Food & Drink

Eat Your Way Around the World Without Leaving Chicago

You don't have to leave your house either.

From Italian beef sandwiches, Vienna beef hot dogs, and pizza puffs to Twinkies, Cracker Jack, and Sara Lee pound cakes, Chicago is known far and wide for its contributions to the world of food. And while Windy City residents are justifiably proud of their native cuisine, it’s a proven fact that man cannot live on deep-dish alone (seriously, don’t try it). Thankfully our fair city is also home to a bounty of restaurants showcasing the culinary wonders of the likes of Belize, Lebanon, Senegal, Poland, and Hong Kong. And with leisure travel indefinitely halted, there’s never been a better time to stay home, kick back, and treat your palate to a trip around the globe with help from one of these international standouts.


Order on Caviar and Tock to Go
Avondale’s Michelin-starred darling hit the quarantined ground running last month by pairing creative Korean-accented family meals for two alongside expertly selected natural wines, cocktail kits, and craft beer to wash it all down. Check the website or tune into Instagram for frequent menu updates -- soondubu jjigae with saffron and fennel? Yes, please -- before putting in your order for curbside pick-up or delivery.

Gorée Cuisine

Order on DoorDash and Uber Eats
This Kenwood gem is continuing to bestow its hit lineup of Senagalese comforts upon the good people of Chicago via pick-up and delivery. Expect whole grilled fish marinated in fragrant spices, tender lemon-kissed leg of lamb, perfectly charred chicken kebabs, and vegetarian curries.

ROOH Chicago

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Upmarket Indian cuisine landed on Restaurant Row last year with the opening of this head-turning San Francisco offshoot and now it’s landing in your living room thanks to delivery and curbside pick-up. Get your fill of hearty lamb shank korma, tangy chutneys, spiced yellow dal, masala chicken wings bathed in ginger and garlic, and, the star of the show, pillowy housemade naan loaded with buttery chicken tikka. 

Garifuna Flava: A Taste of Belize

Order online or via GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Tock to Go
Lay out a beach towel, grab your shades, and flip on a beachy Zoom background -- this West Loop staple is about to turn your tropical getaway dreams into a (virtual) reality with the bold and bright flavors of the Caribbean and Central America. Menu highlights include hulking smoked wings, succulent stew beef, fried ripe plantains, flaky red snapper in creole sauce, and all the jerk chicken us sun-deprived Chicagoans can handle.

Papa's Cache Sabroso

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If you haven’t yet experienced the Chicago-born Puerto Rican dreamboat known as the jibarito sandwich, you’ve sure got your work cut out for you. Sizzling smashed plantains take the place of bread here, cradling a melty mound of steak and cheese buttressed with crunchy lettuce and ripe tomato and slathered with garlic mayo. One bite and you’re bound to wonder, “What’s so great about sliced bread, anyway?”

Pub Royale

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England meets India by way of West Town at this much revered Division Street dinner spot from Heisler Hospitality. The colorful outpost is keeping things moving with a thriving pick-up and delivery service, bringing fiery curries, crispy cauliflower Manchurian, Kati rolls, and their masterfully delicious, ooey-gooey Royale with Cheese burger plus cans of Hamm’s and a healthy selection wine straight to your doorstep.


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Top Chef alum CJ Jacobson is treating the homebound and hungry to thoughtfully prepared Mediterranean fare that masterfully weaves together Israeli, Lebanese, Turkish, and Greek influences. Shareable mezze plates take center stage here, with crispy avocado tahini-drenched falafel, velvety whipped feta dusted with pistachios, and spicy hummus spiked with fresno chilis balancing out larger dishes like shawarma-spiced skirt steak and citrusy chicken kefta. Local drinks maven Liz Pierce supplies the beer and wine.

Carnitas Uruapan

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Carnivores take note: This family-owned Pilsen stalwart has all your slow-cooked, unbelievably juicy pork carnitas needs covered. Order yours by the pound and top it off with some homemade chicharrones for good measure -- the meat sweats have never been so worth it.

Original Triple Crown

Order online or via GrubHub and DoorDash
When it comes to sheer abundance of dishes, this Chinatown go-to punches well above its weight. Westerner-friendly standards like Kungpao chicken, Peking duck, egg foo young, and pork-laden chow mein share menu space with more adventurous takes like salt and pepper duck tongue, Hong Kong-style frog legs, curried cuttlefish, and clam soup laced with bitter melon and tofu, each more delicious than the last.

Demera Ethiopian Restaurant

Order on GrubHub, Tock to Go, and Uber Eats
Uptown has long been a mecca for international cuisine, and this Ethiopian mainstay has been an integral part of the neighborhood’s vibrant dining scene for over a decade. And if heaping portions of intensely flavorful stews, spicy sauteed seafood, and hearty vegetable dishes doesn’t sound tempting enough, remember that opting to sop up your meal with spongy, tangy injera bread saves you the trouble of washing yet another set of utensils.


Order pick-up online and on Tock to Go or delivery via Caviar
After a brief mandatory closure-induced sabbatical, West Town’s number one destination for refined yet approachable sushi is diving headfirst back into the game with a brand new delivery and curbside pick-up operation. The pared-down menu -- think: maki layered with yellowtail, tuna, salmon, and ripe avocado or stuffed with plump shrimp tempura and cooling cucumber plus poke bowls teeming with ocean-fresh hamachi, fried shallot, and rich ponzu sauce -- embodies the elegant, effortless simplicity inherent in every dish shaped by Michelin-starred owner Ty Fujimura and Executive Chef Joseph Fontelera. A fleet of choice sake, also available for delivery, sweetens the deal.

5411 Empanadas

Order on ChowNow, Grubhub, and Uber Eats
There’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a piping hot empanada, especially when that lovely little dough pocket is bursting with devastatingly tender shredded beef slow-roasted for hours in peppery red wine with onions, carrots, and rosemary. And that’s barely scratching the surface of this Chicago-based mini-chain’s diverse filling lineup -- order a set of Malbec beef for lunch and stash a frozen eight pack of nutella and banana for the perfect midnight snack.

Sun Wah BBQ

Order by calling 773-769-1254
This Uptown titan has long been the bearer of Chicago’s finest whole-roasted Beijing duck, basted with Chinese five spice and oozing with velvety juices beneath a bronze expanse of decadently crisp skin. And luckily the James Beard Award-winner recently reopened for business, boxing up mouthwatering Hong Kong-style BBQ feasts with all the fixings on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10am to 9pm. First come, first served, so you better get that trigger finger ready.

The Gundis Kurdish Kitchen 

Order on Caviar
The city’s first (and currently only) Kurdish restaurant, this respected Lake View joint’s far reaching all-day menu draws on familiar Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors while simultaneously adding its own distinctive touch. Expect plump baklawa crepes drizzled with honey, beet salad with feta and spicy yogurt dressing, spicy stir-fried chicken with tomato and bell peppers, and lamb shank braised in an aromatic rosemary sauce, among other satisfying standouts. 

Ghin Khao Eat Rice

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A far cry from your everyday pad Thai pushers, Pilsen-based brother and sister chef team Nova and Kami Sasi transport travel-starved diners to the streets of Northern Thailand with each tempting bite of their original homestyle cuisine. Start with Tod Mun Pla, a red curry fish cake anointed with sweet chilli cucumber salad, verdant cilantro, and peanuts, before moving onto the signature dish, Grandma’s pork belly, where melt-in-your-mouth ribbons of rendered fat and marinated meat lurk under a glistening caramelized layer of crunch.


Order online
Don’t forget the booze! Shake up your home happy hour routine by picking up a few original, freshly mixed cocktails from this Latin-inspired Logan Square stalwart. Hand-picked bottles of mezcal, pisco, tequila, aguardiente, and more are standing by to heighten your afternoon imbibing alongside batched crowd-pleasers like Palomas and Breezies. Keep tabs on the ever-changing inventory by following the bar’s Instagram account.

High Five Ramen

Order on Caviar and DoorDash
If the stay-at-home order has had one small, tiny sliver of a silver lining, it’s that ramenheads no longer have to line up hours ahead of time to secure a bowl of High Five’s irresistibly soul-quenching tonkatsu. Now all it takes is a few clicks to see what all that hype is about (hint: it’s about the pork-miso broth… and the pork belly… and the hand-pulled noodles… and the black garlic oil… ).


Order on Caviar and GrubHub
Who knew Korean and Polish flavors fit together so swimmingly? Find out for yourself by indulging in a full menu of locally sourced fusion favorites from this beloved Bridgeport hipster hang. From sweet and spicy smoked Ko-Po chicken wings to housemade potato dumplings drenched in gochujang tomato sauce and a plump Polish sausage dressed with Soju mustard, prepare to have your mind -- and your tastebuds -- sufficiently blown.

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Meredith Heil is a contributor for Thrillist.