The very best way to get to know any city is to venture outside of the downtown area or city center and check out as many cool neighborhoods as possible. If you love great food and drink, then you definitely want to explore the many wonderful spots for breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee, and snacks. Chicago neighborhoods have no shortage of fantastic places to indulge your taste buds and I have pulled together another roundup of my tasty travels in “The Windy City.” Let’s get started!
Wicker Park continues to grow from a once strictly “hipster” Chicago neighborhood into a more diverse and trendy part of town. All along Division Street, North Avenue and Damen, you will find great ramen, sandwiches, vegan fare tacos and British pub fare.
Wondering where to find some great coffee to fuel your day? Well, you should check out Caffe Streets which is pouring carefully crafted cups of caffeine. The space is simple with windows that look out onto Division St. Bring your laptop, a newspaper or a book and get some work done. Or, simply zone out and watch the crowds stroll by. Light pastries are sold on site.
Caffe Streets is located at 1750 W. Division – Take the Blue Line to the Division ‘L’ stop.
A couple of blocks from Caffe Streets, you will find Empanadas 5411, a great place to grab a taste of Argentina. Whether you are hoping to satisfy your sweet or savory tooth, you will love this little nook. I really dig the empanadas made with bacon, dates and goat cheese, as well as the ones with chorizo, black beans, and eggs.
Empanadas 5411 is located at 1659 W. Division. – Take the Blue Line to the Division ‘L’ stop.
River North is one of the most popular Chicago neighborhoods for dining. The number of restaurants and pubs here can give you whiplash.
If you are looking for a meal with a great view of the Chicago River, head to River Roast. It’s part restaurant and part catering hall. You can show up with a crowd and enjoy some tableside carvings of roast chicken, pork, beef or fish. Or, you can order singular dishes all for yourself.
I stopped in the over the weekend to celebrate the Chicago Cubs with this gorgeous bucket of mussels in a spicy chorizo broth. Wowza!!!
Don’t forget to order a cocktail because the good folks at River Roast know how to make them strong and balanced.
River Roast is located at 315 N. LaSalle – Take the Green, Orange, Blue, Brown, Purple or Pink Lines to the Clark/Lake ‘L’ stop.
If creative tacos and sandwiches are more your speed, stop in at Big and Littles, the brainchild of two childhood friends. I love the crispy, samurai whitefish tacos.
Big and Littles is located at 860 N. Orleans – Take the Brown or Purple Line to the Chicago ‘L’ stop.
One of the absolute best places to score some pie in Chicago is at First Slice Pie Cafe.
This place has been recognized for having the best apple pie around but you will not be disappointed with any of the sweet or savory options at this adorable corner spot. The owners are supporting local farms so you can be sure that the very best seasonal fruits and vegetables made it into the pies you choose.
On a recent visit to First Slice Pie Cafe, I devoured slices of their balsamic raspberry pear pie and the light and lovely French Silk pie. Look how gorgeous they are!
You can order whole pies or stop in for a slice with your coffee, tea or hot chocolate. The whole pies run around $22 and the slices are around $3.50. Fabulous!
I will be back soon to try the homemade soups, sandwiches, quiche, and salads 😉
Another wonderful note about First Slice is that they give back to the community by feeding the hungry. So, you can feel good that you are helping our Chicago neighborhoods with every bite of pie you eat.
First Slice Pie Cafe is located at 5357 N. Ashland – Take the Red Line to the Berwyn ‘L’ stop.
Another really fun pub in Andersonville is LIttle Bad Wolf. They offer some tasty, hearty burgers and great drinks.
I really enjoyed their crab cake, an ahi poke taco and a zesty al pastor bao.
The mussels that my table neighbors were eating looked pretty great, too. I’ll be back to try those!
Little Bad Wolf is located at 1541 W. Bryn Mawr – Take the Red Line to the Bryn Mawr ‘L’ stop.
Check out my earlier post for some other great spots to eat in Andersonville.
The Duck Inn is a converted house with a groovy bar area, main dining room and THE BEST backyard patio in Chicago. The food and the drinks are top-notch and the bartenders feature a “brink your own vinyl” night on Sundays. Brunch is fabulous, too. You will not find a more attentive and caring restaurant staff in Chicago!
On my most recent visit to The Duck Inn, I tried a lovely salad and a crispy sea trout with truffled parsnips. So delish!
The Duck Inn is located at 2701 S. Eleanor – Take the Orange Line to Halsted and transfer for the #62 Archer bus to Loomis.
If you are looking to satisfy your taco craving, then you should head over to Antique Taco which recently opened a second location here. The original spot is in Wicker Park.
I stopped by yesterday to celebrate Taco Tuesday and Election Day. I went with my favorite garlic shrimp tacos made with super crispy kale, basil-avocado salsa, and elote cauliflower.
Since I didn’t eat breakfast, I indulged in the Al Pastor which did not disappoint me 🙂
Antique Taco is located at 1000 W. 35th St. – Take the Orange Line to the Halsted ‘L’ stop and transfer to the #8 Halsted bus.
In case you haven’t heard, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series and, the next day, I hopped the train up to Wrigleyville to soak up all of the excitement, along with every other breathing human in Chicago.
When I finished snapping photos in front of Wrigley Field and I chatted up the locals, I grabbed some lunch at the much beloved Uncommon Ground.
I sat in the back room in front of a sunny window and enjoyed a cup of vegetarian chili and a super fresh salad.
Whether you are visiting Chicago in the summer or looking to check out this lively and historic neighborhood, check out Uncommon Ground for coffee, drinks or some good pub food. On certain nights, there is live music.
Uncommon Ground is located at 3800 N. Clark St. – Take the Red Line to the Addison ‘L’ stop.
If you plan to visit Chicago, don’t miss Lincoln Park on the north side of town. It’s home to the Lincoln Park Zoo, a concentrated residential neighborhood and what seems like a gazillion eateries.
Fork & Tine is one of the lovelier spots to dine in Lincoln Park. They focus on seasonal ingredients and the menu changes often.
On a recent visit, I stopped in for a late lunch in their brightly lit atrium and I enjoyed this super flavorful deviled egg with miso and shishito peppers.
Next up, I sucked down these almond stuffed dates dressed with tzatziki and bacon chutney. Nice!
I finished off my lunch with a fresh kale salad accompanied with grains, figs, and feta cheese. Fork & Tine really massaged that kale like a pro! 😉 This salad undid most of my indulgences from the previous day.
Fork & Tine is located at 1417 W. Fullerton – Take the Red Line to the Fullerton ‘L’ stop.
Lakeview is one of the most well known Chicago neighborhoods on the north side. It encompasses Wrigleyville, Boystown and North Halsted. It is also home to the new, stellar cured fish spot known as Snaggletooth.
Snaggletooth is a bi-level, tiny and unique addition to the Chicago food scene. I stopped in last Sunday morning to check out their bagels, schmear bar, and cured fish. This place totally lives up to the hype I have heard for weeks on end.
I sampled the delicate jasmine trout but, ultimately, I chose an open-faced, pumpernickel bagel with the AMAZING trout pastrami, kimchi schmear, and fennel slaw. Oh. My. God. I left salivating and I have been dreaming about nothing else since. Of course, I will be back for the gravlax, lime hamachi, and octopus.
I took the other half of the bagel and hit the schmear bar to decorate it with every schmear option on site. So good!
The coffee at Snaggletooth is delicious, too. They also offer a variety of caffeinated and herbal teas, as well as some tropical juice drink blends.
(UPDATE: Snaggletooth has since closed but check out these 13 Great Lakeview Restaurants in Chicago.)
OPA!!! Greektown is one of the Chicago neighborhoods that transports you to the Mediterranean and there are plenty of places from which to choose.
I headed over there on Friday to pay a visit to Santorini which prides itself on their super fresh fish selections.
It had been a minute since I dined at Santorini and, so, I was due to indulge in some fish, imported olive oil, and their attentive staff.
I started with the traditional egg and lemon soup and I followed with the grilled swordfish and oven roasted potatoes. All great choices!
The soup was extra lemony just as I like it and the swordfish was cooked to perfection. An ample amount of zesty olive oil adorned my plate.
The potatoes at Santorini are a creamy, crispy dream 🙂
Santorini is the perfect spot to daydream about the lovely Greek island of the same name while eating some delicious and healthy food.
Santorini is located at 800 W. Adams. – Take the Blue Line to the Clinton ‘L’ stop.
You’re all set, folks! Thanks for stopping by. Now, hop the rails and check out these wonderful Chicago neighborhoods and the yummy restaurants and cafés in each one. What are some of your favorite Chicago neighborhoods for great food and drink? Do tell! Leave me a comment and I’ll get back to you.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses these tasty Chicago neighborhoods. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!