Heading to Chicago for ALA? Bring your appetite! It would be impossible to create an objective list of the best food in Chicago, so this post will focus on two categories: food near the McCormick Place convention center, and a small selection of some of the most iconic, representative, or renowned restaurants within reasonable distance of McCormick Place. Be sure to ask other Chicagoans for recommendations when you’re here; you’re sure to hear something different from everyone!
Near McCormick Place
Unfortunately, McCormick Place isn’t in a great location. Food choices near there are sparser than in many other parts of the city. (Chinatown, one mile away, is a noteworthy exception.) Still, there are some great options if you know where to look. Below I’ve listed recommended restaurant names, addresses, and distance on foot from McCormick Place.
Baderbräu, 2515 S Wabash Ave, 0.7 miles
A large taproom and 11 beers brewed on-site.
Reggie’s Chicago, 2105 S State St, 0.8 miles
Live music, lots of beers, and tasty inexpensive pub food just a 15 minute walk from McCormick Place.
Acadia, 1639 S Wabash Ave, 1 mile
This well-respected upscale restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine, including an excellent burger. It’s a pricier option, but beloved of foodies.
Café Bionda, 1924 S State St, 1 mile
You can’t go wrong with Italian food, and Café Bionda is just a 20-minute walk from McCormick Place.
Harold’s Chicken Shack, 612 S Wabash Ave, 1 mile
This local fried chicken chain is known for their delicious selection of sauces.
MingHin Cuisine, 2168 S Archer Ave, 1 mile
The dim sum and pork dishes are highlights of this Cantonese restaurant in Chinatown.
Opart Thai House Restaurant, 1906 S State St, 1 mile
This family-owned restaurant serves authentic Thai food. When I asked some friends their favorite restaurants in the city, this place came highly recommended, and it’s only a mile from McCormick Place.
Qing Xiang Yuan Dumpling, 2002 S Wentworth Ave, 1.4 miles
Dumplings including a huge variety of meats, with vegetarian options too. The lamb is especially liked by customers.
Bongo Room, 1152 S Wabash Ave, 1.5 miles
Bongo Room is the place to go for breakfast and brunch. Try the White Chocolate and Caramel Pretzel Pancakes or the Chocolate Tower French Toast.
Go 4 Food, 212 W 23rd St, 1.5 miles
Delicious Chinese-fusion food at great prices in Chinatown.
Worth a Trip
These restaurants will require a longer commute, but they’re well worth it! If you want to venture out and experience some of the best Chicago has to offer, give these a try.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, 805 S. State Street, 2 miles
If you try one local dish in Chicago, make it the deep dish pizza. There’s a lot of debate about where to get the best pie, but Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is one great option not too far from McCormick Place.
Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen, 1141 S Jefferson St, 2.3 miles
President Obama is a fan of this Jewish Deli serving gigantic corned beef sandwiches.
Continue reading ALA Annual Visit: Eating Out in Chicago