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Recently, Condé Nast Traveler named Chicago America’s best restaurant city, and I have to agree. The restaurant scene in Chicago is flourishing with all types of cuisines and eateries. From hidden gems to the stars that require reservations months in advance, these are seven restaurants not to miss in Chicago.

1. Bavette’s
A sophisticated steakhouse with a speakeasy ambience: Bavette’s is a great place for an intimate dinner with your significant other or a small group of friends. It is cozy, romantic, and fun, all at the same time. And make sure you call ahead — reservations fill up months in advance!

2. Au Cheval
This upscale diner that gives its own spin to comfort food and has a serious appetite for eggs: Au Cheval serves one of the best cheeseburgers in the country and its menu is riddled with creative dishes. They don’t take reservations so arrive early to snag a table and avoid long wait times!

3. Girl & the Goat
A Chicago institution: Girl & the Goat is one of the hottest restaurants that’s dominated the city’s culinary scene since its inception in 2010. Prepare for a long, family-style meal full of bold and inventive flavors. The restaurant is crowded, vibrant, and plays some great tunes.

4. 3 Arts Club
The perfect place for brunch: The moment you step inside the dining room, you’ll never want to leave! 3 Arts Club serves delicious dishes inside a magnificent atrium. Located inside a Restoration Hardware, you can even shop around before feasting beneath dazzling chandeliers.

5. Smyth + The Loyalist
The new restaurant on the block: A dual-concept space, Smyth offers a fine-dining experience with a set menu upstairs, while The Loyalist provides a casual meal with great cocktails and a flavorful menu. The restaurant has a strong focus on hospitality, delivering impeccable service to every party.

6. The Allis at Soho House
The café hideout: A perfect spot for a tasty breakfast or even just a quick coffee. The Allis serves classics like soft boiled eggs with soldiers, as well as an afternoon tea, inside a swoon-worthy hotel. 

7. Avec
The minimalist: Modernism paired with Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Avec has been marked as a “don’t miss” while in Chicago. It’s one of those favorites amongst locals and visitors. Communal seating in a contemporary, wood-paneled room keep the every dining experience fun and eventful.

Read Next:

The First Timer’s Guide to Chicago


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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

Use for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Car

Use Discover Cars or to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:



  1. Next time you’re there, try Arbor – it’s the restaurant that Alyosha (Sarah’s husband) farms for. He and Sarah also do seasonal foraging in Michigan and supply Arbor, Girl and the Goat and some others with ramps each spring…

  2. Nida Duceman Reply

    Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

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