Where to Eat in Chicago

Sumi's interior.
A mouth-watering dish at Sumi Robata Bar.

Eat Like a Local

Notable residents share their favorite Chicago spots.


By Elaine Glusac
Photography by Bob Stefko (Sumi Robata Bar)

Glusac’s Picks | Virtuoso Life contributor and Chicago resident:
  • Frontera Grill: Chef Rick Bayless’ seminal introduction to authentic, regional Mexican cuisine is as colorful as the folk art on its walls—and still worth the two-margarita wait. 445 N. Clark Street; 312/661-1434
  • Sumi Robata Bar: This 35-seat Japanese grill reinvents the stuff meeker restaurants avoid, from beef tongue to chicken gizzards. Sit at the bar to watch the wizardry, as off-the-clock chefs do. 702 N. Wells Street; 312/988-7864
  • Spiaggia: This is refined, special-occasion Italian (try the squid ink tagliolini with crab), in a great location overlooking Oak Street Beach. President Obama has been known to celebrate here. 980 N. Michigan Avenue; 312/280-2750
Patricia Barber’s Picks | Jazz singer and pianist:
  • Girl & the Goat: Chef Stephanie Izard is “boldly innovative with her food combinations. One dare not question; it is sweet surrender.” Go when it opens at 4:30, Barber advises—the place is always packed. 809 W. Randolph Street; 312/492-6262
  • Park Grill: Set in landmark Millennium Park, “Park Grill is all light and cheer,” says Barber. “The stunning Chicago skyline and wonderful food and wine make for a luxurious afternoon.” 11 N. Michigan Avenue; 312/521-7275
  • Anteprima: “It’s a friendly, happening, upscale Italian restaurant where the owner is always on hand to show you his new favorite wine,” she says. “Restaurants are supposed to feel and taste like this.” Look for it in the homey, shop-filled Andersonville neighborhood. 5316 N. Clark Street; 773/506-9990
Ryan LaRoche | Executive chef, Park Hyatt Chicago’s NoMi Kitchen restaurant:
  • Au Cheval: “The food they do is perfect,” LaRoche says of this West Loop gastro-diner. “The atmosphere is awesome: intimate and dark, which is a perfect after-work vibe. And they play Wu-Tang—anyone from my lifestyle/generation/profession appreciates good hip-hop.” 800 W. Randolph Street; 312/929-4580
  • Davanti Enoteca: “It’s literally two blocks from my house in Little Italy and has the best thin-crust pizza in Chicago. Not all of us enjoy pizza three inches thick.” 1359 W. Taylor Street; 312/226-5550
  • Tank Noodle: LaRoche says this Uptown Vietnamese shop has some of the best pho in the city. “If you happen to find yourself a little foggy on a Sunday recovery day, pho is an excellent cure. The portions are ginormous, and the beer is ice cold (just the snake that bit you).” 4953 N. Broadway; 773/878-2253
Andre Alexander | CEO and executive producer, The Second City:
  • RPM Italian: Owned by Bill and Giuliana Rancic of reality television fame, this modern River North hot spot provides people-watching to match its Italian fare (start with the Venetian snacks called cicchetti). “I love the ambience and the food is terrific,” Alexander says. 52 W. Illinois Street; 312/222-1888
  • Topo Gigio: A spaghetti-and-meatballs classic just down the street from Second City. Alexander calls it “a great family-owned spot.” 1516 N. Wells Street; 312/266-9355
  • Hub 51: He says this River North crowd-pleaser draws a great mix of people and offers something for everyone, from tacos and two-fisted burgers to sushi and salads. 51 W. Hubbard Street; 312/828-0051
Originally appeared in Virtuoso Life magazine, November 2013.

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