A trip to Chicago offers a wealth of attractions to fill up your itinerary. By day, you can take a boat tour along the Chicago River, gazing at the wonderful architecture of downtown Chicago while learning about its fascinating history.
Baseballs fans can enjoy a game at the iconic Wrigley Field, while comedy lovers can catch an improv show at Chicago’s Second City, a club that launched the careers of Hollywood’s most famous comedic actors.
Chicago’s nightlife, music, and coffee shop scene tend to cluster within a hip and historic neighborhood known as Wicker Park.
Wicker Park’s quirky, hipster vibe, along with its abundance of music venues, bars, and boutique coffee shops, makes it especially popular with the younger crowd.
Wicker Park also has a vibrant restaurant scene with every global and local cuisine represented creatively and authentically in a dining experience that mirrors the neighborhood’s trendy and unconventional personality.
If you’re looking for great restaurants in Wicker Park, I have compiled a list of my favorite spots for you to explore.
Whether you’re craving pizza or Mexican food, Mediterranean or comfort food, the following list of the best restaurants in Wicker Park are sure to exceed your expectations.
1466 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Teetering between Wicker Park and West Town, Schwa Restaurant is an acclaimed, upscale global bistro owned and operated by Chef Michael Carlson.
Its intimate interior with small, minimalist tables and décor is a blank slate for highly inventive and creative globally inspired seasonal dishes that have received accolades from GQ Magazine, Chicago Magazine, Food and Wine, and many more.
Menus are seasonal and offer a multi-course pre-fixe meal of dishes cooked using a unique molecular gastronomy style.
Each course is beautifully presented in very small, artistic portions. I enjoyed the quail with plum matsutake and fennel, along with the fun and flavorful dessert course called “fun dip” with pretzel chocolate and mint.
1927 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Located in the heart of Wicker Park, a few blocks from the Damen L stop, Piece Brewery and Pizzeria is an award-winning pizza joint and craft brewery owned in part by Rick Nielsen, lead guitarist and principal songwriter of the famed rock group Cheap Trick.
They make artisanal beer and feature it on a rotating tap to accompany New Haven-style thin-crust pizzas that have won Best Pizza votes from Chicago’s Best and Hoodline.
Their selection of pizzas has both traditional and fusion specialty combinations. My favorite is the Honey Butter Fried Chicken pizza, a white pizza with honey butter fried chicken, blue cheese, scallions, buffalo sauce, and crunchy bread crumbs.
1360 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Located along Wicker Park’s main artery of Milwaukee Avenue, across from Dean Playground Park, Antique Taco is a hip taco stand and margarita bar owned by Chef Rick Ortiz and his wife, Ashley.
Named for its vintage décor, Antique Taco offers a modern take on Mexican street tacos using scratch-made salsas, margaritas, and tortillas, sourcing all ingredients from the local farmer’s market.
You won’t find typical Mexican flavors at Antique Taco, with tacos like the Crispy Fish, a tempura cod with spicy tartar, smoked cabbage, scallions, and sesame.
They do have more traditional offerings like guacamole, pork carnitas tacos, and Mexican street corn with crema, queso, Tapatio, and tajin.
2020 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Mirai Sushi is the pioneer restaurant for the Mirai Restaurant group that opened in 1999 and has burgeoned into multiple Japanese fusion concepts around Chicago; Mirai Sushi is an upscale sushi and cocktail bar in a small, bustling, modern space in one of Ukrainian Town’s 40s-era storefronts.
The full bar has delicious cocktails with fresh tropical fruit mixers along with a long list of sake, wine, and imported Japanese beer.
I recommend the Kani Nigiri with spicy baked king crab. They also offer a Chef’s trio of sashimi and nigiri selections that display a variety of cuts from high-quality fish.
1865 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Located in North Wicker Park, a block from Erhler Park, Irazu Costa Rican Restaurant is a friendly, laid-back Latin kitchen and eatery specializing in Costa Rican Cuisine.
Owned by the Salazar family, Irazu Costa Rican Restaurant has a colorful atmosphere with walls painted in vibrant murals of Costa Rican countryside scenes.
They’ve been a neighborhood favorite for over 30 years, receiving accolades from Chicago’s Best, Food Network, and Hispanic Executive.
Irazu is a BYOB restaurant, but they have tropical “mixers” to create your own pitchers of Latin-inspired drinks like Pina Coladas. Their menu features typical Costa Rican fare like empanadas, ceviche, and sandwiches called pepitos.
I recommend their national dish called Casado, which you can get with skirt steak, veggies, tilapia, or chicken, served with gallo pinto, cabbage salad, sweet plantains, and an over-easy egg.
1531 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Located inside an old 1940s Wicker Park gas station in front of the Damen metro station, Big Star is a festive bourbon and beer bar and authentic taqueria with a giant outdoor patio and awesome music events.
Run by Chef duo Paul Kahan and Chris Miller, Big Star has a robust single-barrel bourbon program to savor while you enjoy live DJ sets with friends.
The full bar has six rotating beers on tap, classic tequila, mezcal cocktails, and of course, delicious bourbon cocktails using the highest quality whiskey.
There are also delicious Mexican sodas for the kids. Tacos are authentic Mexican-street style with all your favorites from barbacoa to al pastor.
1558 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Taxim is a high-end Greek restaurant located directly across the metro rail line from Big Star and a quick walk from Wicker Park’s main green space with a wonderful rooftop patio.
Taxim’s owner and head chef David Schneider competed on Food Network’s Iron Chef America, and his delicious and healthy Greek dishes have been featured in TimeOut, Eater, the Chicago Tribune, and many more publications, all giving raving reviews.
Taxim’s award-winning Greek menu has incredibly complex mezze, savory pastries, vegetables, cured and grilled meats, and mains.
I loved the Prossopita pastry made with house-made phyllo dough stuffed with leeks, fresh dill, lemon, and goat feta. My favorite main was the oven-roasted whole Aegean Sea bass with lemon, olive oil, sea salt, and sauteed dandelions.
1547 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
As you may have guessed from the clever title, Phodega is an Asian American noodle house and convenience store specializing in Pho, Vietnamese sandwiches, and Asian chicken and rice dishes.
Located on the eastern fringe of Wicker Park, a quick walk from Pulaski Park, Phodega is a fast-casual counter-service with a coffee and smoothie bar.
Their giant, heaping bowls of Pho are the best in town, with three varieties, my favorite of which is the Pho Bo with beef broth, brisket, beef meatballs, sliced ribeye, and rice noodles.
They also have a wonderful spicy chicken, Banh Me, with their house-marinated fried chicken, Hainan hot sauce, cilantro, jalapenos, and cucumber on French bread.
1566 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Paulie Gee’s is a classic New York-style slice shop out of Brooklyn with locations around the U.S., including two shops in Chicago.
The Wicker Park location is inside a trendy urban space with a cool mural right next to the Damen St. metro. They specialize in giant, New York-sized pizzas using gourmet ingredients sold by the slice from a large display case.
Of course, you can also order whole pies from their menu of build-your-own ingredients or specialty pies, not to mention breakfast sandwiches on delectable brioche buns.
I loved their Logan Zaddy pizza, a red pie with mozzarella, pepperoni, bacon jam, ricotta, basil, parmesan, and Mike’s Hot honey.
1545 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Dove’s Luncheonette is a fashionable bar and Southern-Mexican fusion breakfast and lunch eatery located between the Damen metro stop and the Wicker Park Field House.
By day, it’s a vibrant and creative luncheonette and cocktail bar, and on Monday’s they offer a Dove’s After Dark menu of fancy Southern-inspired bar snacks and late-night cocktails.
The menu at Dove’s features gourmet, beautifully presented breakfast, lunch, and brunch dishes that combine Southern-style cooking and Mexican dishes.
They have classic American dishes like burgers, burnt end hash, and chicken fried chicken, as well as Mexican-style pozole rojo, Tlayudas, and Oaxacan tamales.
1385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Oiistar is an affordable, fashionable yet casual Japanese eatery and cocktail bar that backs up to Dean Playground Park.
The modern, clean dining space has wooden walls, flooring, and bar counters serving authentic Japanese bar fares like ramen, fried chicken, and Korean-style buns. The atmosphere is small, lively, and inviting with fast service.
The impressive menu of ramen dishes has something for everyone and is a great way to warm up on a cold Chicago-winter night.
I loved the Umami Ramen, a spicy miso broth with Berkshire pork belly, ground pork, scallions, tree ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and a soft-boiled egg.
1746 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Owned and operated by Venetian Dario Monni and his Chicagoan wife Jill Gray, Tortello is a friendly neighborhood pasta shop and authentic Italian eatery on the cusp of Wicker Park and West Town.
Chef Monni prepares all the pasta by hand using locally sourced ingredients for the sauces and imported Italian flour from a mill that’s been operating since the early 1800s.
The charm and authenticity in this beloved pasta eatery will make you feel at home while serving some of the best pasta you’ll ever eat.
They even offer pasta-making classes. All dough for their pasta and bread is scratch-made daily and boiled to order.
You must try their signature Tortelli di Burrata, tortellini stuffed with imported burrata and topped with butter, sage, hazelnuts, shaved parmesan, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
2140 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Lost Larson is a fashionable and modern coffee house, café, and bakery from award-winning pastry chef Bobby Schaffer who opened the first Lost Larson in Andersonville to wide acclaim, leading to the opening of a second location in south Wicker Park, two blocks from Ukrainian Village.
Chef Schaffer uses locally milled grains and an ancient fermentation technique to create the dough for his award-winning loaves and pastries.
Time Out and Eater both proclaim Lost Larson to be one of Chicago’s best bakeries. They offer a full menu of high-quality espresso and coffee drinks to accompany a wide variety of croissants, buns, cookies, scones, pastries, and cakes. I don’t think I’ve ever had more delicious chocolate hazelnut croissants in my life.
1470 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Overlooking Charles Joel Wicker Park, Bongo Room is a trendy yet casual breakfast, lunch, and brunch restaurant in an industrial-chic space with great modern art pieces lining the walls.
Owned by Derrick Robles and John Latino, Bongo Room offers locally sourced New American cuisine with modern twists on regional brunch fare.
They’ve been a neighborhood favorite for 30 years, serving everything from Mexican breakfasts to omelets to super fancy pancakes.
I loved their decadent pear, and dried cherry brioche French toast with egg-dipped brioche bread topped with brown sugar, butter, sauteed pears, and dried cherries then smothered in warm vanilla bean cream and toasted walnut oat streusel.
2014 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Owned and operated by Turkish transplant Mustafa Guler, Café Istanbul is his ode to Turkish cuisine and custom, informed by a lifetime career in kitchens and restaurants in Turkey.
Located in a large, welcoming space right in front of Saint Marys Medical Center, Café Istanbul serves the most authentic Turkish dishes all cooked over a charcoal and wood grill.
The menu has a wealth of lamb, chicken, beef gyros, kebabs, and doners, not to mention authentic Turkish pastries and baked goods. My favorite is the thin-crusted pita-based Turkish pizza with ground beef and seasoned vegetables.
1745 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Named for the Mississippi Delta region, The Delta is Memphis native Eldridge Williams’s recreation of his beloved Mississippi Delta cuisine, modeled after the Mississippi Red Hot tamales he and his father spent his childhood making.
The Delta evokes a deep-south juke joint vibe with a classy Memphis restaurant twist, serving quality cocktails, craft beers, and award-winning soul food to the soundtrack of classic Delta blues.
They serve dinner and Sunday Soul Brunch at The Delta. The menu at The Delta fuses Mexican, Asian, and Southern dishes with everything from NOLA BBQ shrimp po’boys to beef rendang bao.
Of course, you must try the tamales, made with cornmeal instead of masa and boiled instead of steamed.
2211 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Located two blocks west of the Damen St. metro stop, Cebu is a regional Filipino eatery and bar owned and operated by three Philippines transplants, Marlon Tan, Cybill Tan, and Malvin Tan.
The trio has created a colorful menu of authentic regional Filipino dishes from their hometowns and modern fusion dishes that showcase their vast experiences as chefs in high-end restaurants around the U.S.
Filipino food has a wealth of seafood and pork-centric dishes with bright and tropical flavors that the chefs showcase in beautiful displays.
They have traditional dishes like Chicken Adobo and Lumpia, along with fusion dishes like Tamarind and Black Truffle fries with sriracha mayo and chili flakes.
Wicker Park’s eclectic list of restaurants run the culinary gamut, offering authentic and novel global cuisines in fashionable and friendly dining spaces. Whether you want a world-class sushi dinner or a Mississippi Delta hot tamale, you’ll find the best, most unique food and atmosphere on my list of restaurants in Wicker Park.
There are many amazing neighborhoods in Chicago with even more great culinary stylings, so be sure to check out my list of other amazing restaurants in Chicago.