The Best Comfort Food in Chicago

In the dead of winter, Where Chicago editor Valerie Moloney finds three of the best places for food that is sure to warm your soul

Chicago has enjoyed one of the mildest winters in years—the city had no measurable snowfall for a record 290 days—but that hasn’t stopped Chicago restaurants from dishing up meals that will keep the padding on those bones just in case Old Man Winter decides he’s been too easy on us. 

Minus the gimmicks, a well-curated menu of spirits and comfort food always withstands the test of time. And, well, if they want to throw a few whistles in (like Prohibition-style cocktails in awkward-to-hold, but good-looking coupe glassware) then so be it. That’s just more reason to linger over a glass of Templeton Rye.

So, if you're looking for dishes that can lull you into a food coma, these would be three of the best places to eat in Chicago:

Glunz Tavern

A cozy dining room is paired with some of Chicago's best comfort food at Glunz Tavern. (©Jasmin Shah)

The Glunzes know good beer and great wine. It’s in their blood. Their Old Town tap, opened in 1888, shuttered just before Prohibition, but the family has been in the spirits business since. The resurrection of the space oozes neighborhood charm and plenty of local touches, including an enormous wall mirror that once hung in the historic Pump Room and a tin ceiling. Order a plate of the wiener schnitzel and a pint of Salzburg beer and you’ll be planted to the bar stool the whole night. 1202 N. Wells, Chicago, 312.642.3001


Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

It doesn’t get any sexier—and I mean sexy in a ye-olde-tavern way—than Bavette’s, a steakhouse adding up to one more successful venture from restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff. When I arrived for my reservation, I was sad to be seated by the door (the unfortunate result of booking on OpenTable) after seeing the downstairs bar, all snug and dark, my favorite kind of dining experience on a winter night. (Tip: Don’t make the same mistake I did. Book a downstairs table by phone.) The food and wine salvaged the occasion. The roast chicken—simply prepped with rosemary and lemon—was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.  The rich, yet moist chocolate pie was a hunk of heaven poised on dainty, fine china. If I closed my eyes and forgot all the pretty people surrounding me, I might just be sitting at my aunt’s kitchen table. 218 W. Kinzie St., Chicago, 312.624.8154