Best Chicago Restaurants with Flavors from Around the World

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best chicago restaurants

When it comes time to narrow down a list of the best Chicago restaurants, the pickings are far from slim. A major player in the culinary arena, Chicago has enough tasty restaurants to feed even the pickiest Windy City appetite. Since each Chicago neighborhood has its own collection of ethnic eateries, let your taste buds travel around the world by narrowing your selection down by type of cuisine.

African Restaurants in Chicago

Run by a family from Senegal, Yassa African Restaurant (716 E 79th St; 773-488-5599) serves dishes like grilled, whole fish, plantains and jollof rice. As far as Ethiopian goes, there are plenty of places to dine. Drop by Ethiopian Diamond (6120 N Broadway St.; 773-338-6100) in Edgewater to experience one of the best Chicago restaurants you will ever taste. Stay awhile as you share the tasty communal platters with friends and sip on Ethiopian beer. If in the mood for Moroccan, the cumin crusted salmon and kabobs at the spacious and magnificently decorated Alhambra Palace (1240 W Randolph St.; 312-666-0456). These are just a handful of great picks amongst a batch of many African restaurants in Chicago: the neighborhoods of Wrigley, Wicker Park, Lakeview and Uptown have even more.

Asian Restaurants in Chicago

The best Chicago Restaurants for Asian food are hard to narrow down: great Asian food can be found all over the city. The Ben Pao Chinese Restaurant (52 W. Illinois St.; 312-222-1888) in River North has a fantastic menu, featuring delicious and artfully prepared Mongolian, Cantonese and Shanghai dishes. There are also several gluten free selections for those with dietary restrictions, and a kids menu for those traveling with the little ones. Phoenix (2131 South Acher Ave. #1; 312-328-0848) in Chinatown makes for a great dim sum spot, and you are sure to find more eateries in the neighborhood to sample.

Italian Restaurants in Chicago

Like all true American cities, Chicago has its own Little Italy on the Near West Side near the University of Illinois at Chicago. Bounded by Ashland Avenue on the west and Morgan Street on the east, and then Harrison Street on the north and Roosevelt Road on the south, this is where you will find the best Chicago restaurants for Italian food. Of special interest are the restaurants that line W Taylor St., such as Mia Francesca (1400 W Taylor St.; 312-829-2828) and Pompeii Pizza (1531 W Taylor St.; 212-421-5179). Both restaurants are Chicago institutions, with an outcrop of restaurants throughout the city.

Chicago is known as the "Pizza Capital of the World," and if you are craving some pie a deep dish is in order. Gino's East has several locations, but the flagship pizzeria is in the heart of the city (162 E Superior St., 312-266-3337). Another local favorite is Pizzeria Uno, a chain with several locations around the city and country. Finally, Lou Malnati's has been serving deep dish pizza since 1971. Today there are five Lou Malnati chains in the city, and dozens in the surrounding suburbs. According to Rick Malnati, true Chicago deep dish pizza's just don't taste the same out of the city: "Only Chicago's finest Lake Michigan water can produce a truly delicious Chicago style deep dish pizza crust," he proclaims. No matter what neighborhood you find yourself in, there are plenty of pizza restaurants in Chicago to satiate your appetite.

Mediterranean Restaurants in Chicago

When it comes to Mediterranean food, this is one city that serves up the best. Chicago restaurants cook up every Mediterranean dish you can think of. Taste the savory entrees at Naha (500 N Clark St.; 312-321-6242), an Algerian-influenced upscale restaurant serving creative dishes like roasted Moulard duck and sweet Michigan cherries. There are also a fair share of falfal joints in town, the best of which is Sultan's Market (2057 W North Ave.; 773-235-3072). The baba ganuj and falafel are both sure bets, while the hummus is so smooth and savory you could eat it by the gallon.

Mexican Restaurants in Chicago

If looking for a stellar Mexican restaurant in Chicago, you will find everything from hole-in-the-wall burrito joints to family friendly and upscale establishments. Since 1962, the Nuevo Leon Restaurant (1515 W 18th St.; 312-421-1517) has been serving authentic Mexican cuisine such as the savory beef stew-like caldo de res, and pollo de mole-steamed chicken smothered in mole sauce, served with rice and beans. There are also familiar dishes like burritos, enchiladas and fajitas. Another option is Salpicon (1252 N Wells St.; 312-988-7715), an upscale establishment considered by many as one of the best Chicago restaurants. As an appetizer try the traditional seafood soup, ceviche, made with blue marlin marinated in lime juice. Then dig into some chiles rellenos-poblano peppers stuffed with pork and cheese.

Photo by konomike on flickr.


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