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The Most Unique Restaurants in Chicago

Updated on December 26, 2010

Lets Get Crazy and... EAT!

Look no further ravenous ladies and gentlemen, have I got a restaurant tour in store for you!

Maybe it's just me, (since I am a bit over-the-top myself), but whenever I'm about to explore a brand new city, I always, always search for the craziest, most bizarre, and most unique dining experiences I can possibly find! Chicago, home of the deep-dish and ‘dawgs’, is also home to the most amazing, fascinating and exotic dining experiences you will ever encounter. These unique Chicago restaurants are "crazy" and not in a "I'm about to eat a goat's head and cockroaches" kind-of-way but more so in an awe-inspiring and amazing way. Call it bizarre, crazy, delectable, atrocious, or even daylight robbery ($500 price tag sushi) but they are certainly the 4 most unique Chicago restaurants!

Get your napkins ready!

1. Alinea

How to describe the beauty of the great Alinea in mere words! Let's just say, if Bobby Flay's Bar American were a Coach bag, then the Alinea would be a one-of-a-kind alligator Hermes Birkin. There is nothing, NOTHING that can touch the expertise of Grant Achatz and his miraculous team. This is Not a restaurant folks, this is a museum, and rightly so.

You walk into Alinea, and you are served 20-something pre-planned plates of magic after magic. Each dish is artfully prepared with complicated instructions along with it. Imagine powdered Iberico ham, a ravioli flavor bomb of truffle emulsion, lemon soda powder, lots of liquid nitrogen and even a dish you chew up and spit back out. The restaurant doesn't have décor, each and every dish has its own décor! The dining experience is an absolute marvel. The holy grail of cuisine.

It will transform the way you eat, prepare and even think about food forever. Ready to be transformed?

Location: 1723 N Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60614

Phone: 312-867-0110

Cuisine: Modern American

Price: $$$$$

Parking: Valet

Attire: Formal (Jacket required!)

Reservations: Yes

Kids: No

Alcohol: Full Bar

Alinea's Unique Food & Restaurant

Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner
Credit: Lara Castner

Where Is Alinea?

A markerAlinea -
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614, USA
get directions

2. Hot Doug's

I know, I know, Hot Doug's is no haute cuisine, and you anticipated a decent amount of pretension in this list! Yes, there are no Parigi silk napkins from Armani but there IS a decent amount of disgustingly scrumptious grease and dawgs! (We are in Chicago folks.)

Have you ever had the urge to eat a celebrity? And in the form of an encased meat no less? Well, now you can. Take your pick of the Salma, Kiera or one of the many deliciously, luxurious flavors of Doug's. Luxury and Hot dogs? It can't be true! It's too gruesome! True indeed! Pick from the Cognac-Infused lamb, demi-glace venison with fig goat's butter, atomic rib-eye and elk! The big whammy and star of the show, are these *amazing* duck fat fries. Available ONLY Friday and Saturday's for the low price of $3.50!

Remember folks, this is a homey joint so CASH only!

Location: 3324 N California Ave Chicago, IL 60618

Phone: 773-279-9550

Cuisine: Fast Food

Price: $

Parking: Street

Attire: Casual

Reservations: No

Kids: Yes

Alcohol: None

Hot Doug's Hot Dogs!

Famous Duck Fat Fries
Famous Duck Fat Fries
Anticipate a long line folks!
Anticipate a long line folks!

Where Is Hot Doug's?

A markerHot Doug's -
3324 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618, USA
get directions

3. Ed Debevic

Ed Debevic’s is a diner-must for those who love all things gimmicky. The place is done up in complete 1950’s glory, with outfits, paper hats and all. There is fifties tunes playing with typical kitschy décor and diner food. What makes this place unique?

The super duper, rude and obnoxious waitresses. They’ll snap at you, throw your receipt and talk back like no one’s business. If you walk in with an open-mind, a good sense of humor, then the verbal assaults and dancing waitresses will amuse you to no end. The food is what you’d expect from diner food, but the milkshake is fabulous! As a plus, there’s a photobooth to take black and white strip pictures!

Location: 640 N Wells St. Chicago, IL 60654

Phone: 312-664-1707

Cuisine: American

Price: $$

Parking: Lot

Attire: Casual

Reservations: Yes

Kids: A Must!

Alcohol: Wine & Beer Only

Food, Fighting and Fun!

Bread Pudding!
Bread Pudding!
Credit: Nick Flandro
Credit: Nick Flandro

Where Is Ed's?

A markerEd Debevic's Short Order -
640 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654, USA
get directions

Signature Room at the 95th

Location, location, location! It's what my mom always told me and I guess its true! The Signature Room at the 95th boasts a magnificent view! (Perfect for a romantic date/celebratory dinner). Although not renowned for their superb food, the view (360 degrees of the Chicago skyline) is absolutely gorgeous. I recommend going at night or right before sunset!

Go for drinks and dessert, because at night, you get a pianist thrown in for free! Where else can you go to sip mojitos 95 floors up watching the sunset over Chicago's skyscrapers? It's like getting the Eiffel Tower without buying a plane ticket to Paris! Last Note: Make sure you don't have a fear of heights!

Location: 875 N Michigan Ave. / John Hancock Center Chicago, IL 60611

Phone: 312-787-9596

Cuisine: Modern American

Price: $$$

Parking: Garage

Attire: Dressy, Business-Casual

Reservations: Yes

Kids: No

Alcohol: Full Bar

Breathtaking Views - 95th Floor

Where is the Signature Room?

A markerSignature Room at the 95th Floor -
Hancock Observatory, 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA
get directions

Comments

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    • Angel Guzman profile image

      Angel Guzman 4 weeks ago from Joliet, Illinois

      I'm sad Ed's and Hot Doug closed.

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      pmccray: Thanks! I'm glad it was useful to you next time you're in the midwest!

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

      What a yummy adventure!!! I have relatives in that section of the country and this gives another good reason to visit. Bookmarked, voted up, marked useful/beautiful and shared.

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      Thanks Jason!

      I've always loved the mix and match of extravagant and cheap!

      (I'm always hungry!)

    • jasonycc profile image

      jasonycc 6 years ago from South East Asia

      Thanks for the fantastic food tour. Had so much fun reading this hub that I read it again immediately. I think your selection is just perfect, from the most exorbitant and posh to a $3.50 hot dog. I am sooo hungry now.

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      I agree! I could go for a nice dog right now! Thanks for commenting =)

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Nothing like a Chicago hot dog! I love visiting the windy city and need to get back out there sometime soon. Will bookmark this hub for reference. Cheers, Steph

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      kimmanleyort: Thank you so much! Ed Debevic's is probably a good one to have been to. Alinea's is amazing but come ready with a very large wallet!

      It's not an every-day kind of meal.

      oceansnsunsets: Your welcome! I also can't wait to go back!

      Thanks all for reading =)

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Great hub, I can't wait to go to more of these places in Chicago! Thanks for sharing the information.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 6 years ago

      Your writing and photos are just excellent. I love to visit Chicago, but the only restaurant here I have been to is Ed Debevics. Alinea's sounds soooo interesting.

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      ladyjane1: Thanks lady! Cheers indeed.

      Om Paramapoonya: Yes, I want to go back soon! Thanks for the congrats!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 6 years ago

      Very cool! I'd love to visit all these restaurants, especially Signature Room! And congrats on the win. :)

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

      Great hub congrats on your win. cheers.

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      Rookie70: I'm so flattered that I've inspired you! I would also love to move back to Chicago soon!

      tim-tim: Thanks for the congrats! It seems everyone lives near the mid-west!

      Gordon: Thanks so much! I'm leaning towards Hot Dougs. I just can't say no to grease!

      Thank you all for reading!

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 6 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Fantastic Hub and I love the variety of restaurants that you feature. Congratulations on your award. Which restaurant are you visiting to spend your prize? :)

    • tim-tim profile image

      Priscilla Chan 6 years ago from Normal, Illinois

      Awesome hub!! I am not too far from Chicago, so I will veisit some of the places. Thanks for the info. Congrats on the win!

    • profile image

      Rookie70 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for this hub. I would love to move back to my hometown, Chicago, so that I can be happy. However, I will use this hub's title for one of my own. I find your hub very informative and inspiring. Thanks. P.S. CREDITS

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      fdoleac: Thank You! I'm glad the hub served as a food inspiration!

      mtsi1098: Thank you, and branching out is scary but usually worth it!

      gagan000: Yes some of these places are super duper pricey!!

      Thanks all for visiting!

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      fdoleac: Thank You! I'm glad the hub served as a food inspiration!

      mtsi1098: Thank you, and branching out is scary but usually worth it!

      gagan000: Yes some of these places are super duper pricey!!

      Thanks all for visiting!

    • gagan000 profile image

      gagan000 6 years ago from NAGPUR

      ooooo you r looking nice.......ok 2nd i m also hubby of eating foods..but i m not so reech .....ot eat those

    • profile image

      mtsi1098 6 years ago

      congrats on the hub win...I am not sure if I will try the Rattlesnake but the places look great

    • fdoleac profile image

      fdoleac 6 years ago from Hollis, New Hampshire

      Congrats on your win - you've inspired me and now I know where to go for a dining experience in Chicago.

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      queencleopatra: You're welcome!

      PurplePerl: You must visit! There must be some *amazing* foods where you're living too! I love Indian spices.

      RoadtripAmy: Oh the prices at Alinea are insane! And thank you, I feel so humbled about the win!

      PattyInglish: I love Chicago, it's probably one of my favorite huge cities. Besides the fashion, I'm not much of a city gal.

      Thanks for reading everyone!

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      soni2006: Thanks soni, I really appreciate your support!

      simeyc: The stuff mom's make is always the best! There's nothing that beats home-cooking sometimes!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      I have not been to Chicago in a while and I think I want to go back soon now. Thanks for the Hub!

    • Road Trip Amy profile image

      Road Trip Amy 6 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Congratulations on your win! Awesome pictures. I was recently in Chicago and visited the Signature Room. Couldn't quite swing the prices at Alinea. Hot Doug's is on my list for the next time I make it to the Windy City!

    • Purple Perl profile image

      Purple Perl 6 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Congratulations! Will visit sometime.

    • queen cleopatra profile image

      queen cleopatra 6 years ago

      Congratulations! When I have time to travel, Chicago will be my first destination. Thanks for sharing all these yummy places :D

    • SimeyC profile image

      Simon Cook 6 years ago from NJ, USA

      Great hub and congrats on winning - when I visit Chicago I certainly know where to eat! And then there's the bread pudding - my mom used to make the best YUMMMM!

    • soni2006 profile image

      Rajinder Soni 6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Congratulations for winning the treasure yenajeon. Your hub is really rocking and pics are totally original. Best of luck for more.

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      Simone: Trust me, I've had some scary disneyland experiences myself! (Giant Goofy chasing after me) Ah!

      equealla: Thank you for commenting!

      Inthedoghouse: Thank you for the congrats. Because.. I didn't even know I won! It's my very first travel hub ever.

      Thanks for visiting!

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 6 years ago from California

      Congrats on your win today... I can't believe there is an Ed Debevics in Chicago! There was one in Beverly Hills that closed down years ago. It was such a fun place to eat. Great suggestions for eating in Chicago!

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Definitely a treasure of the day hub. That choice was easy, now to pick a place to eat... hmmm, a bit more difficult.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Hahaa- that reminds me of those Disneyland restaurants where the animals harrass you... I remember being force-fed scrambled eggs by donald duck and upending a chair into a waitress, who spilled orange juice all over the place... NOT fun- but amusing!

    • yenajeon profile image
      Author

      yenajeon 6 years ago from California

      Yes I love Ed's! But it's definitely for people who have a sense of humor. I've seen kids cry there!

      Thanks for visiting =)

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow- I desperately want to go to Chicago now, just to check these places out! Ed Debevic sounds especially amusing. Cool!