to plan a trip back to eat at more places! Here’s my post on where to eat in Chicago!!!

    Alinea

    Gina, Brandy, and I flew in a day early because we got tickets to go to Alinea! Claire joined us there, as well. We were all so excited. So many people told us that this was the meal of a lifetime and it was mind-blowing and just changed the way they thought about food. It was really hyped up but we were ready for that because Alinea was voted #9 restaurant in the world in 2014 and unfortunately dropped to #26 in 2015. We were prepared to have our minds and taste buds blown!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    And I wish I could report back and say that they were but it was unfortunately a letdown :( we were expecting way more for paying $300 each. The flavors were incredible and I definitely loved the play on food and appreciated how he could make such a beautiful creation out of ingredients but I don’t know, something about the overall experience was lacking. We were definitely expecting more meat than what we got. I think the only meat dish we got was a pork belly piece and everything else was vegetarian or small bites. There were 12 courses (which to me is shocking because I’ve paid $$$ for meals before that were at least 18 courses) and three of which were dessert. It was definitely an experience but I’m sad to say I’ve had better! Roses’s Luxury and Komi in DC were actually better than Alinea. Crazy! I hate to discourage anyone from going so I’ll leave it at: if you’re looking to splurge and want to see what a world-renowned restaurant is like and it’s your first experience at one, then definitely book something! I think Jason and I have more restaurants under our belt we can compare this to so that this particular experience wasn’t as mind-blowing.

    The Purple Pig

    All the meats, cheeses, and wine you could dream of! We got here around 3 in the afternoon (prior to Alinea) because we had all just hopped off a plane and were STARVING. We knew we couldn’t eat too much prior to Alinea (which I guess in hindsight, we should’ve eaten more, haha) but we wanted to stop by anyway to have a small bite and it was PACKED! I can’t imagine what this place is like around dinnertime. The crispy pig ears and kale were a huge favorite of ours, along with the beet and goat cheese salad!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

     

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Eataly

    We were so lucky that our hotel was a short walk from Eataly. I think we must’ve walked past it every day! It’s AMAZING in there. So much to see and sample. I wanted to buy one of everything in the store. I’m pretty sure TSA would not have been pleased. I wish DC had an Eataly. I swear we’d be a great market for it. We went up to the 2nd floor and had lunch. Fresh pasta and pizza. Oh, and of course day-drinking with a glass or two of rosé!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

     

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Then we found CHEESE and we all got gelato. The coconut gelato was unbelievable. It was as if I had just hacked open a fresh coconut!! You have to get gelato when you’re there. They also had a Nutella bar (swoon) but we were so full from lunch that we didn’t get anything from there. Next time!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Frontera Grill

    One of Rick Bayless’ restaurants in Chicago. If you love Mexican food, you’ll love this place. I don’t think we had a bad dish here. We got their delicious margaritas and a bunch of small plates. And of course we had to get the duck carnitas. It said it was for two but you can easily have four people be full off it.

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    The Kitchen

    So when we planned this trip, we didn’t realize Eat, Write, Retreat would be the same weekend! Yay for meeting up with blogger friends! We (Meagan, Brandy, Laura, Gina, Rachel, Erin, and Jocelyn) all met up at The Kitchen for brunch. It was mighty tasty and we had so much fun gabbing. The best part? Snapchatting it all! I swear I got them all hooked ;)

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Girl and the Goat

    Hands down the best meal I had in Chicago. This made up for Alinea 100%. Every dish we had here was amazing and who knew that the green beans was one of my favorite dishes?! I mean, green beans. You could’ve told me that at the beginning of the meal and I would’ve laughed at you. Brandy actually recreated it and I am 100% putting that on my dinner menu sometime soon. It was phenomenal. Laura joined us for this dinner and she’s been there before but since their menu is seasonal, she had dishes she said that weren’t on the menu the first time she went!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Haha, on top of all we ordered, we got dessert. Couldn’t pass it up!!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Deep Dish Pizza

    Okay, so don’t go to those stupid tourist trap places. You gotta get out of the city (Uber – it’ll be your bff all weekend) and go to Pequod’s, which is a local deep dish pizza joint that locals love and say it’s the ‘jackpot’ of deep dish pizza places. It’s about 20-25 minutes outside of the city but SO FREAKING WORTH IT. I mean, just look at the photo below. How can you tell me you won’t make that trek??

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Siena Tavern

    This is Top Chef contestant, Fabio’s restaurant and it was delightful. We started off with one of their most popular shared apps..the fried dough. It had a more technical and real name than what I’m giving it, haha…oh and then the burrata. So good. They have a mozzarella bar where you can order it all or pick and choose. Since we were still pretty full from deep dish pizza, we just got the burrata; which was still an excellent choice!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Apparently we were all feeling the carb love. We each ordered a pasta dish (with Brandy and Gina sharing one) and I’d have to say, I think mine was the best. Prosciutto sausage? Yes, please!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    Haha ok so apparently pizza didn’t keep us that full cause we then ordered an ice cream flight, cappuccinos (because we were going to be up late for the architecture tour), and these amazing donuts that you filled yourself with jelly, caramel, or chocolate. Good god, it was amazing.

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    A guide on where to eat in Chicago! The best places you'll want to hit up when you visit the Windy City!

    And that’s what we ate in our 4 days in Chicago! I’ll be back with part 2..which is the opposite of eating. Getting around town and working off every meal :) yup, staying active while on vacation is a must! While I would love to cozy up in bed all day, I would just feel crappy. Anyway – stay tuned!

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  • Ashley Lillis says:

    We just got back from Chicago and the Girl and the Goat was our favorite restaurant too! Everything was to die for! I feel like I need to go back sometime soon though to try the Purple Pig and Fabio’s restaurant because they both sound amazing!

    • Julie says:

      I need to go back too :) I would happily dine at Girl and the Goat again. Did you know she has The Little Goat, which is a diner, right across the street? Apparently the food there is amazing, too! And she’s opening up a new restaurant that’s an Asian fusion later this year or next, too! Gahhh so much that I need to try :)

      • Ashley Lillis says:

        I heard that she had a smaller restaurant, but we didn’t have time to make it over there. An Asian Fusion restaurant by her sounds amazing though! So many good restaurant choices in Chicago and so little time!

  • Heather Christo says:

    Glad you had such a great weekend, and Chicago is truly one of the best food towns!

  • Maria says:

    Wow, how fun! I feel full just looking at all of your food pictures!

  • naomi says:

    You are making me hungry and confirming that I need to move Chicago up my travel list!

  • Jenny Flake says:

    This is getting me so excited for BHF in November! I want to try all of these!!!

  • marla says:

    Looks like such a fun & delish girls getaway!

  • Toni | BoulderLocavore says:

    Chicago is one of my favorite food towns and you hit so many great venues! When I went to Frontera Grill Rick Bayless was there cooking and it was a bit like a rock star moment! Great list.

  • shelly (cookies and cups) says:

    When I was in Chicago last we went to a few of the restaurants you have listed…and so funnt he crispy pig ears from Purple Pig were a favorite of mine too! I couldn’t believe what I was eating, but YUM!

  • Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama says:

    Chicago has been on my travel list for a LONG while. And after reading your post, I definitely need to make it there sooner rather than later! Eataly looks amazing! And that deep dish pizza?? Definitely worth the drive! It all looks delicious! :)

  • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet says:

    *swoon* This all looks SO good!! We’ve been talking forever about taking a trip to Chicago and now we don’t need to worry about figuring out where to eat when we get there – thank you! :)

  • Joanie @ ZagLeft says:

    What a fun trip! My husband and I have been talking about taking a trip to Chicago soon and finding great restaurants is so important when traveling, I’m thrilled to see your list.

  • Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor says:

    Gosh, everything looks so amazing! I want to book a flight to Chicago right now so I can indulge in cheese, gelato and pizza!

  • Deborah says:

    Dying over all of it!! I want to go to Girl and the Goat so badly – it all looks amazing!

  • Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen says:

    THAT JELLY DONUT is staring at me so hard right now. I’m glad that you were able to pack all of these amazing restaurants in. Brandy told me I must get the duck nachos at FG. Also, will you please come back, or can I come to the east coast?

    • Julie says:

      Yes!! I’m definitely coming back!! But first…you should come to DC and we can eat the town!! PLEASE <3

  • Shari says:

    Hi! Love the post, they are opening an eataly in dc, but their being secretive about it. Google eataly dc. The location may be Capitol crossing.

    • Julie says:

      Awesome! Thanks for the tip :)

  • dixya | food, pleasure, and health says:

    omg omg omg, i cant wait..thank you once again!!!

  • Jen watson says:

    Fyi, there is also a pequod’s in the city, too.

    • Julie says:

      Gah, I didn’t know that!! Haha we traveled far for this one, didn’t we?

  • Domingo Garza says:

    You forgot to mention Giordano’s. It’s in the heart of Chicago, but within the Neighborhoods of Downtown. It’s a deep dish pizza cooked in a stone oven. It takes about 30 minutes to cook, but we’ll worth the wait!

  • Bris Roberts says:

    Great places!! Next time you’re in Chicago and want Pequod’s you can go their Chicago location: 2207 N. Clybourn Ave. save you a trip to the burbs. :)

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