Chicago’s city grid map is full of surprises — follow along as we explore highlights from every neighborhood, from the food to the culture.

The annual Christmas Eve prix fixe Feast of the Seven Fishes is a seafood-heavy delight.
The new egg-free recipe, featuring cream steeped with bay leaves, is part of their in-demand holiday lineup of baked goods.
The seeds — or rather beans — for Hexe Coffee were planted because owner Parker Slade was tired of spending more money than he wanted to on hot beverages.
Villa Park native Joe Fontana will be opening his fourth Fry the Coop in West Town soon. The restaurants feature Fontana’s take on Nashville fried chicken.
Ina Mae, at 1415 N. Wood St. in Wicker Park, is the restaurant Chef Jupiter always dreamed of: cooking the Cajun and Creole food of his childhood.
The Avondale bar, at 2849 W. Belmont Ave., is known for its döner kebabs and currywurst.
The Uptown restaurant made the prestigious Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list for 2020.
Owner Dario Monni, who grew up eating pasta everyday, flew in experts from Italy to train his employees how to incorporate old world traditional techniques using imported flour from Italy.
I do dread when I’m asked what my favorite Korean restaurant is. But if I had to really choose a great place for Korean, I would recommend Perilla: Korean American Fare.
The Bronzeville fast-casual spot — pronounced “free-style,” not “fry-style” — is the brainchild of entrepreneur Corey Gilkey, who after traveling to Belgium and the Netherlands realized there were no local restaurants specializing in the hot potato snack.
Maureen Mader was ready to close the six-decade old Homewood-based business over a year ago, but when she stumbled upon an empty storefront in Flossmoor, she was reinspired. “I love it all over again,” she said.
Twice a month, Smack Dab in Rogers Park hosts community dinners, where all are welcome to eat regardless of their ability to pay.
Sanaa Yazbek and Alma Hernandez opened their taco shop in northwest suburban Palatine near the close of 2017. Less than two years later the Taco Shop ranks as #62 on Yelp’s 2019 list for must-try restaurants.
Staff at the bakery, at 226 Harrison St. in Oak Park, includes those who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Patrons flock to sample head Chef Victor Jaimes’ from-scratch menu, heavily based on recipes passed down by the co-owner’s New Orleans-raised grandmother.
Among other staples, Ewa’s Pierogi carries five flavors of its namesake dish — meat [beef and pork mixture], mushroom, potato and cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese and sauerkraut.
The James Beard Award-nominated chef Paul Virant has an upscale restaurant, Vie, in Western Springs and a more casual spot — Vistro — in Hinsdale. He also plans to open another restaurant in the trendy West Loop soon.
The Tinley Park restaurant features an array of staples that includes Italian classics and modern fare.
The cinnamon roll has gotten so popular that co-owner Bob Davidson said, “We’ve actually been looking into shipping because we get a lot of out-of-state requests.” Bob and Anna Davidson’s original Blackberry Market is in Glen Ellyn.
Opened since November, Cacao Cafe is chef and owner Linda Aceves’ dream come true. Family recipes are a source of inspiration exemplified in the homemade salsas — chilaquiles, tacos, burritos and tortas. The cafe also has coffee, baked goods and a full coffee bar.
The all-in-one butcher shop, market and deli uses domestic meat that is pasture-raised, all-natural and antibiotic- and hormone-free.
The unassuming seafood joint promises lobster rolls worthy of Maine, peel-and-eat shrimp reminiscent of the South and king crab evoking the Pacific.
Executive chef Rick Ohlemacher creates a seasonal menu that changes every six to eight weeks.
Many of Passerotto’s favorites like the ddukbokki lamb ragu — Korean rice cakes paired with a lamb neck ragu gravy — taste Korean and Italian simultaneously without being exclusively either.
B’Gabs — a nickname bestowed to Chef/Owner Gabrielle Darvassy by friends — not only caters to the dietary needs of vegans and vegetarians but to those who prefer their meals, strictly raw, soy-free, gluten-free, nut-free or alkaline-based.
Word-of-mouth buzz about Landbirds gained momentum quickly through social media even though the restaurant lacked signage and advertising.