Interesting Food In Chicago
I'm a Grad Student arriving in Chicago for a conference tomorrow. One or two evenings my friends (grad students all) and I would like to go out to dinner. We're all pretty adventurous eaters and would appreciate any reccomendations for places that are reasonably priced, interesting, and/or uniquely Chicago? Besides restaurants recommendations for bars are, of course, most welcome. Thanks!
Is there a particular part of the city (or suburbs) where you will be staying and/or spending time, so that we can provide recommendations that are in the immediate vicinity?
I think the one "can't miss" inexpensive specialty in Chicago is our Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. There are a lot of places serving great pizza here, and the chains (with the exception of non-downtown locations of Uno's) do quite a good job of maintaining consistent quality across many locations. Take your pick - double-crust "stuffed" pizza from Giordano's, Edwardo's, or Bacino's, or single-crust "pan" pizza from Lou Malnati's, Pizano's, Gino's East, or the original location of Uno's - you can't go wrong with any of these. You can phone your order ahead of time if you want to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake; you can find their menus and locations on their websites. All the above chains have multiple locations throughout the city and suburbs.
And, we have some excellent Mexican restaurants. Before you start thinking, "Oh, we have those at home", please realize that these feature very creative provincial Mexican cuisine. Take a look at the menus on the restaurants' websites and you'll see what I mean. For a summary of our best and most creative Mexican restaurants:
There are two more inexpensive options close to the downtown areas. Greek Town is just west of the Loop, within walking distance. For a discussion of Greek restaurants in Greek Town, including addresses and website links, see www.chowhound.com/topics/119233 Chinatown is about three miles away, an easy ride by cab or CTA (Red Line). I recommend Lao Sze Chuan, in the Chinatown Mall. Not fancy, but great Chinese food. www.laoszechuan.com
Fox and Obel is worth a mention, too. It's an upscale gourmet grocery store, just a wonderful place to shop for prepared foods as well as basic ingredients. They also have a cafe in the rear that's open day for a meal or a snack. www.fox-obel.com
So those would be my top recommendations. You can find more detailed discussions about specific types of food here in these other topics:
Brunch and Breakfast:
Two other inexpensive options are Vietnamese food on Argyle Street near the Red Line el stop, and Indian food on Devon Avenue between Sacramento and Western.
Enjoy your stay!