World Class Dining: Chicago's Incredible Ethnic Food Scene
Chicago is the glowing jewel of the Midwest, the home of your favorite Italian Beef sandwich and deep dish pizza. Despite being one of the largest cities in the United States, as well as one of the most diverse, most people don't realize that there is an absolutely epic culinary scene cooking just beneath the surface. While we love the Chicago staples, shouts to Buona Beef and their sandwiches, we can't help but wonder why more people don't know about all of the incredible ethnic food around the city. As you walk through town you'll notice that your dining options can dramatically change simply by crossing the street. We'll save you time and effort though and pull together a few of our favorite ethnic spots in town. Get ready to loosen your belt and satisfy your taste buds because these places are delicious.
We're going to start by taking a cab down to Wicker Park where we'll hop inside of Urbanbelly, the Asian fusion joint run by world renowned Chef Billy Kim. Kim got his start in the culinary world by training at Le Lan as well as Charlie Trotter's which called Chicago home from 1987 to 2012. At Urbanbelly customers will be served authentic Asian food in a relaxed, low key atmosphere. Of particular note is the Urbanbelly Ramen which is filled with mushrooms, braised pork belly, a soft boiled egg, and some of the tastiest broth you can spoon up.
If you aren't up for some Asian food then that's fine, we've got another incredible restaurant literally a block away: Irazu. This popular joint is beloved in town for offering the finest, most authentic, Costa Rican food in the entire city. Irazu opened up back in 1990 by a family of Costa Rican immigrants and it has since become the one of the most popular dining spots in the city. The fun atmosphere would be enough to get us in the door, but the delicious menu is what keeps us coming back. We cannot say enough about their Chicharron and highly advise trying out the pork dish when you visit. If you aren't up for a big meal then you can go down the taco or burrito line to build something just as tasty. Did we mention that you can BYOB? Yeah, and there's also a liquor store right across the street.
So neither of those places hit the spot? You must be in the mood for something special. We'll trot across town now to the South Loop where we'll find the best Cuban food in the Midwest: Cafecito. You'll find plenty of Cuban restaurants in the city but none of them will hit the spot quite like this Chicago staple. Cafecito is focused on providing you with completely fresh and natural ingredients, specialty roasted coffee, and the kind of service that only a family owned restaurant could offer. The restaurant is owned and run by Philip Ghantous and you can often see him working right alongside the rest of his staff. Whether you need to start your day off with authentic Cafe Con Leche or you are hankering for a Ropa Vieja at lunch, Cafecito is your spot.
We aren't going to anger the Chicago faithful by downplaying their Italian food but we do have to stress to our readers this simple fact: if you want it, Chicago has it. While we only talked about three great ethnic spots the truth is that there are countless delicious places to eat in the city and it's up to you to find them.