Chicago is an incredible city when it comes to food, and one of its most admirable qualities is how its chefs have each other’s backs. Chef Zoe Schor has learned much from her peers – and had some truly wonderful dining experiences along the way. Read on for a few of her tastiest spots…
Mi Tocaya is one of my top Chicago restaurants. Its menu is modern Mexican, with an array of familiarly comforting dishes mixed in with new ones. Plus, it has the best rice and beans I’ve ever had (among many other things) so I asked its chef, Diana Davila, for a rice-cooking lesson, and she graciously taught me how they make beautiful rice every time! Check out this iconic Logan Square restaurant for inspirational, delicious food in a vibrant atmosphere and with fantastic local artwork showcased on the walls.
Hyde Park is a Chicago neighbourhood known for many things (being home to a beloved past President and the University of Chicago, to name two) but one of the best is a more recent addition. Virtue is a Southern American restaurant opened by acclaimed chef Erick Williams in 2018. Frequently lauded as one of the best in the city, this restaurant gets every single thing right – food, ambiance, hospitality. They make a mean cocktail as well!
All Together Now
Right here in my West Town neighbourhood is one of my favourite unassuming spots. All Together Now is part all-day café and part marketplace, with a wide selection of natural wines, ranging from familiar labels to funky pét-nats (natural sparkling) you’ve never heard of. Stop in for a dynamite baguette and a wedge of creamy cheese to go, or stick around for a sandwich and a glass of wine. Founder Erin Carlman Weber is usually around to talk you through their products if needed, but the whole team is terrific and always willing to help. This is a great little spot to shop local while elevating your dining experience.
As the owner of a restaurant that offers fried chicken, it’s not often I go out and order more of it! If I get that craving, though, I’m lucky to have some of the best fried chicken the city has to offer just down the street. And Soulé offers so much more than fried chicken – this creole-infused soul food menu has many stars, including the BBQ shrimp, the fried catfish, and the mac and cheese, to name just a few. Get yourself to this new Chicago classic if you can!
Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio
If you’re in the West Loop, make sure you stop into Monteverde restaurant and pastificio. Scoring a table at this modern Italian eatery is still a challenge more than five years in, but the best seat in the house is at the bar. Get glimpses of the action in the kitchen, take a peek at its beautiful pasta being made, enjoy its wonderful wine and cocktails, and feast on its full dinner menu. Sarah Grueneberg is at the helm of this Chicago gem, but the team is large and very talented, with 2021 Chicago Rising Star chef Bailey Sullivan serving as the kitchen’s chef de cuisine.