Chicago, the windy City, I have found memories of my time there. I lived there with my wife for a little while, and just got back from exploring the City with our kids. One of the craziest experiences there happened on the 4th of July. We were driving along Lake Shore Drive, a highway-like road that runs along the Lake (an amazing way to enter the City), when things came to an abrupt halt. The fireworks display the City puts on was just starting, and people were so excited, they just stopped in the middle of the road. Everyone got out of there cars (some people not too happy) and we all watched the fireworks. It was the most bizarre and cool experience and I will never forget it. Another thing I will never forget, the food. Here are some great places to stop for a bite to eat.
Go for the View:
I know going up the Willis Tower is a huge draw when visiting Chicago, but I would highly recommend the Signature room on the 95th for a better viewing experience. From high atop the Hancock building, you'll get sweeping views of Lake Michigan and the city. There's a private elevator that takes you to the restaurant, which is an upscale experience. For me, the brunch that the restaurant offers provides the best bang for your buck.
Caffe Oliva has a perfect location. It is right on the beach and offers amazing views of the Lake. Even better, it's right next to the Navy Pier. The menu has a variety of foods, including flatbreads, fish tacos, salads, burgers and even steak. This would be an amazing spot to stop with the kids and have a bite.
Talk about a great view! The restaurant sits atop the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel and right across the street from Millennium Park. The restaurant has a vaulted glass dining room, as well as a patio for dining outside. The menu includes some amazing options like the spring tagliatelle.
Want to eat above the Chicago Stock Exchange? Yes? Then stop on by the elegant Everest Restaurant. The views from here are amazing, as is the French cuisine you’ll be served.
The LH rooftop is a 3 tier bar/small bite establishment. It is on top of the London House Hotel, and offers some of the best views in the City.
One of the best experiences we had while in Chicago was at the Grand Luxe Café. It's a perfect location right on Michigan Avenue. You'll actually enter just around the corner and take an escalator up a floor to the dining room. The best seat are along the massive windows overlooking Michigan. The food was above what I expected and the amount of food my kids got was mind boggling. I mean, I probably wouldn't be able to finish the kids spaghetti. The waiter was extremely helpful. Good stuff.
When I talk about Chicago, I have to bring up Bandera. They got me to do the impossible, eat a veggie burger. That's just not something my Midwest genes allow, but they did it. It's now the only thing I order there, not because of lack of options, but my love for it runs deep. The location is prime as you're 1 story above Michigan Avenue.
The Rainforest Café is a such a cool experience. It's a restaurant, where the interior has been made to look like a rainforest, with a variety of animated animal puppets. Every 20 minutes or so there's a meteor shower that rumbles (might be a little intense for kids under 4) and the place comes to life. I know it's a chain, but this is a must do for families. While the kids will love it, for the adults, I kid you not when I say they served my wife the best burger either one of us have ever eaten, and it was huge.
This restaurant is conveniently located along Michigan Ave. It's a popular place with a tapas-style menu, which includes a variety of pork. They have dishes like pork ossobuco, Pork Belly and blade steak, but does have other options as well. Whether you want to have seafood, chicken or pasta, there's a lot to choose from.
When I first got to Chicago, the first places I went was to Giordano's. I ordered a medium, even though the server tried to talk me down. Well, I couldn't even get through half of it. Chicago style pizza is huge! Like a cheesy brick of goodness. If you’re in the mood for some good deep dish, I recommend the Giordano’s at 130 E Randolph St, it’s just north of the Millennium Park, where you can walk over and see the Cloud (the big shiny bean.)
A little different, a little fun:
If you want a great view of the city, try a dinner cruise! I like the Mystic Blue Dinner, which leaves from the Navy Pier, because it's a more family friendly experience. The dinner is buffet style and kids under 3 cruise for free. Enjoy the views of Chicago while you eat, then dance the night away with the DJ.
Serving what might be the best burger in Chicago, this spy-themed restaurant is a unique experience. You're actually given mission during the meal! The restaurant serves a wide variety of food, such as: sandwiches, ribs, chicken and meatloaf. A great options for families!
Looking to have a little fun? Do you want a show? Stop by Tommy's Gun Garage. This is an interactive speakeasy themed dinner show. You'll watch the actors perform, and then you might participate as well.
Enjoy Latin Cuisine in this fun and festive environment. Teh amazing options include entrees like: Arrachera, Peruvian chicken and Yucca Gnocchi.