Located 12 miles north of Downtown Chicago and bordered by Lake Michigan to the east, Evanston is probably best known for its architecture.
The city is home to beautiful landmarks such as The Block Museum of Art, Halim Time & Glass Museum, and Baha’i House of Worship.
My favorite thing about Evanston, Illinois, would have to be their restaurants. If you are in town and are looking to tickle your taste buds, the city is home to several restaurants serving cuisines from Mexican to Asian.
When looking for a place to eat, there are a few factors you may need to consider. For me, a good restaurant needs to have a mix of great ambiance, delicious food, and excellent service. With that in mind, here is my list of the best restaurants in Evanston.
623 W Howard St, Evanston, IL 60202
If you’re looking for a place to stuff your face in some comfort food, then the Peckish Pig is the right place to be! Located on the historical Howards Street, this eatery is easily accessible and shouldn’t be hard to find.
They have indoor dining, but if you happen to be stopping by with family or friends, I recommend the patio dining.
I had their bacon fat popcorn caramel, which was excellent, but if you’re looking to get a larger plate, you should try their red wine braised short rib.
Their kid’s menu is a thoughtful inclusion with delicious treats like fish and chips and grilled cheese fingers served with fries. Overall, I highly recommend this joint for a family-friendly evening.
505 Main St, Evanston, IL 60202
With Oceanique, I genuinely don’t know where to start because it simply took my breath away.
Chef Mark Grosz and his wife René Andrée run the family-owned restaurant, offering Evanston an array of global cuisine from a critically acclaimed, award-winning kitchen.
They serve fresh fish and fowl menu items with 300 wine assortments, 24 by the glass, using the modern Coravin system.
Fine dining is the modus operandi, making the restaurant a perfect spot for anniversary dinners, engagement parties, or valentine’s dates.
If you’re looking for a magical evening, swing by and have yourself their surf and turf (prime filet mignon and main lobster with basil potatoes and saffron), served every Friday.
Found Kitchen & Social House
1631 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Looking for an adventure? Then, look no further than Found Kitchen and Social House. A seasonal farm-to-table fare, this restaurant has been called “the most perfect dinner party between New York and LA” by the New York Times.
If you and your loved ones happen to find yourselves at this joint, you’ll enjoy your meals in a quirky space with found objects like vintage maps and books.
Try their Harrison Farm Roasted chicken, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Don’t hesitate to bring the family along as they also offer a kid’s menu with burgers, grilled cheese, and chicken served with Frites.
1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
Opening from 4:30 PM to 9 PM (Sunday to Wednesday) and from 4:30 PM to 10:00 PM (Thursday to Saturday), Union Pizzeria is Evanston’s spot for wood-style Neapolitan pizza.
Located along Chicago Avenue, the restaurant’s design showcases the building’s history. It features an industrial design with stunning floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining room, plus exposed wooden rafters, resulting in an urban loft feel.
Their focal point, of course, is their pizzas, and I tried the prosciutto and arugula pizza served with bechamel sauce and parmesan.
It’s just what I needed. If you’d like to start light, try their Sicilian creole shrimp and grits just before trying their main dish, and you will not be disappointed.
815 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
Located at 815 Chicago Avenue, Campagnola serves sophisticated, rustic Italian cuisine in a friendly neighborhood-restaurant atmosphere.
Try the Octopus served with braised Gigante beans, honey, thyme, and olive vinaigrette if you happen to pass by. It was my favorite dish here.
However, if you’re looking for new tastes but still within your comfort zone, I would recommend trying the Wood-fired Radicchio wrapped in bacon, basil, aioli, goat cheese.
I would recommend this restaurant for date nights or anniversary dinners due to the quality food and service.
1615 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Tapas Barcelona is that festive, warm space you go to when you want to taste something new. It offers a taste of Barcelona, Spain, allowing you to dine on traditional Spanish cuisine.
What’s more, the restaurant offers casual comfort and a friendly setting for eating out at affordable prices.
The menu has a plethora of dishes, such as baked snails and pizza topped with spinach and goat cheese. There’s also a bar serving Spanish drinks.
All in all, it is an ideal space for lunch or dinner with the family, and you can make reservations or get a take-out.
1709 Benson Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
As the spot that treats all their sandwiches, salads, and breakfast fare as fine dining, Bat 17 is not one to miss out on during your trip to Evanston.
The joint is a breakfast, lunch, and dinner pub in one and takes a page from some of New York’s finest delis, wrapping the whole package inside a Soho, Tribeca, Lincoln Park, or Wicker Park style saloon.
They mainly specialize in sandwiches and burgers but offer delicious appetizers, such as Buffalo and Pretzel Bites.
Located at 1709 Benson Avenue, their kitchen hours are from 11 AM to 9 PM Sunday to Thursday and 11 AM to 10 PM Friday to Saturday.
1733 Central St, Evanston, IL 60201
Hewn Bakery offers made-from-scratch bread, pastries, and sandwiches in a warm, rustic space using organic flours and grains.
They capitalize on providing the freshest ingredients and thus have a menu that varies with the availability of those ingredients.
However, they are strictly take-away with no dine-in or delivery option, making it inconvenient for professionals who work from home and would like to dine in as they work. If you’re in the neighborhood, try some of their pastries. You will not be disappointed.
Alcove – Evanston
1625 Maple Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Fine dining at its finest, Alcove Evanston (formerly Chef’s Station) gives a fresh new take on restaurant locations.
Located at 1625 Maple Avenue, Alcove is an upscale and quirky spot in a train station serving up inventive American fare with an outdoor patio.
They’re open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 5 PM to 9 PM, but they extend to 10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant remains closed on Tuesdays, so plan accordingly.
Despite being a fine-dining joint, their dress code is casual, so feel free to wear something comfortable.
My favorite dish was the Pan Seared Halibut served with English peas, cauliflower florets, and Champagne Beurre Blanc.
They specialize in Contemporary American, French, and French American cuisine, so you can expect what to find on the menu.
Cupitol Coffee & Eatery
812 Grove St, Evanston, IL 60201
Cuptiol is a choice café that serves espresso drinks in a modern, stylish space. Beautiful decor, fantastic food, and excellent customer service characterize the place, and if you’re looking for tasty breakfast options, I highly recommend trying their Classic Breakfast.
It includes two eggs done in any style, with your choice of meat, hash browns, and multigrain toast. Have this with your choice of coffee or tea, although I would recommend their Freddo Cappuccino.
Located at 812 Grove Street, this spot offers sidewalk seating, giving you a feel of drinking coffee like in European restaurants.
Blind Faith Cafe
525 Dempster St, Evanston, IL 60201
Blind Faith Café is a casual restaurant with an on-site bakery serving creative vegetarian and vegan fare, plus baked food.
I enjoyed their Brunch menu, which they serve from 10 AM to 3:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.
My pick was the vegan Mexican breakfast that includes Tofu sautéed with onions and tomatoes, served with black beans, brown rice, salsa, and tortillas.
If you don’t make it to brunch, their opening times are Tuesday to Sunday from 11 AM to 8:30 AM, but they remain closed on Mondays.
827 Church St, Evanston, IL 60202
Le Peep is a locally owned breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurant located at 827 Church Street.
The menu prices are reasonable and include entertaining categories, such as The Hen House. Raises your curiosity, doesn’t it? It consists of two eggs, a breakfast sandwich, two freshly baked biscuits, and more.
I loved their Griddle Goods section, especially the Blueberry Granola, and I’d go for another round when I’m in town.
Opening every day from 7 AM to 2 PM, this joint is officially the go-to brunch location for North Western students and working-class citizens.
1026 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201
Located at 1026 Davis Street, this independent, locally owned restaurant mainly focuses on authentic Mexican cuisine, serving the best taqueria, tacos, tortas you will ever get your hands on!
Other items on the menu include enchiladas, tequila, margaritas, beer, and wine, and the opening times are Monday to Saturday from 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM.
Be sure to grab an OG Margarita or a Hot Joy drink if you’re up for something spicy. As for food, I’d recommend the Torta El Chamuco, but it can get quite spicy!
Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge
624 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201
Koi Fine Asian Cuisine and Lounge offers extensive Chinese, Japanese and Thai food. The restaurant is a recent recipient of the Best of 2021 Winners for Best Chinese Cuisine in North Shore Chicago. I had to try their dishes to find out if they were as good as everyone says.
I wasn’t famished, so I ordered the Westlake Beef Soup, which was delicious. Not only was the food superb, but I experienced excellent service and great ambiance.
1635 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Located at 1635 Chicago Avenue, across from Whole Foods and near Northwestern University, Prairie Moon serves American cuisine for lunch and dinner seven days a week with a Sunday Brunch starting at 10 AM.
The joint is one of Evanston’s longest-running restaurants because it opened in 2002. If you’re ever in town, pass by and grab a meal from their Pasta La Luna Menu. You won’t be disappointed!
The Barn Steakhouse
1016 Church St Rear, Evanston, IL 60201
The Barn Steakhouse is the premier steakhouse on Chicago‘s North Shore. As an homage to owner Amy Morton’s father, restaurateur Arnie Morton, the joint only serves the best quality heritage Angus beef. Additionally, it features a wide range of top-quality ingredients on the menu.
Also known as a “meat-centric hide-a-way,” the restaurant gets its nickname from its hidden location in an alley in downtown Evanston.
The decor is also something you won’t forget. Housed in an old brick barn constructed in 1883, you will immediately spot the 20-foot ceilings and spectacular chandelier lighting.
Celtic Knot Public House
626 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201
Often described as a boisterous saloon, Celtic Knot Public House features an Irish pub grub, booze, and live music–all in comfortable surroundings.
Patrick Breslin first opened the restaurant in 2005 and now runs it with his wife, Liz.
One unique feature that I enjoyed while dining here is the live music, which I later found out the live band comes along four days a week. There’s also storytelling entertainment, and they don’t charge a cover.
It’s the perfect place to grab a drink with friends or colleagues. If you do get hungry, though, get their perfectly opaque grilled salmon served on a generous bed of spinach.
Smylie Brothers Brewing Co. – Evanston
1615 Oak Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Smylie Brothers is a brewery in a vast warehouse space. Located at 1615 Oak Avenue, the restaurant offers beers, a central bar, pub-fare menus, and outdoor seating.
It can get jam-packed quickly as it is a customer favorite, which is understandable. The waiters are friendly and welcoming, which enhances the overall experience.
I decided to order a variety of appetizers to share with a couple of friends, including the Pale Ale Pretzel and Pork Belly Poutine, and they were perfect. Highly recommend it.
The opening times are Thursday and Friday from 4 PM to 8 PM, Saturday and Sunday from 12 PM to 9 PM. They are closed from Monday to Wednesday, so keep that in mind.
Terra & Vine
1701 Maple Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Terra and Vine is a stylish Italian-Mediterranean spot located on 1701 Maple Avenue, best known as “Your Neighborhood Italian spot.”
It offers a wide array of dishes, my favorite being the Bucatini Bolognese; you can never go wrong with pasta at an Italian restaurant! They are inclusive, too, because they offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options on their menu.
Terra and Vine are known for their wood-fired fare, pasta, and snacks, as well as their wine, beer, and cocktails.
If you happen to be in Evanston, make it a point to pass by the restaurant. Their meals will blow you away!
703 Church St, Evanston, IL 60201
The Farmhouse is a cozy farm-to-table joint featuring salvaged decor, exposed brick construction, and a patio as the highlight features. Located on 703 Church Street, the restaurant opens every day except Mondays.
It tends to be a bit pricey for the average person, but the quality matches the cost! I ordered a delightful “Classic” Farmhouse Burger, and its craftsmanship was respectable and inviting.
Overall, the joint is an excellent place for business lunches, low-key dates, or hosting friends from out of town.
1322 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60201
Shinsen is a Japanese restaurant best described as a Bring Your Bottle (BYOB) spot for various noodle dishes, sushi, and robata in a warm setting with plants and banquettes. Located at 1322 Chicago Avenue, the restaurant is open every day from 11:30 AM.
I love Japanese and Thai cuisine and tried the Noodle sushi robata, which tickled my taste buds for sure. Their service is outstanding and gracious, and I would highly recommend you to stop by for a bite.
Evanston, Illinois, has expanded my palate to food that I usually wouldn’t have thought about twice. This city’s restaurants serve some of the tastiest meals.
I hope that in some way, you get to experience them for yourself, as well, as you explore the best restaurants in Evanston.
Since Chicago is just a few miles south, you can also check out and try some of the Greek restaurants in the big city.
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!