Discovering awesome dining in Chicago is far from impossible. Like the story of the city itself, the only requirement to find good spots for dining in Chicago is a bold first step and then you can happen upon something truly worthwhile. So don’t let a bit of foraging, walking or descending down poorly lit staircases deter you; there’s a high margin of return for taking a visit off the beaten path for Chicago’s best hidden dining gems.
Play While You Eat at AceBounce
The immense ping pong playground AceBounce opened its doors in 2016, and many people in Chicago have discovered the subterranean game room also sports an impressive food program. Headed up by acclaimed Chef Rick Gresh, 1901 Restaurant at AceBounce offers players the chance to chow down on food that will make them feel like champions of gastronomy…even if their ping pong skills leave something to be desired. The restaurant menu boasts serious foodie chops such as the Pan Roasted Salmon with zucchini, Yukon gold potatoes, coconut curry and hatch green chili oil. But players can still grab a bite of food that blows your average bar or game room fare out of the water, such as the Shrimp Banh Mi Toast, and it’s served beside the ping pong table.
Catch a Great Meal and (maybe) a Foul Ball at a White Sox Game
The White Sox are used to being second fiddle in Chicago's baseball conversation while the media fawns over 2016’s championship team on the north side. But fans who go to games on the south side have known that their ballpark serves championship caliber food for a long time. This season the ballpark introduced a whopping 16-inch mac and cheese brisket sandwich topped with an onion ring tower. Yowzers. No coincidence that Chicago style softball is played with bare hands and the 16-inch “Clincher” balls, right? ‘Nuff said.
Raise Your Hand for Good Broth at High Five Ramen
The basement below Green Street Smoked Meats is the place to find a supreme bowl of ramen that’s worth burying your face into and not emerging until every last drop is gone. The dim lighting, tight quarters and limited seating have the trappings of a hipster cliché, but the quality of the noodles blows away the perception that this place is a bit too precious for people who want a great dining experience. The bones from the upstairs meat market contribute to a stealthy ramen operation that reflects the kind of pragmatism and celebration of food culture that has made Chicago famous for its diverse dining options.