Slideshow: Where to Eat in the Chicago French Market

Fumare Meats
Fumare Meats

Fumare Meats has been there since the beginning, but it took a while for people to realize how special it is. While it's hard to fault the Signature Sandwich ($6.99), which features ham and two kinds of bacon, it's kind of hard to pass up what may be the best pastrami sandwich ($8.99) in the city:

"Instead of machine sliced like most places in town, this pastrami is hand-cut and thick, with a glorious red hue, streaks of white fat, and patches black from the peppercorns. Brined, smoked, and then steamed, the meat is absurdly tender, yet sturdy enough to avoid being mushy. It is wonderful." Read more here >>

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Lillie's Q
Lillie's Q

After a fire damaged the original Bucktown location, this is currently the only place to try Lillie's Q in the city. And as I mentioned in my barbecue guide to Chicago, Lillie's Q is one of the very best options around. While I have a weakness for the tri-tip sandwich, the pulled pork is also worth making a trip for:

"To see pulled pork done right, you need to visit Lillie's Q, where a former fine dining chef has turned his attention to quality barbecue. Charlie McKenna actually won the pork shoulder category at Memphis in May in 2007, and his pulled pork proves why: supremely succulent without being fatty, pulled pork never had it so good." Read more here >>

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine

We've written so much about Pastoral, it's hard to neatly sum it up here. Basically, like the other two locations we've visited, you'll be able to score freshly sliced and assembled sandwiches on crusty bread. The exact ingredients change, but the grilled cheese of the day is always worth a look:

"With an excellent cheese program and some wonderful crusty bread, we expected greatness from Pastoral. We were not disappointed, but just don't look for the grilled cheese on the menu. Each day, two paninis are available, and one of those is usually what you're after. On the day we stopped by, it was called the Grilled Ploughman, and it included paper thin slices of green apple and a nose-clearing spread of mustard." Read more here >>

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Frenchman Bánh Mi at Saigon Sisters
Frenchman Bánh Mi at Saigon Sisters

Saigon Sisters has also been there since the market opened, serving up what is our second favorite bánh mì in the city. While we love The Classic, The Frenchman is also a solid choice:

"In addition to the standard cilantro, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots, and our friend the jalapeño, the Frenchman also packs duck confit, pickled mustard seeds, the candied kumquat and rouille—an aioli-like Provençal sauce made with saffron. That may sound like a lot for one humble French roll to handle, but it all works. Heat balanced by sweet. Fat cut by acid. And the duck is delicious—rich, juicy and tender. Yes, it does get a little greasy, but that's what napkins are for." Read more here >>

Frenchman Bánh Mi at Saigon Sisters [Photograph: Roger Kamholz]

Belgian Fries at Frietkoten Belgian Fries & Beer
Belgian Fries at Frietkoten Belgian Fries & Beer

While fresh cut fries are commonplace in Chicago, we don't have many places to score Belgian fries, which makes Frietkoten Belgian Fries & Beer such a draw:

"These properly seasoned blonde fries are tender, with a pillowy-creamy interior not unlike an expensive memory foam pillow. And unlike their darker, sturdier Chicago counterparts, they are delicate: not only would they be completely overpowered by a mustardy hot dog, they would be broken to bits if they were forced to share a wrapper together." Read more here >>

[Photograph: Joe Roy]

Tuna Melt at Le Cafe du Marche
Tuna Melt at Le Cafe du Marche

Opened by the owners of Bistro Voltaire, Le Cafe du Marche offers French-inspired sandwiches and salads. Of course, the market already houses a couple great places to grab a sandwich (Pastoral and Wisma), but based solely on the tuna melt ($6.50) I scored the other day, it's still worth a visit.

Though the browning looks spotty in the photo, the success of the sandwich rests mostly with the long and thin baguette, which has a crisp crust that shatters pleasingly when you bite in, leaving behind a mess of crumbs. Fortunately, it's also light, allowing you to really taste the shredded tuna and melted Swiss, along with a few briny black olives. Read more here >>

Powdered Sugar at Beavers Coffee + Donuts
Powdered Sugar at Beavers Coffee + Donuts

Beavers Coffee + Donuts was just recently included in our list of the 5 New Doughnuts We Love in Chicago:

"Beaver's, which started out as a food truck and has now added a permanent stand in the Chicago French Market, is making a different kind of doughnut. Theirs is a diminutive two-biter that is remarkably pillowy and resilient while also maintaining a thin, crispy outer shell. They offer a variety of toppings, but the basic dough is so well done that you don't really need tons of extras." Read more here >>

[Photograph: Lindsey Becker]

Delightful Pastries
Delightful Pastries

While the pączki at Delightful Pastries are worth picking up around Fat Tuesday, the Cheese Danish

"Danishes are hard to do right and so easy to do wrong. Think for a moment of all those glossy, bland, stick-to-your-fingers danishes that you've had from hotel buffets or, God forbid, gas station convenience stores. Dobra Bielinski redeems this maligned breakfast staple with a flaky, light danish filled with cheese that actually tastes tangy and flavorful. If you're looking for a sugar bomb, this isn't it; rather, it's the perfect bite of sweetness to grab first thing in the morning. Commuters needn't trek out to Jefferson Park to get one thanks to Delightful Pastries' outpost in the Chicago French Market." Read more here >>

[Photograph: Kate Bernot]

Lavazza Espression
Lavazza Espression

This Italian chain has outlets sprinkled around downtown, including one in the market. While I've highlighted the coffee before, it's also a good place to score a sandwich:

"Lavazza is actually a café chain from Italy that's made its way to the States and is mainly known for its coffee. In that way, it's a lot like Starbucks. The food selection, however, is a lot better." Read more here >>

[Photograph: Dennis Lee]