Try These 10 Restaurants When You Move to Chicago

September 23, 2013 | By JD Eaton
Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Moving to a new city can be a little overwhelming. You have a new apartment, you’re trying to make new friends all while settling into a new job. One of the most enjoyable parts of moving to Chicago is checking out the local culinary scene.

The city of Chicago is a complete culinary overload. Between the Michelin starred restaurants, the many “hot spots” and the hidden gems throughout the city, we created a list of the top 10 restaurants you have to try when you move to Chicago.

1.) Piccolo Sogno (464 N. Halsted)–Want to take a vacation to Italy, but don’t have the money or time? Then make a reservation at Piccolo Sogno in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood. Prepare to be transported to Italy, not only because of the authentic Italian food, but the atmosphere as well.

Don’t miss: The Raviloi “Piccolo Sogno.” Since “Piccolo Sogno” translates to “Little Dream,” this dish needs no further explanation.

Insider tip: If it’s warm out, ask to sit outside on the patio.

2.) Big and Littles (860 N Orleans St.)–This treasure resides in the new NoCa neighborhood and is a perfect place to hideout and get down with some seriously amazing tacos. Although it’s not the most luxurious ambiance, you can rest assure the experience your taste buds will endure is worth it.

Don’t miss: The Ahi Tuna Taco, the Samurai Taco and the Truffle Fries.

Insider tip: Bring cash! This place doesn’t accept credit cards.

3.) Joy Yee Noodle (1335 S Halsted St.)–This Asian restaurant is a must go for a group of friends who want a large menu (the menu is huge!) and even larger portions. Come here prepared to eat a lot or take a lot home. They have everything from Chinese food to sushi to bubble tea.

Don’t miss: The chicken lettuce wraps. Ask for extra lettuce and a side of hoisin.

Insider tip: Find a friend with a car to check this spot out. It’s a little further from downtown but totally worth the drive.

4.) Little Goat (820 W. Randolph Street)–Remember Stephanie Izard from Top Chef?  Not only is she the first woman ever to win Top Chef, but her restaurant always wins in the battle for best breakfast spot on our list (or breakfast for dinner, no one is judging you). Whether you want an incredible breakfast dish or some twist on your favorite classic sandwich, Little Goat will totally impress you.

Don’t miss: The Bulls Eye French Toast and the tempura mashed potatoes.

Insider tip: There is always a wait, but they will text you when your table is ready. While you wait, go across the street and have a drink at sister restaurant Girl and the Goat (hey, it’s 5:00 somewhere).

5.) Maude’s Liquor Bar (840 W. Randolph Street)– If you’re a French food fanatic this is the spot. There is an “Almost French” portion of their menu that all foodies will enjoy.

Don’t miss: French Onion Fondue and the Ricotta Gnocchi.

Insider tip: If you order a shot of whisky, they bring the whole bottle out and ask you at the end of your meal how many shots you’ve had.

6.) Ralph Lauren Restaurant (RL) (115 E. Chicago Ave)–If you want true Luxury Living in Chicago, then head over to Ralph Lauren’s restaurant right off Michigan Avenue.  The restaurant’s décor is elegant and has a menu to match. It’s the perfect place to rest your feet after a major shopping spree.

Don’t miss: The oysters!

Insider tip: It’s a little expensive, so be prepared to shell out some cash.

7.) Xoco (449 N. Clark)– Top Chef Master (and Mexican Cooking God), Rick Bayless, has a couple of great restaurants in the city. Instead of waiting weeks to get into one of them (or hours in line), you need to check out his small sandwich shop in the River North neighborhood. Head over around 11:00 a.m. to avoid long lines and prepare to take your taste buds South of the boarder.

Don’t miss: The churros! They are crispy and sugary on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It is the perfect ending to any sandwich you choose.

Insider tip: If cilantro is not your thing, all of their dishes can be modified to be cilantro-free!

8.) Bub City (435 N. Clark)— BBQ in the Midwest is a staple. There are plenty of good BBQ restaurants all over Chicago, but nothing compares to Bub City BBQ. The menu is jam packed with tons of meat options and incredible dishes.

Don’t miss: Phoebe’s mac & cheese, sweet potato fluff, burnt ends and the Giddy Up Fries (also known as the White Trash Nachos).

Insider tip: Ladies, make sure you take a trip down to the bathroom at some point (you’ll quickly figure out why).

9.) Siena Tavern (51 W Kinzie St.)This River North scene is frankly the place to be seen in downtown Chicago. From the incredible bar/lounge area to the restaurant itself, Fabio Viviani (another Top Chef alum), will take your tummy to places it has never been! Be prepared to indulge in some of the most incredible homemade pizza and pasta you’ve ever tasted.

Don’t miss: The Bombolini! They are little Italian donuts served with four different decadent sauces on the side (hazelnut, salted caramel, white chocolate and raspberry). Mix and match the different sauces to find your perfect combination.

Insider Tip: Make sure you make reservations in advance; this one is really popular among locals and tourists alike!

10.) Hannah’s Bretzel (multiple locations all over the city)–This is a great lunch spot. Although it’s a small chain, this tiny sandwich shop with a German flair boasts completely certified organic ingredients and environmentally friendly business practices. Many of the sandwiches are served on their freshly baked bretzel rolls  (it’s a pretzel) and served with one of their innovative homemade sides.

Don’t miss: The Italian Parma & Goat Cheese sandwich.

Insider Tip: They have other fresh baked breads, but the bretzel is by far the best. Make sure you let the person making your sandwich know that you want it on the bretzel!

This only cracks the tip of Chicago’s culinary iceberg! Happy eating!

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