Seven Lions (Photo credit: Anthony Tahlier)

6 incredible desserts you have probably never tried, but should

Make no mistake: A freshly baked chocolate chip cookie can often be an unbeatable finale to a hearty meal. But sometimes we’re looking for that unique sweetness that transports us to a faraway place, or just a treat that we’ve never encountered before. For those times when you’re looking for something a little bit different but no less delicious to finish off your evening—or afternoon, or morning—here are six of the best, most unique desserts in Chicago.

At Seven Lions, the most important meal of the day is now dessert
Seven Lions may be directly across the street from the Art Institute, but this classic and clubby spot is anything but touristy. The menu is filled with innovative dishes, but the one can’t-miss on the dessert side is the breakfast “cereal” bowl, filled with toffee corn puffs, vanilla bean yogurt panna cotta, and fresh fruit. No, these aren’t your Wheaties, and nobody will have to ask you twice to dig in.

Chilam Balam flips the script with their sweet empanadas
Chilam Balam turns out a variety of Mexican shared plates that keep the focus on sustainable ingredients, but don’t mistake the word “sustainable” for basic. Empanadas usually show up on the savory side of the menu, but Chilam Balam nudges them over onto the sweet side, with delicious results. These authentically made treats are filled with a unique mixture of peanut butter, compote, and Oaxacan chocolate—the best of all worlds.

Forget egg creams, Little Goat’s Smoked Pork & Toffee Crunch Shake goes whole hog
Sure, bacon is no longer a stranger to the dessert menu, but smoked pork in a milkshake? We’d expect nothing less from Stephanie Izard, a chef known for her outlandish yet delicious interpretations of classic dishes. This treat at Little Goat is filled with ice cream, freshly smoked pork, and sweet toffee crunch for a little salt, a little sweet, and a whole lot of delicious.

Kan Zaman serves up authentic baklava
Although baklava is a common dessert in Middle Eastern cuisine, it can be difficult to find a real-deal version of it in Chicago. Enter Kan Zaman, a River North hideaway that offers a variety of Mediterranean dishes, including a traditional version of this flakey, sweet pastry. Order your dessert with a side of professional belly dancing for an entertaining and delicious experience.

Cookie dough at Dusek's is a guilty pleasure that’s worth it
Ever sneak a bite of that pre-made, refrigerated cookie dough right out of the plastic package, back when you were a kid (or more recently)? Well, Dusek's dough is… nothing like that. It's actually so much better. Created by Chef Jeremy Brutzkus, Dusek's deconstructed cookie dough dish features decadent chocolate chips, homemade egg custard ice cream, fresh mint, and cookie powder. Yes, it’s big enough to share, but take our advice: Get your own.

Authentic Costa Rican sweetness at Irazu
Any restaurant featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” is worth a visit. Irazu in Bucktown offers truly authentic Costa Rican dishes, including a wide variety of desserts. A specialty shake often found in Costa Rica, the Avena is made with soothing stewed oatmeal milk, water, and different spices.

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