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13 Instagrammable Dishes in Chicago That Are Actually Delicious

You won't be doing it just for the 'gram

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Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill
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The perfect bite deserves the perfect photo. Chicago restaurants are full of amazing dishes but these following spots go beyond taste and leave folks drooling on their screens thanks to visually-arresting presentations. From colorful dumplings to decadent seafood towers, there are no prettier sights ready for devouring. Check out @eater_chicago on Instagram for more gorgeous photos and tag #eaterchicago for a chance to be featured. Listed from north to south.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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The Budlong

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Nashville hot chicken: Fact — Few things are as aesthetically pleasing as fried chicken. This growing Nashville-style mini-chain takes things a step further by slathering a fiery cayenne pepper paste onto the meat. These intense, fiendish-looking pieces are no joke so for the faint of heart, snapping a picture might be better than the real deal.

Small Cheval

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Burger: A juicy, beefy burger is a beautiful thing and this roadside shack is the best place to indulge that carnal desire. Skip the wait at Au Cheval and head to its fast-casual sibling for a similarly-bodacious burger. Just like the original, impeccably-griddled patties are dressed with American cheese, pickles, and Dijonnaise. Sounds simple but there’s no doubt it’s one of the best in not only Chicago, but the country. Best of all: The outdoor patio provides all the lighting guests need for a perfect picture.

Goddess and Grocer

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Rainbow cake: Sorry, Skittles, but your rainbow never tasted this scrumptious. The bakery’s signature six-layered vanilla cake is an attention-grabbing beauty that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor for its looks. Get a moist and fluffy slice for a sugar rush to start the day, or go big and be the life of the next party by bringing a whole cake.

Maple & Ash

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Fire-roasted seafood tower: Just about everything is photo-worthy at the Gold Coast steakhouse. Its elegant and stylish dining room is bolstered by equally impressive delights that go beyond the norm. Instead of the traditional raw seafood spread, guests here are treated to a fire-roasted tower filled with pristine scallops, Alaskan king crab, Manila clams, oysters, Maine lobster, and Gulf shrimp. The awe-inspiring item is available in three sizes, all of which are designed to be the envy of your friends.

Maple & Ash

Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill

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Maki rolls: Sushi making is a skilled art form but Yuzu goes the whole nine yards by incorporating works of art into the dining experience. The restaurant’s maki rolls arrive ready for the social media spotlight thanks to playful presentations that dazzle. They feature fun drawings created using palettes of sauces and even those opposed to food photography can admit these gorgeous platters are worth capturing.

Dolce Italian

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Stella pizzas: Pizza is a tried-and-true crowd pleaser but none make it more attractive than this Italian restaurant inside The Godfrey Hotel. Here, it’s the star of the show—literally. Chef Nate Cayer crafts celestial-shaped crusts, stuffed with housemade ricotta, which can serve as the base for any pie. The “stella” offerings are available in variations such as “Tartufata,” (speck, spicy salami, truffle oil) “Sunday Gravy,” (meatballs, spicy salami, jalapenos) and more.

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

Imperial Lamian

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Xiaolongbao: Good, quality xiaolongbao are a rarity in Chicago. That’s why this chic River North restaurant has been a welcome addition to the Chinese culinary scene since it opened in 2016. Each of its cheerfully-colored soup dumplings are made by hand and come stuffed with options like crab, duck, and truffle pork. They’re so lovely that you’ll (almost) feel bad about eating them.

Public House

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Cake shakes: Choosing between sweet treats to close out a meal can be difficult. Luckily, Public House makes it simple with outrageous cake shakes. Guests should definitely save some room for dessert because they’ll need it. These boozy milkshakes are a blend of ice cream, craft beer, sprinkles, and icing with a giant slice of cake on top. They’re fun, colorful, and diet killers for sure.

Green Street Smoked Meats

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Barbecue: The popular meat wonderland from Hogsalt Hospitality offers plenty of good ‘que, and photo opportunities to boot. Mix and match your favorite items—from tender brisket and pork ribs to elote-style corn and frito pie—and take it outside for a feast. There's no wrong combination as everything is bound to elicit a mouth-watering response.

Ashley Rawls Hutchinson

Simply Thalia

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Sushi donut: It’s 2017 so of course the latest culinary craze involves two very disparate foods. Sushi donuts have rolled into town and these colorful hybrids are an Instagrammer’s dream. Circular rolls of rice are topped with fresh fish for an on-the-go alternative that’s both pretty and tasty. At this Block 37 restaurant, options include the Chicago Loop (salmon, white tuna, avocado, red tobiko, cream cheese and masago mago filling) and the Red Line (spicy salmon, red tobiko, scallions, avocado and cucumber filling).

La Michoacana Premium

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Paletas: With vibrant paletas as far as the eye can see, La Michoacana Premium is almost sensory overload. The massive selection of flavors includes everything from cucumber to Mexican Twinkie so patrons will always find something new and exciting to try. On a hot summer’s day, the refreshing and photogenic frozen pops are hard to top.

Morgan Olsen

Legend Tasty House

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Rolled ice cream: A new twist on ice cream has hit Chicago and the coolest place to get it is at this Chinatown shop. The specialty dessert hails from Thailand and trades scoops for hand-crafted rolls, which are available in flavors such as avocado, green tea, and mango. Try one of the pre-customized combinations or build your own favorite using a collection of toppings. 

Macho Taco

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Tacos: If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that tacos are always a right choice. They’re delicious and come in many visually-stimulating varieties. Out in the town of Justice, Macho Taco is flexing its muscles and serving an array of tortillas filled with carne asada, sriracha shrimp, Korean barbecue pork, and more. Couple them with a bright margarita for the ultimate fiesta.

The Budlong

Nashville hot chicken: Fact — Few things are as aesthetically pleasing as fried chicken. This growing Nashville-style mini-chain takes things a step further by slathering a fiery cayenne pepper paste onto the meat. These intense, fiendish-looking pieces are no joke so for the faint of heart, snapping a picture might be better than the real deal.

Small Cheval

Burger: A juicy, beefy burger is a beautiful thing and this roadside shack is the best place to indulge that carnal desire. Skip the wait at Au Cheval and head to its fast-casual sibling for a similarly-bodacious burger. Just like the original, impeccably-griddled patties are dressed with American cheese, pickles, and Dijonnaise. Sounds simple but there’s no doubt it’s one of the best in not only Chicago, but the country. Best of all: The outdoor patio provides all the lighting guests need for a perfect picture.

Goddess and Grocer

Rainbow cake: Sorry, Skittles, but your rainbow never tasted this scrumptious. The bakery’s signature six-layered vanilla cake is an attention-grabbing beauty that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor for its looks. Get a moist and fluffy slice for a sugar rush to start the day, or go big and be the life of the next party by bringing a whole cake.

Maple & Ash

Maple & Ash

Fire-roasted seafood tower: Just about everything is photo-worthy at the Gold Coast steakhouse. Its elegant and stylish dining room is bolstered by equally impressive delights that go beyond the norm. Instead of the traditional raw seafood spread, guests here are treated to a fire-roasted tower filled with pristine scallops, Alaskan king crab, Manila clams, oysters, Maine lobster, and Gulf shrimp. The awe-inspiring item is available in three sizes, all of which are designed to be the envy of your friends.

Maple & Ash

Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill

Maki rolls: Sushi making is a skilled art form but Yuzu goes the whole nine yards by incorporating works of art into the dining experience. The restaurant’s maki rolls arrive ready for the social media spotlight thanks to playful presentations that dazzle. They feature fun drawings created using palettes of sauces and even those opposed to food photography can admit these gorgeous platters are worth capturing.

Dolce Italian

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

Stella pizzas: Pizza is a tried-and-true crowd pleaser but none make it more attractive than this Italian restaurant inside The Godfrey Hotel. Here, it’s the star of the show—literally. Chef Nate Cayer crafts celestial-shaped crusts, stuffed with housemade ricotta, which can serve as the base for any pie. The “stella” offerings are available in variations such as “Tartufata,” (speck, spicy salami, truffle oil) “Sunday Gravy,” (meatballs, spicy salami, jalapenos) and more.

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

Imperial Lamian

Xiaolongbao: Good, quality xiaolongbao are a rarity in Chicago. That’s why this chic River North restaurant has been a welcome addition to the Chinese culinary scene since it opened in 2016. Each of its cheerfully-colored soup dumplings are made by hand and come stuffed with options like crab, duck, and truffle pork. They’re so lovely that you’ll (almost) feel bad about eating them.

Public House

Cake shakes: Choosing between sweet treats to close out a meal can be difficult. Luckily, Public House makes it simple with outrageous cake shakes. Guests should definitely save some room for dessert because they’ll need it. These boozy milkshakes are a blend of ice cream, craft beer, sprinkles, and icing with a giant slice of cake on top. They’re fun, colorful, and diet killers for sure.

Green Street Smoked Meats

Ashley Rawls Hutchinson

Barbecue: The popular meat wonderland from Hogsalt Hospitality offers plenty of good ‘que, and photo opportunities to boot. Mix and match your favorite items—from tender brisket and pork ribs to elote-style corn and frito pie—and take it outside for a feast. There's no wrong combination as everything is bound to elicit a mouth-watering response.

Ashley Rawls Hutchinson

Simply Thalia

Sushi donut: It’s 2017 so of course the latest culinary craze involves two very disparate foods. Sushi donuts have rolled into town and these colorful hybrids are an Instagrammer’s dream. Circular rolls of rice are topped with fresh fish for an on-the-go alternative that’s both pretty and tasty. At this Block 37 restaurant, options include the Chicago Loop (salmon, white tuna, avocado, red tobiko, cream cheese and masago mago filling) and the Red Line (spicy salmon, red tobiko, scallions, avocado and cucumber filling).

La Michoacana Premium

Morgan Olsen

Paletas: With vibrant paletas as far as the eye can see, La Michoacana Premium is almost sensory overload. The massive selection of flavors includes everything from cucumber to Mexican Twinkie so patrons will always find something new and exciting to try. On a hot summer’s day, the refreshing and photogenic frozen pops are hard to top.

Morgan Olsen

Legend Tasty House

Rolled ice cream: A new twist on ice cream has hit Chicago and the coolest place to get it is at this Chinatown shop. The specialty dessert hails from Thailand and trades scoops for hand-crafted rolls, which are available in flavors such as avocado, green tea, and mango. Try one of the pre-customized combinations or build your own favorite using a collection of toppings. 

Macho Taco

Tacos: If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that tacos are always a right choice. They’re delicious and come in many visually-stimulating varieties. Out in the town of Justice, Macho Taco is flexing its muscles and serving an array of tortillas filled with carne asada, sriracha shrimp, Korean barbecue pork, and more. Couple them with a bright margarita for the ultimate fiesta.

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