Classic beef bourguignon, served with pappardelle noodles, is Hotel Palomar Concierge Mark Kraemer’s go-to dish. So if you’re in the mood for some body-warming French bistro fare, he says you can’t beat Mon Ami Gabi. A classic brasserie located in the heart of Lincoln Park, you can warm up with options like their classic French onion soup, beef bourguignon, or steak frites.
For Eric Loughlin, concierge at TheWit, it’s all about pho, a Vietnamese beef broth soup. “Those people who are telling you ramen is the best soup are no longer your friends,” he says. Pho comes standard with rice noodles, herbs, and your choice of meat and his recommendation is always the rare steak which will be cooked when placed in the hot broth. He recommends heading to Argyle Street in Uptown to get an authentic taste. His go-to’s in the area are Pho 888 or Cafe Hoang.
Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings on Wentworth Avenue in Chinatown tops Miles Bertling, a concierge at the Kimpton Gray Hotel’s, list. He says you would literally have to fly to China to get something this authentic. The dumplings here are all handmade to order and come in a variety of styles and fillings. Bertling suggests pairing “these fluffy meat and vegetable filled heaven pillows” with a bowl of spicy hot pot. Insider tip: They also offer a class on how to make dumplings, which is an experience Bertling recommends.
When the temperature drops, it’s time to head to the West Loop and treat yourself to one of Kuma’s legendary burgers. A favorite cold weather comfort food of Marcus Hollis, concierge at the Omni Chicago Hotel, Kuma’s has become the go-to spot for two things: heavy metal culture and creative burgers. There are burgers with tomatillo salsa and fried chiles, burgers with Sriracha and grilled pineapple, but if you have to choose just one, go for the signature, the Kuma Burger: bacon, sharp Cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a fried egg. It’s nothing short of burger perfection.
While Chicago’s known for its deep dish pizza, Benjamin Strawbridge, concierge at The Gwen, thinks you’d be remiss not to try the caramelized, melty cheese goodness that is Pequod’s pan pizza. What makes it such a stand-out dish? It’s the layer of cheese that they put between the crust and the cast-iron pan it’s baked in that yields irresistibly crispy, blackened edges. Topped with their fennel-flecked sausage? It can do no wrong.
For Shannon Boland, chef concierge at LondonHouse Chicago, it’s all about the cozy retro vibe and classic American fare at Tortoise Supper Club. From the brined-in-house Berkshire pork chop (pictured) to Boland’s favorite― one of their specials, like the pheasant pie―the options here are as comforting as the well-appointed environs.