When I went to Chicago I wasn’t expecting to love the food as much as I did. I tried new foods, flavours and compared deep dish pizzas. I wanted to share with you five of my favourite places to eat, as well as a bar which I really loved too. All of these places were quite reasonable to eat at and I hope that if you’re heading to Chicago, they give you some idea of where you can eat. They were all also perfect locations to get a good typical Instagram shot, with stunning interiors, beautiful bathrooms and the food always looked great too!
A Chicago staple, everyone tells you to try deep dish pizza. It’s sold everywhere but most people recommended to us one of two places, and they were both deep dish chains. We tried them both and I definitely preferred Lou Malnati’s. If you wanted some idea of what it’s like to eat deep dish pizza, I think it tastes like two slices of pizza with a layer of cheese in the middle but less doughy because it’s essentially just more cheese and then they put the tomato sauce over the top. They’re not the most picturesque of food because all you can see is the tomato sauce, but honestly Lou Malnati’s pizza was THE best pizza I have ever eaten so I really recommend it. I also tried Giordano’s but it just wasn’t as good, I didn’t love it as much but I wouldn’t turn it down. Price-wise they were pretty similar and both can be found all over Chicago as well as with takeaway options.
The Nutella Cafe was a place we walked past almost by accident. It’s not huge and is right near to the famous Chicago Cloud Gate sculpture. Once inside you can order a lot of Nutella inspired dishes and drinks as well as purchase Nutella products including your own jar of Nutella with your name on! I went for the strawberries and Nutella as I love this snack anyway. It was a little on the pricey side for what it was, but it was one of those novelty cafes you just have to visit if you love Nutella.
Punch Bowl Social was one of my favourite places that I went to eat in during my time in America. The menu was amazing and the tacos I had were delicious but what I loved most about the place, was that I felt I could spend hours in there. It was in a huge warehouse with not just a restaurant, but an arcade with vintage video games, a karaoke room, a bowling alley, photo booths and much more. They also have virtual reality and lots of table games too. I thought the menu was great and if I’d have lived nearby, I definitely would have become a regular there. There are different Punch Bowl Socials all around America but have a look at their website for more information, if there is one near you, definitely give it a visit. When you first step in, it’s set up like a laundrette which I loved and had to stop for pictures.
When I went to Italy earlier this year, I was of the opinion that gelato had ruined ice cream for me. This wasn’t true, as I found out when I went to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. The company started in Chicago but has now moved throughout America with their own products so you can actually purchase Jeni’s Ice Cream to take home. When we went, we were expecting crazy prices for a single scoop but we both purchased half scoops so got to try two flavours each. They had all sorts of flavours from the usual salted caramel, all the way to Lavender flavour ice cream. It was amazing and tasted so good we almost went and bought some more scoops. When we were there, more and more people were coming in and this was only around 10am. People needed their ice cream fix!
Revival food hall was the perfect place to hunt for some dinner but we already had in mind that we wanted to try Smoque BBQ. The food hall housed stands from loads of great places and if we’d have been in that area more often, we would have gone back for sure. When we went, we went with the goal in mind of eating a Smoque BBQ sandwich and my god, was it a good sandwich. You could choose which meat you wanted then you were offered the choice of two BBQ sauces. The guys who worked there had their own recommendations, so we went with those. It was the best BBQ sauce I’ve ever had and it was so filling! I struggled to finish it due to it’s size so it was definitely good value for money! Again, they have multiple locations but I really enjoyed the Revival Food Hall.
Cindy’s was around the corner from the hostel we stayed at, making it the perfect location for a cocktail. It’s inside a building with a hotel and also a shake shack and you take a lift to the rooftop terrace. We went on a Thursday night so we weren’t expecting much but inside it was really packed. We only went for a drink but the food that we saw all looked incredible too! Although it was dark, we still really enjoyed the view as we could see the Cloud Gate sculpture from the bar as it faced onto that main section of the loop. It was a really stunning bar and I’d have loved to have visited in the day to take advantage of the view but we just couldn’t get down there again before we left Chicago.
I loved exploring these places in Chicago and if I went back I hate to say it but I’d probably go back to them and also visit more of course! I’m back in the UK now after a summer away and I’m also posting three times a week in September on my blog. You can catch up the posts from 1 here and 2 here. Make sure you give the facebook page a like, follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for more!
I post once a week covering topics such as solo travel, working and living abroad and also creating Gabriella’s Guides to places I have been. I cover topics under the following categories such as Planning and Packing, The Travel Diary, Travel Inspiration, Photo Diaries, Gabriella’s Guides and Working Abroad.