in

Chicago Restaurants You Need to Visit This Week

Where to eat in the city for delicious food and great atmosphere.

Chicago is one of the largest cities in the U.S., with all the iconic attractions and friendly, welcoming locals you would expect from a Midwestern metropolis. Chicago’s architecture is world-famous, and taking an architectural boat tour through the Chicago River is a must-do for tourists. 

Like most diverse large cities, Chicago’s food scene has every cuisine and dining experience imaginable from hundreds of restaurants, brewpubs, and trailers. Chicago may be famous for deep-dish pizza, hot dogs, and steaks, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

group of friends dining with wine at a restaurant in Chicago

In my most recent visit to the Windy City, I did a thorough investigation of the best places to eat in Chicago. My extensive list of the best restaurants in Chicago has every type of food, atmosphere, and price range to satisfy any craving, dining expectation, and budget. 

If you’re wondering where to eat in Chicago, you’ll find it on the list below.   


Alinea

1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
Visit Website

Located a few blocks from the famous Lincoln Park Zoo in Bucktown, Alinea is an award-winning and internationally acclaimed fine dining restaurant. 

Alinea has been deemed the best restaurant in the U.S. and the entire world by national and international travel and food magazines. Alinea has also been awarded three Michelin stars, an honor only afforded to 13 other restaurants globally.

Alinea’s menu offers innovative dishes you won’t see anywhere else and is the very definition of avant-garde cooking. Dining at Alinea is a once-in-a-lifetime experience wherein the food, atmosphere, and service are less like a fine-dining restaurant and more like a trip to the theater. 

There’s a set price per person depending on which dining room and menu you choose. Menus change constantly, so you should check their menu listing when visiting the site to request a reservation. 


Monteverde Restaurant

1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-888-3041
Visit Website

Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio is a high-end Italian restaurant located in the West Loop neighborhood. 

Head Chef Sarah Grueneberg combines traditional Italian cooking with a slew of world flavors that she has experienced during her travels, along with flavors from her own cultural background. 

As per the name, all pasta is hand-made fresh daily, using the freshest, most authentic Italian imported ingredients. The menu is a combination of small plates and large shareable plates for a family-style dining experience. 

I recommend starting with the artichoke and sunchoke crostini with house-made ricotta, fontina, and truffle and the Texas redfish with eggplant caponata, dill salmoriglio, and pistachio. My favorite pasta dish was the egg yolk ravioli, filled with ricotta and goat cheese and served with kale, garam masala, pomegranate molasses, and toasted pistachio.


avec Restaurant

615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: 312-377-2002
Visit Website

Located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, avec Restaurant is a wine bar and Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in a uniquely designed space with all wood floors, walls, and ceilings. 

Avec Restaurant’s chef Dylan Patel delivers rustic Mediterranean dishes using local Midwest ingredients to accompany the extensive wine list that inspired the restaurant’s founding 17 years ago.

Avec Restaurant serves a full dinner and brunch menu along with a wine list that features close to 50 offerings, not to mention cocktails, espresso, and beer. The menu is extensive yet affordable. My favorite dish at avec was the sumac glazed bone-in ribeye with harissa brown butter, grilled artichokes, and hearth-baked pita.  


Pequod’s Pizza

2207 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: 773-327-1512
Visit Website

Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza, and Pequod’s Pizza has been one of Chicago’s premier Chicago-style pizzerias for decades. 

Located in Sheffield Neighbors, Pequod’s Pizza has received countless press from national and international food and travel magazines and news stations as having the best deep-dish pizza on earth.

Pizzas come in a deep metal dish like that of a baked casserole or lasagna. You know you’re in for a hearty, multi-layer pizza with the densest, spongiest crust. They call it pan pizza, but you can also order thin-crust pizza along with numerous selections of appetizers, pasta, salads, and sandwiches. All pizzas are build-your-own, starting with a cheese and tomato sauce base. 


Lula Cafe

2537 N Kedzie Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone: 773-489-9554
Visit Website

Located on the southern side of Chicago’s famous Centennial Park, Lula Café opened in 1999 as one of the pioneers of the farm-to-table movement. Head Chef Jason Hammel has received two James Beard Best Che nominations for his inventive dishes that don’t fit into any singular cuisine.

The menu has a wide variety of meat, fish, and vegetarian options. Lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch are served at Lula with both a daytime and evening drink menu. I recommend their fresh mussels with celery soffritto, cubanelle peppers, and sorrel served with garlic toast.


Smyth + The Loyalist

Multiple locations
Visit Website

Smyth + The Loyalist are actually two different restaurants in one two-story dining space between the Greek Town and West Town neighborhoods. 

The owners are a married Chef and pastry Chef duo with over thirty years of experience in the fine-dining industry. Smyth + The Loyalist is their dual-concept restaurant creation, with the first floor being a tasting-menu restaurant and lounge and the second floor a more extensive menu.

No matter which restaurant you choose, local and seasonal ingredients make up both menus. Smyth offers a set chef’s tasting menu, while The Loyalist has a conventional menu. 

I ate at The Loyalist and had an incredible meal of Poulet Roti Pour Deux, a ½ roasted chicken served over bread and butter with Normande sauce, candied carrots, mashed potatoes, chicken liver, and foie gras mousse and foie gras roasted cauliflower with hazelnuts.


Mi Tocaya Antojería

2800 W Logan Blvd, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone: 872-315-3947
Visit Website

Meaning, “my namesake”, Mi Tocaya Antojeria is an upscale Mexican restaurant, serving traditional dishes from the owner’s home country and beloved heritage. Mi Tocaya Antojeria was nominated for a James Beard Award for its wonderful food served in a vibrantly colorful presentation. 

Located in the Logan Square neighborhood, the dining space is equally beautiful and authentic, with colorfully tiled walls and bar, traditional Mexican art, and an old-fashioned tortilla press.

You will never see a more unique Mexican food menu than from Mi Tocaya, and while it may have tacos, enchiladas, and chips and salsa, there are so many traditional dishes that you have never heard of before. 

I recommend the Tlacoyo de Nopalitos, traditional street food of blue corn masa stuffed with goat cheese and topped with cured cactus salad, Mexican chili oil, and papalo. 


Giant

3209 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone: 773-252-0997
Visit Website

Located in Logan Square, Giant is a dressy casual restaurant and cocktail bar, serving a panoply of world cuisines in an intimate and small dining space. 

Although the dining space is small, it would make Chicago proud as an aesthetic and architectural feat, combining modern and industrial interior design.

Their craft cocktail menu offers a delicious selection of infused spirits and fresh ingredients, not to mention their impressive list of microbrewery beers sourced from around the nation. As for their food, I recommend the grilled pork with chimichurri, feta, tomato, and a scallion pancake. 


Galit

2429 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
Phone: 773-360-8755
Visit Website

Galit is another Lincoln Square favorite, an Israeli and Middle Eastern restaurant rooted in community and restaurant industry appreciation. Head Chef Zachary Engel has won a James Beard Award for Galit’s seasonal, locally sourced menu of Israeli, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern dishes accompanied by a refreshing cocktail and wine list. 

In authentic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fashion, Galit’s menu has a variety of shared small plates, featuring different dips, spreads, and roasted and raw vegetable salads. 

Each meal begins with three different hummus varieties, followed by pickled and roasted vegetable mezze. The large plates are all coal-fired dishes like smoked Turkey Shawarma and Lamb Tangier Sausage, to name a few.


Virtue Restaurant

1462 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615
Phone: 773-947-8831
Visit Website

Located in East Hyde Park, a few blocks from the Lake Michigan waterfront and Harold Washington Park, Virtue Restaurant offers delicious southern comfort food with classic southern hospitality. 

Rooted in honoring southern heritage, culture, and cooking techniques, Virtue Restaurant also stands for the continued struggle for civil rights.

Virtue’s menu has all the best and most authentic southern favorites, starting with buttermilk biscuits and pimento cheese. I loved their fried green tomatoes with gulf shrimp and remoulade sauce as a starter. 

I recommend the Walleye main course of crawfish and shrimp etouffee over buttered grits.


Lem’s Bar-B-Q

311 E 75th St, Chicago, IL 60619
Phone: 773-994-2428
Visit Website

Lem’s Bar-B-Q has been a Southside Chicago favorite since it opened in 1954. Owners and brothers Bruce and Mules Lemons have created a Barbeque institution replete with its slew of famous sauces and spice rubs that elevate their meats to a flavorful cut above the competition. 

Lem’s is famous for its rib tips and hot sausage links, but they also offer delicious fried chicken and shrimp. 

The menu is a simple list of all the cuts of meat, ribs, and links along with fried chicken and shrimp packages along with classic sides like potato salad, coleslaw, and French fries. 


Kasama

1001 N Winchester Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone: 773-697-3790
Visit Website

Located in the East Ukrainian Village neighborhood, Kasama is a Filipina bakery and restaurant run by Filipino native chef duo Cenie Kwon and Anthony Flores. Their unique donuts, pastries, and sandwiches have received a Michelin-bib mention along with plenty of local Chicago press. 

The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Magazine have all written pieces raving about Kasama’s food, chefs, and authenticity.

Along with show-stopping donuts, Kasama offers a small but fantastic daytime menu with dishes you won’t find anywhere else. 

I opted for the vegetarian mushroom adobo with soy-braised mushrooms, a fried egg, and garlic rice. The Kasama combo sandwich with shaved pork adobo, longanisa sausage, and giardiniera is a meat lover’s dream.


Ever Restaurant

1340 W Fulton St, Chicago, IL 60607
Visit Website

Located in the West Loop neighborhood, Ever Restaurant is a fine-dining New American food bistro run by Michelin-starred Chef Curtis Duffy. 

The dining experience features a 10-course tasting menu of small, impeccably curated plates that feature every food group from fruits and seeds to surf and turf. Menus constantly change, with a few variations for each season’s bounty. 

Along with a multi-course set menu, chefs and staff choose a wine program tailored to the menu’s seasonal fare. The meal is a carefully programmed experience that lasts at least two and a half hours, so you are in for a long and lavish night. 


Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

218 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312-624-8154
Visit Website

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf is a French-inspired steakhouse and cocktail bar in Chicago’s Fulton River District, serving high-end meals in a cozy, lively, and hip atmosphere. The dimly lit interior has exposed brick walls, silly mock-taxidermy sculpture wall fixtures, lush suede chairs and leather booths, and impressive old-fashioned French crystal chandeliers. 

The menu is as decadent and luxurious as the interior of the restaurant, with all the steakhouse classics. I recommend the blue crab cakes with preserved lemon and remoulade sauce to start. 

If you’re in Chicago, you must try the Chicago cut classic ribeye with bearnaise and steak salt with buttery mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.


Oriole

661 W Walnut St, Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: 312-877-5339
Visit Website

Located in the Fulton River District, Oriole is a fine-dining, high-end kitchen specializing in New American dishes. 

Oriole is a small, intimate restaurant where you can enjoy a multi-course chef’s tasting menu that changes often. The interior is a lovely industrial-chic modern design with exposed brick walls, wood floors, and exposed wood-beamed ceilings. 

When I ate at Oriole, the menu had a strong Japanese influence, with items like Japanese milk bread, Hamachi, and Miyazaki wagyu beef. However, you never know what will be on the menu when you dine there, and that’s a part of Oriole’s mysterious allure.


Jeong

1460 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
Phone: 312-877-5016
Visit Website

Located across interstate 90 from Cabrini Green and Goose Island, Jeong is a high-end South Korean bistro in a small and intimate dining room with traditional delicate stretched paper, wood, bamboo walls, and modern light fixtures and furniture.

The menu at Jeong is a tasting of seasonal dishes that changes according to the season’s availability. Regardless of the current menu, however, the presentation of food at Jeong is elegant and stunning, with a full cocktail and wine selection to pair with your meal.

The menu I tried featured a salmon tartare with yuzu gastrique that looked like a work of art. The heavier meat and fish dishes on the multi-course menu included seared scallop with Beurre Blanc, spinach, trout roe, chives Mandu, and Kimchi Pork with cucumber and chili crisp. 


Girl & the Goat

809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-492-6262
Visit Website

Located along the West Loop neighborhood’s famous Restaurant Row, Girl & the Goat is a fine-dining world-cuisine restaurant and cocktail bar. 

Girl & the Goat has a seasonally changing cocktail, wine, and beer menu to accompany its bold, unique wood-fired menu. Whether you’re in the mood for Asian or Italian, there is a dish that satisfies your desire in a creative way.

While you will see a wide variety of goat meat and cheeses on the menu, the menu at Girl & Goat has many vegetables, fish, and red meat offerings that run the gamut of world flavors. 

I recommend starting with the fried brussels sprouts with honey soy glaze, rosemary cream, and togarashi. I tried their delicious confit goat belly with broth, pecan crunch, and apple fennel slaw for the main course.


Smoque BBQ

3800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641
Phone: 773-545-7427
Visit Website

Located in the Old Irving Park neighborhood, Smoque BBQ is a friendly neighborhood barbeque joint started by five friends and barbeque enthusiasts who collaborated to find the best barbeque rub and sauce recipes as well as award-winning smoking techniques. 

Their fantastic barbeque has generated a large following and yearly mentions in national and local media as having some of America’s best barbeque.

They specialize in Texas-style barbeque that is heavy on the sauce. Their brisket and pulled pork are among the juiciest and most flavorful I’ve had. I also love their individual canister cornbread and barbeque beans as a side. 

I recommend a ½ and ½ pulled pork and brisket sandwich with slaw and barbeque beans for the best of both worlds.


Spacca Napoli Pizzeria

1769 W Sunnyside Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Phone: 773-878-2420
Visit Website

SPacca Napoli Pizzeria is an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria and Italian eatery in Chicago’s Ravenswood neighborhood. 

Run by chef and restaurateur Jon Goldsmith and his wife and painter Finny Sykes, whose beautifully framed works of art line the walls, Spacca Napoli’s interior revolves around the traditional wood-fired brick oven. 

Spacca Napoli has a large indoor and outdoor seating area along with a full bar, wine list, and beer menu. I recommend the pistachio pizza with fior di latte, sausage, pistachio cream sauce, and basil as a white-based pizza. 

For a traditional red pizza, I recommend the Funghi e Salsiccia with blended San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, basil, mushrooms, sausage, and pecorino gran cru.


S.K.Y.

1239 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: 312-846-1077
Visit Website

Named for the initials of head Chef and owner, Stephen Gillanders, S.K.Y is a fine-dining New American restaurant located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Chef Gillanders strives to put a modern twist on traditional world cuisine and the dishes he prepared with his Filipino grandmother when he was a child. 

S.K.Y. has an extensive wine list and cocktail menu to accompany its dinner and weekend brunch menus. The dinner menu is divided into snacks, appetizers, and mains. 

I recommend going as a group to try all of the wonderfully innovative and eclectic small plates like the marinated cucumber salad, Maine lobster dumplings, and Rohan duck confit. As for the main dish, I recommend the Grilled beef short rib with whipped gruyere, chimichurri, and lotus root.


Osteria Langhe

2824 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone: 773-661-1582
Visit Website

Osteria Langhe is an Italian Bistro and wine bar specializing in Northwest Italian cuisine. 

Located in the Logan Square neighborhood, Osteria Langhe’s interior dining room is a modern take on rustic-chic with a giant panorama of the northern Italian countryside lining the back wall. Northern Italian owner Aldo Zanninotto created the wine list using wines imported directly from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy.

The menu offers antipasti, small plates, a small main course selection, and some seriously indulgent desserts. The wine is an indispensable part of the meal, and your server will surely guide you on the best wine pairing for your meal. 

I recommend the risotto special with marinello white or black truffles, sunny egg, mushroom, and fontina val d’aosta. 


Au Cheval

800 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-929-4580
Visit Website

Au Cheval is a diner-style bar and restaurant that offers high-end diner food along with a vast cocktail and draught beer selection. Located in the Fulton River District, this small, snazzy, and hip diner has some of the best burgers in town, along with some unexpected regional comfort food favorites.

The cocktail and beer menus are larger than the food menu, with over fifteen local draught beers alone, not to mention the domestic and imported selections. 

As for food, you must try their outrageous double cheeseburger with a fried egg and bacon. Try the super-rich crispy fries with mornay sauce, garlic aioli, and a fried farm egg.


Superdawg Drive-In

6363 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60646
Phone: 773-763-0660
Visit Website

One of the oldest hot dog establishments in Chicago, Superdawg Drive-In has been a Bunker Hill drive-in dog stand since 1948. The flashy neon signs, large his and her hot dog figurines on the roof, and the building for the stand have been the same since it opened, barring a few updates. 

Chicago dogs are 100% beef hot dogs and as juicy as they come, served in a poppy-seed bun with golden mustard, tangy piccalilli, kosher dill pickle, chopped Spanish onions, and hot pepper. 

Order a side of crispy battered fries, onions, or veggies to accompany your classic Chicago-style hot dog.


Daisies

2523 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Phone: 773-661-1671
Visit Website

Located in Logan Square, one block from Logan Square Park, Daisies is a high-end, stylish New American eatery and cocktail bar specializing in seasonal pasta and vegetables. 

Owned and run by Chef Joe Frillman and head Chef Thomas Leonard, Daisies is a quaint, rustic-chic space with a lovely back patio and fire pit for enjoying a cocktail al fresco. There is also a specialty food and produce shop inside the restaurant.

Vegetarians and meat lovers will find excellent dining options from the vegetable-centric menu. I recommend starting with the herb salad with sweet and spicy peppers, peaches, and every herb under the sun. 

My favorite pasta dishes are a tie between the black truffle and ricotta ravioli and the potato pierogi with mussels cooked in beer.


Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant

Multiple locations
Visit Website

Carnitas Uruapan is one of Chicago’s oldest Mexican food restaurants, opening its doors in 1957 under the direction of Michoacan native Inocencio Carbajal. 

With two locations in West Elsdon and the Lower West Side, Carnitas Uruapan has received national acclaim and featured in programs on Univision, The Food Network, Vice, The Cooking Channel, and PBS for serving the most authentic Mexican food in North America.

Carnitas are slow-cooked pork with crispy outsides and tender, juicy insides that are mostly eaten in tacos, but at Carnitas Uruapan, you get it as a whole plate of meat. Try their Carnitas Especial plate that comes with ½ lb. of carnitas, one crispy fried taco dorado stuffed with potato, refried beans, and fresh fruit water.


Honey Butter Fried Chicken

3361 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Phone: 773-478-4000
Visit Website

Honey Butter Fried Chicken is a fried chicken fast-food stand and bar with a sit-down location in Avondale and another location in the United Center food court. 

The Avondale location has a great outdoor patio to enjoy your chicken-centric meal after ordering from the small house in which lies the kitchen.

The menu at Honey Butter Fried Chicken has every machination of fried chicken possible, along with a list of foreign and domestic beers, wines, and a small cocktail menu. The fried chicken comes as a plat, sandwich, chicken strips, and more, all cooked with southern comfort flair. 


Redhot Ranch

3057 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Phone: 773-661-9377
Visit Website

With three locations in Lakeview, Bucktown, and downtown Chicago, Redhot Ranch is one of the newest Chicago hotdog stands that claims to represent “the true Chicago dog”. 

While many people associate Chicago-style hot dogs as being loaded with an entire salad of vegetables on a poppy seed bun, owners at Redhot Ranch stick to the “depression dog,” a simple frank with mustard, relish onions, and peppers.

Along with simple Chicago dogs, they also make deliciously caramelized beef patty burgers. Whether you order a dog or a burger, both come wrapped in wax paper and served with old-fashioned fresh-cut fries.


Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings

2002 S Wentworth Ave #103, Chicago, IL 60616
Phone: 312-799-1118
Visit Website

Located in Chicago’s Chinatown, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings is a family-owned and operated Chinese Dumpling restaurant using a centuries-old family recipe that dates to the Qing Dynasty. 

Since bringing the dumpling recipe to American palates, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings has received many awards, designed their own brand of Chinese tableware, and added new and exciting menu items.

There are over thirty steamed dumpling combinations at Qing Xiang Yuan, plus a barbeque menu and appetizers. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the options, I recommend ordering from the Chef’s recommendations. I ordered the pork, shrimp, and leek dumplings, and they were delicious. 


Tzuco

720 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312-374-8995
Visit Website

Located a few blocks from Northwestern University and the Museum of Contemporary Art in the Gold Coast area of Chicago, Tzuco is a fine-dining Mexican food restaurant led by the first Mexican chef to win a Michelin Star, Chef Carlos Gaytan. Tzuco is short for Huitzuco, Chef Gaytan’s hometown in the Mexican state of Guerrero.

Chef Gaytan has created a unique and creative taste of Mexican cuisine, using the French Haute cooking techniques he has used in his long and successful culinary career. 

The cocktail and drink menu alone is worth a Michelin Star. For food, I recommend starting with the Pulpo Enamorado (Octopus in Love) with guajillo roasted octopus, salsa macha, pickled carrot, pea, potato, and tonnato aioli. 

For a truly authentic indigenous Mexican dish, try the Tikin Xic, achiote, and orange marinated mahi-mahi wrapped and steamed in banana leaves and served with parsnip puree, habanero beurre blanc, and tomato avocado salad.


HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen

1800 S Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: 312-702-1303
Visit Website

Located in the heart of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen is a high-end Vietnamese cuisine restaurant with an adjoining Vietnamese coffee and banh mi shop. 

Owned and operated by husband-and-wife duo Thai and Danielle Dang, HaiSous has received national acclaim from the Chicago Tribune, Plate Magazine, Forbes, and USA Today, to name a few. 

You can choose from Chef’s tasting family-style menus or an a la carte menu. I recommend the chef’s tasting menu for larger parties, and I also recommend going as a group to sample all the delicious dishes. 

My favorite dish was the Cá kho Bơ, seared halibut, scallop and coconut boudin, and a ginger-scallion emulsion.


Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria

8433 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60652
Phone: 773-735-2050
Visit Website

Located in the Ashburn neighborhood, Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria is one of the oldest pizzerias in Chicago, originating in 1923 first as an Italian Tavern. Family-owned and run for nearly a century, Vito & Nick’s began serving Sicilian pizza at their current location in 1946. 

Unlike most pizzerias, you can’t get delivery. You have to dine in to get the true authentic Sicilian pizza experience.

For Chicagoans who are used to deep dish, pan pizza, they call Vito & Nick’s pizza “thin-crust”, but Sicilian pizza is a square-shaped pizza with a dense and thick crust that chars at the edges called tavern-style pizza

It is undoubtedly my favorite pizza style. You build your own pie at Vito & Nick’s, and they also have plenty of delicious salads, pasta, appetizers, and sandwiches. 


Birrieria Zaragoza

4852 S Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60632
Phone: 773-523-3700
Visit Website

Birrieria Zaragoza is a Mexican food restaurant specializing in the regional dish birria, a stew of chili-spiced goat-meat adobo with garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and thyme. 

Owner Juan Zaragoza hails from the state of Jalisco, where birria reigns supreme, and he and his family have been serving the best birria in Chicago’s Brighton Park neighborhood for the past 14 years.

You can order birria by the pound, as a taco, in quesadillas or tacos dorados, as a bowl of stew, or as a plate at Birrieria Zaragoza. I recommend getting the plate which comes with a large portion of birria with its broth and cilantro, onion, lime garnish, hot sauce with arbol chiles, and five handmade corn tortillas. 


Soulé

1931 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Phone: 312-526-3825
Visit Website

Located in the West Town, Soule is a hip and flashy high-end creole-infused soul food restaurant, inspired by the nostalgic and comforting lyrics from the late Biggie Smalls song “Juicy.” 

You’ll find the very best of southern comfort cooking dressed up to the nines in a high-end presentation in a lively and welcoming atmosphere.

The menu at Soule has Southern, Caribbean, and creole dishes. I recommend starting with fried green tomatoes and jerk shrimp. I opted for the fried catfish main dish with collard greens and mac and cheese. 


EL ideas

2419 W 14th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: 312-226-8144
Visit Website

Located in the Tri-Taylor neighborhood, EL ideas is a New American fine dining restaurant run by Michelin-starred chef Phillip Foss. 

Chef Foss’s creative yet accessible approaches to fine dining have won the hearts of customers and critics alike, with wide acclaim from the Chicago Tribune, The Atlantic, Eater.com, and culinary celebrity Andrew Zimmern.

 EL ideas menu is a multi-course extravaganza. Each dish offers a few bites of deliciously conjured and executed fish, meat, and vegetables displayed as colorful and vibrant plates of art. 

My favorite dishes were the King Crab with scallop in puff pastry with cauliflower puree and black truffle and the Cajun-style duck with turnip, Swiss chard, pinto beans. 


Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

60 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-379-5637
Visit Website

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab originated over a century ago in Florida’s Miami Beach when Joseph Weiss and his wife opened a fresh crab restaurant on the front patio of their home. 

Today, Joe’s offers stone crab, seafood, and prime steak in a fine dining atmosphere in various major cities. The Chicago location is a few blocks from the famous Navy Pier in Streetsville. 

The menu at Joe’s has all the classic old-school seafood and steak dishes, but they also have a vegetarian and kid’s menu so all dietary preferences and ages can find something to enjoy. 

I recommend the stone crab claws with mustard sauce because that’s their signature dish. You can also order their incredible seafood cocktail known as the Whale, with Alaskan king crab, lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, and a stone crab claw.


The Capital Grille

633 N St Clair St, Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 312-337-9400
Visit Website

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, The Capital Grille is a traditional fine-dining steakhouse that offers every variety of dry-aged steaks, using Prime USDA cuts of steak.

They also provide an extensive seafood and shellfish selection, and can accommodate groups for special occasions and work parties. 

The menu is as decadent and luxurious as steakhouse menus come, with an incredibly delicious selection of bisques and chowders to warm you up from that bitter Windy City cold. 

I recommend the New England Clam Chowder. As for steak, I had the porcini rubbed bone-in ribeye with aged balsamic glaze and a side of lobster mac and cheese and roasted wild mushrooms.


The Duck Inn

2701 S Eleanor St, Chicago, IL 60608
Phone: 312-724-8811
Visit Website

Located right on the waterfront of the Chicago River on the border between Pilsen and Bridgeport, The Duck Inn is a gastropub with a friendly, local vibe.

The Duck Inn is located inside an early 20th-century tavern and maintains that old-fashioned cozy neighborhood pub feel.

Along with a vast beer selection, the signature dish at the Duck Inn is, not surprisingly, the Rotisserie Duck with duck fat potatoes, baby kale, apples and pears, apple cider vinaigrette, and duck jus.

They also have a variety of decadent and high-end bar fare like duck wings, fried cheese curds, duck fat French fries, and Chicago-style hot dogs, to name a few.


Tanta Chicago

118 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
Phone: 312-222-9700
Visit Website

Tanta Chicago is a high-end modern Peruvian restaurant in the Near Northside neighborhood close to Northwestern University’s Chicago campus. 

The elegant yet colorful dining room has a beautiful marble and wood bar along one wall, with the opposite wall covered in a colorful collage of urban and indigenous figures, structures, and patterns.

Peruvian cuisine is world-famous, offering a mix of fresh fish and ceviche dishes as well as grilled exotic meats. I recommend starting with the traditional ceviche clasico with seasonal fish, leche de tigre, habanero, corn, sweet potatoes, cancha, red onions, and chalaca. 

As a main course, I recommend the Chaufa Aeropuerto, stir-fried char siu pork, and vegetable fried rice with a shrimp omelet, scallions, and toasted sesame.


Viaggio

1330 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607
Phone: 312-829-3333
Visit Website

Located in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, Viaggio Restaurant Chicago is a traditional Italian kitchen run by head Chef Nicolas Biscaglio. 

His Italian heritage and years of fine Italian cooking experience shine through in his perfectly executed menu. Since its opening in 2008, Viaggio Restaurant has consistently been named one of Chicago’s best Italian food restaurants.

The menu at Viaggio consists of antipasti, fresh handmade pasta, seafood, steak, and chicken dishes. I recommend the mussels in spicy red sauce with crostini to start. 

While classic dishes like chicken Marsala and Shrimp Scampi are tempting, I had to try the pasta. My favorite was the Rigatoni with Sunday pork gravy, braised pork, and tomato basil sauce. 


Los Langostinos Restaurant

3059 S Harding Ave, Chicago, IL 60623
Phone: 773-542-1120

Located in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, Los Langostinos is a neighborhood favorite, family-friendly Mexican food restaurant. Known for their friendly service and accessible pricing, Los Langostinos specializes in both Mexican and Italian sizzling steak and seafood dishes.

While they offer a wide range of seafood pasta dishes, Los Langostinos is first and foremost a Mexican restaurant, so I’d recommend ordering Mexican cuisine. 

Their homemade salsa will have you eating baskets of chips before your meal, so come hungry. I recommend their sizzling shrimp fajitas that come with guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh tortillas, and charro beans.  


Nuevo Leon Restaurant

3657 W 26th St, Chicago, IL 60623
Phone: 773-522-1515
Visit Website

Another Little Village neighborhood favorite, Nuevo Leon Restaurant is a casual, family, and budget-friendly traditional Mexican restaurant with hearty portions of all your favorite Northern Mexican dishes. 

A large colorful mural of a hacienda with a traditionally dressed Mexican woman on one dining room wall aptly illustrates the old-school traditional Mexican restaurant feel at Nuevo Leon. 

The thin and perfectly fried chips come with multiple salsas and traditional Mexican pickled vegetables, and their guacamole is the perfect combination of tangy and creamy. 

I recommend the Enchiladas Suizas, stuffed with chicken and topped with green tomatillo sauce, cheese, and cream and served with hefty portions of Mexican rice and refried beans.


Final Thoughts

Chicago restaurants run the culinary gamut, with world cuisines represented with authenticity and artistry. Local neighborhood favorites, hot-dog stands, Chicago-style pizzerias, and cutting-edge nationally acclaimed fine-dining restaurants abound in the Windy City, and you can find the best of them on my list.

I hope you enjoy eating at as many of them as possible during your stay in this friendly midwestern gem of a city. If you need any more suggestions on Chicago eats, check out my list of the best sushi spots in Chicago

Did we miss any of your favorite Chicago restaurants? Leave a comment below and let us know so we can check it out!

Best Restaurants in Chicago

  1. Alinea
  2. Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio
  3. avec Restaurant
  4. Pequod’s Pizza
  5. Lula Cafe
  6. Smyth + The Loyalist
  7. Mi Tocaya Antojería
  8. Giant
  9. Galit
  10. Virtue Restaurant
  11. Lem’s Bar-B-Q
  12. Kasama
  13. Ever Restaurant
  14. Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf
  15. Oriole
  16. Jeong
  17. Girl & the Goat
  18. Smoque BBQ
  19. Spacca Napoli Pizzeria
  20. S.K.Y.
  21. Osteria Langhe
  22. Au Cheval
  23. Superdawg Drive-In
  24. Daisies
  25. Carnitas Uruapan Restaurant
  26. Honey Butter Fried Chicken
  27. Redhot Ranch
  28. Qing Xiang Yuan Dumpling
  29. Tzuco
  30. HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen
  31. Vito & Nick’s Pizzeria
  32. Birrieria Zaragoza
  33. Soulé
  34. EL ideas
  35. Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
  36. The Capital Grille
  37. The Duck Inn
  38. Tanta Chicago
  39. Viaggio Restaurant Chicago
  40. Los Langostinos Restaurant
  41. Nuevo Leon Restaurant

This page may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we'll earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.