Let’s be honest with ourselves: The best part of visiting a new city is getting to try as much food as you possibly can before you outgrow your britches. That’s especially true when you’re in Chicago, where you’ll find thousands upon thousands of delicious dining options. Where to start?
As an outsider, your first inclination might be to stick to the beaten path. You’ve probably heard from someone that it’s a sin to go to the Windy City and not indulge in a Chicago-style deep dish slice at Giordano’s, but what about the countless little known restaurants that are just waiting for you to discover them?
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Even though Guy Fieri has deemed this restaurant worthy of a coveted “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” visit, Cemitas Puebla still isn’t as well known as it should be. It’s the only place in Chicago to grab a cemita sandwich, and their entire menu is comprised of fresh ingredients–really fresh ingredients. Rumor has it that the owners will head down to Mexico to pick up an ingredient to ensure a truly fresh, authentic taste.
Gene’s and Jude’s
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Another foodie titan has given her stamp of approval to this quaint little place. Rachael Ray and a panel of judges named Gene’s and Jude’s the best hotdog in the country. The little stand has been serving up incredible Chicago-style dogs since 1945, so it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing.
You can’t have a list of best eats without including a food truck or two. It doesn’t get much better than doughnuts and coffee, and Beaver’s Doughnuts is serving up both. They’re the only food truck in the city with freshly baked mini doughnuts, topped with such sinful goodies as Nutella and S’mores mixture.
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Vegans are people too! And Native Foods hasn’t forgotten this. Every choice on the restaurant’s extensive menu is completely vegan friendly, with earthy spins on chicken wings, chili, and cheeseburgers. The best part? The only way you’ll be able to tell that anything is vegan is by how insanely fresh everything tastes.
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Keeping with the freshness theme, you shouldn’t miss Nightwood. It’s simple, fresh, flavorful cuisine in the form of spit-roasted chicken and veggies grilled over an open flame, among other equally delicious offerings. It’s so good you might consider eating there for every meal, so do some quick research on Chicago hotels and book a room nearby for easiest access.
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We’d be remiss not to include some Indian street food. Your best bet is Bombay Wraps, one of Chicago’s most beloved food trucks. Everything is better when it’s portable, so Bombay’s chicken tikka or lamb curry is made that much better by being served up in a flaky paratha.
Hungry yet? By all means, go check out Chicago’s most famed restaurants. But save a meal or two for some of the area’s lesser known gems that deserve just as much praise as establishments like Giordano’s. Who knows? One of these places just might change your life after one bite.