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Food & Dining in Chicago


Chicago possesses all the necessary conditions for producing great restaurants: a variety of ethnic communities, a tradition of experimental cooking and an adventurous yet discriminating dining public. It's hard to imagine anyone being disappointed with the diversity and quality found at Chicago's tables.

Two of the city's most popular upscale dining areas are along the well-established restaurant row on West Randolph Street (just west of Wacker Drive) and along the streets that fan out from the Magnificent Mile. In addition, Wicker Park/Bucktown and East Ukrainian Village host a diverse sampling of newer options.

Comfort food to Chicagoans is a deadly serious business (we're talking potential heart attack). Test your arteries by sampling the Italian beef, deep-dish pizza, mammoth hot dogs and steaks that placate the locals during the long winter months. However, some of the finest chefs in the nation run a myriad of restaurants that balance the scale.

Do note that The Smoke Free Illinois Act prohibits smoking in public places, including restaurants.

Places to Dine

The Loop

This is the heart of downtown, with its elevated commuter tracks, State Street shopping and architectural landmarks. For a taste of classic German food in a classic Chicago setting, you can't go wrong with the Berghoff. The exquisite Everest is a perfect place for big (and big bucks) occasions. And Cajun/Creole-lovers can try The Original Heaven on Seven for the Chicago version of heaven.

Magnificent Mile

After shopping for hours in Michigan Avenue's chic shops, you're sure to feel those taste buds kick in. If you're dressed in the designer duds you just bought, dine at the luxurious Spiaggia (its sister Café is just as popular and a bit less expensive). The seafood and chowder at the Cape Cod Room in the Drake Hotel really hits the spot after a day of window shopping, especially on a blustery Chicago winter day. The Signature Room on the 95th Floor in the John Hancock Tower offers a meal with a breathtaking view.

Stepping just off the strip will lead you to a range of memorable dining options. Allen's Cafe features seasonal menus in an elegant setting. Popular specialty foods just off the Magnificent Mile include Pane Caldo for Italian fare and Big Bowl for Pan-Asian food.

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