Chi-Town Bucket List: 17 Chicago Restaurants You Must Try Before You Die

UrbanMatter here, giving the ultimate bucket list on the various Chicago restaurants and destinations you must try before you die. There’s no time to waste, so let’s get started!



Hot Dog @ Gene & Judes

Gene & Jude's Hot Dogs
Photo Credit: Gene & Jude’s Hot Dogs

2720 North River Road, River Grove

Gene & Jude’s is a restaurant in Chicago that has been perfecting the effortless combination of Chicago-style hot dogs and hand-cut fries since 1946.



The Mac @ Cheesie’s

Photo Credit: Cheesie’s Instagram

Multiple Locations


This Chicago restaurant has the cheesiest concoction you’ve ever laid your eyes on: American cheese, cheddar cheese, and homemade macaroni and cheese, all spread on a Texas toast and grilled to perfection!

Read More: 8 Best Sauces to Order at Buffalo Wild Wings


Deep Dish Pizza @ Lou Malnati’s Pizza

Lou Malnati's Pizza
Photo Credit: Lou Malnati’s Pizza Instagram

Multiple Locations 

Be aware–one piece alone can send you straight into a food coma. Lou Malnati’s is one of the many pizza restaurants in Chicago. For authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza, this Chicago restaurant does not disappoint…ever.



Bone-In Ribeye @ Steak 48

Steak 48
Photo Credit: Steak 48 Instagram

615 North Wabash Avenue


Perhaps the best steakhouse in Chicago, Steak 48 specializes in expertise dining, curated cocktails, and of course, quality steaks.

Read More: What Questions Should I Avoid On a First Date?


Caramel Crisp @ Garrett Popcorn

Garrett Popcorn
Photo Credit: Garrett Popcorn Instagram

Multiple Locations

It’s Garrett Popcorn shop…need I say more?


Cake Shakes @ Portillo’s 

Portillo's Hot Dogs
Photo Credit: Portillo’s Hot Dogs Instagram

Multiple Locations

Whoever thought to put cake in a shake? Portillo’s has many significant staples, from their classic Chicago-style hotdogs to their chocolate cake, but their Cake Shakes take the limelight.


Biscuits & Gravy @ Honey Butter Fried Chicken

Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits
Photo Credit: Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit Instagram

 3361 North Elston Avenue

Experts in everything fried, Honey Butter Fried Chicken holds a special spot in the hearts of Chicken biscuit lovers. I mean just look at it!

Read More: 6 Popular Sandwiches to Get at Jimmy Johns

Hot Chocolate @ Mindy’s Hot Chocolate

Mindy's Hot Chocolate
Photo Credit: Mindy’s Hot Chocolate Instagram

1747 North Damen Avenue

If you haven’t heard of Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, get off this post and head there. NOW.


Italian Beef Sandwich @ Al’s Beef

Al's Beef
Photo Credit: Al’s Beef Instagram

Multiple Locations

Pegged as “the sandwich that started it all”, this Italian Beef sandwich, is a juicy and tasty mesh of all things wonderful.


Buffalo Chicken Taco @ Velvet Taco

Velvet Taco
Photo Credit: Velvet Taco Instagram

1110 North State Street

Notorious for their delicious tacos, you must try their Buffalo Chicken Taco if you don’t try anything else: crisp tenders, house buffalo sauce, Danish bleu cheese, ranch crema, carrots,  and micro celery, all within a flour tortilla.


Phil’s Pizza

Phil's Pizza
Photo Credit: Yelp

102 West 35th Street

For the best thin crust pizza in Chi, this quaint, counter-serve joint has got the special touch.

Read More: Popular Blizzards to Order at Dairy Queen This Weekend, Ranked

Kimchi  & Fried Chicken @ Ramen-San

Photo Credit: Ramen-San Instagram

Multiple Locations

Chicago has a vibrant ramen-eatery scene, and Ramen-San is definitely a must! Specializing in delicious ramen bowls and Japanese whiskey, the Kimchi & Fried Chicken with fried garlic and buttered corn is an all-time favorite.



Xurro Instagram
Photo Credit: Xurro Instagram

3755 West Armitage Avenue

A Chicago sweet spot, Xoco Factory is where you go when you want stellar Mexican churros.


Steamwhich @ Chicago Bagel Authority

Chicago Bagel Authority
Photo Credit: Chicago Bagel Authority Instagram

Multiple Location

Being the best-steamed sandwich joint in Chicago, there are honestly too many sandwich combinations to just try one. Check out their menu and pick away–I promise, it’ll be your favorite lunch spot in no time!


Pierogi @ Pierogies Heaven

Pierogies Heaven
Photo Credit: Pierogies Heaven

169 North Wells Street

Dumplings stuffed with varying meats and fillings, this Polish delicacy is quite unforgettable.


Rainbow Cone @ Orignal Rainbow Cone

Original Rainbow Cone
Photo Credit: Original Rainbow Cone

9233 South Western Avenue

A classic ice cream parlor, continuing to dominate the ice cream scene since 1926, there’s nothing like these Rainbow cones.


Burger @ Au Cheval

Au Cheval
Photo Credit: Au Cheval Instagram

 800 West Randolph Street

Au Cheval is an upscale diner, with the best Chi-town burgers both ridiculously juicy and sophisticated.