Trip Ideas

Tasting Illinois

Awaken your inner foodie and experience flavors that are unique, world-class and pure Americana – in Illinois. Rejoice in dishes from some of the world’s top chefs and delight in the friendliness and freshness in the many farm-to-table experiences. From family-owned restaurants with a long history baked-in, to the hottest new cuisines in the world, you can find what you’re craving in Illinois.

Acclaimed Restaurants

Some of the best and brightest, all under one roof.

The recipe for a unique food experience isn’t complete without a trip to one of these acclaimed Illinois restaurants made famous by their award-winning chefs. Savor flavors and dishes created not just for the palate but also for the eyes.

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    James Beard Award

    The James Beard Foundation recognizes excellence in all aspects of the food and beverage industry – from the chefs to the journalists who cover them.

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    Michelin Stars & Bib Gourmands

    Every year Michelin announces which restaurants will receive its coveted stars. In Chicago, you’ll find 19 Michelin-starred restaurants. And if you’re dining on a budget, the Bib Gourmand recognizes restaurants that are a great value.

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    alinea
    Alinea

    Named "Best Restaurant in America," Alinea is a four-star restaurant with hypermodern dishes created by Chef Grant Achatz, who was named Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation. Alinea is known for its tasting menu, where every ingredient is a thoughtfully considered culinary delight that provides an out-of-this-world experience.

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    goat
    Girl & the Goat

    Girl & the Goat has been serving fun foods, craft beers and making wine in a rustic environment since summer 2010. Known as much for its celebrated Chef Stephanie Izard as it is its vivacious cuisine, the Girl & the Goat has been turning heads and causing critics to take note. Most recently the James Beard Foundation has named Stephanie Izard the Best Chef in the Great Lakes.

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    blackbird
    Blackbird

    Blackbird restaurant in Chicago’s Randolph Street district is considered by many as the Godfather of the neighborhood, thanks to its emissary and world-renowned chef, Paul Kahan. His restaurant has led Chicago’s charge into fine dining for almost two decades – creating decadent dishes and winning awards by the crate. The good news is, Blackbird and Paul Kahan don’t show any signs of slowing down, which should bring a collective cheer from food lovers around the world.

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    june
    Topolobampo

    Rick Bayles has been perfecting his unique flair for Mexican cuisine in Chicago for years. Topolobampo is just one of his restaurants; offering an elegant and sleek experience – with exquisite touches you can both see and taste. Food judges around the world agree, and have awarded him a Michelin star and numerous James Beard awards for his efforts.

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photo: Lara Kastner/Alinea

Festivals & Events

Play with your food – heck we encourage you to party with it.

You can’t drop a fork without hitting a food festival or celebration in Illinois. So bring your appetite and your sense of adventure, and delight in some of the best Illinois has to offer.

photo: Andy Phelan

Dinner on the Farm

Dine in a kitchen that’s 39-acres deep.

There’s nothing like farm-to-table dining, and at Prairie Fruit Farms you’ll experience all of it firsthand - from milking the goats, to learning how cheese is made and of course dining on a farm enjoying the freshest Illinois has to offer. So grab your seat at the table and reconnect with friends in a setting like no other.

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TV Dinners

They might not all be four-stars, but they’re all stars in their own right.

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    17th Street Bar & Grill

    17th Street Bar & Grill has been captured on the small screen by the Food Network and the Travel Channel, mainly because Pitmaster Mike Mills is a barbecue legend and happy owner of four barbecue joints in Illinois.

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    The Shanty

    The Shanty is a place that once discovered, you’ll always come back. With its comfortable rustic atmosphere and friendly service, this truly is the place where quality food meets a great time, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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    Fast Eddie’s Bon Air

    Fast Eddie’s Bon Air is a real roadside diner, with food prices that haven’t changed in decades and thirst quenchers that do abide. Even though Fast Eddie’s was captured on the Food Network’s, Feasting on Asphalt with Alton Brown, it hasn’t let its celebrity go to its head.

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    Joe Rogers’ Chili Parlor

    Popularized on Man vs. Food – Joe Rogers’ Chili Parlor in Springfield is known for its flavorful chili recipe. Whether you like it mild, a touch of hot, medium hot, hot, firebrand, regular meat or extra meat, your chili isn’t created until it is ordered.

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Home Cookin’

Family-owned with a side of history.

Family knows best, that could be why there are so many family-owned restaurants in Illinois. With history’s long and storied, and dishes both hearty and delicious, you’ll taste the love in every bite.

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Famous Illinois Eats

Where the rich and famous are eaten.

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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.

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    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.

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    Chicago Hot Dog

    Considering the hot dog 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.

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    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.

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Sweet Pies

Save room for dessert.

When it comes to desserts, Illinois serves up some of the best; with fresh pies lining sills all across the Land of Lincoln, and their warm yummy centers satisfying the hungry appetites of everyone.

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Photo by Stephen Karl Metzer

Chocolate Delights

Sample the sweeter side of Illinois.

Treat yourself to something sweet, when you delight in the rich goodness of chocolate. Sample from some of the best in the state, country and the world.

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Explore More

See more of what Illinois is cooking up.

From restaurants, to festivals and more, there’s something for every palate throughout the state.

From our blog

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