Drink and dine your way through Chicago

Chicago

Winding up in the Windy City? We hope you packed your appetite! The number of amazing restaurants in Chicago amounts to way more food than you could eat on a single trip – or maybe even in a lifetime – but a few choice spots have the added distinction of being local favorites. Morning, noon, night; west, north, east; try as many of our picks as your stomach will allow.

Uncle Mike’s Place – West Town
“If you consider yourself a pro in the brunch or breakfast game and have never had a proper Filipino breakfast, you’re absolutely missing out. A standard breakfast plate at Uncle Mike’s comes with your choice of protein (tocino, longanisa, Spam or bangus, to name a few options), garlic rice, two eggs and lugao. If you’ve never had lugao, trust me: you want it. The service is quick and friendly and the crowd is mixed, full and happy. While it’s off the beaten path with little nearby, it’s well worth the trip for a comfort-filled breakfast.” – as recommended by Chicago local Heidi Childers

Uncle Mike's in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur
Uncle Mike’s in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur

Big Shoulders Coffee – West Town
“Located right off the Chicago Avenue Blue Line, Big Shoulders Coffee has some of the best coffee in town. Soft music and great natural light make this an amazing place to get work done during the day. They are constantly grinding beans on-site, giving the entire shop an amazing aroma. Great prices and unlimited refills on the fast drip will make you never want to leave – but when you finally do, make sure you take a bag of beans with you.” – as recommended by Chicago local Matthew Downe

Big Shoulders Coffee in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur
Big Shoulders Coffee in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur

Piccolo Sogno – River West
“This Italian restaurant is always popular thanks to its authentic, hearty fare – but when the temperatures rise, Piccolo Sogno becomes a local favorite. The restaurant boasts a gorgeous patio – and despite its thoroughly urban location, this patio is peaceful and green.” – as recommended by Chicago local Zara Husaini

Piccolo Sogno in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur
Piccolo Sogno in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur

La Pasadita – West Town
“La Pas (as the locals tend to call it) is as traditional as it gets. Their no-frills approach is perfect. All you need on top are onions, cilantro and a little something spicy for a kick. Join the after-midnight crowd, order a steak taco and savor. Somehow, La Pas has mastered the art of charring the outside and keeping the center pink enough for tenderness. This place never fails to satisfy.” – as recommended by Chicago local Jennifer Holub

La Pasadita in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur
La Pasadita in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur

Arami – West Town
“Holy sushi. Don’t expect to walk into your typical dark, state-of-the-art, contemporary Japanese restaurant here. At Arami, you’ll sit under massive skylights while surrounded by bamboo and greenery. It is truly a peaceful oasis on Chicago Avenue where the sushi and sashimi are simple, fresh and just plain good. Wait, am I in Hawaii? No, still Chicago Avenue. The staff are attentive and knowledgable and the un-pretentious music selection is an added perk. What more could you want?” – as recommended by Chicago local Shannon Downe

Arami in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur
Arami in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur

The Publican – Fulton Market
“If you have an aversion to pork products, you might want to seek sustenance elsewhere. There are pictures of pigs on every wall at The Publican, and the bacon comes in slab form. I highly recommend that you snag a reservation as this place is packed morning, noon and night. Dining is communal, so unless a private booth is available, expect to share a table with strangers. Maybe by the end of the meal you’ll no longer be strangers. Who wouldn’t bond over bacon?” – as recommended by Chicago local Mary Wall

The Publican in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur
The Publican in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur

Fish Bar – Lakeview
“I’m always impressed with the constantly changing menu at this Lakeview restaurant. My favorite time to go to Fish Bar is in the summer, because their cocktails, small plates and outdoor area are the perfect way to take advantage of some nice weather – but no matter when you go, this spot is full of savory seafood specials. The menu ranges from oysters as appetizers to various po’boys as entrees. And whatever you do, don’t miss out on their cocktails. It’s impossible to go wrong with one of ‘em. And the smaller plates should leave you with plenty of room for dessert – like the always refreshing key lime pie.” – as recommended by Chicago local Cathy Zyra

Fish Bar in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur
Fish Bar in Chicago, photo courtesy of Localeur