Restaurants in Illinois
Order Italian meatballs or one of Vinny’s famous sausage “sangwiches.”
Americanizing Neapolitan-style pizza, Coalfire, as the name suggests, cooks their pies in an 800-degree oven heated by coal instead of the traditional wood. Even though the city is known for deep dish, this Noble Square is quite popular with locals who love the thin crust.
This hip Windy City café is another big supporter of fresh ingredients from regional markets and farmers. There's always a "griddle cake" on the menu, but the ingredients change according to season and whim.
Priscila Satkoff, who grew up in Mexico City, opened Salpicón in 1995 after realizing the shortage of authentic yet modern Mexican cuisine in Chicago.
Opened in 1924 (and not much changed since), this is the oldest restaurant on Route 66.
The Chef: Rick Bayless is often credited with introducing Americans to more refined south-of-the-border cooking at his Chicago restaurants Frontera Grill and Topolobampo (a favorite of the Obamas).
Hawaiian-born Shin Thompson synthesizes high art and fine cuisine at Bonsoirée, an American Nouveau hotspot that began as an undergound operation back in 2005.
Inspired by the traditional pizzerias in Naples, this Ravenswood eatery is known for its authentic, fresh ingredients. True to tradition, Spacca Napoli bakes each of its Neapolitan pies in a custom-built, wood-burning oven that is decorated in a mosaic of Bisazza glass.
Since its opening in the former Ambassador East Hotel in 1938, this Gold Coast landmark has hosted such guests as Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Humphrey Bogart, and Ronald Reagan.
Just steps away from Oprah’s Harpo Studios, the unfussy Wishbone is a favorite among staffers for southern-inspired fare that tends toward the lighter side: grilled or blackened fish, vegetarian hoppin’ john, and North Carolina-style pulled pork.