Chicago lies along the banks of Lake Michigan with the Chicago River weaving through its most iconic neighborhoods.
Lake Michigan acts as a stunning natural backdrop, offering parks, beaches, and famous piers with incredible views of the downtown skyline.
Chicago’s waterways also offer a wealth of freshwater fish that are often showcased at many of its wonderful seafood restaurants. Still, “seafood” implies the ocean.
While Lake Michigan may be as vast as any coastal bay, it can only supply certain varieties of fish.
Luckily, seafood restaurants in Chicago import fresh seafood daily from domestic and foreign coasts.
My favorite saltwater delicacy is oysters, and you can check out where to get the best oysters in Chicago on my list of bars, restaurants, and kitchens below.
222 N La Salle St, Chicago, IL 60601
Located right off the Chicago Riverwalk in The Loop, Prime & Provisions Steakhouse is an elegant traditional American steakhouse in a massive two-story dining space.
The décor and menu harken back to glamorous steakhouses from the 1920s.
Executive Chef and co-owner Joseph Rizza offers a classic menu of the finest steaks aged in an onsite aging room.
The decadent menu has a shellfish and raw seafood menu with a selection of oysters from the east and west coasts.
Oysters also come on their seafood tower.
I loved the east coast oysters served with numerous dipping sauces like cocktail, tartar, and a spicy ginger mignonette.
21 E Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60611
Shaw’s Crab House has been a River North favorite for fresh seafood in a classy, old-fashioned dining space since 1984.
Shaw’s Crab House has two distinct dining experiences including a refined fine-dining dining room and a livelier cocktail and oyster bar.
Shaw’s Crab House prides itself on providing the freshest seafood from both coasts.
The menu is ingredient-driven, changing seasonally and according to the freshest available seafood.
Along with lavish raw seafood platters and oysters on the half shell, Shaw’s also offers my favorite oyster dish: oysters Rockefeller.
Their variation tops fresh oysters with spinach and Jarlsberg cream before baking them to perfection.
615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661
Avec Restaurant is a longstanding West Loop treasure for a creative fusion of Mediterranean gastronomy with Midwestern ingredients in a dining space worthy of Chicago’s reputation for unique architecture.
The ultra-modern all-wood dining space is worth the visit alone, to say nothing of its exquisite locally sourced menu.
While their seafood may not be locally sourced, avec Restaurant’s seafood dishes are creative takes on Mediterranean cuisine that revolve around roasting and grilling over an open fire or in a wood-burning oven.
Oysters appear as oven-roasted appetizers with pickled mango and chives.
I loved the nuttiness and smokiness that the roasting brought out in them.
2033 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Chop Shop is a butcher, deli market, steakhouse, and music venue inside a century-old auto body shop with a massive 6000-square-foot addition.
They dry-age, cut, and cure all their meat, at the butcher shop, offering a world-class deli menu and steakhouse menu replete with a raw bar.
Located in Bucktown, Chop Shop is a hip and friendly space to enjoy amazing food and live music or to pick up the best cuts of meat for your own dinner parties.
Their steakhouse dinner menu features oysters on the half shell with apple mignonette and cocktail sauce.
They were the perfect starter for a decadent butcher shop burger.
2956 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Fish Bar is a casual and festive seafood restaurant in Lakeview East, specializing in the cooking traditions of New Orleans and New England.
Led by five-time James Beard Award-nominated Chef Michael Kornick, Fish Bar offers iconic NOLA and New England dishes that have garnered a spot on Food Network’s show Sandwich King.
In addition to a classic raw bar with East and West coast oysters on the half shell, Fish Bar also has fried oysters served in a classic New Orleans po’boy with remoulade.
I had a fried oyster po’boy with a cup of New England Clam Chowder to get a taste of the North and the South.
60 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Located inside the posh River North retail mall along the Magnificent Mile, Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab is fine dining seafood and steakhouse in a stylish multi-room dining space.
Joe’s originated in Miami, Florida, and still sources its stone crab, shellfish, and seafood from the Florida Gulf.
The menu has Oysters Rockefeller, fried oysters, and raw oysters on the half shell for appetizers.
I had a plate of fried oysters along with their signature Stone Crabs.
1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
From James Beard Award semifinalist and Food Network’s Chopped champion Brian Jupiter, The Frontier is a Michelin-guide recommended wild game restaurant in Noble Square.
The Frontier’s interior resembles a rustic gaming lodge in the Wild West, replete with old stone fireplaces, exposed wood-beamed ceilings, and Native American art.
The Frontier’s menu is as adventurous and exotic as the west must have been to its first settlers, featuring alligator, venison, and other wild game species.
Chef Jupiter uses his New Orleans upbringing to create a sumptuous Southern comfort menu.
I loved the chargrilled oysters stuffed with garlic butter, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese.
400 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Originative in New York City’s East Village, The Smith is a hip and stylish New American restaurant and cocktail bar that now has locations in Washington and Chicago’s River North neighborhood.
The Smith has a bustling, high-energy atmosphere and sleek and elegant interior design.
I went for their 3-6 pm Happy Hour for 2-dollar oysters and a tasty French 75 Slushie with gin, Prosecco, and lemon juice.
They offer three variations of east coast oysters from Massachusetts on their raw bar menu, which you can get for lunch, brunch, and dinner.
350 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
Reminiscent of the swanky supper clubs of the 40s, Tortoise Supper Club is fine dining seafood and steakhouse in River North.
Its old-school, dimly lit wooden interior with leather booths and candle-lit tables overlooking a stage evokes a romantic and timeless atmosphere.
The concept of a dinner club is a dinner and a show, which the Tortoise Supper Club features with utmost authenticity.
You can enjoy a fine-dining meal while watching the best live Jazz in the city.
Their traditional steakhouse menu has fresh oysters on the half shell and Oyster Rockefeller small plates.
I recommend the pan-seared sea scallops with springy green pea risotto, asparagus, and artichokes.
1024 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
Located in an upscale contemporary dining space on Chicago’s Gold Coast, about a block from Oak Street beach, Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House is a beloved seafood restaurant with 25 years of service.
Owned by famed restauranteurs Hugo Ralli and Steve Lombardo who opened the Chicago-famous Gibson’s Steakhouse, Hugo’s Frog Bar and Fish House offer the same world-class atmosphere and New American cuisine.
As the name suggests, Hugo’s is famous for its frog legs.
They also have two East Coast and two West Coast oyster selections.
I recommend getting one of each variety to take advantage of the option to order them a la carte.
Chicago’s lakeside location isn’t the only illusion of a coastal city.
Its seafood restaurants offer the freshest catches that could convince any seafood lover to forget they’re in the Midwest.
My list of bars, eateries, and steakhouses will satisfy your coastal cravings with the best oysters in Chicago.
If you’re in Chicago and you’re really looking to treat yourself, you might as well check out the most expensive restaurants The Windy City has to offer!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!