Below are my top 11 favorites (in no particular order):
1. Kuma's Corner
2. Lady Gregory's Irish Bar & Restaurant
Located in the delightful neighborhood of Andersonville, Lady Gregory's features a mile long list of whiskeys. Try their Ultimate Grilled Cheese with candied bacon and their Mac and Cheese with bacon. Noticing a trend yet? The first time I ate here, the summer menu featured a Guinness cheesecake that was so delectably rich, I couldn't eat it all in one sitting. A rarity.
3. Smokin' Woody's
I probably ate at this restaurant the most during my time in the city. It was a top favorite for ordering-in. The pulled pork sandwich and cornbread are to die for. The rest of their sides offerings are so-so. After eating at multiple bbq restaurants, it is my top choice for pulled pork. Eating at the restaurant is ok but extremely small, only 4/5 tables, cash only. I recommend their delivery service.
4. Ann Sather
Best ever cinnamon rolls! Even if you don't eat at the restaurant, go get their cinnamon rolls. (in writing this post, I discovered they publish their recipe online) So delicious. If you decide to stay for breakfast, try the French Toast Fantasy. It is made with their signature cinnamon rolls and is recommended by Rachael Ray. Go hungry because it's huge.
5. Bat 17 (technically Evanston, IL)
6. Homeslice Pizza
Sweet Mandy B's just down the road. Hopefully they will have some of their lemon cupcakes left.
Located in the North Center neighborhood, this cafe is very unassuming. In fact, my friend and I discovered it by accident. We were biking to another well known cafe and decided we were too hungry for the trip involved. We saw Marmalade and said what the heck we'll try it. Marmalade quickly became our go-to brunch spot. My favorite item is the multi grain hotcakes but if that is too basic for you, try any one of their numerous french toast or Eggs Benedict's choices.
8. The Bongo Room
9. Yes Thai
Chicago has an abundance of Thai restaurants. The closest one to my apartment was Yes Thai on Damen. I already liked cashew chicken before eating at this restaurant but after eating here, I became addicted. I could drink their homemade special sauce. So good. Hint: if you like a lot of sauce like me, order it "wet". I have tried to duplicate this dish with no success.
10. Tango Sur
An Argentinian steakhouse located in the Southport corridor, this restaurant serves huge delicious portions. The dish I ordered with steak and sides was easily shareable. Tango Sur is a big hit with all my restaurant friends as well especially if you want steak.
11. Sweet Baby Ray's Smokehouse
In case it isn't obvious already, pulled pork, burgers and mac n cheese are my favorite out-to-eat foods. Yum.