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Deep dish pizza and hotdogs (no ketchup!) are probably the first two dishes you think of when eating in Chicago. But the dining scene in the Windy City is so much more than that. Foodies flock to Chicago to eat creative meals at groundbreaking restaurants and the finest cuisine from Michelin-starred chefs, as well as sample different flavors from all over the world. Instead of hopping on a plane, just take the CTA train to any of these eight restaurants. Your taste buds will feel like you’ve traveled the globe—no passport required—and you’ll even earn Orbucks, good toward more travel, on your meal when you join Orbitz Rewards Dining (sign up is easy and it’s free!).

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Azul18 in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Azul 18

Azul 18

There’s lots to love at this breakfast and lunch spot in the heart of Pilsen, a vibrant, artsy Chicago neighborhood that’s home to one of the largest Mexican populations outside of Mexico. The restaurant is all about authentic Mexican flavors in dishes such as chilaquiles and breakfast burritos. But there’s a decadent side of the menu, too, thanks to dishes like the s’mores nutella French toast. Azul 18 is also BYOB, which means your south of the border brunch can be even more festive. 1236 W 18th St

Forno Rosso in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Forno Rosso

Forno Rosso

The West Loop is home to many buzzy restaurants, and this Italian spot is one of them. If you’ve ever had pizza in Italy, then you know the pies here are the real deal. The owners adhere to the traditional rules of Neapolitan pizza-making, which includes paying close attention to the exact temperature of water and the type of flour used for the crust. In other words, that’s amore! 3719 N Harlem Ave

Owen and Engine Chicago

Photo courtesy of Owen & Engine

Owen & Engine

This Logan Square gastro pub is filled with British charm. There’s an inviting fireplace, cozy wooden interior and a large selection of beer (yes, many of them from the UK) on tap. The menu features upgraded English classics (think bangers and mash, fish and chips) that make this pub experience top-notch. 2700 N Western Ave

Aruns in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Arun’s


This upscale mainstay on the city’s Northwest Side (Albany Park, to be exact) celebrates all the opulence that Thai culture has to offer. The dining room (which went through a major renovation in 2017) is beautiful, but the fine dining menu is even more impressive. The pre-fixe multi-course menus change nightly, but you can expect classics like massaman beef curry and mee kati coconut noodles added into the mix. 4156 N Kedzie Ave

India House in Chicago

Photo courtesy of India House

India House

Because it’s located in the River North neighborhood downtown, it’s easy to stop by India House for lunch during a day of sightseeing. But allow for a little extra time here. The lunch buffet features more than 200 items (including classics like tandoori chicken and all the naan you can eat), and you’re going to want to sample as much as your stomach will allow. 59 W Grand Ave

90Miles in chicago

Photo courtesy of 90 Miles

90 Miles Cuban Café

With three Chicagoland locations (including one in the Roscoe Village nabe), you know this restaurant is doing something right. And that something is churning out authentic (and affordable) Cuban cuisine in a festive atmosphere. There’s a variety of empanadas to choose from, the Cubano sandwich, and the ropa vieja, which is shredded beef with onions, peppers and garlic in a house creole sauce served with rice, beans and plantains. Every dish is a homerun here. 3101 N Clybourn Ave

Resi's in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Resi’s

Resi’s Bierstube

North Center and Lincoln Square are traditionally two of the Windy City’s biggest German enclaves, and that’s where you’ll find Resi’s. Since 1973, this long-standing restaurant and beer garden has been serving up German brews, schnitzel and just about everything else that pairs well with lederhosen. The late night hours make this a good spot to wrap up the night. 2034 W Irving Park Rd

Las Tablas in Chicago

Photo courtesy of Las Tablas

Las Tablas

This Colombian steakhouse is a neighborhood favorite in Lakeview; area residents flock here for date nights, birthday celebrations and everything in between. The lively atmosphere is great, but what really keeps everyone coming back are the different cuts of steak seasoned with authentic Colombian spices and flavors. And even though meat makes up a big bulk of the menu, vegetarians will be happy to see plenty of options for them, too. 2942 N Lincoln Ave

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Kevin Aeh

Kevin Aeh

Kevin Aeh is an editor/writer based in New York City. He covers lifestyle, travel, and pop culture; and his current obsessions include finding the best eye cream, booking a trip to Cuba, and binge-watching Lady Dynamite on Netflix. His writing has appeared in Time Out New York, Furthermore from Equinox, Refinery29, Vulture, and more.

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