Updated Feb 29, 2024 - Things to Do

Logan Square/Avondale crowned best food neighborhoods in Chicago

Photo of the outside of a restaurant

Customers dine at the Same Day Cafe in the Logan Square neighborhood in 2023. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

It was extremely close until the very end, but Axios Chicago voters chose Logan Square/Avondale over West Loop as the city's best food neighborhood.

The big picture: Axios Chicago readers have crowned everything from the city's best newscaster to local commercial to park in recent months, and this week they turned their attention to a neighborhood culinary showdown.

  • Logan Square/Avondale was voted the best among such foodie favorites as West Loop, River North, Hyde Park, Pilsen and Chinatown.

Methodology: We could choose only 16 neighborhoods for the bracket, so we prioritized value, variety and access. But there were plenty deserving of mention, including runners-up Old Town, Albany Park and Grand Crossing.

Bracket: Axios Visuals
Bracket: Axios Visuals

Here is how the tournament played out, round by round:

The championship

West Loop vs. Logan Square/Avondale

West Loop has so many options for great food. The lineup is incredible, including celebrity chefs like Stephanie Izard and Paul Kahan.

Logan Square/Avondale boasts the same culinary delights, and even goes further with more mom-and-pop restaurants than the West Loop, including Cafe Con Leche.

Third-round matchups

West Loop vs. Chinatown

West Loop was once called "Restaurant Row" for a reason, and it doesn't disappoint with places like Lena Brava and Nobu, while also featuring great moderately priced chains like Tacombi and Bonci.

Chinatown boasts pork buns at Chiu Quon Bakery and dim sum at Cai, while sporting a viral bubble tea hit at Joy Yee.

Logan Square/Avondale vs. Fulton Market

Logan Square is right where it is supposed to be in this tournament, thanks to awesome spots like Paulie Gee's, Revolution, Lonesome Rose and Bang Bang Pie.

Fulton Market is all restaurants (and Google). Oriole and Gaijin bring the critics to the neighborhood, while Publican Quality Meats and Kuma's give you diverse options.

Second-round matchups

West Loop vs. Andersonville

West Loop features restaurants like Avec, Trivoli Tavern and Monteverde. It also has a few independent gems like J.P. Graziano's and the Palace Grill, which recently was gutted by a fire.

Andersonville has Little Bad Wolf, m. henry and Taste of Heaven. Not to mention the Middle East Bakery & Grocery and Calo's.

Chinatown vs. Pilsen

Chinatown is a culinary rollercoaster, with amazing spots like Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings, MingHin and Triple Crown.

Pilsen counters with some of the best Mexican food in the city. Taqueria Los Comales, La Mejikana and La Luna.

Logan Square/Avondale vs. Bucktown/Wicker Park

This one feels like a sibling rivalry. Logan Square/Avondale is hard to beat with great spots like Mi Tocaya Antojería, Giant and Longman & Eagle. Great coffee shops and breweries, too.

Bucktown/Wicker Park is no slouch. Dove's Luncheonette, Club Lucky and Chef's Special lead the way, but there are also several eclectic spots along Milwaukee Ave.

Fulton Market vs. Lincoln Park

Fulton Market seems to have more restaurants than any other kind of business. Time Out Market anchors the sprawling area, with restaurants like Cabra, Aba and Ever also gracing the strip.

Lincoln Park truly has everything, from Pat's Pizza to Geja's Cafe to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!

First-round matchups

West Loop vs. Bridgeport

The West Loop, historically known as "Restaurant Row," is our No. 1 seed in the tournament. It has a slew of amazing fine-dining restaurants on Randolph Street like Girl & the Goat and Au Cheval, while also sporting interesting and unique mid-level chains. You can't go hungry here.

Yes, but: It doesn't have a lot of mom and pops left, and it can be expensive.

Bridgeport is a hidden food gem, with several newish fine-dining spots like Kimski and Duck Inn, not to mention the new Ramova Theater. They pair nicely with the hot dog stands, pizza parlors and bakeries of the past.

Yes, but: The sample size is smaller than other neighborhoods in the tournament.

Lincoln Square vs. Andersonville

Lincoln Square: The German neighborhood has had a foodie explosion in the last few years, aided by the steady Bistro Campagne on Lincoln Avenue.

Yes, but: They have had high-profile restaurant closings announced lately, including Cafe Selmarie and Luella's Southern Kitchen.

Andersonville: The Swedish neighborhood has also suffered big business closings recently, but has always been a destination for diners. The stalwarts include Hopleaf and Big Jones, as well as coffee shops and cafes like Lost Larson.

Chinatown vs. Uptown

Chinatown: This 100-year-old Chinese American enclave has expanded to feature dozens of Asian restaurants, bakeries, dim sum spots, banquet halls and food courts.

Uptown hosts its own Asian enclave on Argyle with the city's best Vietnamese food, as well as Milly's Pizza, Oaxacan Kie Gol Lanee, Ethiopian gems and more.

Pilsen vs. West Town

Pilsen: This former Irish and Czech neighborhood now blends great Mexican food from Carnitas Uruapan to 5 Rabanitos to high-end Vietnamese cuisine at Hai Sous and contemporary tasting menus at S.K.Y.

West Town was once defined only by its Italian favorites, including Salerno's, D'Amato's and the back counter at Bari. But newer restaurants have helped the neighborhood grow, including the award-winning Kasama, Forbidden Root and Aya Pastry.

Logan Square/Avondale vs. Bronzeville

Logan Square and Avondale could arguably be two different culinary destinations, but folding them in together makes the Northwest Side neighborhood(s) even more dangerous in this tournament. Logan Square brings Daisies and Lula Cafe to the table, while Avondale gives us Middle Brow and Eden.

Bronzeville: Home of the stunning Bronzeville Winery that just won a Jean Banchet Award for Best Hospitality, this neighborhood also serves up breathtaking breakfast at Peach's, Senegalese specialties at Yassa, saucy fried chicken at Uncle Remus and rib-sticking Southern cooking at Pearl's Place.

River North/Gold Coast vs. Bucktown/Wicker Park

River North/Gold Coast: River North rivals West Loop as the premiere dining destination for tourists, but may be a dark horse in this tournament because of iconic Chicago spots like Gibsons Steakhouse, Frontera Grill and Mr. Beef.

Bucktown/Wicker Park: Another amazing area for food. You want bakeries? Alliance and Mindy's. Tacos? Big Star. French food? Le Bouchon. There are a lot of options in this sprawling area.

Reality check: This might be the toughest first-round matchup.

Hyde Park vs. Lincoln Park

Hyde Park is another outstanding neighborhood for all sorts of food. You can get one of the best restaurants in town with Virtue, and get cafeteria food from former President Obama's favorite spot, Valois. Medici is also a huge hit with the students and the area has several vegan options.

Lincoln Park: It's the home of Alinea, for Pete's sake! Not to mention the former home of Charlie Trotter's, which arguably launched Chicago's food reputation. So many options with so much history: R.J. Grunts, The Wieners Circle, North Pond, Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder … the list just keeps on going.

Fulton Market vs. Rogers Park

We split Fulton Market from the West Loop because they are different experiences and if we put them together, this might not be much of a contest. Fulton Market has eclipsed the West Loop in some ways and features old-school culinary champs like Publican and Swift and Sons.

Rogers Park: The most northern neighborhood in the city gives us so many great options, including great Indian fare along Devon Avenue. Don't sleep on the Candlelite on Western Avenue.


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