Located a quick 25 miles from Chicago, Arlington Heights is a friendly suburb with a colorful history and cultural attractions all its own.
Once centered around a famous thoroughbred racetrack, Arlington Heights is now a family-oriented town, full of city parks, performing arts centers, and a small downtown.
Families can enjoy the surrounding natural bounty with visits to Busse Woods and Busse Lake. At the northern end of Arlington Heights lies Lake Arlington, a popular destination for sailboats and summertime picnics.
While residents may have to commute to the Windy City for work, they won’t have to make the trip for a fun night out, as Arlington Heights has plenty of wonderful restaurants and bars.
Restaurants in Arlington Heights run the culinary gamut, from sushi to Mexican food. They also offer a panoply of different dining experiences with family-friendly pizza restaurants as well as fine dining steakhouses.
Below, I have compiled a list of the best restaurants in Arlington Heights to enjoy as a family or for a special date night.
282 E Algonquin Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Located a few blocks from Busse Woods, Nikko Sushi is a small, casual sushi bar and Japanese eatery with an open kitchen encircled by a wooden sushi bar where customers can watch expert chefs prepare delicate sushi plates in real-time. Nikko Sushi offers traditional Korean and Japanese food as well as modern takes on classic dishes.
The massive menu has equal parts Korean and Japanese specialties with everything from Korean Barbecue and Bibimbap to Japanese sushi and Udon noodles.
I enjoyed their flavorful sushi rolls, my favorite being the Butterly Madam Roll with spicy scallops, creamy crab, and cucumber topped with spicy lobster meat.
208 S Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Located a block from Arlington Heights Village Hall, Francesca’s Tavola is a refined yet casual Southern Italian kitchen and cocktail bar, specializing in rustic Italian dishes from Rome, Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio.
Francesca’s Tavola uses imported Italian ingredients of the highest quality to create authentic and sophisticated dishes.
They have a kids’ menu and a gluten-free menu to suit a variety of palates. I started with the burrata inverno with creamy fresh mozzarella, slow-roasted tomatoes, arugula pesto, saba, and extra virgin olive oil.
My favorite fresh pasta dish at Francesca’s is the braised beef ravioli with beef sugo, sofrito, and pecorino.
40 S Arlington Heights Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Alt Thai is a Thai and Pan Asian Fusion restaurant in a sleek modern setting with Asian-inspired art lining the walls, hardwood floors, and a bustling atmosphere.
Located across the freeway from Recreation Park, Alt Thai serves traditional Thai and Chinese dishes with beautiful displays of culinary artistry with colorful vegetables cut to look like flower arrangements.
They offer all the classic Thai favorites from curries to Pad Thai, along with a Chinese-style dim sum, wonton soup, and other specialties.
I loved the blue crab fried rice with blue crab, spinach, pea, carrot, egg, green onion, and cilantro with a fresh cucumber garnish.
17 W Campbell St, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Salsa 17 is an authentic Mexican Food restaurant in a picturesque and vibrant dining space. It looks like a rustic Spanish colonial hacienda from the outside with a fabulous outdoor patio lit by romantic hanging tealights.
Located a block from the Arlington Heights Train Station, Salsa 17 has received praise from Chicago’s Best for its charming and lively ambiance, excellent Mexican craft cocktails, and great food.
Salsa 17 has rotating weekly margarita and Mexican cocktail specialties along with a selection of Chef’s special tacos.
I was pleasantly surprised to see their authentic menu of regional favorites like Birria and Chile Relleno.
They also made delicious Enchiladas con Mole Poblano, stuffed with chicken and blend of Mexican cheeses then smothered in a scratch-made mole sauce with queso fresco.
8 N Vail Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60004
Named for owner and Irishman Derek Hanley’s mother, Peggy Kinnane’s Irish Restaurant & Pub is as authentic as Irish pubs get outside of Ireland.
Hanley comes from a long line of Irish pub owners and Irish musicians, applying his experience in his grandfather’s pub along with pride for the home country to the authentic menu, décor, and festive vibe at Peggy Kinnane’s.
Located a block from the Arlington Heights train station, Peggy Kinnane’s has a vast list of Whiskey and scotch along with over 20 beers on tap and another 20+ bottles.
If you want a true, Irish pub experience, try the Irish Flight with 6 oz pours of Guinness, Swithwick’s, Harp, and Magner’s.
The vast menu features a mix of authentic Irish fare and American bar fare. I recommend the fish and chips sliders for a delicious fusion.
9525 Skokie Blvd, Skokie, IL 60077
Jameson’s Charhouse is a family-owned steakhouse in a cozy and casual atmosphere. Its flagship location in northern Arlington Heights quickly expanded to include multiple locations in nearly every Chicago suburb.
Established in 1990, Jameson’s Charhouse carries on its 30+ year legacy as an Arlington Heights institution for high-quality steak dinners at low prices, served with Midwestern cheer.
The menu at Jameson’s offers a combination of Mediterranean specialties like kabobs, pasta, and small plates along with classic American steaks and chops, burgers, and sandwiches.
I recommend Jameson’s signature Kansas City Strip served Oscar style with crabmeat, asparagus, and hollandaise.
140 E Walton Pl, Chicago, IL 60611
Located in front of the Arlington Plaza shopping center, Palm Court is a traditional American steakhouse and seafood restaurant.
It’s in an old-school dining space and cocktail lounge with lime green leather booths, a loud patterned carpet, and grandiose marble columns.
Palm Court has live music in the cocktail lounge nightly from Monday through Sunday to serenade a decadent happy hour before heading into the main dining room.
The classic, multicourse steakhouse menu offers all the traditional favorites, from clams casino to Oysters Rockefeller.
Their signature dish is the prime rib, slow-roasted to perfection and served with au jus and horseradish sauce.
4159 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
Established in 1956 by childhood friends Michael Caringella and Armand Christopher, Armand’s Pizzeria is a Chicago institution for hand-tossed thin crust pizza.
The flagship location remains in Elmwood Park, with three other locations in Elmhurst, Chicago, and Arlington Heights, right across from Salsa 17. All locations serve an authentic Italian American menu from Mike Caringella’s family recipes.
Along with thin-crust pizza, there’s a variety of antipasti, salads, sandwiches, and pasta. Pizzas come in the classic thin crust, the deep-dish Chicago pan pizza, and the super-thin, super crispy Nova Pizza.
Pizzas are 100% customizable. I had a thin-crust pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, hot giardiniera, olives, onions, mushrooms, red roasted peppers, and house-made Italian sausage.
952 Arthur Ave, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Joe & Giuseppe Restaurant is an authentic Italian American restaurant in an intimate and old-school dining space in southern Arlington Heights, just a block from Melas Park.
The classic Italian menu has all your favorites, from Chicken Marsala to Eggplant Parmesan, all perfectly executed and served in hefty portions.
They have a small selection of beers to accompany your meal and espresso to accompany a pistachio gelato or plate of cannoli.
They also have pasta dinners with your choice of pasta style and sauce with a salad or soup. I enjoyed their fettuccine alfredo with a bowl of minestrone.
Whether you want Thai food or a steak, pizza or sushi, you’ll find a wide variety of cuisines served in a variety of dining spaces and atmospheres on my list of the best restaurants in Arlington Heights.
With such amazing and eclectic dining options, you can stick around your neck of the woods without having to fight Chicago traffic.
If you do feel like venturing into the Windy City, check out my extensive list of incredible restaurants around Chicago. Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!