I lived in Chicago for years before moving to San Francisco, and I miss it so much (only the summertime, of course, I’m not a lunatic). The absolute best part is the FOOD. There are so many amazing restaurants and chefs that set up shop there, you can gain 10 pounds in a week! You know, not like it’s happened to me personally… it’s just a hypothetical! Anyway, I was there last week and thought I’d share some of my favorite places (not necessarily the highest rated by foodie professionals or the most expensive, just places I loved to frequent) when I lived there.
Three Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware. Pro tip: they open at 10am and don’t take reservations, so plan to get there by 9:30am and wait in line if you want first seating. Otherwise, show up when you can, but expect 1-2 hour wait on the weekend. The good news about the wait: JUST LOOK AT THIS ROOFTOP. You can get a drink from the bar, snag a free donut and hang out until they text that your table is ready.The restaurant is in the Atrium of the building. Gorgeous light, trees and a fountain fill the space. They have these huge comfy cushioned booths that make you feel like a celebrity. Get one of those.
If you don’t get the burrata and tomatoes, you’ve made a huge life-altering mistake. It’s the best burrata i’ve had, and I eat cheese more places than I care to admit.And look at our spread! There’s yogurt and granola, scrambled eggs with crème frâiche, thick cut bacon, hand cut fries, and don’t forget the bellinis!
Summer House Santa Monica. You will have to make a reservation well in advance for a party of 4 or more, but the bar is first come first served. It’s like having a private chef cooking American-style dishes in your own California beach house – the decor is all white with lots of light. Menu here… ugh, now I”m thinking about those Cinnamon Rolls. Bonus, there’s a bakery in the front, so don’t leave without a to-go cookie.
LUNCH OR DINNER
Au Cheval: People just won’t shut up about how good these burgers are. Go there, and become that person. My friend Michelle has vowed never to eat another burger anywhere else again. Check it out here. The space is small, so be prepared for a 2-3 hours wait unless you are there when they open.
Stella Barra: Located right next to Summer House, this upscale Pizzaria will leave you feeling like you can never eat again. My mouth is watering just looking at the food on the menu, here. I like the Prosciutto and Egg pizza and Italian Chopped Salad, but really, you can’t go wrong.
Chicago Q: Arguably the best BBQ in Chicago. Get the sampler and try all the meats plus get sides. I like the Coleslaw and my husband raves about the corn bread. Not a great option if you are a vegetarian, for obvious reasons. Menu here.
Eduardo’s Enoteca: This place is THE BEST date spot or girls’ dinner spot. It’s small, quaint, and lit by candlelight. Definitely share plates with the table for the best experience. Their menu changes regularly, but I recommend the Kale Salad, or the Bolognese and a seasonal cocktail. Menu here.
Happy Camper or Homeslice: Owned by the same people, it’s a casual sports bar and pizza joint. Not in the mood for pizza? The Hummus Plate and Buffalo Chicken salad are delightful. No joke, when I’m in town I order something off this menu every day. I’m convinced the kitchen is all: “Oh that girl is in town again, ordering the same thing for lunch 5 days in a row and then disappearing.” Menu here.