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Top 9 Restaurants in Joliet

Also known as “The City of Champions” and “J-Town,” Joliet stands as the third-most populous city in Illinois.

chef decorating dish at joliet restaurant

There are plenty of bike trails, parks, hotel-casinos, and theaters you can visit to keep you from getting bored. You should also consider taking a picture of one of its most iconic landmarks, Joliet Prison.

Are you having trouble finding a place to eat during your trip to Joliet? If so, you can find plenty of restaurants offering a wide selection of unforgettable flavors and cuisine.

Despite being roughly an hour away from Chicago, you can still find decent Chicago-style pizza and hot dogs throughout the neighborhood.

Luckily, I compiled this list of the best restaurants in Joliet and other nearby cities to help you narrow down your search for quality food, no matter how long you plan on staying in the city.

That way, you plan out your day accordingly instead of getting lost and missing out on the best flavors in the neighborhood.


Merichka’s

604 Theodore St, Crest Hill, IL 60403
Phone: 815-723-9371
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First up on my list of the best restaurants in Joliet is Merichka’s, located by St. Joseph’s Park in Crest Hill, roughly three miles north of Joliet’s borders.

This family-friendly restaurant has a rustic and historical atmosphere and has served fantastic po’boys, seafood, and other treats to the public since 1933. Their private dining areas are ideal if you’re planning a large party.

I like starting with a small order of garlic bread and prefer ordering their Spicy Fried Chicken Po’Boy, Cowboy Ribeye, Wagyu Steak with Shrimp, or Lobster Tail with a side of Cottage Fries. Be sure to pair your meal with one of their house wines or soft drinks and finish with their ice cream.


Al’s Steakhouse

1990 W Jefferson St, Joliet, IL 60435
Phone: 815-725-2388
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Next up on my list of the best restaurants in Joliet is Al’s Steakhouse, one of the oldest upscale eateries in the city. You can find it minutes from the Marycrest Shopping Center.

Their culinary team serves tasty steak and chops for all to enjoy. They also have a few banquet areas that accommodate any private occasions.

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I recommend starting with their Stuffed Mushrooms or Fried Calamari and sampling their Lamb Loin Chops, Fried Jumbo Shrimp, Snow Crab Legs, or Pepper Steak.

If you have room for dessert, consider trying their Trio Mousse, Coconut Cake, or Turtle Pie. They also offer brunch on Sundays.


The Reserve

151 N Joliet St, Joliet, IL 60432
Phone: 815-740-2624
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Nestled inside Harriet’s Joliet, overlooking Des Plaines River, The Reserve is your best option for New American steakhouse fare and seafood in a stylish setting with seats decorated with white tablecloths. Their dishes are reasonably priced and offer a casual dining experience near the end of the week.

Consider trying their New York Strip, Reserve Filet Mignon, or Slow-Roasted Prime Rib topped with bleu cheese with honey mustard on the side.

But, if you prefer seafood, try their Crispy Whitefish or Beer-Battered Walleye with a side of roasted carrots. If you’re looking for a premium dessert, don’t miss out on their Double Dense Fudge Chocolate Cake.


Hamburgerseria

1015 Essington Rd, Joliet, IL 60435
Phone: 815-725-2883
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Are you having trouble finding the best burgers in the city? If so, consider stopping by Hamburgerseria for your gourmet burger needs.

This casual dining destination is several minutes north of Joliet’s Sanctuary and Big Timber neighborhoods. Chef Jose Reyes prepares each burger with care to ensure its juiciness and tenderness.

If you’re in the mood for hearty, gourmet flavors, consider trying their Country Burger, made topped with BBQ Sauce, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, and an onion ring.

I also enjoy their Peanut Butter Burger, Chihuahua-Style Hot Dog, and Blue Burger. Be sure to order a basket of sweet potato fries with it if you’re extra hungry.


Mamma Onesta’s Italian Restaurant

1100 S State St, Lockport, IL 60441
Phone: 815-588-0900
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If you’re in the mood for the best pasta and authentic Italian cuisine in Lockport, consider booking a reservation at Mamma Onesta’s Italian Restaurant, located by Allegro Music & Dance Academy.

This cozy restaurant has a European-style atmosphere to enhance your dining experience as you sample classic Italian dishes. They also offer outdoor seating.

In my opinion, their best appetizers are New Zealand Kiwi Mussels and Mozzarella Carrozza. Then, you should consider ordering their Tortellini Ashley, Eggplant Rollatini, Shrimp Alfredo with Broccoli, or Veal Parmigiana.

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Be sure to stop by on Sangria Sundays for $5 sangrias or Wine Down Wednesdays for $10 off of any wine bottles.


Old Fashioned Pancake House

2022 W Jefferson St, Joliet, IL 60435
Phone: 815-741-4666
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One of the best restaurants in Joliet for enjoying tasty breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees is Old Fashioned Pancake House, located within Maycrest Shopping Center.

It has a casual atmosphere, diner-style decor, and over 30 years of experience in serving guests the city’s boldest flavors.

My favorite breakfast options are Mascarpone and Cream Cheese Crepes, Bacon Waffle, Meat Lover’s Benedict, and Western Omelet. You should also try their Greek Panini for lunch and Fried Haddock for dinner.

They also have an extensive beverage list, so don’t miss out on their peanut butter & jelly smoothie, cranberry mimosa, or honey cinnamon latte.


Cemeno’s Pizza

1630 Essington Rd, Joliet, IL 60435
Phone: 815-254-2500
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If you prefer a tranquil, homey setting when dining on classic Italian dishes, Cemeno’s Pizza, near the Warwick neighborhood, might be your best option.

Since 1976, this family-owned restaurant has crafted excellent pizzas perfect for any energizing night out. You can also dine outdoors or at their bar and watch the game on their 25 HD plasma TV screens.

In my opinion, they serve the best Baked Mostaccioli, Deep Dish Pizza, Cheese Ravioli, and Italian Meatball Sandwich in the neighborhood.

I also recommend stopping by their bar for an Apple Whiskey or Vampire Punch Martini. Finally, order their Apple Crisp Dessert Pizza to share with your friends as an after-dinner surprise.


Heroes West Sports Grill

1530 Commerce Ln, Joliet, IL 60431
Phone: 815-725-1234
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Don’t know where to find a Joliet restaurant offering a more immersive environment for a fun night with friends? Then, visit Heroes West Sports Grill for great pub grub in a casual atmosphere.

They also have an innovative Gaming Room and fireplace seating. Be sure to visit their bar and enjoy 38 taps of beer.

I like their Patty Melt Burger, Whiskey-Glazed Salmon, Pulled Pork, and Buffalo Wrap with Garlic Mashed Potatoes or a Fresh Fruit Cup.

If you’re dining with others, get some boneless wings or potato skins to share. If you’re in the mood for dessert, ask your server for their bread pudding or churro-nachos.

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Habanero Fine Mexican Cuisine

1508 Essington Rd Unit 1 & 2, Joliet, IL 60435
Phone: 779-379-5260
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Last but not least on my list of the top restaurants in Joliet is Habanero Fine Mexican Cuisine, nestled within Jo Ann Plaza.

I consider this one of the best places to enjoy quality Mexican fare and margaritas if you’re craving something zesty after a long day of walking through the city.

Habanero offers a wide selection of spicy and vegetarian dishes to match your dining preferences. I recommend ordering their Beef Chimichanga, Swiss Burrito, Spinach Enchiladas, or Chicken Fajita with a side of fries or rice.

Be sure to try them with a house margarita, sangria, or tequila shot. Then, treat yourself to their churros or flan.


In my opinion, the best restaurants in Joliet should offer a variety of flavors to ensure that you’ll find something to enjoy during any visit.

From grilled burgers and hot dogs to other international favorites, there’s no limit to what you can discover deep within the nooks and crannies of the neighborhood.

Hopefully, this list can help you find your new go-to dining destinations if you plan on surprising your friends by treating them to a meal.

If you want to drive an hour or so away for breakfast, you can try some of the best breakfast spots in Chicago, as well!

Did I miss any restaurants on this list? Then, leave a comment about your favorites so I can check them out.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.