Chicago, known for its loyal sports fans, interesting architecture, and unique go-to bites, is really blowing up on the restaurant scene these days. While it’s always had a reputation for its pizza and hot dogs, there’s much more to Chicago these days.
These days, Chicago has been the host of a variety of large-scale food festivals, as well as hosted the James Beard Awards multiple times— an awards ceremony that recognizes superstars in the culinary world.
With slews of restaurants that have drawn in visitors from around the country and become the central planning point for vacations, we’re going to dive into some of the most popular Chicago restaurants in terms of Instagram.
We’ve sized up the data from Instagram and determined which are the most popular restaurants in Chicago based on how often they’re shared or posted on Instagram.
That way, you can discover some of the most unique and popular restaurants in Chicago as well as get some tips from well-performing restaurants on Instagram, giving you content and captioning ideas for more followers and more engagements.
Let’s get going!
As Chicago is known around the globe for its pizza, it only makes sense that the first on our list would be a pizza place. Although Peqoud’s doesn’t hit the classic style of “Chicago-style” pizza, they’ve got a trademark caramelized crust that is to die for. It’s been adopted as one of Chicago’s pride and joys and will definitely keep you coming back again and again.
24. Imperial Lamian
Imperial Lamian was without a doubt Chicago’s top Chinese restaurant, with incredibly Instagrammable bao buns and delicious La Mian noodles, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it was forced to shut its doors. It’s devastating for the foodie scene in Chicago!
If you’re looking for a dim sum to eat away your feelings, you can check out the Shanghai Terrace, another classic and incredibly popular Chinese restaurant that offers beautiful design and a wide array of delectable Chinese eats.
Portillo’s may sound familiar, and you may even be thinking, “wait, I have one of those in my city!” Yes, that’s true, Portillo’s is a chain restaurant that can now be found in a variety of states like Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Arizona, California, and more.
Even still, the original Chicago-style hot dog and Italian beef was made popular with the help of Portillo’s and the original Chicago location was founded in 1963. It’s well worth a visit to check out the engaging staff and the bustling atmosphere while in Chicago.
They know a thing or two about an Instagrammable spread, that’s for sure!
22. The Allis
The Allis serves up incredible Instagrammable treats at a high tea restaurant that is open to the public. Perhaps you can’t get into Soho House Chicago, but you can still check out the perfect ambiance at the Allis with delightful china and perfect finger sandwiches for an aesthetically-pleasing Instagram snap.
21. Sawada Coffee
If you’re looking for Instagrammable food and drink, you definitely don’t want to miss Sawada Coffee; that’s not the only draw, however. Located right in the midst of the Fulton Market, you’ll be in an area that is full of art and creative energy.
You can also take advantage of the incredible street art that will spruce up any of your coffee shots.
20. The Publican
If you want to impress someone, you’ll be more than happy with what you find at the Publican. Also located in the Fulton Market, you definitely don’t want to miss out on their exquisite brunch. Their impressive rows of circular light fixtures inside the restaurant as well is great for Instagramming.
19. Revival Food Hall
Deciding on where to go for lunch or dinner can be trying, especially if you’ve got a group of friends that just can’t seem to come to an agreement. To avoid this altogether, you will be happy that you went to the Revival Food Hall.
Offering quite the sprawl of different local food stalls, Revival Food Hall will surely have something finger-licking good for those of all tastes. This is especially popular for business professionals, making it a nice lunch spot or a go-to for post-work drinks and dinner.
There are plenty of great choices, including Furious Spoon, Antique Taco, The Budlong, and many more.
18. Monteverde Restaurant and Pastificio
With charming decor and a menu that will keep you wanting more, Monteverde is without a doubt one of the most popular Italian joints in chicago. The chef, Sarah Grueneberg, is a James Beard award winner and offers truly some of the tasty and Instagrammable Italian eats in Chicago.
They’ve also got attractive cocktails that will liven up any Instagram feed.
17. Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits
One of the highest-rated cafes in Chicago and serving up some of the most exquisite pies you ever did see, Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits has no doubt Instagram’s favorite pies. Your mouth will be watering in no time after checking out their Instagram; their cute blue and white checkered paper is a staple of their content and can leave an impression on your Instagram as well.
A popular chain of cafes in the Chicago area, you can expect incredibly easy access to this lovely restaurant as well as many gluten-free options and dishes that are created with locally-sourced and natural ingredients. That’s sustainability if we’ve ever heard it.
With amazing flavors, popping colors, and fresh plates that will wow any Instagram, you won’t want to miss their breakfast, lunch, dinner, or brunch offerings! Each one will offer you something incredible and distinct.
15. The Hampton Social
The Hampton Social can give you a taste at the Gossip Girl lifestyle and encourage your “rosé all day” attitude. With an extremely chic interior and cocktails that are to die for, you won’t want to miss the spot or your chance to experience their sophisticated vibe of the east coast Hamptons.
14. Goddess and the Baker
Goddess and the Baker stemmed from the grocery store-eatery Goddess and the Grocery; we couldn’t be happier! You will see that the Goddess and the Baker gives a more all-around dining aspect, offering incredibly colorful pastries and baked goods, sandwiches, and specialty coffee.
13. Summer House Santa Monica
If you’re looking for that true West Coast vibe in Chicago, you won’t want to miss Summer House Santa Monica. You certainly won’t want to miss out on their incredible plated offerings and drinks.
Their parent company, Lettuce Entertain You, focuses on giving their customers a true experience when dining, so you’ll definitely get the cool, breezy vibes of California when you visit this place. Channel that into your Instagram.
12. Duck Duck Goat
Duck Duck Goat is one of the most popular restaurants on Instagram, and if you’re looking for some Chinese food that is delivered in an authentic way, You’ll live for Stephanie Izard’s Duck Duck Goat.
This isn’t the only success that Stephania Izard has had, and you may just hear more about her later.
11. The Purple Pig
Emphasizing the three Chicago faves, “cheese, swine, and wine,” you’ll enter The Purple Pig with that promise in mind. This is definitely the place to get all three, and their offerings are presented to their guests in a way that just makes for good Instagram content.
10. Stan’s Donuts and Coffee
One of Chicago’s beloved coffee shops, Stan’s can be found near pretty much any major CTA stop. You can find donuts that are gluten-free and available for pretty much any diet or preference, including vegan diets. They’ve also got milkshakes that are to die for, so you can sweeten up your IG feed at any time with Stan’s!
9. 3 Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware
A seriously divine location, 3 Arts Club Cafe is a treat for all senses With an ingredient-driven menu and artisanal wines and craft beers, you’ll have the dining experience of your life below a unique roof made of glass and steel. With chandeliers and plants abound, you’ll never feel more at peace.
You’ll definitely want to make a reservation because this place gets packed to the brim!
8. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
If you haven’t already noticed, sweets are a true favorite in Chicago and you won’t be disappointed when you see what Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream has to offer.
You will be smittened with the premium ice cream that Jeni’s serves up, and you won’t want to miss featuring it on IG because it’s so dang tasty. With over 330k followers on Instagram, there’s definitely something special about Jeni’s.
A staple in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood with so many other popular cafes and restaurants nearby BomboBar is incredibly popular on Instagram with their walk-up dessert window serving up bomboloni, a hole-less Italian pastry. You won’t want to miss their incredible creations for your Instagram.
6. Firecakes Donuts
Another premier donut shop on Instagram, Firecakes donuts literally serves up incredible donuts that will meet any dietary restriction. You won’t want to miss out on Instagramming these babies— they’re on fire!
5. Girl and the Goat
The second Stephanie Izard restaurant, Girl and the Goat is an incredibly special restaurant with culinary works of art. It’s definitely a place that you go when you want to remember the evening, and if you’re looking for a divine experience for your Instagram, check it out.
4. Lou Malnati’s
If you’re looking for the best Chicago deep dish, Lou Malnati’s is notoriously one of it’s producers. You can enjoy a waterfront deep dish with affordable lunch specials and breathtaking views, making it all the better for your experience as well as your IG!
3. Eataly Chicago
Eataly can be found in a variety of locations, but the Chicago location is an incredible feat of both culinary arts as well as architecture. With multiple levels, you can enjoy fantastic cannolis, gelatos, or even an array of restaurants that you can enjoy dinner at. They also offer special events that you’ll want to look for every now and again.
2. Little Goat
Our third Stephanie Izard offering is Little Goat, and it’s a bit more accessible than the previously mentioned Girl and the Goat, since you won’t have to worry about reservations and the like.
Little Goat is a more accessible version of Girl and the Goat, with the same quality and expertise offered more casually. It’s also right across the street from Girl and the Goat, making it easy to remember.
1. Au Cheval
Chicago’s best burger is notoriously served up by Au Cheval, and it’s certainly earned its spot. Chicago isn’t missing out on any incredible burgers!
The meaning of Au Cheval is “a fried egg on top,” so you can only imagine what to expect in terms of their offerings. With huge lines, get there early because you’ll want to get a taste of this (and a shot for the ‘gram!).
Tips for Instagram Restaurant Posts
If you’re a restaurant on Instagram and you’re looking to drum up some interest in both your Instagram account as well as your restaurant locale, listen up. We’ve got 3 must-do tips coming your way to help you generate more interest in your awesome eats.
If you’re looking to get your content discovered by more people and get people talking about your restaurant, use hashtags. Don’t just use any hashtags— use hashtags that are tailored to your particular restaurant type as well as your food niche and location.
Task Ant is the best way to find the most relevant hashtags for your restaurant; with Task Ant, you can search for hashtags as well as filter them according to different criteria and performance metrics.
In addition, you can use Task Ant to organize your hashtags into sets and use them very quickly and easily when you’re ready to post your content. Hashtags have never been so easy!
Another thing that is incredibly important for a restaurant on Instagram is to use geotags. When you have a geotag for your restaurant, you allow Instagram users to check in at your restaurant and post content. This then creates a whole separate feed of content for your restaurant.
When a user searches for nearby restaurants or wants to check out your place, all of these photos will come up if they locate your restaurant’s geotag. It’s an incredible way to give people a personal look into your restaurant that is completely generated by other Instagram users.
Encourage users to take photos and use the geotag when they come to your restaurant; you can even offer a small discount or a piece of pie on the house!
Call to Actions
Last but not least, always use captions that ask users to engage. Ask them what their favorite dessert is, upload a gallery post with different plates to choose from and ask them which one looks the most delicious— the possibilities are endless!
The goal here is to get users liking, commenting, and sharing your content. Create relatable captions that encourage them to do so.
Final Thoughts: Most Instagrammed Restaurants in Chicago
Whether you’re a restaurant looking for Instagram inspiration or just an Instagram user looking for a delicious bite, these 25 Chicago restaurants will leave your mouth watering!
Don’t forget about our three tips above— use hashtags, use geotags, and use calls to action! You can build an empire for your restaurant if you use these three tips wisely.
What’s your favorite restaurant in the Chicago area? Let us know in the comments!
Happy cooking, happy eating, and happy posting!