It’s no secret that touristy areas, no matter where you travel, tend to attract restaurants with high prices and bare-minimum creativity. Whether you’re entertaining out-of-towners or just making the rounds to Chicago’s most popular sights, eat at these places to avoid the sub-par tourist traps.
At sustainable seafood shop Brown Bag Seafood Co., you can opt to go ultra-healthy (lemon-broiled whitefish atop quinoa, brown rice, and spinach), unapologetically indulgent (buttery lobster roll and truffle-parmesan tater tots), or somewhere in between (battered fish tacos dressed with jalapeno wheels and pickled onions).
340 E. Randolph St., 312-496-3999
A four-block walk north of the stadium will bring you to Tac Quick Thai, where you’ll want to request the not-so-secret-anymore secret menu to order treats such as neua dad deaw (Thai beef jerky), kuay teaw reua (boat noodles with pork skin, brisket, and beef meatballs), and pad ped pla duk (spicy, crispy stir-fried catfish).
1011 W. Irving Park Rd., 773-327-5253
Steer off Michigan Avenue to unassuming Italian market L’Appetito, where the deli in the very back serves massive Italian sandwiches stacked with genoa salami, mortadella, fresh mozz, and marinated artichokes—plus a damn good New Orleans-style muffaletta, too.
30 E. Huron St., 312-787-9881
Let the lemmings line up for Bubba Gump while you tuck into Tiny Tavern, an offshoot of Lincoln Square’s beloved Tiny Lounge. Expertly mixed cocktails such as the summery cucumber- and lemon-tinged Tito’s Hammock and similar decor—from the honey-toned wood walls to the intimate booths—will transport you the mothership on Leavitt Street.
600 E. Grand Ave., 312-374-3923
Inconspicuously tucked into the first floor of a highrise and well worth the 10-minute stroll from Shedd, Adler, and Field, Little Branch Cafe serves sumptuous smoothies, killer breakfast burritos, stellar daily quiches, and melty panini.
1261 S. Prairie Ave., 312-360-0101