In the great city of Chicago, you can very easily survive on deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and sport peppers alone.
But what about date night? Or what if you just want to spoil yourself? We have you covered.
Here are five fancy places in Chi-town that are definitely worth the splurge, from tapas joints to classic brunch spots. Just trust us.
There's a lot more to our city guide, so check out the full thing here.
Spiaggia: In the 30 years it's been open, Spiaggia has accumulated all of the accolades that draw in destination diners, from a James Beard win for chef-partner Tony Mantuano to a Michelin star. What's really important, though, is that despite (or perhaps because of) having been open for decades, the kitchen continues to consistently impress diners, including President Barack Obama, with well-executed Italian cuisine.
The Purple Pig: The phrase "have you been to The Purple Pig?" comes up often if you ask food-loving Chicagoans for restaurant recommendations. Headed by James Beard-winner Jimmy Bannos Jr., the no-reservations spot serves a variety of tapas ranging from "smears" (think roasted bone marrow with herb salad and sicilian sea salt) to more substantial plates, like pork belly rillons with a honey mead glaze. It's a must-visit destination that attracts both tourists and Chicago residents, so brace yourself for a long line.
Longman & Eagle: Longman & Eagle has a ridiculous amount of stuff going for it. To start, it's a farm-to-table focused American restaurant serving dishes like marinated octopus with boudin noir pudding, ricotta salata, boquerones, fingerling potato chips, and green olive caramel, as well as a wild boar sloppy joe with crispy sage, onion, pickled jalapeño, housemade sesame seed bun, and beef fat fries. It's also an honest-to-god inn as well, with killer interior design and rates as low as $95 per night. Plus, there's an off-site bar (the OSB) with its own small menu and cheap drinks ($2 PBR, FTW). Oh, and did we mention that on Saturday and Sunday, the OSB turns into a donut shop pop-up? It's a hive of activity, all of it intriguing, and it's definitely worth a visit.
The Publican: You might make friends at one of the massive communal tables at this brunch hotspot from Paul Kahan, but no matter how much you like them, you won't want to share your order of pork rinds. Or your syrup-braised bacon. Or any other pork-centric dish, really—this place is one giant tribute to everyone's favorite magical animal. If you're not big on the pig, the fried egg–topped frites are nothing to scoff at.
A10: Named for the Autostrada A10, the highway connecting Italy and France, A10's menu appropriately reflects influences from both of those country's seminal cuisines. The menu features appetizers (labeled as "for the table"); the obligatory small plates; a range of substantial, inventive pastas like spaghetti with beef heart bolognese, and pappardelle with chicken confit; and several large plates like octopus a la plancha, which is served with couscous, Calabrian chile pesto, salsa verde, and cauliflower.
For our full list of recommendations of Chicago's coolest restaurants and bars, continue reading on the MUNCHIES Guide to Chicago.