It’s hard to go wrong when it comes to food in Chicago. You have options for just about any type of cuisine at all price ranges across the city. Check out the highlights of a few of my many classic Chicago favorites that you can start with during your next trip to the Windy City.

Athena Greek Restaurant

The food in Greek Town is amazing all around, but you cannot pass up a chance to visit Athena Greek Restaurant when you are in the area. The Saganaki melts in your mouth and the servers are always very friendly and accommodating. As if the delicious food wasn’t enough, they also have a beautiful outdoor patio for the warmer months and a greenhouse-like patio all year round that provides a relaxing ambiance with tall windows, calming fountains, and Greek columns designed to provide an authentic Athens, Greece experience.

Mario’s Italian Lemonade

If you’re visiting between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you must stop at Mario’s Italian Lemonade, a local Chicago favorite. This small outdoor stand has the freshest Italian ice you will ever have, with chunks of real fruit frozen into the treat. They have been open since 1954, making them a true Chicago classic. Waiting in line is basically a guarantee, but it will be well worth it!

Photo by Traceyes_Tripn Aroundtheworld via Trover.com

Photo by Traceyes_Tripn Aroundtheworld via Trover.com


Looking for some of that well-known Chicago deep dish pizza? You won’t have to look far. Of course, there are delicious pizza options all over the city, but Giordano’s is one of the top choices. They have multiple locations in the area so you can find one that’s closest to you. Even if you’re not into the cheese overload of deep dish, any kind of pizza here is sure to please your belly.

Portillo’s Hot Dogs

When you visit Chicago, grabbing a hot dog (hold the ketchup!) or Italian beef at Portillo’s is a must. Starting as a small hot dog stand back in 1963, Portillo’s can now be found across the Chicago area and they are also expanding to other locations like Arizona and California. There will likely be lines, but you won’t have to wait long thanks to their efficient ordering system. Be sure to get a cold milkshake to complete your meal!

Photo by Huggi World via Trover.com

Photo by Huggi World via Trover.com

Billy Goat Tavern

The world-famous Billy Goat Tavern is one that’s more difficult to find due to its secluded underground location, but it’s worth the hunt for a tasty cheeseburger and a cold beer. Founded in 1934, the tavern is commonly associated with the “Curse of the Billy Goat,” also known as the “Cubs Curse,” and earned its claim to fame thanks to the “Cheezborger” Saturday Night Live skit.

This list barely scrapes the surface of the best places to eat in Chicago, but starting with the classics is a great way to begin! Book a stay at one of the great Chicago hotels today and get ready to indulge in some of the classic local favorites across the city.

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Classic Chicago Eats


  • Megan | Traveling Nine to Fiver
    May 4, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I might end up with a last minute trip to Chicago next month. I never would have thought of looking for Greek food but now I will. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marissa Sutera
      May 5, 2015 at 5:43 pm

      Awesome, you definitely have to check out Athena! Enjoy your trip to Chicago! 🙂

  • Ryan Biddulph
    May 3, 2015 at 2:13 am

    Love the topping on that hot dog Marissa! Pickles and tomatoes and such; or cucumbers? Either way it looks amazingly delish. Thanks for the tasty share 🙂


    • Marissa Sutera
      May 5, 2015 at 5:42 pm

      It’s classic Chicago style: tomatoes, onions, relish, sport peppers, celery salt, mustard, and a pickle 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Ryan!

  • Tim
    May 1, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I lived in Chicago for many years and can attest to the goodness that is Mario’s Italian Lemonade.


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