There are nearly 900 restaurants in downtown Chicago. How can you decide which to try? Enter Emily Elyse Miller, culinary trend forecaster and author of Phaidon’s Breakfast: The Cookbook. There’s nobody better than Emily to narrow down the best Chicago restaurants into a simple guide that can be completed during any stay. From the old favorites to trendy newcomers, here’s where to eat now.
Chef Jason Hammel helms the kitchen at Lula Cafe (2537 N Kedzie Ave.) where locals have gone since 1999 for breakfast, as well as an especially popular brunch. “They have pozole (a traditional Mexican stew) on the brunch menu, which is hard to resist on a cold morning.”
With its rustic setting, the 20-seat Cellar Door Provisions (3025 W Diversey Ave.) feels like an exclusive farm-to-table dining experience. “Go for the quiche. It’s unlike any other. And don’t skip the bread and butter.”
See and taste the Danish influences at Elske (1350 W Randolph St.) where chefs David and Anna Posey create delicious dishes to match the dreamy minimalist interiors. For dishes such as poached arctic char, stuffed lamb, and frozen fennel jelly with mint, tuck into the set tasting menu — or keep it low key and order a la carte. “Any dessert that Anna dreams up is a must-order.” Just one example: a dark chocolate pudding with toasted bread and traditional Danish øllebrød.
“I always end up at Money Gun (660 W Lake St.) for a drink.” Go for the 1970s vibe — courtesy of the spot’s Instagram-worthy neon lights — and stay for the amazing bar snacks. How amazing? There’s a biscuit basket with honey, butter, and whipped foie gras. There are oysters. There are grilled lamb ribs with soy glaze and spicy shrimp relish. If you weren’t already in the mood to snack, you are now.
Writer: Nick Papa
Photo: Vanessa Tierney