136 N. La Salle Street
Old World charm and authentic Italian cuisine is at its finest in the heart of the Chicago Loop. Located adjacent to the Cadillac Palace Theatre inside the Hotel Allegro, 312 Chicago is presided over by executive chef and Italian native Luca Corazzina. Taste your way through plates of silken Burrata cheese, pappardella bolognese, and Mediterranean branzino (a skin-on sea bass with yellow pepper puree, crab meat, green onions, radishes, fresno peppers, lime juice, olive oil and micro cilantro) so fresh you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Italy for dinner.
Eleven City Diner
1112 S. Wabash Avenue
This classic hybrid Jewish deli/American family diner tips its hat to a bygone era by balancing the warmth of a 1940’s soda fountain nostalgia with a clean, modern design. Vintage revolving doors, fully functional antique silver soda jerks, an old-fashioned candy counter, white pharmacy tiles and 1920s art-nouveau fixtures add to its charm. And to our kids’ delight, breakfast is served all day!
The 11 City French Toast is crafted from fresh baked challah, strawberries, bananas and toasted coconut. Our kiddos absolutely LOVED their fluffy buttermilk pancakes topped with chocolate chips and whipped cream, while I went for the delicious Smoked Scottish Salmon platter (friction smoked, hand-cut, no nitrates, no sugar).
The super friendly, attentive service here is worth a special mention: even though we were tourists and first-time diners, we were greeted and treated like neighborhood regulars.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria
438 N. Wells Street
Considered the oldest family name in Chicago pizza, Lou Malnati’s has stayed true to the original Chicago style deep dish pizza recipe first created in the 1950’s. Lou’s is famous for its buttery, flakey crust; sweet and tangy tomatoes; gooey mozzarella cheese; and perfectly seasoned sausage. If you’re craving the best deep dish around, Lou Malnati’s is the place to go!
Revival Food Hall
125 S. Clark Street
Revival Food Hall is a massive 24,000 square foot venue located in the heart of The Loop on the ground floor of The National—a 20-story restoration of a historic 1907 Daniel Burnham-designed building.
A kaleidoscope of all-local, artisanal purveyors prepare a variety of dishes for virtually every discriminating palate: Mexican fare, pizza, sandwiches, barbecue, baked goods, ramen, poke (my favorite), seafood, gelato, salads, coffee, cocktails and wine. You won’t find any restaurant chains here - most of the stalls are occupied as offshoots of small restaurants and food trucks that have been established in other neighborhoods.
43 E. Ohio Street
With 63,000 square feet of space, dozens upon dozens of aisles of groceries, and 20-plus different restaurants and bars – Eataly’s is a foodie’s Italian-cuisine themed Disneyland.
Arguably the most popular restaurant here is La Pizza & La Pasta features two of the best-loved Italian dishes: Napoli-style pizza and al dente pasta. Grouped together in the southwest corner of the second floor, they share a menu - making this the most immediately appealing area for a group that includes all ages.
True to form, the kids opted for the Margherita pizza, and then had to stave off the adults grabbing a slice (or two). This delicious dish is the real deal folks and quite possibly the best Neapolitan pizza in the city – boasting both a beautifully charred crust and the perfect balance of crisp exterior to airy, soft interior, a light brushing of tart and slightly sweet tomato sauce and a smattering of just-melted tangy mozzarella. Yum!