Food. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite parts of travelling. Yeah, I enjoy seeing historical sites and trying new activities, but I feel like food gives you a deeper sense of the culture. Even though it’s in the same country I grew up in, Chicago has a much different food culture then my little hometown in Washington state. Chicago cuisine has some heavy Italian and German influences; both cuisines that we enjoy. So when we planned our list of “to do’s” when we visited Chicago in June 2014 food was very heavily represented! We managed to try deep dish pizza (a few times), eat too many hot dogs and eat copious amounts of Italian food. The lack of food pictures taken in Chicago should give you a good idea of how good the food was!
So without ado, and with no qualifications other than our measly palates I present you with our “Best of Chicago” food list.
Favorite: Giordano’s Deep Dish
We had pizza multiple times while exploring Chicago and Wisconsin, but Giordano’s was by far our favorite. There are 14 locations just in Chicago alone, but we visited the one near Millennium Park before our Chicago River cruise. The deep dish pepperoni pizza here was sublime. We got takeout pasta later that night as well and can attest to that being quite good too.
Let Down: Pizzeria Due
We had high expectation for Pizzeria Due after reading rave reviews on TripAdvisor and from recommendations, but we were quite disappointed. Due’s (and it’s sister restaurant Uno Pizzeria and Grill) have crust that is made with coarse corn meal in addition to the flour. As a result of the corn meal, we found the crust to be grainy and hard. Service was also lacking as well, even though we visited at a slow time.
Best Hot Dog
Favorite: Devil Dawgs
Granted, we only had hot dogs a few times and we missed some popular places like Gene & Judy’s, Portillos, Superdawg and Hot Doug’s. But for $15 we both got an awesome hot dog and a container of cheesy fries that was so big we couldn’t finish it.
Honorable Mention: Wrigley Field
There is something very American about enjoying a hot dog while watching the Chicago Cubs play ball. Maybe it would have been a crappy hot dog otherwise, but at Wrigley Field it was pretty awesome!
Favorite: West Egg Cafe
When travelling we try to stay at places that offer a free breakfast, have a late breakfast/early lunch or eat leftovers. Occasionally it’s nice to eat out for breakfast, so that’s what we did on our first full day in Chicago. We actually just happened upon West Egg Cafe, as it was just a few blocks from our hotel on the Magnificent Mile. The food style is very American diner-like but with fun twists like the Albuquerque Turkey Benedict that I ordered. While we found Chicago to be fairly expensive overall (especially on the Magnificent Mile) the prices here were quite reasonable.
Honorable Mention: HI-Chicago
Maybe we are easily impressed, but we both really enjoyed the free breakfast offered by HI-Chicago on our last day in the city. The location was superb and for only $99/night for a private room it was one of the cheapest places we found.
Favorite Snack: Garrett Gourmet Popcorn
During our research of iconic Chicagoan food we stumbled across Garrrett Gourmet Popcorn. The Magnificent Mile location was located just around the block from our Hyatt hotel so we checked it out one evening when the line was short (it was out the door throughout the day). We tried the cheese and caramel popcorn…yes, it is all it is built up to be! It was truly magnificent. If you are in the area and the line is not crazy, definitely give it a try!
So what is your opinion on Chicago’s Food scene? Overrated or worth the hype? Obviously this list is completely subjective, so let us know what you think the best foods in Chicago are, and we will try them next time we are there!