The James Beard Awards were hosted here. Top Chefs like Fabio Viviani, Stephanie Izzard, Rick Bayless and Spike Mendelsohn have restaurants here. We are known for iconic foods like deep dish pizza and signature hot dogs. Trust me, you want to eat in Chicago. But aside from the Michelin star restaurants, there are plenty of lesser known (but no less delicious) reasons to visit the Windy City for a bite. And now that the weather is finally warming up, you had better come quick!
Even our hotels have stellar restaurants
Hotel food used to be known for crappy room service or luke warm Chardonnay at the lobby bar, but hotels nationwide have stepped up their game recently. My current favorite is Adamus in the Silversmith Hotel, a crown jewel in the heart of the jewelry district. Their new spring menus is tops all around but original dishes like their Red Beet Tortellini with Smoked Bacon, Prairie Breeze White Cheddar Cream and Caramelized Onions set it apart. Also, every month features a new signature cocktail based around that month’s birthstone, so it’s also a great place to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries.
The seasonal menus will make your mouth water
Lots of restaurants offer seasonal menus, but some really go above and beyond. RA Sushi is the perfect spot for a light summer meal (not to mention they have amazing happy hour details) but their summer specials like Langostino Strawberry Salad and Red Seabream Carpaccio are truly phenomenal. Pair it with a Hot Tropics Margarita, then sit back and relax on their patio.
Another one to watch out for is seasonal updates from Chef Fabio Viviani’s Mercato concept. The Chicago location is offering lighter fare like tapas and more personalization options, including a design your own pizza.
We take rooftops very seriously
Because so much of our year is spent indoors hiding from the cold, when it finally warms up, the rooftop crowds swarm. There are plenty of spots for drink deals, large crowds and more, but the intimate atmosphere at The Kensington is perfect for those who seriously love cocktails in the sunshine. Plus, they have my new favorite drink: adult popsicles. Pina Colada and Melon Margarita cocktails on a stick (no I’m not kidding!) will make any summer night amazing.
Apps make it easy
Chicago has so many good restaurants it can be hard to find the right place and time for you. That’s why things have gone digital! The Reserve dining app partners with your city’s best restaurants to provide a great dining experience by carefully curating recommendations for restaurants you’ll love, back-ups if your choice is full and even allows you to rate the experience right on the app. In addition, there is seamless payment to make it easy on you, and make your check-out quicker! Plus, with the LUXCON20CHI promotional code, you can get $20 off your first booking with reserve through end of June.
If your biggest problem isn’t getting the table, but deciding where to go, another option is Zomato, an app that collects all the information from every single restaurant/cafe/bar in the are (including menus, photos, pricing, hours and more). Once you dine, you can tag friends, add photos, of follow other foodies you like.
And chain restaurants up the ante
Cities across the country have California Pizza Kitchens, where people can nosh on creative ‘za and seriously delicious spinach artichoke dip. But in select cities, including Chicago, this chain is upping its game with new menu items and a sustainable, updated design for its 30th birthday. The goal is to “un-chain the chain” by making no two restaurants look alike, and adding authentic new menu items like lobster flatbread, Harvest Kale Salad and fire-grilled ribeye. Seasonal cocktails as well as options for vegan and gluten-free eaters mean this is a spot any tourist or Second City native can enjoy.