Gaby's Guide to Chicago, IL

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So I've lived in California for the majority of my life but did you know I was born in Chicago? And I've been dozens and dozens of times in the past few years and I can never get enough. The food in Chicago is beyond. So without further ado... my favorite places to eat and drink in the windy city post book tour!

Momotaro - all the sushi you could eat plus a really fun ambiance! Perfect for a big group too!

The Publican - we've been going here for years and it never disappoints! Another one that's great for a group - order a bunch of veggies, meats and fish dishes and you're all set!

Cone Gourmet Ice Cream - it's not always ice cream season in Chicago but when it is, the cookie monster ice cream from Cone Gourmet is not to be missed.

Parachute - it's kinda American meets Korean and it's GOOD. And it's non-negotiable to order the Baked Potato Bing Bread

Revival Food Hall - there's honestly nothing I love more than a food hall. Whether it's in LA, Copenhagen or Chicago, I'm game! And Revival is one that can't be missed. I'd go mid-day and eat your way through the various stalls so you can graze for lunch and then recover before dinner.

Dove’s Luncheonette - if you've never had Southern inspired Mexican food than you're doing it all wrong. And Dove's will fix that.

Big Star - you wouldn't think tacos and whiskey go hand in hand, but they sure do at Big Star. You're gonna need all the tacos, a big thing of guacamole and salsas. If you're a whiskey fan go for it - but I ate so much I didn't even have room for a drink so there's that!

Federalis -  are you surprised there are so many Mexican inspired picks on my list? I'm not! I'll find the guacamole no matter what town I'm in. Federalis is super casual and the nachos are a must!

Duck Duck Goat - it's super fun Chinese food with a twist that won't leave you feeling super heavy! So in other words... I'm in!

Au Cheval - the best burger in all of chicago. Trust me.

Frontera - I mean, it's a classic and the guacamole and chips are out of this world! There's also an outpost at the O'Hare airport that I literally will go to before any flight for some chips and guac on the plane. It's mandatory.

Girl and the Goat - if you can snag a spot at one of the few coveted bar seats that open up to the kitchen then consider yourself lucky! (Thank you Khatira!!) You'll get to watch all your food come together right before your eyes. But be warned, you'll end up ordering more than you anticipated because you'll want one of everything!

Purple Pig - one of my favorite places to grab lunch after a day on Michigan avenue! Everything is small plates so just order a ton and go to town. But whatever you do, don't miss the octopus!

Maudes - oysters, French wine and a CROQUE MADAME!! What more could you ask for?

3 dots and a dash - it's a Tiki bar. Enough said.

Lou Malnati's - deep dish pizza. It's an institution and it's mandatory.

Money Gun - all the specialty cocktails you could ask for! It's the perfect night cap before heading back to the hotel and crashing from a food coma!

Did I miss anything? Shout it out in the comments below so I can go give it a try!! There are too many restaurants and not enough days in the week to try them all. But I’m willing to give it a try!


  1. Chicago is famous for steakhouses, and the Kinzy Chophouse is a must visit for us. We also love to visit Glen’s Diner—they were featured on Triple D.

  2. Chicago pizza and oven grinder co for the pizza pot pie. Best tip I’ve ever had and it’s a literal institution.

  3. Great recs!! Can’t forget Vanille Patisserie for the best French pastries in Chicago 🙂 River Roast has a Sunday jazz brunch that has the best pot pie/quiche thing I’ve ever had. Chicken Shop in the SoHo house is phenomenal too and across the street Green Street Meats has the best frito pie and bbq but Pro-Tip in the basement in a tiny Ramen place that is out of this world!!!

  4. You forgot Portillos!!!! Chicago staple! Hot dogs, Italian beef dips, and famous chocolate cake/shakes.

  5. I second Italian Village Restaurants! The Village upstairs is the oldest Italian restaurant in Chicago, truly an amazing experience between the ambience of a little village in Italy to the amazing food you can’t go wrong! Then you have Vivere which is their contemporary Italian dinning room and they make handmade pasta. How can you go wrong?!?! And the third is La Cantina which is there chophouse. You can’t go wrong with any of them! They are family owned currently run by the third generation. On top of amazing food they also have an amazing wine list! I have grown up going there truly a Chicago staple!!!

  6. Cabra (food and amazing rooftop), Swift & Sons (food), Aviary (cocktails), Aba (food & cocktails with an amazing roof area), Etta (food), Monteverde (great Italian food), Machine (creative cocktails), Offshore (rooftop with good food) are all amazing as well!

  7. There is so much great food in Chicago it’s going to take A few trips. We stayed at the Palmer House Hilton, it’s where the brownie was invented. You need I do have the recipe after the tour and it is 14 ounces of chocolate to 4 ounces of flour sounds like you’re kind a brownie and it’s not to be missed . Goddess and the baker their iconic rainbow cake which we had this past weekend they also had a glitter latte and gave back From the sale of every slices during pride weekend it was wonderful. Pittsfield Café for brunch beautiful iconic building, Cindy’s rooftop great food great cocktails and amazing view right over the Chicago athletic club’s boutique hotel.the aviary for a really cool presentation drinks by a $25 reservation ticket in applies towards your bill everyone needs to experience it at least once . Carson’s barbecue ribs and steak House great place you gotta have the coleslaw

  8. Surprised no one has mentioned Lula Cafe - one of my favorites when I visit Chicago. I’m not a vegetarian, I often have the
    Vegetarian tasting menu for dinner. Great vibe.

  9. I can't wait to try some of your recommendations that the hubs and I haven't been to yet. When you come to Chicago next you should really check out Nico Osteria. The Brussels Sprout Bruschetta is to die for. We usually do group dinners there and order a ton of food and share everything because it is all amazing. In fact, you should just stay at the Thompson and then head back down to Nico for breakfast and get their MUST HAVE Eggs in Purgatory, so delish. You can even order the Brussels Sprout Bruschetta for breakfast too, cuz you will want it again the next day, lol!!!

  10. Love this, sooooo helpful! Only have been to Frontera and Girl & The Goat, both delish!!!! Heading there next week to settled in another college kid. Best Foodie city ever!

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