clock menu more-arrow no yes
High Five Ramen
High Five Ramen
Facebook

12 Great Spicy Dishes to Warm Up the Chicago Winter

View as Map
High Five Ramen
| Facebook

Frigid temps are here and with winter in full swing, Chicagoans could sure use some ways to warm up. To help you sweat it out, we're highlighting some of the best spicy foods around town. Dishes ranging from stews and moles to fried chicken and even dessert will give you that euphoric high needed to make it through the next few months.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Roost Carolina Kitchen

Copy Link
1467 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613
(312) 261-5564
Visit Website

Few places in the city offer authentic Nashville hot chicken and perhaps none do it better than The Roost. Juicy pieces of bird are slathered with a fiery cayenne paste that has a hint of sweetness to it. The result is a sizzling-hot variation that’s not for the faint of heart and might forever change the way you eat fried chicken.

Jeffy Mai

2. High Five Ramen

Copy Link
112 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 754-0431
Visit Website

Pain and suffering are just two of the things the menu promises at Brendan Sodikoff's underground ramen joint. The bowl of noodles here set mouths ablaze with a mixture of numbing pepper and dried Japanese chilies in the broth. Sweat it out and you'll be rewarded with a euphoric high but if you can't handle that much heat, there's a half spice option available as well.

High Five Ramen

3. Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

Copy Link
41 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 266-0400
Visit Website

Sure, hot wings are a dime a dozen but Jake Melnick's takes things to the max with its XXX wings. They're covered in a sauce made with habanero, ghost and scorpion peppers--three of the hottest in the world—for an extreme Scoville challenge that will test even the most dedicated eaters. Finish an entire order and you'll join an elite group on the restaurant's Wall of Flame.

Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

4. The Angry Crab

Copy Link
5665 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60659
(773) 784-6848

One of last year’s best new openings offers plenty of options for seafood and spice fanatics. There’s no going wrong with any of the fresh selections but shrimp is always a good bet. Choose a seasoning and spice level, then go to town. Just make sure to bring some friends along so that you can order a variety of items and don’t forget the alcohol (because it’s BYOB).

5. Lao Sze Chuan Restaurant

Copy Link
2172 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 326-5040
Visit Website

Tony Hu’s Chinatown restaurant has helped expose many palates to Sichuan cooking. The popular style of Chinese cuisine is known for its spicy and bold flavors so those looking for a good burn will definitely be satisfied by the menu. On the signature three chili chicken dish, Hu loads peppercorns and chili peppers with chunks of wok-fried chicken. It’s affectionately known as “chicken crack" and just a taste could turn you into a fiend.

6. Analogue

Copy Link
2523 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 904-8567
Visit Website

A Cajun-inspired menu is bound to pack lots of spices so it’s not a surprise to see a traditional, hearty gumbo on this list. Analogue’s take on the stew contains chicken and andouille sausage along with okra and a dollop of potato salad to balance it all out. It’s proof that sometimes, you don’t need to mess with a classic.

7. The Fifty/50

Copy Link
2047 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 489-5050
Visit Website

When you see the name “Hell Burger” on a menu, you know it’s going to be scorching hot. Habanero salsa, roasted jalapenos, house hot sauce and pepper jack cheese will light mouths on fire. And if you can’t finish it? Well you’re out of luck; no refunds.

The Fifty/50

8. Rangoli

Copy Link
2421 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 697-7114
Visit Website

Good Indian fare can be hard to find outside of Devon Avenue. That’s why Humboldt Park’s Rangoli is such a gem. Of course, the noteworthy curries are always exceptional but the gobi Manchurian is also a popular standout. The Indo-Chinese starter is a spicy dish of fried cauliflower florets sautéed with garlic, ginger, onions and soy sauce. It the perfect tone-setter for a meal that’ll likely leave you hot and sweating.

9. Sticky Rice

Copy Link
4018 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 588-0133
Visit Website

From curries to soups, it’s not difficult to find something that’ll bring the heat at Sticky Rice. This popular spot among Thai enthusiasts focuses on the cooking of the country’s northern region and offers specialties like larb. The dish features a stir-fried mix of ground pork and intestine with a blend of spices, and is packed with intense flavor and a burn that slowly builds as you eat.

Jeffy Mai

10. Dusek's

Copy Link
1227 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 526-3851
Visit Website

Who says dessert can’t be a spicy affair? It might seem like an unusual combination but the Michelin-starred restaurant’s roasted chili churros is the best of both worlds. Crisp churros pack a punch thanks to sweet chili lime oil and are complemented by dulce cream and bittersweet chocolate sorbet.

Marc Much

11. Ixcateco Grill

Copy Link
3402 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 539-5887
Visit Website

Former Rick Bayless vet Anselmo Ramirez has quietly made his Albany Park restaurant one of the city’s best Mexican spots. His offerings hit a wide range of notes on the flavor spectrum and highlights include succulent grilled pork loin sitting in a bright green mole that carries just the perfect amount of heat.

Jeffy Mai

12. Kick

Copy Link
1943 W Byron Steet
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 236-8886
Visit Website

Heat lovers received a great new addition last year with the opening of Kick, a spicy food-centric restaurant. The menu features bold, fiery dishes that span the globe and the concept can seem overwhelming to some, but the goal is to enhance flavors rather than obliterate taste buds.For instance, hanger steak is dry rubbed with a special spice blend and lifted by roasted poblanos and chimichurri sauce for an approachable kick.

Kick

1. The Roost Carolina Kitchen

1467 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60613
Jeffy Mai

Few places in the city offer authentic Nashville hot chicken and perhaps none do it better than The Roost. Juicy pieces of bird are slathered with a fiery cayenne paste that has a hint of sweetness to it. The result is a sizzling-hot variation that’s not for the faint of heart and might forever change the way you eat fried chicken.

1467 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60613

2. High Five Ramen

112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
High Five Ramen

Pain and suffering are just two of the things the menu promises at Brendan Sodikoff's underground ramen joint. The bowl of noodles here set mouths ablaze with a mixture of numbing pepper and dried Japanese chilies in the broth. Sweat it out and you'll be rewarded with a euphoric high but if you can't handle that much heat, there's a half spice option available as well.

112 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607

3. Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

41 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611
Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

Sure, hot wings are a dime a dozen but Jake Melnick's takes things to the max with its XXX wings. They're covered in a sauce made with habanero, ghost and scorpion peppers--three of the hottest in the world—for an extreme Scoville challenge that will test even the most dedicated eaters. Finish an entire order and you'll join an elite group on the restaurant's Wall of Flame.

41 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611

4. The Angry Crab

5665 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

One of last year’s best new openings offers plenty of options for seafood and spice fanatics. There’s no going wrong with any of the fresh selections but shrimp is always a good bet. Choose a seasoning and spice level, then go to town. Just make sure to bring some friends along so that you can order a variety of items and don’t forget the alcohol (because it’s BYOB).

5665 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60659

5. Lao Sze Chuan Restaurant

2172 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Tony Hu’s Chinatown restaurant has helped expose many palates to Sichuan cooking. The popular style of Chinese cuisine is known for its spicy and bold flavors so those looking for a good burn will definitely be satisfied by the menu. On the signature three chili chicken dish, Hu loads peppercorns and chili peppers with chunks of wok-fried chicken. It’s affectionately known as “chicken crack" and just a taste could turn you into a fiend.

2172 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

6. Analogue

2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

A Cajun-inspired menu is bound to pack lots of spices so it’s not a surprise to see a traditional, hearty gumbo on this list. Analogue’s take on the stew contains chicken and andouille sausage along with okra and a dollop of potato salad to balance it all out. It’s proof that sometimes, you don’t need to mess with a classic.

2523 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

7. The Fifty/50

2047 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
The Fifty/50

When you see the name “Hell Burger” on a menu, you know it’s going to be scorching hot. Habanero salsa, roasted jalapenos, house hot sauce and pepper jack cheese will light mouths on fire. And if you can’t finish it? Well you’re out of luck; no refunds.

2047 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

8. Rangoli

2421 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Good Indian fare can be hard to find outside of Devon Avenue. That’s why Humboldt Park’s Rangoli is such a gem. Of course, the noteworthy curries are always exceptional but the gobi Manchurian is also a popular standout. The Indo-Chinese starter is a spicy dish of fried cauliflower florets sautéed with garlic, ginger, onions and soy sauce. It the perfect tone-setter for a meal that’ll likely leave you hot and sweating.

2421 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

9. Sticky Rice

4018 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Jeffy Mai

From curries to soups, it’s not difficult to find something that’ll bring the heat at Sticky Rice. This popular spot among Thai enthusiasts focuses on the cooking of the country’s northern region and offers specialties like larb. The dish features a stir-fried mix of ground pork and intestine with a blend of spices, and is packed with intense flavor and a burn that slowly builds as you eat.

4018 N Western Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

10. Dusek's

1227 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Marc Much

Who says dessert can’t be a spicy affair? It might seem like an unusual combination but the Michelin-starred restaurant’s roasted chili churros is the best of both worlds. Crisp churros pack a punch thanks to sweet chili lime oil and are complemented by dulce cream and bittersweet chocolate sorbet.

1227 W 18th St
Chicago, IL 60608

11. Ixcateco Grill

3402 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Jeffy Mai

Former Rick Bayless vet Anselmo Ramirez has quietly made his Albany Park restaurant one of the city’s best Mexican spots. His offerings hit a wide range of notes on the flavor spectrum and highlights include succulent grilled pork loin sitting in a bright green mole that carries just the perfect amount of heat.

3402 W Montrose Ave
Chicago, IL 60618

12. Kick

1943 W Byron Steet, Chicago, IL 60613
Kick

Heat lovers received a great new addition last year with the opening of Kick, a spicy food-centric restaurant. The menu features bold, fiery dishes that span the globe and the concept can seem overwhelming to some, but the goal is to enhance flavors rather than obliterate taste buds.For instance, hanger steak is dry rubbed with a special spice blend and lifted by roasted poblanos and chimichurri sauce for an approachable kick.

1943 W Byron Steet
Chicago, IL 60613

Related Maps