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Discover the local flavors of Illinois’ exciting food scene

Taste Illinois

Michelin stars, local artisan tastes, farm-to-table, southern wine trails and the most idyllic craft brewery in the world.

Taste Illinois

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Michelin stars, local artisan tastes, farm-to-table, southern wine trails and the most idyllic craft brewery in the world.

Trip Highlights

What do Stars Taste Like?

26 Michelin Starred Restaurants

There’s never been a better time to be a foodie on the loose in Chicago.

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Michelin Starred Chicago Goodness

In November 2016, the Michelin Guide awarded stars to 26 Chicago restaurants, the most stars ever for our smoking hot restaurant scene. From celebrated three star stalwart Alinea, to new kids on the block Oriole, Roister, Smyth, and Bands of Bohemia, it’s time to break out your elasticated waist bands and make the most of that dinner reservation you made months ago.

Feeling frugal? Check out Bib Gourmand

The Michelin Bib Gourmand list is a fantastic guide to places with great meals at an affordable price. The 2017 Chicago list has 52 restaurants including: sushi, late-night Korean barbecue, Mexican neighborhood gems, seafood and craft beer gastro-pubs.

Linger in the Violet Hour

Crafted cocktails are big in Chicago. Head along to the Violet Hour in Chicago’s Wicker Park, for a stylish take on Pre-Prohibition cocktails or a Cocktail 101 class, which reveals the stories behind vintage classics. The Violet Hour won the 2015 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program, and pays a charming homage to the era it’s inspired by, with no cell phones allowed inside the lounge.

Local Specialties

Hot Dog!

Experience local food icons, with our guide to famous Illinois eats.

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Deep Dish Pizza

Deep-dish pizza is more than pizza, it’s a way of life, and in Chicago it’s become the favorite way to be served. After all, when it’s made in a cast iron skillet, that’s not just a pizza, that’s a meal.

Horseshoe Sandwich

What can be better than toast, topped with meat, topped with fries and slathered with a heaping dose of cheese sauce? Pretty much nothing! The Horseshoe Sandwich is an Illinois delicacy.

Chicago Hotdog

Considering the hotdog was introduced in Chicago at the World’s Fair in 1893, you’ll be inundated with a bevy of great locations to find one. Topped with yellow mustard, tomatoes, peppers, onions, neon green relish, dill pickle and celery salt, this dog comes with everything except the kitchen sink, and of course no ketchup.

Italian Beef

The Italian Beef sandwich originated in Chicago and dates back to the 1930s. Designed for cheap and easy eating in the stockyards, it quickly took on a legend of its own.

As Fresh as it Gets

Farm-to-table Faire

Taste true local flavors with Illinois farm-to-table dining.

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Epiphany Farms

Head south for lunch at Epiphany Farms in Bloomington. Every item on the menu is raised on Epiphany Farms or sourced from local farmers. You’re eating food grown within walking distance.

Prairie Fruits Farm

Meander onwards to Prairie Fruits Farm near Champaign who offer themed farm dinners from spring through late fall. The farm is a major player in the Illinois natural and local foods movement and an outdoor feast in the shade of their maple trees is a memory to treasure.

Firefly Grill

If you feel the urge for a midday snack (or a few afternoon libations), swoop down to Firefly Grill in Effingham. Firefly’s vision is a sustainable one, right down to the reclaimed building materials in the restaurant. And of course, all the foods are either grown on site, hand-picked locally or sourced from artisan farmers, foragers and fishermen.

The Cream of the Crop

Local Delicacies

Award-winning artisan cheeses and farmers’ markets.

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Marcoot Jersey Creamery

As you continue south, stop off at Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, set in the rolling hills of Bond County. This landmark Jersey creamery, another seventh-generation local family business, specializes in handcrafted artisan farmstead cheeses. Grab yourself some of their award-winning cheese for a picnic lunch, and a selection of other local delicacies, then press on to Carbondale in southern Illinois.

Carbondale Farmers’ Market

If you’re in town on a Saturday April through November, check out the Carbondale Farmers’ Market where the freshest and finest produce grown in southern Illinois plays the starring role. An eclectic group of local farmers and producers gather offering everything from fruits, veggies and eggs to seafood, sausages and baked goods.

Fine Wines & Foraged Beer

Award-Winning Wineries & Brews

Savor the flavors and drink in the lush scenery.

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Shawnee Hills Wine Trail 

Take your time on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, a 25-mile scenic drive through the hilly Shawnee National Forest with twelve award-winning wineries. Some of the wineries even offer lodgings.

The Scratch Brewing Company

A stone’s throw from Shawnee National Forest, outside the tiny town of Ava, you’ll find a 1920s farmhouse that doubles as the Scratch Brewing Company. Scratch is a fresh trend in micro brewing where adventurous brewers create distinctly local beers by hunting for interesting, forest-grown ingredients.