Chicago has been referred to as many issues: ‘the nice American metropolis’, ‘the Windy Metropolis’, ‘the second metropolis’… And though the latter was supposed as an insult when New York-based author A J Liebling penned it in a 1952 travelogue, Chicagoans have embraced the epithet, if solely to disprove it by displaying their metropolis is second to none — particularly in the case of eating.

Perched on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, Chicago has entry to a lot contemporary produce that farm-to-table isn’t a lot a novelty however extra an expectation — notably at high-end eating places. Over the previous 20 years, probably the most attention-grabbing of those have moved from the central enterprise district, often known as the Loop, to the previous industrial space, now referred to as the West Loop. Right here, on weekend evenings, diners wander the likes of Randolph and Fulton Streets, stopping for cocktails whereas they wait for his or her tables.

But, Chicago, because the cliche goes, is a metropolis of neighbourhoods, and a few of its finest and most beloved eating places are situated in residential areas, away from downtown. Lots of them share a deliberate lack of snobbishness and a willingness to combine advantageous and informal eating. Michelin-starred Kasama, as an example, is a restaurant in West City that serves distinctive pastries and breakfasts by day and a 13-course Filipino-inspired tasting menu by night time. In the meantime, Moody Tongue, in Bronzeville, serves as each a chic, experimental restaurant and a brewery.

As with many main American cities, Chicago has been formed by immigrants, in addition to arrivals from elsewhere within the US. Deep-dish pizza is a beloved native speciality — which, after all, advanced from the Italian model — however there’s way more moreover. Town has one of many largest Mexican populations within the nation, and in areas comparable to Pilsen and Little Village good birria (a meaty stew), tacos and carnitas (slow-cooked pork) are by no means far-off. 

Puerto Rican immigrants in Humboldt Park, in the meantime, invented the jibarito — a sandwich usually containing meat, salad and aioli, with fried inexperienced plantains as a substitute of bread. It’s now one of many metropolis’s signature meals. Town’s Greek Individuals, popularised gyros, spit-roasted lamb and beef in pitta bread. 

And black migrants from the Deep South developed ‘gentle sauce’ — a mildly spiced mix of barbecue sauce, ketchup and scorching sauce that’s a key accompaniment to the fried rooster served at rival chains Harold’s and Uncle Remus. 

Whereas Chicagoans may disagree over the place to get the very best rooster, one opinion isn’t up for debate — this metropolis, nonetheless you take a look at it, is first-rate for meals.