40 of Our Favorite Dishes We Tried in Chicago in 2017
Chicago is a foodie’s paradise. Let us help you narrow down what to eat with our Top 40 of Our Favorite Dishes We Tried in Chicago in 2017. We were really fortunate to try some absolutely delicious restaurants this past year. Many of the dishes are from new restaurants, some of them are not, but the dishes listed were all new to us, so we had to include them. As the year comes to an end, here’s a complete list of 40 of our favorite dishes we tried in Chicago in 2017.
The Pho Dac Biet at Pho Viet
We’ve been on the move searching for the best pho in Chicago, and like Steve Dolinksy,
we’ve placed Pho Viet’s Pho Dac Biet at the tip top of our list.
A large bowl of this steaming beauty will run you about $10. You really don’t need a large though, a medium will do! The broth is sweet and beefy and is slowly cooked for around 17 hours. They don’t skimp on the tender eye of round steak, brisket, flank steak, tripe, and tendon in your bowl. Good luck finishing the whole thing! Included in your bowl are some white onions, scallion, and cilantro. The condiments on the side include lime, bean sprouts, jalapeno, Thai basil, hoisin sauce, sriracha and culantro if you ask for it.
The Hell Ramen at Strings Ramen
For some mysterious reason, we only visited Strings Ramen for the first time last winter. Don’t ask us why it took us so damn long to find our favorite ramen shop in the city, but ever since we went in the first time, we were hooked. Now they have a location in Lakeview as well and LIFE IS GOOD! Briana is a big tonkotsu fan, but even she can’t resist a little bit of the signature Hell Ramen once in a while. Strings has a Hell Ramen challenge, there are 5 spice levels, and level 5 requires you to sign a waiver. YEAH it’s hot! Chamere has tried level 4, and that was a little too hot even for him, he usually settles on the level 3. If you’re a fan of spicy things and ramen, you must try out the Hell Ramen.
The Hot & Smokey at Burger Bar
As many of you may know, are working on a “Best Burgers in Chicago” List, and right now, this one is near the top! Burger Bar has two locations, one in Lincoln Park and one in the South Loop. They do not disappoint with their massive and inventive burger creations that change frequently. We fell in love with the Hot and Smokey – a bbq beef burger with smoked pulled pork, grilled andouille, smoked Tillamook cheddar, habanero bbq glaze and cucumber-onion slaw.
The Rolled Ice Cream at Legend Tasty House
Rolled Ice Cream has been pretty big this year, and we fell in love with it too. We have to say that going to Chinatown to visit Legend Tasty House is worth a trip for the Thai Style rolled ice cream. The ice cream is super creamy, not icy and the flavors are inventive. The rolled ice cream is fun to eat and watch being made. The don’t skimp on the portions – good luck finishing your whole cup!
The Sticky Chicken & the Angry Bee Latte at The Growling Rabbit
We went to check out this neighborhood favorite in Edgewater (the original restaurant was in Rogers Park) and our standards for brunch have since elevated like 3 notches. The Growling Rabbit is home to some fun spins on classics and some amazing coffee drinks!
We highly recommend the sticky chicken; house-made beer battered boneless chicken tenders tossed in a sticky maple mustard glaze on top of a jalapeno, cheddar, cornbread waffle. We washed it down with the angry bee latte: a cinnamon, cayenne infused latte with lemon and agave. One of the most mind boggling drinks ever if you’re into stuff that’s a bit spicy, that has a warmness from the cinnamon, a bit of subtle sweetness, and a hint of citrus. YUM.
The Caramel Apple Cider Donut & Donut Ice Cream Sandwich at Firecakes
Firecakes has been a long time favorite of ours when it comes to donut shops, but this fall we went in for a fix and tried two things we really fell in love with.
The Caramel Apple Cider Donut tastes like fall, but is not overwhelming with the spices. We will look forward to fall returning so we can run in and grab a bunch of these delicious treats. We also tried the classic Donut Ice Cream Sandwich with a honey glaze donut, Tahitian vanilla ice cream, and a Valhrona chocolate sauce. This thing is massive and totally worth it.
The Fried Chicken Sandwich at Schuba’s
You won’t go hungry at Schuba’s Tavern – these guys just released a new menu that will make your mouth water, and they have about 20 beers on tap – like a local, sour, Fun Punch by Hopewell brewing (pictured) that will pair beautifully with this fantastic Fried Chicken Sandwich. Simple, but perfectly executed fried chicken with cayenne aioli and slaw.
The Fried Red Snapper & Picanha at Ronero
You might remember our recap of an influencer dinner we hosted at recently opened Ronero with the recap here, but if we had to narrow it down to our favorite things we ate, we’d pick the Fried Red Snapper, served with coconut-cola rice, fried plantains, pickled mango and grilled orange. Don’t forget the 16 oz., juicy Picanha, served with rock salt, rice, Brazilian vinaigrette and farofa.
The Burgers, Milkshakes & Sweet Potato Fries at Epic Burger
A long time favorite for us, Epic Burger is home to some delicious burgers, milkshakes and fries. This past year, they launched their sweet potato waffle fries, and we fell in love. They come with a honey mustard dipping sauce and are perfectly salted. A must try for sweet potato lovers and a great addition to your juicy burger. These are some of our favorite burgers in Chicago. They are completely customizable, and are sourced very carefully. A more mindful burger sounds great to us!
Now, onto the milkshakes. We know we are late to the game on this one, but we also had the chance to try some milkshakes as well. Rich, creamy, and flavorful without being grossly sweet, the shakes are a must try.
The Mussels & Spicy Fried Potatoes at Stock & Ledger
We were invited in to experience lunch at the brand-new Stock and Ledger in the Loop last week. Executive Chef Laura Piper has won the “Best Chef in America” award 3 times in her career, so we knew we were in for a treat. All the ingredients are sustainably sourced and local whenever possible.
Although we were truly impressed with everything we tried, one thing that really stuck out to us were the Mussels, with Spanish chorizo, caramelized tomato broth and rouille. We also fell in love with the Spicy Fried Potatoes, nice and crispy, seasoned with chili paste, cilantro, garlic and lemon.
The Turkey Pesto Sandwich & Fresh Baked Cookies at Boar’s Head Cafe
If you haven’t been to Boar’s Head Cafe in the loop, get down there for lunch! With delicious deli meats, baked goods, and coffee from La Colombe, you will always get a delicious lunch with a smile.
Here’s the turkey pesto panini we tried a while back. Check out that gooey goodness!
We also need to mention how good the cookies are. They are stick, gooey and made fresh everyday. Some of the best cookies in the city!
The Pancake Flight, Chai French Toast and the Orange Signature Coffee at Orange Chicago
Orange Chicago has two locations – one in Lincoln Park and one in Ravenswood. Luckily, you can find our picks at both locations.
Every week, a chef’s tasting of 4 different mini pancake stacks are created to suit the season. You can’t go wrong with these tasty delights. Pictured below are various pancakes with coconut incorporated.
If you’re more of a french toast person, do not miss the chai french toast – a ricotta stuffed, chai tea battered brioche complete with caramelized apples, honey and chai-tea cream reduction.
You’ll also need some coffee to wash down your breakfast, and the Signature Orange coffee is not to be missed. It’s bottomless, hot and is infused with an orange peel and spices. So tasty!
The Homemade Pastries at Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar
If you’re visiting Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar the brand new Humboldt Park gem for brunch, do not even think about passing up the pastries! All of them are made in house and are absolutely delicious. We know there are a lot of delicious distractions on the menu but the pastries are made with such love and should not be overlooked.
The Crispy Brussel Sprouts & Churro Chicken & Waffle at Mad Social
The Phil Stefani Restaurant Group knows what people want, we’re convinced. Mad Social is home to some of our favorite brunch items. If you venture over there, PLEASE order the Crispy Brussel Sprouts with red cabbage, carrot, cilantro, toasted garlic chips, scallions, wonton strips, sesame seeds and yuzu soy vinaigrette. We promise you haven’t had brussel sprouts like this. You also shouldn’t miss the decadent Churro Chicken and Waffle. It’s an incredible spin on traditional Chicken and Waffles – with a churro waffle, chicken breast Milanese, MAD hot sauce, crisp pork belly and topped with maple syrup.
The Incredible Happy Hour at Bar Roma
Now, we know we said our favorite dishes, but we really have to highlight the whole happy hour menu at this new to Andersonville restaurant. With an intimate atmosphere and delicious and high quality Italian food, Bar Roma is the perfect place to grab a bite. We were floored by the amazing happy hour, that takes place every Monday-Friday from 5 – 6:30 pm in the bar. Enjoy half-priced appetizers and rosé by the glass. Enjoy dishes like meatballs, burrata and octopus at a fraction of the price.
The Funghi Pizza at Bar Cargo
Another fabulous Stefani concept, you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Bar Cargo – the new to Chicago Roman Style Pizza eatery. We still have dreams about the amazing Funghi pizza however. It’s a white pizza complete with roasted mushrooms, guanciale and truffle cream.
The Poke Bowls at ASAP Poke
ASAP Poke is a Lettuce Entertain You concept that serves up delivery-only, fresh, sushi-quality poke bowl, rolls and seasonal items delivered right to your living room. They are based in Lincoln Park, and to ensure freshness only have about a 3 mile delivery radius.
Choose from various fresh fish like bluefin tuna, yellowtail hamachi, Atlantic Salmon and all types of toppings like seaweed, pickled mushrooms, beets, onions and ginger, scallions, crispy shallots, watermelon radish and lots more.
The Cupcakes & Sandwiches from Goddess & the Grocer’s Catering Department
Goddess and the Grocer is known for some incredible desserts and grab and go meals like salads, sandwiches and more. So when we had the chance to host a meet-up there earlier this year with some foodie friends, they pulled out all the stops and wowed everyone with these beautiful, moist and delicious cupcakes. Goddess is a one stop shop for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, gift baskets, wine, beer, catering, coffee and more. Let them cater your next event – everyone will be impressed!
The Gorgeous Sushi at Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill
Yuzu is known around town for having some seriously impressive & Instagrammable dishes, and we can vouch for them, their food tastes as good as it looks. They do not skimp on freshness or quality here, be sure to come in and try some of the delicious sushi for yourself!
The Eggs in a Basket at Steak and Vine
If you’re looking for something unique for brunch and happen to find yourself in La Grange, head over to Steak and Vine and order the eggs in a basket. You won’t regret it. Deep fried poached eggs placed into prosciutto cups, complete with creamed spinach and choron sauce. We’ve heard some really great things about other menu items, we will have to go back to try out some more ourselves!
The Bavarian Pretzel at the Berghoff
We can’t believe this fall was the first time we had been to the iconic Chicago restaurant, the Berghoff. Stepping into this place is like hopping into a time machine and waking up in 1898. The Berghoff is home to the #1 liquor license – meaning it was the first place to possess a liquor license after prohibition ended.Read more about the Berghoff’s history here.
There are so many traditional German items on the menu – like the Bavarian Pretzel. It’s massive, double baked in lard and served with beer and cheddar cheese dipping sauce, and two kinds of mustard.
The Mango-Lime Smoothies, Cinnayums & Homemade Granola at Caffe Arrivadolce
We are no strangers to this lovely Rogers Park coffee shop and cafe located right off the Loyola Red Line. You can read more about our everything we have tried there here. Here’s what we keep going back for…
The delicious homemade granola with milk. We walk over to Arrivadolce for Chamere to get a mango, lime smoothie even when it’s freezing out, and don’t forget a homemade cinnayum to go with your coffee!
The Desserts at Little Toasted
Little Toasted, the sister restaurant to Slightly Toasted in the Loop is worth a visit for the views of the river alone. The cocktails are definitely notable, as well as the delicious toast creations, but we were in awe of the complex flavors of the beautiful desserts. They change frequently depending on the season, but just know you can expect something unique and delicious.
The Diver Scallops, Fried Cauliflower & Brussel Sprouts at the Commons Club
Chef Moosah at the Commons Club certainly knows how to create some memorable dishes. We were invited in to try dinner this fall and were blown away by everything we tried. The Diver Scallops were a real hit (pictured) and we couldn’t stop thinking about the incredible Fried Cauliflower, and Brussel Sprout sides. Their cocktail program is not to be missed either. Wish we had more photos for you guys, but the lighting was tough when we went in. Looks like we will just have to go back sometime to try out more!
The Scallop & Lobster Polenta at Fourteensixteen
If we’ve learned nothing this year except for never underestimate polenta – it would be because of this dish. Delicious lobster polenta cakes with serrano peppers, ham hock, scallops and pork belly. The polenta cakes are seared til crispy on the outside, but still plenty moist. Fourteensixteen will take great care of you. Don’t miss their impressive craft cocktail list and inventive American cuisine. It’s worth the trip to La Grange.
We tried some game changing food this year, and there will be tons more to come. Stay tuned for our foodie adventures in 2018!
List Revision as of June 27, 2018: We had to go back and rework this list, as one of the spots we included is no longer in business, and we wanted to rank our favorites, as we didn’t before. We hope you enjoy the updated photos, detail and rankings.
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Until next time,
Briana & Chamere