Chicago More Than Hot Dogs and Pizza

Because Poshports' home base is in Chicago, people are always asking us for food recommendations. Where's the best hot dog? Where's the best pizza? Although Chicago has both of those tasty treats in spades, there's oh so much more to enjoy while visiting our magnificent city. And, while Chicago is now home of such fine culinary destinations as Alinea and Tru and numerous other fine dining establishments, we thought we'd put together a few of our favorite "everyday" restaurants for your consideration.

Orange Garden 

Orange Garden, 1942 West Irving Park Road, Chicago IL

Located in our old neighborhood of North Center this is the oldest Chinese restaurant in Chicago. From the original neon sign in front to the old school waiters who get food on your table almost as fast as you order it, this is a wonderful restaurant. Expect traditional dishes made with super fresh ingredients. Chow mein, Chow Fun, Lo Mein and one of our favorites, Egg Foo Young, top the list of many delicious choices. The Orange Garden also has one of the best egg rolls in the city. Order the veggie egg roll and you won't be disappointed. Don't expect anything fancy here; this is a small family-owned and operated restaurant. But if you want great tasting authentic Chinese food be sure to stop in.

 

Sabatino's Restaurant, 4441 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL 

If you want an old school Italian restaurant experience, Sabatino's is the place for you. Be sure to make a reservation though, because this place gets super-crowded on most evenings. More like a traditional supper club, Sabatino's will ensure that you go home with a full stomach and stories of all the people you saw at this Chicago institution. A neighborhood restaurant, Sabatino's is still the haunt of many Chicago Italians who can tell a tale or two about the "old days." The Lobster Special on Wednesday nights is a downright ridiculously good value. It includes soup, salad and pizza bread starter. Their homemade soups are very good and they offer a full typical Italian menu with favorites like Chicken Parmesan, Farfalle Boscaiola, Tortelini Bolognese, fresh fish specials and so much more. For a special evening save room for table-side prepared Baked Alaska, Bananas Foster, Cherries Jubilee or Peaches Flambe - they're all wonderfu and make for a fun show. Expect fantastic service and a lively atmosphere. There's also a sing-along piano bar in the lounge that can get pretty animated. Free valet parking is available.

Oak Tree Restaurant 

Oak Tree Restaurant & Bakery, 900 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL

If you're going shopping or just strolling on Michigan Avenue this is a fabulous spot to stop for breakfast or lunch. Everything is made from scratch with the freshest ingredients in town. If you don't have the time to sit and eat they have a to-go counter at the bakery. Their specialty is definitely their unique variety of artisanal breads . You will get a lovely bread basket on your table with an explanation of each bread of the day and the opportunity to order some to take home right from your table. It's so easy - and dangerous for us bread lovers! They also have unique drinks, juices and smoothies. Try the ginger lemonade. It's light, refreshing and delicious. The menu has all-day breakfast offerings, gorgeous salads and tempting sandwiches. Try to get a seat by the windows and you can watch the well-healed Gold Coast crowd dash about below.

Picollo Sogno 

Piccolo Sogno, 464 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL

Chef Tony Priolo and wine-expert Ciro Longobardo are what keep us coming back to Piccolo Sogno year-after-year. Their "little dream" has become one of our go-to restaurants for ourselves, as well as a failure-proof place to take our out-of-town visitors. From the minute you step inside you feel like you've walked into a lovely restaurant in an Italian village. A Chicago native, Chef Tony learned his craft while watching his Grandmother prepare family favorite dishes. This Chef with a heart-of-gold brings his love and passion to everything that comes out of the kitchen. Using the best ingredients available from San Marzano tomatoes to mozzerella from Naples, Tony's dishes provide his guests with a glimpse into Grandma Priolo's kitchen. The elegant but relaxed decor makes guests feel like they are dining in the home of a good Italian friend and the amiable servers are more than happy to help share their knowledge with you to ensure you enjoy your meal. Piccolo Sogno boasts one of Chicago's largest and most affordable Italian & Sicilian wine selections thanks to Ciro. Don't be intimidated just ask for a recommendation -they are happy to help! If you're here during the warmer months Piccolo Sogno also offers one of the largest and prettiest outdoor patios in Chicago for you to relax and enjoy your meal. Try the salt-encrusted branzino - it is amazing. 

Shaws  

Shaw's Crab House, 21 East Hubbard Street, Chicago IL

Some people may jibe us for picking a Lettuce Entertainment establishment BUT, say what you will, we always have great food, great service and fun EVERY time we eat at Shaw's. We also love the Oyster Bar for a more casual dining experience. Many a story and drink have been shared in that wonderful little bar. The quality of the fish is excellent, whatever you order. Sushi, crab cakes, oysters, lobster - it's all delicious. Expect a fine dining experience in the main dining room, which feels very clubby and special. And, you absolutely must save room for their delicious Key Lime Pie, which we think is one of the best in the city.

 

Santorini, 800 West Adams, Chicago, IL 

It's no secret that we love Greek food and one of our favorites in Chicago is definitely Santorini in Greektown. The minute you walk in and smell the fireplace burning you feel like you've walked into an authentic Greek taverna. Just like their namesake island, Santorini offers an amazing fresh seafood selection. Whether you stick to the appetizers of charcoal-grilled octopus or kalamari, or try the traditional Greek spreads and combination plates you will not be disappointed. There are so many dishes that are delicious but one of our favorites is Shrimp Santorinni - butterflied Colossus shrimp baked in butter, garlic and parmesan cheese. Free valet parking is available, which is always a plus in the sometimes very crowded Greektown corridor. 

Pizanos Pizza Chicago 

If you just gotta have our hot dog and pizza recos, here they are. For pizza we love Pizano's. The crust, whether you like thin or their pan style, is buttery and crispy. The ingredients are fresh and delicious. If you like sausage don't miss theirs - it's a classic made with their special family recipe.  Hot dogs - well this isn't so easy. We love Wiener Circle and Gold Coast for the classic Chicago "garden dog." But if you want a unique sausage experience go to Hot Doug's. You can still get a classic dog, but they also have many unique offerings that will expand your mind about what amazing combinations can be made with meat and a bun. Be warned - prepare to wait in a long line they are super popular and it's cash only at Hot Doug's. 

 

This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to Chicago eateries we couldn't possibly list ALL our favorites and believe us there are many. Let us know where you like to eat in Chicago and maybe we'll just go there and report on it.