russian tea time meal
One of the many exotic dishes served up Euro-style at Russian Tea Time in Chicago

With the economy at a standstill, a luxurious trip to Europe might not be in the cards. But who needs to battle masses of tourists and sky high travel fees when you can find a little bit of Europe right in your own backyard? Below are the top picks for a Europe-esque experience in Chicago.

  • Swissôtel Chicago – Enjoy a sleek, modern touch that only the Swiss can accomplish when you stay at the Swissôtel Chicago.  Guests can enjoy breathtaking views of Chicago’s lakefront as well as access to some of the city’s top shopping. The Geneva Restaurant also serves up delicious European inspired fare and hot chocolate that would make any Swiss ski lodge proud.
  • Paulina’s Meat Market – Reminiscent of an old-world, European butcher shop, Paulina’s is one of the most popular in the Chicagoland area.  Their fresh, homemade sausages are available in unique flavors such as apple pork or tomato-basil.  Check out their location on Lincoln Avenue, Chicago’s old Germantown, for a traditional Oktoberfest meal.
  • MNG by Mango – From the Euro dance music to the unique decorations, it is apparent that MNG is an overseas sensation from the second you enter. Based out of Spain, this funky company bodes European-inspired clothing, shoes and accessories at affordable prices.  Conveniently located at Water Tower Place, you can add a European twist to your wardrobe, sans the jet lag.
  • Teuscher – Family run for over 70 years, Switzerland’s top chocolatier has made its way to the Windy City.  Flown in from Zurich on a weekly basis, their signature champagne truffles boast a Dom Perignon infused cream center, surrounded by a dark chocolate ganache.  Made with 100% natural ingredients and no preservatives, this is the ultimate European treat.
  • Russian Tea Time – For a dining experience abroad, Russian Tea Time’s menu features a wide array of traditional Slavic dishes.  If their afternoon tea is not to your taste, learn how to drink vodka the “proper Russian way” and choose from their extensive list of European vodkas.  It’s close proximity to the Art Institute and Orchestra Hall can make for a day filled with cultural encounters.

Visit GoNomad.com to check out some other great eclectic dining options.