The Best Restaurants in Chicago’s Chinatown
Chinese Hot Pot © Takeaway/WikiCommons
Chicago’s Chinatown isn’t particularly large, but the number of restaurants representing China’s many different cuisines feels endless. Plus, once you add the Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese restaurants also in the neighborhood, the food options become dizzying. Here are the best restaurants in Chinatown.
Go 4 Food
Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
This Michelin-award-winning spot offers a traditional take on Chinese cuisine with a few modern surprises thrown into the mix. The Cantonese fare
at Go 4 Food leans towards the sweeter side of the palate and is lightly seasoned, though the spicy dishes do have a little kick. Go 4 Food’s Millionaire Style Fried Rice is a unique fan-favorite, featuring a seafood gravy on top of the traditional egg fried rice mixed with shrimp scallop and cuttlefish. The Taco Bao, which contains beef, cabbage and onions, is another highlight, though the common dishes – from Mongolian beef to orange chicken – don’t disappoint.
Restaurant, Chinese, Seafood, Dim Sum, $$$
MingHin offers a fantastic selection of Cantonese-style food with a focus on dim sum. It’s also a Michelin Bib Gourmand
winner. The dim sum menu is vast, a point that’s immediately apparent when your server asks you to check the dumplings you’d like to order off of a list. It’d be impossible to try everything appealing on your first go to MingHin; good starting places are the siu mai (pork and shrimp dumplings), the crispy pork belly and the puffy egg custard tart. MingHin’s dishes shine outside of dim sum, too. Some notable dishes: egg drop soup with mushrooms, General Tao’s chicken, and stir-fried udon with BBQ duck.
Restaurant, Chinese, $$$
Potsticker House is technically south of what’s considered Chinatown
, but the restaurant’s unique take on Chinese cuisine makes it an essential inclusion. While most Chinese restaurants in Chicago focus on foods from the Cantonese region – the southern regions of China – Potsticker House focuses on what they call “traditional Mandarin cuisine,” which draws inspiration from the central and northern reaches of China. Their potstickers don’t resemble the typical dumplings you find in most restaurants in Chicago. Instead, you get long, rolled dumplings that are both the right amount of greasy and crispy on the outside while juicy on the inside. They offer plenty of palate-friendly dishes, like Szechuan pork ribs, but have many adventurous items on the menu for those looking for a tasty change: stewed beef tendon in hot sauce is tastier than it sounds.
Chiu Quon Bakery and Dim Sum
Bakery, Chinese, $$$
Chinatown’s Chiu Quon Bakery & Dim Sum
focuses on the sweet as much as the savory. The mixed fruit cake is a highlight, though the cream cake and chestnut cake are also worth a try. Don’t let the stark look of the interior dissuade you – here, you’ll find some of the best decadent baked goods in Chicago.
Restaurant, Chinese, Thai, Japanese, $$$
Joy Yee opened in Evanston, IL in 1994, opening a second location in Chinatown two years later. The restaurant is known for its vast list of bubble teas
, and Joy Yee has even gone as far as to add tapioca balls to their fruit smoothies. Other than that, Joy Yee also has fantastic shabu shabu, a Japanese dish that pairs boiled slices of meat and vegetables with a diverse selection of dipping sauces. Joy Yee’s true talent is their wide selection of food from China, Taiwan and Japan, offering fantastic chow mein and chow fun as well as tasty rice dishes like garlic pork and chicken teriyaki.
Among the more interesting choices, Bonchon is actually a fried chicken chain. In Korea
, at least. In the Chicago area, Bonchon has only a handful of locations offering tasty Korean barbecue. Their fried chicken wings, strips and drumsticks are double fried, making them extra crispy on the outside. And yes, Bonchon’s spicy sauce is quite spicy, even for the seasoned wing-eater. Don’t worry, for those who can’t handle a lot of heat, their soy-garlic sauce hits the spot without the pain.
Happy Lamb Hot Pot
Restaurant, Chinese, Mongolian, $$$
Happy Lamb Hot Pot is a chain with a fantastic location in Chinatown. The Mongolian hot pot cuisine offered by the restaurant is superb: you can boil lamb, beef, cabbage and more in a number of tasty broth bases that include tomato, milky bone marrow, and a spicy house broth. Their large selection of options ensures happiness for even the pickiest eaters.