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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?

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?

Hot 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?

Ed 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?

Signature Room at the 95th Floor:
Hancock Observatory, 875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, USA

get directions


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