Salt-roasted beets Photos: Jeff Marini

Spend enough time on Michigan Avenue and you realize just how special the Purple Pig actually is. Here, tucked between a Corner Bakery and a Bank of America in the center of the city’s tourist vortex, is a restaurant that doesn’t dumb itself down to cater to the gawking masses. The crowded spot’s porcine pleasures are many, from fried egg croquettes with chorizo to pig-tail-stuffed piquillo peppers. Rich, yes, but also light enough that you can slam several small plates without stuffing yourself. Since the Pig doesn’t take reservations, there’s always‚ always a wait, even (and especially) at lunch, though it’s not torturous to endure when you’re stationed on their sizable patio with a glass of wine. (Values abound, as many bottles clock in under $50.) It’s the rare tourist-friendly restaurant that even the most discerning native can love.

Pork spare ribs
Octopus à la plancha
Whipped feta