This guide is a slightly edited version of pages we created for out-of-town guests to our wedding on August 5, 2006. Thus, some of the information may be dated.
Yum yum, come and get it! We've chosen restaurants for this list on the assumption that visitors from out-of-town would prefer to try something unique to Chicago or a restaurant that has a special meaning to us.
Lou Mitchell's Restaurant and Bakery: A quintessential American diner. Great breakfast at a fair price! Their apple omelet is quite good. (Address: 565 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago. Tel: 312-939-3111.)
Ken Kee Restaurant: One of the cheaper Chinese restaurants that we love to go to, but they do an awesome job with their fried buns and their stir fried pea pod shoots. Great price/performance ratio! In Chinatown. (Address: 2129 S. China Pl., Chicago. Tel: 312-326-2088.)
Joy Yee's Noodle: Always busy, during mealtimes you're guaranteed a long wait at this hip Pan-Asian restaurant. Their menu includes practically everything from the Far East: Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean. They have the best Tapioca Pearl drinks you'll find in Chicago. Make sure to swing by after visiting Chinatown. (Address: 2159 S. China Pl., Chicago. Tel: 312-328-0001.)
Lao Sze Chuan: This is probably one of the best and most authentic Chinese restaurants in the Chicago city limits. Be careful: When the menu says "spicy," they really mean spicy. In Chinatown. (Address: 2172 S. Archer Ave., Chicago. Tel: 312-326-5040.)
Ethiopian Diamond: Do you like to eat with your fingers? Then this is the place for you, since Ethiopian food is traditionally eaten pinched between fingerfuls of injera bread. Homey with slightly kitchy decor, but this is a place where Ethiopians and Eritreans come to eat. Prices are reasonable too. (Address: 6120 N. Broadway, Chicago. Tel: 773-338-6100.)
Blackbird: We had a great experience our first time here as we sat next to two "food critics" who also commented that this is one of the best restaurants in Chicago. Yes, you get very little food for the amount you pay (which, in contrast, is a bit), but you'll remember every bite! (Address: 619 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Tel: 312-715-0708.)
Maggiano's: The Maggiano's Special House Salad, Stuffed Mushrooms appetizer, Riggatoni Chicken, and Eggplant Parmesian are highly recommended. It is a national chain so if you miss it here in Chicago you can probably find one near you! (Address: 516 North Clark St., Chicago. Tel: 312-644-7700.)
Pizzeria Uno/Pizzeria Due: The original Uno's Pizza started here in Chicago. The legendary Chicago style deep-dish pizza is a must have while you visit Chicago! The wait time is usually long and they do not take reservations, so we recommend that you drop in to reserve a seat early and shop in between. (Address: 29 E. Ohio, Chicago [Uno], 619 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago [Due]. Tel: 312-321-1000 [Uno], 312-943-2400 [Due].)
Sushi Samba Rio: This trendy and energetic Latino-Japanese restaurant serves delicious seviches and samba rolls. It's not cheap, but their sushi is excellent and it's a lot of fun (their restrooms have funky glass walls and an attendant who turns on the faucet for you). (Address: 504 N. Wells, Chicago. Tel: 312-595-2300.)
Bob Chinn's Crab House: This restaurant was rated the 5th highest grossing independent restaurant in the nation in 2005. And they do all their advertising by word of mouth! Their Alaskan King Crab Legs are great. This restaurant is a far drive up to Wheeling, IL (45 min from downtown) but is well worth it. On weekends, call ahead of time to make a "preferred seating" booking (they don't accept actual reservations). (Address: 393 S. Milwaukee Ave., Wheeling. Tel: 847-520-3633.)
Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba: Try out a little taste of Spain here! This restaurant serves Spanish tapas and paella. (Address: 2024 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Tel: 773-935-5000.)
Capital Grille: A great steak house! Their Caesar salad is amazing (fresh anchovies!) and their dry aged steaks incredibly tender. Not cheap; sides are ordered a la carte. (Address: 633 N. St. Clair St., Chicago. Tel: 312-337-9400.)
Wildfire Restaurant: The steaks and service are awesome! (Address: 159 W. Erie, Chicago. Tel: 312-787-9000.)
Tre Kronor: Located across the street from Anderson Chapel (where our wedding ceremony will be), Tre Kronor made it one year to Gourmet magazine's restaurant guide. Small and brightly lit, their omelets are a treat. This is also your opportunity to try lingonberries, a fruit used in Scandinavian cooking, as well as Swedish crepes. (Address: 3258 W. Foster Ave., Chicago. Tel: 773-267-9888.)