Best restaurant lists have usually treated fly-over country as a non-factor. Until now. 

CondeNast - Sorry, Los Angeles, but this is the best restaurant city in America right now. You may think it's all steakhouses and encased meats here, but there's a reason the James Beard Foundation moved its awards show to Chicago in 2015: The city's chefs are some of the nation's most creative and their restaurants are downright satisfying, whether you're balling out on the riotous good time at Roister, having the best burger of your life at Au Cheval, or the greatest spicy tuna roll this side of Tsukiji at Katsu.

I'm not going to break down the list of 19 restaurants they want you to try but you should take a look and make a trip to the Windy City for some excellent eats. I will however comment on the spots on the list I have been to.

The Publican

Love this place. It has a very laid back atmosphere and the food is ridiculous. They're known for their meats (get the charcuterie) but don't sleep on the above pictured oysters. Just a cool place with great beer.

Pequod's Pizza

I'll be the first to admit that a Chicago stuffed pizza can be a bit much at times. Also it's less pizza than a casserole. But if you haven't had one of these pizzas then you haven't had the best stuffed pizza out there. The caramelized cheese around the outside is divine and the sausage is pleasantly spicy. There's ALWAYS a wait here but it's worth it.

Mr. Beef

Much like the above Pequod's, you're probably pretty familiar with the food that Mr. Beef serves. What you don't know is how much better their Italian Beef is than pretty much anyone else's. I'm not sure what the secret is but their Italian beef just tastes more Italian-y. It's a mess to consume but totally worth it.

Au Cheval

I'll be honest with you here. Au Cheval serves an excellent burger. But it's not necessarily worth the wait that usually comes with eating there. My tip. If you get there and the line is way too long, and it will be, just walk a block down the road and go to Grange Hall Burger Bar. Just as good in my opinion and way less stuffy. And cheaper. Just my take.


Just kidding. I've never been here. But if you want to front me the $300+ it costs to go there I'd be happy to dine with you. I'll even drive.

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