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Best local eats in Chicago, IL

Best local eats in Chicago, IL

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I love food. It’s an integral part of my travels. From vans selling food on the side of the street to fancy restaurants, I don’t discriminate when it comes to my food.

So, when I traveled to Chicago, I felt like I was in food heaven.

As with most large cities, at times it can be hard to find great places to eat without some planning. Before visiting, I turned to a friend who had lived in Chicago for 4 yrs for my local eats suggestions, and this is what I’m sharing this with you today!

For my friends traveling to Chicago for a long weekend, make sure you check out this long weekend in Chicago guide from Footsteps of a Dreamer.

local eats chicago

Here are my suggestions (tried and tested!) for the best places to eat when visiting Chicago:

Wildberry Pancakes

A short walk from Millenium Park, Wildberry Pancakes is an incredibly popular cafe with local Chicago residents. As the name implies, these guys are famed for their pancakes and wildberry flavoured breakfasts.

When visiting, make sure you show up early (near opening time) or use the “busyness” function on Google to ascertain when is the best time to visit.

I visited around 9 am, only to find upon leaving (around 10 am) that there were lines leading out the door!

Cost $10 – 15 per plate

Best local eats Chicago: Wildberry Pancakes

Fall special, pumpkin pancakes topped with spices!


Little Goat Diner

Little Goat Diner was my favourite café in Chicago. This cute café serves yummy sandwiches, and their signature chilli cheese fries is a MUST TRY.

When ordering here, I almost didn’t order the cheese fries (woes of travelling solo and not having a big stomach), but I am so glad I took the dive!

Needless to say, the leftovers made for a good dinner.

Similar to Wildberry Pancakes, you’ll need to plan your timing when visiting Little Goat Diner. The cafe is incredibly popular with local Chicago residents – there is often a line!

Cost $15 – 20 per plate

Best local eats Chicago: Little Goat

Reuben sandwhich with chilli cheese fries


The Bongo Room

Breakfast lovers, you have come to the MECCA. This cafe is the best-est of the rest-est, and you need to get your asses here ASAP.

Located a couple of doors down from Myopic bookshop, spend the morning browsing an envious collection of used books (and maybe take a couple of books home with you!) before stopping by at The Bongo Room.

Similar to Wildberry Pancakes, make sure you come soon after opening time or use the Google busyness function to make sure you don’t spend hours waiting in line.

Cost: approx. $15+

Best local eats Chicago: The Bongo Room

Red velvet pancakes, topped with walnuts and drizzled with maple syrup and creme


The Gage

Right across from Cloudgate (“the bean”), The Gage has the best fish and chips outside of England. The fish is fresh, lightly battered, so the batter is crunchy, but melts in your mouth. There is also an extensive alcohol and mocktails menu if you are so inclined.

The Gage is a great lunch/dinner option near Cloudgate that doesn’t make you feel like you’re in a tourist trap.

Cost $20 – 25+

Best local eats Chicago: The Gage

Fish & Chips


Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant

Words cannot describe the fondness I hold in my heart for the neighbourhood of Pilsen, Chicago. The area is eclectic; filled with vintage stores, authentic Mexican food and street art on every corner you turn.

The best place to visit in Pilsen for Carnitas?

Carnitas Uruapan.

Here, you’ll find freshly made Carnitas from a family owned establishment. Pull up at one of the booths and select something to eat from their authentic menu.

Even at 3pm (I know, a weird time to have lunch!) there were a lot of local residents visiting for a bite to eat!

Cost $5 – 10

Best local eats Chicago: Carnitas Uruapan

Carniatas in Pilsen

La Michoacana Premium (Del Panda)

Potentially the most Instagrammable spot in Chicago, La Michoacana serves up Mexican ice cream and ice pops (also known as Paletas!)

For only $2.25 per ice pop, these are perfect on a sunny day or when you feel like a sugar hit (for me this is all the time!!)

Cost $2.25

Best local eats Chicago: La Michoacana Premium

Mexican ice pops



Have you been to Chicago? What were some of your must eats??

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