Chicago Food and Wine Tours
Discover the distinctive tastes of Chicago
Perched on the southern shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the culinary jewel in the United States’ crown. It’s a big city with a small town feel, which explains how it somehow still manages to punch above its weight when it comes to food, culture, and atmosphere. This thriving metropolis is the home of the blues, jazz, grand architecture and most importantly, mouthwatering cuisine. With a stunning skyline, sprawling parks and more museums than you can count, Chicago offers a little bit of everything, along with an eclectic array of food and drink sure to thrill any foodie.
Food is an important part of the culture here, and it’s safe to say that the inhabitants of the city have put their own distinctive spin on some of world’s favourite dishes. Keen to sample cuisine from thousands of miles away without walking more than a few blocks? Look no further than the Chi-town neighbourhoods of Greektown, Chinatown, Devon Avenue’s ‘Little India’, and the succulent soul food centre that is Chatham.
The city is best known for innovative twists on fast-food classics, and a dish synonymous with this part of the world is the Chicago style pizza. The most revered is the deep-dish version: Tall, with a crispy outer crust; lashings of cheese, meat and vegetables topped with a rich tomato sauce and baked to perfection - what more could you want? Admittedly, taking on one of Chicago’s famous pizzas is not for the faint-hearted, but you can eat assured that there are plenty of comfortable bars dotted around if you need a post-meal sit down.
Chicago’s distinctive take on another fast food classic - the hot dog - has seen it gain a reputation as the dog’s undisputed home. Described as having been ‘dragged through the garden’, what makes the Chicago hot dog unique is the neon-green sweet-pickle relish lathered onto a beef sausage. There’s plenty of debate about exactly how Chicago gained the nickname “the Windy City”, but almost all locals agree when it comes to condiments. Ketchup with your hot dog is a big no no, and you’ll be refused it by most street sellers. The best variation of this classic all-American staple can be found at hotdog authorities The Wieners Circle and Gene & Jude’s.
Chicago is also a perfect destination for those who love a tipple, with the second highest bars-per-capita ratio in the United States. Although many major local breweries closed during Prohibition, today the city boasts a number of microbreweries and brewpubs that offer tasty beer and behind the scenes access. Throughout the year Chicago hosts beer festivals aplenty, including Chicago Craft Beer Week, Chicago Beer Classic, and the Festival of Barrel-Aged Beers.
If fine dining is more your thing, then fear not. Chicago is home to a considerable number of upmarket restaurants. Look no further than Lincoln Park and Wicker Park, which are home to highly regarded restaurants and several celebrity chefs. A world leader in molecular gastronomy, Grant Achatz, runs Alinea, one of only two three-star Michelin restaurants in the city.
Chicago is without doubt one of America’s most exceptional dining destinations. But what else would you expect from a city that takes its food so seriously? Add in a dash of spectacular architecture, a stunning lakeside location and a laidback atmosphere, and you’ve got an all-American recipe for a tantalising foodie adventure.