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Family Weekend Highlights (Best Chicago Restaurants)


Basically, my family weekend was a tour of the best Chicago restaurants. To say that we ate ourselves silly would be an understatement! Don’t worry, we did plenty of other things, too. Check out my family weekend highlights!

Tour de Best Chicago Restaurants!

Looking for the best Chicago Restaurants for a foodie family visit? Don't miss this post from Suzlyfe! Beacon Tavern, Lillie's Q, Ella Elli, and more! @suzlyfe


The fam got in early/mid afternoon but hadn’t had lunch yet, so I took them to Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken, which was right next to their hotel. I had already eaten, but I made sure to steal as many fries (with that seasoning) as I could get away with. Also, Coke Freestyle machine 😀

John Hancock Tower

We headed downtown to the John Hancock tower! It was my first time there, and the perfect day to see around the city.

Chicago view from John Hancock @suzlyfe

We had some time between our visit and dinner, so we stopped for drinks and a snack at D4 Irish Pub in my old environs. On the way to dinner, we made another stop at Dylan’s Candy Bar, where I picked up a new friend!

Beacon Tavern

Beacon Tavern didn’t disappoint us; it was just as amazing as I remembered. And dining outside? Even better.

Beacon Tavern Relish Tray Chicago's Best Restaurants @suzlyfe

We got a variety of things, including the relish plate, the cheddar bay biscuits, baked brie, and then I got the Hamachi Ceviche.

It was a highly sophisticated dish, much more so than I expected: there was a lime/citrus ice that melted into the bowl for your citrus, a bed of avocado for your creaminess, the hamachi (which was perfection) and then jicama on top for crunch. It came with crackers, but I ate those separately! Definitely a must dish for summer!

Beacon Tavern Fish and Chips Chicago's Best Restaurants @suzlyfe

Alex got the fish and chips, and between his fries and Mom’s fries… well, no fry left behind, lol. 


Alex had to work, so I met the fam at 11 to head downtown again for Taste of Chicago. I love my family, but remind me not to take them to food fests, lol. Making decisions is not their strong suit! But not to worry, we ended up with some serious winners of dishes, and unfortunately a few that were meh.

Taste of Chicago Winners:

Farmers Fridge Avocado Toast and Chili Lime Watermelon at Taste of Chicago 2017 @suzlyfe

Farmer’s Fridge Chili Lime Watermelon and Avocado Toast. These were simple dishes, but I can’t describe how amazing they were, and how perfect for the hot summer day. Seriously, so good that I got them TWICE. I will recreate and post the recipes!

Taste of chicago Franco's Ristorante Sea Salt Caramel Gelato @suzlyfe

Franco’s Ristorante Sea Salt and Caramel Gelato. One of the best ice creams I’ve had in a long time. The texture was almost like soft serve, with a bit more thickness, and the flavor was pure and not overpowering–just the right amount. Stunning, and we considered getting another, but decided to try something else!

Honorable Mention: Gator Bites (alligator sausage) were delicious but the red pepper jelly and caramelized onions were overpowering. The sausage was great by itself!

Carbon fire grilled steak tacos. The steak was just delightful.

I had two other stops for them before we returned home. 

Cindy’s Rooftop Bar @ Chicago Association Hotel

Taste of chicago Franco's Ristorante Sea Salt Caramel Gelato @suzlyfe

A great spot to people watch, but hard to get a seat without a rezzo. We got lucky with some stools outside!

Chicago Cultural Center

I had to take them to see the Tiffany Domes. One of my favorite rooms in Chicago.

Dinner at Ella Elli

This was our “fancy” dinner, and I found Ella Elli on the Eater Heatmap of places to eat in Chicago right now. OMG IT WAS INCREDIBLE. Every. Bite. My favorites:

Ella Elli Chicago charcuterie board @suzlyfe

Marinated Olives with Grilled Sourdough (best bread of the night) + Charcuterie Board (I could live in this)

Ella Elli Chicago Roasted Cauliflower with Salsa Verde @suzlyfe

Roasted Cauliflower with Salsa Verde (to die for) + Tomato and Burrata Pizza (A MUST GET)

Ella Elli Chicago Salt Roasted Carrots with Harrisa @suzlyfe

Salt Roasted Carrots with Harrisa (amazing)

And then we decided to get all three desserts. The Profiteroles were good, but I was obsessed with:

Ella Elli Chicago Greek Yogurt with Berries @suzlyfe

Greek yogurt with berries and honey (amazing. Simple. stunning) + Meyer Lemon Poundcake (my picture didn’t make it)

Damn it feels good to be a gangster.


I got up to coach Saturday, Alex and I ran home together, then we met the fam and walked up to perennial brunch favorite Hutch for some serious noms.

The Nutella Poppers are always delish.

Hutch Chicago brunch biscuit chicken @suzlyfe

Alex got the Big Biscuit and Fried Chicken. The chicken was good, but that biscuit (cheddar and chive, if I am correct) is out of bounds. I got my Lakeview scramble, which was bigger and better than I remember!

We needed to walk a little, so we walked up and around and back from Wrigley. It was another picture perfect day!

Dinner at Lillie’s Q

After naps, dog walks, and refreshing, we headed to Bucktown to Lillie’s Q. I had wanted to go for some time, but never had the opportunity. Well, it certainly lived up to expectation! Favorite dishes:

Lillie's Q Bucktown Barbeque sauces @suzlyfe

The sauces. All of them.

Lillie's Q Bucktown Fried Pickles and Pimento Cheese Hushpuppies @suzlyfe

Fried Pickles (ask for the comeback sauce that comes with the pimento cheese hush puppies)

Lillie's Q Bucktown Sweet Potato Fries and Brunswick Stew @suzlyfe

Sweet Potato Fries (rivals our favorites at D4!) + Brunswick Stew (FILLED with all the good meats)

Lillie's Q Bucktown Q Salad with Pulled Chicken @suzlyfe

Q Salad (My stomach was a little funky, so I went with a salad, but the pulled chicken was AMAZING.)

I have to say that everything we had was amazing–the pulled pork, tri tip, and ribs were fabulous. I haven’t been the biggest fan of pulled pork for a while because I only ever seem to get super fatty portions (which I know some poeple love but I hate). The pulled pork at Lillie’s Q was perfectly pulled and shredded.

Lillie's Q Bucktown Banana Pudding @suzlyfe

Banana Pudding. We got this on a whim, but it was 100% worth it.


Orange on Clark

With a noon flight, we opted for breakfast at Orange. That means Pancake Flights!

Orange on Clark Pancake Flight @suzlyfe

Final Thoughts:

I can’t believe how quickly this trip went by. I literally blinked and it was over! I have to thank the Chicago gods for giving us perfect weather, the food gods for giving us amazing food, the work gods for giving Alex as much time off as possible (he got out pretty early the days he worked) and the transit gods for minimal traffic and bringing my family and to and from my safely.

Got a #foodie family visiting #Chicago? Where to eat, from brunch to dinner! #chicagoeats Click To Tweet

And before you all go and say, “You guys get along so perfectly!” I’ll be the first to admit that I get a little high strung around my family, and I can get a bit domineering and take-over-y, and that definitely happened on this trip a few times. It is something that I work on constantly! But most importantly, we always bounce back, say we are sorry, and learn from our mistakes. That, to me, is the mark of a great trip–great memories to smile over, to laugh about, and to learn from!

What looks delicious to you?

How do you gauge a great family trip?

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