With some of the America's best chefs calling the city's restaurants their home, eating out in Chicago is a gastronomic treat. For travelers in the city, food can be a definite highlight and, with so many diverse options catering to different budgets and options, it rarely disappoints.
According to the Zagat survey, Tru is the number-one restaurant in Chicago. Visitors on a budget, however, will find that the Prix Fixe - a fixed price a three-course meal - can still be very affordable!
For a meal that reflects the city's multiculturalism, try the fusion cuisine at La Fette. Combining French and American influences, this bistro is a truly budget-friendly option and offers five-course meals for as little as $35.
Café des Architects is a more expensive French option in downtown Chicago. This fashionable modern brasserie specializes in seafood (such as shrimp and scallops) but also does a great filet mignon.
For a taste of the east, visitors can head to Siam Marina and their mouth-wateringly authentic Thai food. One of the best Thai restaurants in the state of Illinois, the restaurants offers a wide range of dishes from seafood to vegetarian options.
Meat-lovers may wish to try out the steaks at La Cantina Enoteca. Here, there are steak and seafood options available from different regions of Italy, and diners are treated to a view of the salt-water fish tanks housing the super-fresh lobsters and fish whilst they enjoy their chosen meal.
Sushi fans will find their tastes well-catered for at Chicago's newest Japanese spot, Ai Japanese Restaurant and Lounge. Located in the River North area, the extensive menu includes such signature dishes as Wasabi Filet Mignon and Parmesan Salmon Teriyaki.
For a more informal evening, travelers might like to head out to The Village from their Chicago hostels. Located on the second floor of the Chicago Landmark building, this casual eatery offers guests a variety of pizza, pasta, Panini and salads and is a great place for a light, early dinner before going on to enjoy the city's famous nightlife.
Meanwhile, Andies is a good place for meals with a family or a large group of friends. Greek and Lebanese dishes dominate the menu here, and there is a good range of vegetarian fare. The best part, however, is that all the food is very healthy.
Sicilian food comes alive at RoSal's Italian Cucina. Served in typically big portions, the pasta, meat and cheeses will still leave you wanting more!
Finally, The Dining Room at Kendell College offers a great - and unusual - option for budget travelers. It's basically a professional classroom, with the restaurant serving up guests the ‘homework’ of the students. Don't be put off, though - the college has created some of the best chefs in the Midwest.
Before settling down and becoming a copywriter for HostelBookers.com, Paul Scottyn travelled extensively and stayed in numerous Chicago hostels and restaurants.