30 Best Restaurants in Chicago


Chicago, a bustling metropolis nestled along Lake Michigan’s shores, is famous not only for its iconic skyline and rich history but also for its vibrant and diverse culinary scene. This city, a melting pot of cultures and flavors, offers diverse dining options for every palate and occasion.

Chicago’s restaurants are a testament to the city’s love affair with food, from the innovative dishes of Michelin-starred establishments to the comforting embrace of neighborhood taverns. In this article, we explore the 30 best restaurants in Chicago to visit.

1. Alinea

Photo credit: instagram.com

Alinea, which has three Michelin stars, goes beyond traditional dining norms, providing a multisensory experience in addition to meals. Each course is meticulously designed, testing diners’ perceptions of taste and presentation.

The sleek and modern design of the restaurant complements the avant-garde menu, adding to the overall immersive experience. Alinea’s wine pairing is also exceptional, with wines carefully chosen to complement the flavors of each dish.

2. Girl & the Goat

Photo credit: instagram.com

This bustling restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood is famous for both its lively atmosphere and its cuisine. Chef Izard’s commitment to bold flavors and innovative combinations is reflected in the Girl & the Goat menu, which includes dishes like escargot ravioli and roasted pig face. The restaurant’s open kitchen and family-style seating encourage a communal dining experience, making each visit a unique social occasion.

3. Smoque BBQ

Photo credit: instagram.com

Smoque BBQ, located in the Irving Park neighborhood, is committed to quality beyond its meats. The sides, such as the mac and cheese and coleslaw, are equally thoughtfully prepared, complementing the smoky meats perfectly.

With communal seating that encourages sharing and conversation, the casual, no-frills atmosphere focuses all attention on the food. Regulars and visitors praise the consistency and passion behind each dish, making Smoque a true Chicago culinary staple.

4. The Purple Pig

Photo credit: instagram.com

This acclaimed restaurant is a food enthusiast’s haven, serving a distinct take on Mediterranean cuisine focusing on “cheese, swine, and wine.” Small plates like the milk-braised pork shoulder and crispy pig’s ear with kale encourage sharing and trying new flavors. With an intimate interior and a bustling outdoor terrace overlooking the Magnificent Mile, the atmosphere is both rustic and chic, making it a popular spot for both locals and tourists.

5. Frontera Grill

Photo credit: instagram.com

The atmosphere at Frontera Grill is as vibrant as the food, with colorful decor and an energetic vibe that captures the essence of Mexico. The restaurant’s dedication to sustainability and authenticity extends to its extensive list of tequilas and mezcals, which have been carefully selected to complement the cuisine. Frontera Grill is a cultural institution in Chicago that offers an educational and culinary journey, thanks to Chef Bayless’s dedication to Mexican culinary traditions.

More: 26 Best Restaurants in Nashville

6. Oriole

Photo credit: instagram.com

The intimate setting of Oriole, with its discreet entrance and refined decor, sets the tone for an evening of culinary exploration. The restaurant has quickly gained recognition for its personalized service and attention to detail, which makes each visit feel special.

The wine pairings are as carefully chosen as the food, with choices that complement the nuanced flavors of each course. Oriole’s dedication to providing an unrivaled dining experience makes it a must-visit destination for gourmets.

7. Au Cheval

Photo credit: instagram.com

Au Cheval is more than just a burger joint; with its gourmet approach to comfort food, it elevates the classic American diner experience. The restaurant’s famous burger, which is frequently topped with thick-cut bacon and a fried egg, has a cult following, and the menu also includes elevated diner classics like the fried house-made bologna sandwich. Au Cheval’s ambiance, reminiscent of a traditional diner with a modern twist and its lively bar scene, makes it a favorite spot for late-night eats and leisurely brunches.

8. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

Photo credit: instagram.com

The dining experience at Joe’s is as opulent as the menu, with dark wood paneling, crisp white tablecloths, and attentive service. This Chicago institution serves more than just stone crab claws; their extensive menu also includes various fresh seafood options, prime steaks, and a noteworthy wine list to complement each dish. Another of Joe’s specialties, Key Lime Pie, provides the perfect, tangy finish to a sumptuous meal, making it a favorite spot for both locals and tourists looking for a classic, upscale dining experience.

9. Topolobampo

Photo credit: instagram.com

Topolobampo, located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, combines an elegant setting with a vibrant, art-filled ambiance. Chef Bayless’s deep exploration of Mexico’s diverse regional cuisines is reflected in the menu, which constantly evolves and offers innovative and deeply rooted traditional dishes. Topolobampo’s dedication to fine dining extends to its exceptional service and an impressive selection of Mexican wines and spirits, making every meal a memorable event.

10. Monteverde

Photo credit: instagram.com

Monteverde distinguishes itself with an open kitchen design that invites diners to witness the art of pasta-making. The restaurant combines traditional Italian techniques with global influences, resulting in both comforting and unexpectedly innovative dishes, such as cacio whey pepe and ragù alla Napoletana. Monteverde is a destination for those looking for an authentic yet contemporary Italian dining experience, thanks to its warm and welcoming atmosphere and Chef Grueneberg’s passion for Italian cooking.

More: 10 Top-Flight US Airport Restaurants

11. Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

Photo credit: instagram.com

With its dim lighting, vintage decor, and jazz playing softly in the background, Bavette’s transports you to a classic Parisian steakhouse. The menu includes a variety of seafood, including their luxurious seafood towers and exquisite dry-aged steaks. Bavette’s also has a cocktail program that complements its menu, offering classic drinks with a modern twist, making it ideal for a romantic dinner as well as a sophisticated night out.

12. The Berghoff

Photo credit: instagram.com

With its rich wood interiors and historic photographs adorning the walls, entering The Berghoff is like entering a piece of Chicago history. The menu includes traditional German dishes such as schnitzel, sauerbraten, and various wursts, with each dish carrying the legacy of generations.

In addition, the restaurant hosts its own Oktoberfest celebration, complete with traditional music and dancing, evoking the spirit of German culture in the heart of the city. The Berghoff’s own root beer, a family recipe, is a non-alcoholic treat that has long been a favorite of customers of all ages.

13. Lula Cafe

Photo credit: instagram.com

With a menu that changes frequently to reflect the freshest seasonal produce, Lula Cafe’s commitment to locally sourced and organic ingredients is evident in every dish. The cafe’s bohemian charm, combined with its innovative cuisine, has made it a neighborhood favorite and food-lover destination.

Lula Cafe offers a cozy, unpretentious environment where the focus is squarely on the quality and creativity of the food, from their famous brunch offerings, such as the breakfast burrito and the tofu scramble, to their inventive dinner plates.

14. Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

Photo credit: instagram.com

With plush leather booths, polished wood, and walls adorned with photos of famous patrons, Gibsons embodies the classic steakhouse experience. The steaks, sourced from Gibsons Prime Angus Beef, are known for their exceptional quality and flavor, with the Chicago Cut Ribeye being a particular favorite. Gibsons’ reputation as a Chicago staple for both locals and visitors seeking the quintessential steakhouse experience is enhanced by the restaurant’s iconic desserts, such as the enormous carrot cake and the decadent chocolate mousse.

15. Parachute

Photo credit: instagram.com

Parachute serves a fusion of Korean flavors with a modern American twist in a cozy and minimalist setting, providing a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark, the restaurant’s husband-and-wife team, have created a warm, welcoming atmosphere that complements the restaurant’s creative dishes.

Other standout dishes, besides their famous bing bread, include pork belly and mung bean pancake, demonstrating a commitment to traditional Korean flavors and innovative culinary techniques. The ever-changing menu at Parachute makes every visit a new culinary adventure.

More: 5 Things to Do in April in Chicago

16. Fat Rice

Photo credit: instagram.com

Fat Rice brings Macau’s cultural fusion to life with an array of vibrant dishes that blend the rich flavors of Southeast Asia, China, and Portugal. Fat Rice or Arroz Gordo, the restaurant’s signature dish, is a lavish, family-style meal brimming with seafood, meats, and aromatic spices that captures the essence of Macanese cooking.

The intimate setting, decorated with bright colors, reflects the eclectic nature of the menu, creating an inviting environment that encourages exploration and sharing. Furthermore, Fat Rice’s dedication to authenticity extends to its dessert and beverage menu, which features traditional Macanese sweets as well as a variety of Asian-inspired cocktails.

17. Publican

Photo credit: instagram.com

The Publican’s design, reminiscent of a European beer hall with communal tables and an open kitchen, creates a welcoming environment ideal for group dining. The menu features high-quality meats, fresh seafood, and an extensive list of craft beers worldwide, including several rare and sought-after brews.

Popular dishes include the charcuterie platter and a rotating selection of oysters, demonstrating the restaurant’s commitment to both traditional cooking methods and contemporary flavors. The Publican also hosts special events and Sunday brunches, enhancing its reputation as a food lovers hangout.

18. Leña Brava

Photo credit: instagram.com

The vibrant flavors of Baja California are brought to Chicago by Lea Brava, located in the bustling West Loop neighborhood. The restaurant’s no-gas, wood-fired cooking technique is central to its menu, imparting a distinct smokiness to dishes like grilled fish and roasted vegetables.

The lively atmosphere is complemented by a variety of creative cocktails and an extensive selection of Mexican wines, emphasizing the emerging wine scene in the Baja region. Lea Brava’s dedication to sustainable seafood and fresh, local ingredients makes it a culinary delight and an environmentally conscious choice for diners.

19. Mi Tocaya Antojería

Photo credit: instagram.com

Mi Tocaya Antojera, located in the Logan Square neighborhood, is a vibrant and welcoming spot reflecting the spirit of Mexican hospitality. The restaurant’s interior is colorful and cozy, creating a lively, warm atmosphere that complements the food.

Chef Diana Dávila’s menu celebrates traditional Mexican flavors with a modern twist, with dishes such as queso fundido con chorizo and the unforgettable tlayudas. Mi Tocaya’s cocktails, which focus on tequila and mezcal, are as inventive as the food, making it more than just a meal but an immersive cultural experience.

20. Roister

Photo credit: instagram.com

Roister, located in the heart of Fulton Market, combines a relaxed atmosphere with the culinary excellence that the Alinea Group is known for. The restaurant’s concept revolves around ‘hearth cooking,’ in which most dishes are prepared over an open flame, imparting a distinct flavor profile to even the most basic dishes.

From the heart-baked sourdough bread to the whole chicken and chamomile, the menu is an eclectic mix of refined yet approachable dishes, each prepared with meticulous attention to detail. The bustling ambiance and attentive service add to the lively and interactive dining experience.

More: 20 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways in the U.S. for 2024

21. RPM Steak

Photo credit: instagram.com

RPM Steak adds a modern twist to the traditional steakhouse experience. The sophisticated decor, which includes dark wood and leather accents, creates an elegant yet welcoming atmosphere. The menu features a variety of prime cuts, including traditional ribeyes and filet mignon as well as exclusive Japanese wagyu.

Fresh seafood selections, including a raw bar, will delight seafood lovers. RPM Steak’s extensive wine list, which includes classic favorites and rare vintages, ensures the perfect pairing for every dish, solidifying the restaurant’s reputation as a destination for steak connoisseurs and those looking for a stylish dining experience.

22. Pequod’s Pizza

Photo credit: instagram.com

Pequod’s Pizza, located in Lincoln Park and Morton Grove, is well-known for its unique take on Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The caramelized crust created by baking cheese along the edges of a cast-iron pan provides a delightful contrast to the rich, chunky tomato sauce and generous layers of toppings at the pizzeria.

The relaxed, no-frills atmosphere makes it a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Pequod’s is a top choice for an authentic and unforgettable Chicago pizza experience.

23. Community Tavern

Photo credit: instagram.com

Nestled in the vibrant Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago, Community Tavern stands out as a culinary gem, offering a unique dining experience that celebrates community, quality ingredients, and timeless flavors. This neighborhood restaurant combines the warmth of a classic tavern with the sophistication of contemporary cuisine, creating an inviting atmosphere where locals and visitors alike gather to savor exceptional food and hospitality. From expertly crafted cocktails and appetizers to hearty entrees and decadent desserts, every aspect of the dining experience at Community Tavern reflects a commitment to excellence and culinary craftsmanship.

24. Big Jones

Photo credit: instagram.com

Big Jones, located in Andersonville, pays homage to the rich culinary traditions of the American South. The restaurant’s dedication to authenticity is evident in the use of heirloom and organic ingredients sourced from local farms.

Classics like fried chicken, gumbo, and biscuits are on the menu, all prepared with an emphasis on sustainability and flavor. The warm, inviting atmosphere, adorned with vintage Southern decor, adds to the restaurant’s charm, making it a cozy retreat for those seeking both comfort food and an environmental commitment.

25. Elske

Photo credit: instagram.com

With its minimalist design and warm, welcoming ambiance, Elske in the West Loop provides a serene dining oasis. David and Anna Posey, the restaurant’s husband-and-wife team, specialize in Danish-inspired American cuisine.

The tasting menu exemplifies their philosophy of simplicity and elegance, with visually stunning and palate-pleasing dishes. Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients ensures that each dish reflects the season, providing a refined yet approachable dining experience.

More: 10 Most Crowded Beaches in the U.S.

26. Mako

Photo credit: instagram.com

Mako, located in Chicago’s vibrant West Loop, is a culinary treasure for sushi lovers. Chef B.K. Park’s upscale sushi bar offers an exclusive omakase experience in which each dish expresses the chef’s expertise and creativity.

Diners can observe the meticulous preparation of each piece of sushi, emphasizing the freshness and quality of the fish, which is sourced from premier global markets, in the intimate setting. The decor’s simplicity, with subtle Japanese influences, keeps the focus on the artful presentation and delicate flavors of the sushi, making Mako a must-visit destination for an authentic and memorable omakase experience.

27. Morton’s The Steakhouse

Photo credit: instagram.com

Morton’s The Steakhouse exemplifies the classic American steakhouse with its opulent ambiance. Morton’s, known for its USDA prime-aged beef, offers a variety of steak options, from tender filet mignon to robust porterhouse, all cooked to perfection.

An extensive wine list complements the dining experience, with selections that pair seamlessly with the rich flavors of the steaks. The elegant interior, with dark wood finishes and plush seating, creates a luxurious atmosphere perfect for special occasions or a sophisticated night out.

28. The Duck Inn

Photo credit: instagram.com

The Duck Inn, a Bridgeport neighborhood hidden gem, is a delightful fusion of a classic tavern and a modern gastropub. This cozy spot is well-known for its rotisserie duck, which is cooked to perfection for crispy skin and tender meat.

The menu also includes a variety of innovative dishes that put a modern spin on traditional tavern fare. With retro decor elements and a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere, The Duck Inn’s ambiance reflects its menu’s blend of classic and contemporary, making it a favorite local spot for both casual dining and special gatherings.

29. Virtue Restaurant & Bar

Photo credit: instagram.com

Virtue Restaurant & Bar, located in the historic Hyde Park neighborhood, is a celebration of Southern American cuisine led by Chef Erick Williams. The menu pays homage to the South’s rich culinary traditions, with dishes like blackened catfish, shrimp and grits, and collard greens.

Virtue’s interior is elegant and inviting, with a warm ambiance that complements the soulful cooking. The restaurant’s emphasis on hospitality and community is palpable, making each meal feel like a get-together with friends. Virtue’s dedication to providing more than just a meal has quickly made it a favorite destination on Chicago’s dining scene.

30. Avec

Photo credit: instagram.com

Avec, a West Loop neighborhood pioneer, serves a Mediterranean-inspired menu in a unique and intimate setting. The communal seating and wooden interior of the restaurant create a cozy, convivial atmosphere that encourages diners to share and engage.

Chef Paul Kahan’s menu is rustic yet refined, with an emphasis on house-made charcuterie, wood-fired pizzas, and an assortment of small plates. Avec’s extensive wine list, which focuses on boutique vineyards from the Mediterranean region, complements its cuisine perfectly. Avec is a standout choice for those looking for a memorable dining experience due to its innovative dishes, vibrant atmosphere, and attentive service.

More: 17 Best Places to Visit in Florida for 2024


Which restaurants offer the best views of the Chicago skyline?

For panoramic views of the city skyline while dining, several restaurants in Chicago stand out. The Signature Room at the 95th, located atop the John Hancock Center, offers breathtaking vistas along with upscale American cuisine. Cindy’s Rooftop, situated in the historic Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, provides stunning views of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan, complemented by a menu of inventive cocktails and seasonal fare.

Where can I find the best seafood restaurants in Chicago?

Seafood lovers will find no shortage of options in Chicago’s dining scene. GT Fish & Oyster, known for its contemporary seafood dishes and raw bar offerings, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab is renowned for its fresh seafood flown in daily, including its signature stone crab claws, while Shaw’s Crab House serves up a wide selection of seafood classics in a lively and inviting atmosphere.

What are some of the best fine dining options in Chicago?

Chicago boasts an impressive array of fine dining establishments that cater to discerning palates. Grant Achatz’s Alinea consistently ranks among the world’s best restaurants, offering a multi-sensory dining experience that pushes the boundaries of culinary innovation. Other notable fine dining destinations include Acadia, Smyth, and Oriole, where guests can indulge in meticulously crafted tasting menus showcasing seasonal ingredients and creative techniques.