Chicago is becoming quite the culinary super-city as of late. The city has hosted the James Beard Awards multiple times, boasts many delicious food-fueled festivals that bring in people from across the US, and has a great number of amazing restaurants that often serve as the central planning point for trips to the area.
Here at Jumper Media we’ve been using Instagram data to put together lists of the most Instagrammed restaurants in major cities like San Francisco, San Diego, and Denver – so of course we had to write one about Chi-town.
Whether you root for the Cubs or Sox, rep the North Side or South Side, we think you’ll love our list of Chicago’s 25 Most Popular Restaurants on Instagram.
It only seems right to start the list of Chicago’s most popular restaurants on Instagram with a pizza joint. However, Pequod’s isn’t actually “Chicago style” pizza. That said, their caramelized crust has been accepted as Chicago’s own, and people relish the opportunity to visit this restaurant for another taste.
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24. Imperial Lamian
Chicago has it’s own Chinatown, but that’s not actually where Imperial Lamian is located. La mian is a type of noodle similar to ramen, but you’ll want to save room for their delicious bao buns.
Portillo’s has many locations, but their fans will tell you that these are not nearly enough to satisfy their cravings. This fast food joint always has a line, and workers loudly yell out order numbers with cheesy rhymes. The uninitiated may not understand Portillo’s appeal, but Chicago natives live for their chopped salad, cheese fries, and Italian beef.
22. The Allis
Soho House Chicago is a member’s only club, but The Allis is mercifully open to the public. Grab your mom or your girls and head in for high tea. The cute china and delicate finger sandwiches pair together for the perfect Insta shot.
21. Sawada Coffee
The food and drink isn’t the only Instagrammable element at this coffee shop. Sawada Coffee is located right in the heart of Fulton Market, an artsy district that inspires creativity. Street art stylings reign supreme in this district, and make for the perfect background to your morning coffee fix.
The matcha latte (hot or iced) is out of this world.
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20. The Publican
The Publican is the type of place where you bring someone you’d like to impress. Though the name is associated with their butchery, Publican Quality Meats, this location is all about providing an elevated dining experience.
19. Revival Food Hall
Bad at making decisions in a group of friends? Check out Revival, one of Chicago’s newest food halls, located right in the hotspot of where business professionals spend their days. It’s a great pick for lunch or after work drinks and food, with a number of Chicago favorites represented: Furious Spoon, The Budlong, Antique Taco, and so many more.
Mahalo is relatively new to the scene, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants on Instagram. This festive Hawaiian kitchen has two levels, but you’ll want to check out the rooftop for the best Insta shots.
17. Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits
Do flaky crusts get you excited? How’s this for a two in one: a Chicago restaurant that produces delicious pies and biscuits. Satisfy your savory and sweet needs at Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits.
Beatrix is so many things to so many people that it’s hard to summarize in just a sentence or two. So here’s what we love about this booming restaurant concept:
- Multiple locations around Chicago for easy access
- Many gluten-free options
- Local, natural ingredients
- Amazing flavors
Many indulgent meals leave you feeling like crap afterwards, but Beatrix is just as good for you as it is delicious.
15. The Hampton Social
If you’ve been binge watching Gossip Girl on Netflix, indulge your Upper East Side alter-ego with a night out at The Hampton Social. They fully support the lifestyle of #RoseAllDay, with a sophisticated East Coast vibe.
14. Goddess and the Baker
Goddess and the Baker is a concept from Goddess and the Grocery, which is one part grocery store, one part eatery. Goddess and the Baker focuses more completely on the dining aspects, with specialty coffee, pastries, and sandwiches.
13. Summer House Santa Monica
Summer House Santa Monica is just one of Lettuce Entertain You’s fantastic Chicago restaurant locations. As the name implies, the interior transports patrons to the breezy beaches of California, which is perfect for when the winter months approach. Stop by for happy hour, dinner, or even just one of their delicious baked goods.
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12. Duck Duck Goat
Duck Duck Goat is just one of Stephanie Izard’s restaurants that have made this list of Chicago’s most popular restaurants on Instagram. But it’s important to understand how each one is distinct in its contribution to the local food scene. Specifically, Duck Duck Goat identifies with “reasonably authentic Chinese food”.
11. The Purple Pig
“Cheese, swine, and wine” is the promise made before you enter The Purple Pig. It’s not hard to see why this is one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants on Instagram, as these three things are among the most obsessed about in the city!
10. Stan’s Donuts and Coffee
Chicagoans love Stan’s so much that there’s a location near many major CTA stops. Like another one of Chicago’s most popular restaurants on Instagram at the end of this list, their donuts are made with all dietary restrictions in mind. That’s right, both gluten-free and vegan options are available! If their donuts are not enough of a sweet treat, try an indulgent milkshake.
9. 3 Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware
You haven’t brunched like a boss until you’ve made it into the 3 Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware. Of course, the challenge is in getting there early enough—there’s always a wait, and there are no reservations! A gorgeous interior makes for the perfect background to your Insta photos.
8. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
At this point in this list of Chicago’s most popular restaurants on Instagram, you shouldn’t be surprised to see another dessert feature. But Jeni’s isn’t just another ice cream shop. They serve up premium ice cream with enchanting flavors such as peach lassi buttermilk, black cat espresso, and Bangkok peanut.
Right around the corner from Bar Siena is a delightful ordering window dispensing bombolini, Italian hole-less donuts. In lieu of a hole, you can request delicious filings that include flavors such as Nutella, salted caramel, and vanilla bean custard. Depending on the time of day, you can also grab a coffee, gelato, or after dinner drinks, all at Bombobar.
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6. Firecakes Donuts
The name says it all—these donuts are fire. Everything at Firecakes is made in a small batch, with gluten-free options available so that nobody feels left out.
5. Girl and the Goat
Executive Chef Stephanie Izard won Bravo’s Top Chef, but that’s really just the beginning of her culinary accolades. Girl and the Goat is her biggest restaurant project to date, and is known by Chicagoans as a place to celebrate something special—something for more than just a birthday or anniversary.
4. Lou Malnati’s
Lou Malnati’s tops all native Chicagoans list of best deep dish pizza makers. Give it a try for yourself with their cheap deep dish lunch special! And if you just can’t get enough and live outside Chicago, you can actually ship a pizza to your doorstep.
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3. Eataly Chicago
Chicagoans and tourists alike are #obsessed with Eataly Chicago, a multi-story, multi-station, and multi-restaurant Italian super store. Come in to see what they hype is all about at their cannoli bar, gelato station, or stay for dinner at one of their many restaurants. For some added fun, look out for their frequent special events.
Wine and a cannolo? Dreams do come true. #EatalySummerFling – – – EAT & DRINK: Our Cannoli Bar is now offering vino and marsala to pair with your cannolo! Choose from sweet moscato, refreshing prosecco, Canella Blood Orange Mimosa, or marsala. Don't forget that you can choose your filling and your toppings at the Cannoli Bar, too! ?: @azradc #myEatalyChicago
2. Little Goat
It’s hard to get into Girl & the Goat with a reservation, as you’ll need to book your table months in advance. If you want a more convenient taste of Stephanie Izard’s expert brand of cooking, try your luck at Little Goat, right across the street.
1. Au Cheval
Au Cheval plays host to Chicago’s best burger, which is a high honor—there are a lot of excellent burgers in Chicago. “Au Cheval” in food terms means “a fried egg on top”, so make sure to indulge accordingly! You may also want to add on the thick-cut peppered bacon. Of course, this is all assuming you make it through the line that forms everyday in front of this establishment!
The Most Popular Restaurants on Instagram
If you liked this article, consider checking out more from our “Most Popular Restaurants on Instagram” series:
- San Francisco’s Most Popular Restaurants on Instagram
- Denver’s Most Popular Restaurants on Instagram
- San Diego’s Most Popular Restaurants on Instagram
- Portland’s Most Popular Restaurants on Instagram
Want us to write a piece on Instagrammable restaurants in your city?
Leave us a note in the comments!