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Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

Seattle, Washington
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Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

My husband and I are heading for Chicago for 3 nights/4 days and want to avoid eating at chain restaurants. We want to see and taste the best of Chicago. What are the best places for deep dish pizza, brisket, and famous local foods. I want to leave Chicago knowing that I experienced only the things found there! Thanks so much!!

Chicago
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1. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

For pizza, I would recommend Lou Malnati's at 439 N. Wells, or Pizzaria Uno at 29 E. Ohio. Both are close to downtown and have delicious deep dish pizza. You have to try an Italian Beef at Pizano's on Clark St. (about a block from Wrigley Field). Be sure to order it with melted mozzarella cheese! Yum!!

Rensselaer, Indiana
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2. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

Wilson0904, I'm going to mention several places but I bet a couple of people might say "tourist trap" to a couple. Keep in mind that some of these places are chains in their own right in our area.

Chicago-style Hot Dogs...gotta go to the Weiner's Circle (on the north side on Clark). If that's too far for you, there are a couple of Gold Coast Dogs around town--but I still say--Weiner's Circle! Best char-grilled dogs in town. When you go in, watch how the locals handle the orders - it's do it fast! Remember get everything on it but NEVER NEVER any ketchup!!!

Italian Beef - I like Mr. Beef. Other people prefer Al's or Portillo's. I think it might depend on the seasonings you prefer.

Caramel Corn - I like Nuts on Clark's (they have a store on State Street right across from the Chicago Theatre) but many prefer Garrett's. You will see several around town, with people waiting in line outside.

If you want a BillyGoat cheezburger, go to the original place, lower level by the Wrigley Building.

Frango Mints - no longer made - here but go to the lower level of Marshall Fields at State and Randolph. OR go up to the Walnut Room (also at Marshall Fields) and have some Frango Mint pie.

I'll leave the pizza battle to others. Let us suffice to say you will get several recommendations.

You didn't ask about beverage but...Goose Island beer - where else but Goose Island? (Actually, there's one on N. Clark very close to Wrigley, too.

As you can tell from the list, we Chicagoans are all healthy eaters! :)

Rensselaer, Indiana
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3. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

I've thought of a couple more for your consideration:

Cinnamon Rolls - Ann Sathers - there are several locations around town. The original is on Belmont.

If you want gourmet goods at a more modest price, there is Trotter's to Go (Charlie Trotter's take-out operation). If you are here in the summer, you can pack a pic-a-nic basket and enjoy a performance at Millennium Park.

And for Vegetarian, try The Chicago Diner, Halsted and Roscoe - try their soy shake!

MrK
Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

Manny's Coffee Shop for great corned beef (with a potato pancake w/ apple sauce & sour cream).

Chicago is a great breakfast town. The ultimate "city of big shoulders" experience is early morning at Lou Mitchell's.

A true Chicago steak experience can be found in many places, but Gene & Georgetti's is my favorite.

Chicago has some of the best gourmet Mexican food in the country. Frontera Grill is well known, but my favorite (I don't know if it is still around) used to be Taste of Ixcapuzalco.

Illinois
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5. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

All the above are good. Much like the Chicago hotdog, also watch how we order our Italian beef sandwiches. We have our own lingo, much like coffee drinkers do in a Starbucks.

One of my favorites is Bistro 110 on Pearson 3/4 of a block from Watertower Place on the Mag Mile.

A cool place to check out is The Cheesecake Factory in the Hancock Tower. I know this is in other cities, but the inside is unique. It is the inside of a cheesecake.

Chicago has a chain called LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU. Great food at every one of their restaurants and every type of cusine. You can find them on the web.

My favorite way to make reservations around town is through www.opentable.com Gives a description of the restaurant, price range, and fast.

If you've never been to a House of Blues Gospel Brunch. This is fun. Overpriced, but fun. And Chicago has great Gospel.

If you have time, check out one of the many restaurants in Greek Town for dinner.

Chicago is also known for their ribs. My favorite, even before it became a chain, and even though not originated in Chicago, is Famous Daves. They also have lean brisket. Their first restaurant was in Naperville, Illinois after winning Ribfest in that city 3 years in a row. Naperville Ribfest is so good.

For pizza, I'm a fan of Lou Malnatti's. Still family run and owned. But I'm a lover of the thin crust over deep dish since I don't like too much cheese.

In Chicago we love our food. You will find so many good places to eat. We truly have some of the best dining in the world. Have a great time.

Chicago
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6. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

The pizza battle in Chicago is always a personal preference...depending where you're from, anything you have will probably be better than what you're used to. Lou M's is great, but I'm a big fan of My Pie on Clark in Lincoln Park...Chicago is also known for it's Ribs...don't get pulled into the Carson's hype...it's not what it used to be...Twin Anchors is as downhome Chicago as you'll find. Long waits, so don't go during peak hours, but worth it. Don't forget to hit some of the Blue's Bars while here too...Kingston Mines is touristy, but always still a good time. Enjoy!

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

Thanks for the advise!

Crystal Lake, IL
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8. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

Wilson....

Harry Carray's is about as "Chicago" as it gets. If you want to eat a cow...try Lawry's, Gibson's, or the Chop House.

Seafood? Nick's Fishmarket

German? The Berghoff....which is a little off the beaten path for tourists.

Local Hangout? Miller's pub...also a bit removed from the touristy areas.

Burgers. Billy Goat's is the famous place (Cheezborgor, Cheezborger). Theirs are pretty good....Boston Blackies and Hackney's are even better.

Pizza.....Uno's, Due's (the same thing, actually), and Lou Malnati's are in a class by themselves. (Don't confuse Uno's with the insipid franchise places, btw)

Hope this helps. Have fun!

Atlanta, Georgia
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9. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

For fantastic Italian beef and hotdogs, go to any Portillo's in Chicago. You'll leave stuffed and happy! Good fries, too.

Atlanta, Georgia
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10. Re: Best Local Restaurants in Chi-town

For burgers you can try Billy Goats Tavern on lower Michigan. If i remember correctly, (haven't been in a while) its near the Kenneth Cole/ Virgin Atlantic stores, head down the stairs to lower part of Michigan Ave. It's an interesting experience, definitely Chicago-only kind of thing.