Barbecue, Korean, raw, lobster rolls, delis, pretzels, Indian…. Overwhelmed by the 28 restaurants in the Chicago French Market? We ate at every single one of them to find the five best. While there is no by-the-pound option here, French Market is the best option of the bunch for a gourmet lunch.
Unique items: boiled peanuts at Lillie's Q, Montreal pastrami at Fumare Meats
The word cafeteria conjures images of hairnets, hospitals and heaps of overcooked mush. Buffet brings to mind all you-can-eat outlets in the 'burbs with burlap-like steaks and melted soft serve. But when it comes to dining in downtown Chicago, especially on your workday lunch hour, cafeteria and buffet are not necessarily the dirty words of dining. In fact, there are some pretty great spots with fresh wood oven–fired pizza, decent Chinese food, and vegetarian options like stocked salad bars with modern touches like kale and quinoa. We explored the skyscraper basements and office complexes of the Loop to find the best cafeterias and buffets in Chicago. (At least those that are open to the public. Sorry, some like the 30th floor of the UBS tower remain locked off for employees only.)
RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to the Chicago Loop