Chicago’s cosmopolitan make-up is reflected in its plethora of ethnic restaurants. Italian food, ranging from hearty
deep-dish pizza – developed in 1943 at Pizzeria Uno – to delicately crafted creations presented at stylish trattorias, continues to dominate a very dynamic scene. In recent years there’s been a surge of popularity for New American cuisine. Thai restaurants still thrive, as do ones with a broad Mediterranean slant, many of which serve tapas; and there are still plenty of opportunities to sample more long-standing Chicago cuisines – Eastern European, German, Mexican, Chinese, Indian, even Burmese and Ethiopian. Of course, a number of establishments serve good old-fashioned BBQ ribs, a legacy of Chicago’s days as the nation’s meatpacker. And no visit is complete without sampling a messy Italian beef sandwich, or a Chicago-style hot dog, laden with tomatoes, onions, celery salt, hot peppers and a pickle. The largest concentration of restaurants is found north and west of the Loop. To the west, Greektown, around Halsted Street at Jackson Boulevard, and Little Italy, on and around Taylor Street, are worth a look, while the Near North and River North areas harbour a good number of upmarket places.