Often referred to as the “food and drink capital of the world”, there are some seriously great restaurants in Chicago.
As a Chicago local, I can attest that dining out and trying new cuisines is one of the best parts of being in the city. I absolutely love trying new places, and I have to say, it’s a great city to satisfy your inner foodie. In this article, I’ll cover 33 of the best restaurants in Chicago so you don’t have to stress about where to eat during your visit.
And while you’re here, bookmark our guide to the 33 best things to do in Chicago!
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 33 Best Chicago Restaurants
- Time Out Market
- Cindy’s Rooftop
- Girl & The Goat
- Pequod’s Pizza
- Honey Butter Fried Chicken
- Mi Tocaya Antojería
- Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse
- Au Cheval
- The Dearborn
- Starbucks Reserve Roastery
- Beatnik On The River
- Smyth and The Loyalist
- Bonci Pizzeria
- Summer House Santa Monica
- Big Star
- Bloom Plant Based Kitchen
- Redhot Ranch
- West Town Bakery
- Demera Restaurant
- Luella’s Southern Kitchen
- Lula Cafe
- Virtue Restaurant
- Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings
- Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen
- Topo Gigio Ristorante
- FAQs About Where to Eat in Chicago
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33 Best Chicago Restaurants
Time Out Market
🍽️ Food hall | $$ | 📍 Google Maps | 📞 (312) 637-3888
Time Out Market is a curated food hall located in the West Loop’s Fulton Market District. Here, a variety of Chicago-based restaurants, bars, and bakeries have vendor stalls for visitors to get a taste of Chicago’s best.
Some of the hand-selected restaurants include Bar Goa, Polombia, Arami, Big Kids, and more. Overall, the atmosphere is buzzing and it’s a great place to take groups because there’s something for everyone.
Time Out Market can get a bit crowded, so I recommend finding seating first. Have your group order in rotation.
📚 Looking for places to stay? The West Loop is Chicago’s ultimate foodie district. Read about this neighborhood and others in our where to stay in Chicago guide.
Cindy’s Rooftop is the place to go for rooftop dining and views. Delicious brunch, lunch, and dinner menus are available, but most people head to Cindy’s to enjoy creative cocktails, lighter fare, and the rooftop ambiance. Overlooking Millennium Park on N Michigan Avenue, Cindy’s offers beautiful views of the park and Lake Michigan. To avoid wait times, be sure to make reservations.
👉 Don’t Miss: Cindy’s Rooftop is located near attractions like Cloud Gate and the Art Institute. It’s also a short jaunt to places like Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile.
Kasama is a cozy, yet modern, Filipino restaurant that serves meals, pastries, coffee, and drinks. Brunch is the real star of the show here, and lines often go down the block. Food and pastries are all out of this world delicious, but I especially recommend the Filipino breakfast, lumpia, and chicken adobo.
For a more fine dining experience, you can make dinner reservations for their Filipino-inspired tasting menu. Kasama is one of Chicago’s best new restaurants and just earned its first Michelin star, so if you have the time, be sure to check it out! You won’t regret it.
👉 Pro Tip: If you go on the weekend, be prepared to wait in line. Kasama doesn’t take brunch reservations so it’s first come first serve.
Girl & The Goat
Girl & The Goat is a Chicago favorite, and for good reason. Their menu is flavorful with plates that arrive tapas style, which is perfect for trying out a variety of dishes. Depending on how hungry you are, 4-6 plates are enough to feed two people. The pork shank and goat empanadas are especially popular. For sides, I recommend the green beans.
The atmosphere is perfect for the city—cozy yet buzzing. Definitely make reservations ahead of time.
When you think of Chicago, you probably think of deep dish pizza. Look no further than Pequod’s. Located off the beaten path west of DePaul University, this pizzeria looks unassuming but is actually a local favorite.
Pequod’s pizza is thinner than other versions of deep dish around the city, but it’s still a deep dish nonetheless. They’re known for how they caramelize their pizza crusts, which gives it a unique taste and texture.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken
Head to Chicago’s north side for a casual, filling brunch of southern comfort food. Honey Butter Fried Chicken serves up one of Chicago’s best chicken sandwiches with different versions like the OG fried chicken sandwich, honey buffalo sandwich, and the honey butter fried chicken sandwich.
Their sides like pimento mac ‘n cheese, corn muffins, and grits are also popular!
📚 Related Reading: Honey Butter Fried Chicken is located a little ways outside the city in Avondale. If you plan on driving, check out our guide for driving in Chicago for visitors.
Mi Tocaya Antojería
Mi Tocaya Antojería is a colorful and casual Mexican restaurant located in Logan Square. Here, chef Diana Dávila pays homage to the roots of Mexican food while bringing in a modern touch. The atmosphere of Mi Tocaya is welcoming and the food is flavorful and fresh. The steak burrito and queso fundido con birria are especially loved by diners.
If you come with a group, try ordering family-style so you can taste different dishes. In the warmer months, Mi Tocaya also offers patio dining, perfect for sipping cocktails and eating outside.
📚 Love festivals? Then check out our list of the 18 best Chicago festivals, including the best food fests!
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse
When it comes to all things steak and meat, Gibsons is the classic place to go in Chicago. Arrive hungry and ready to eat.
The meat-heavy menu includes steak done a variety of ways (the Chicago cut is by far the most popular), as well as other local favorites like pork chops, roast chicken, ribs, and burgers. Drinks are also great. If for whatever reason you still have room for dessert at the end of your meal, snag a piece of cake, too.
As far as ambiance goes, the indoor dining room looks like a timeless steakhouse. Think warm tones with lots of wood. They even have a wall dedicated to autographed photos.
👉 Don’t Miss: Gibsons is right around the corner from the top of the Magnificent Mile and a 10-minute walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art. Check out our picks for the best museums in Chicago.
In 2012, Bon Appetit called Au Cheval’s burger “just about perfect.” It was already a local favorite before this, but now lines and long and wait times vary since they don’t accept reservations. If you ask anyone though, they’ll tell you the burgers are worth it.
Order the single cheeseburger (which has two patties on it) or the double cheeseburger if you dare. Either way, adding on an egg and bacon is highly recommended. And don’t skip out on drinks.
Like many popular Chicago restaurants, Au Cheval is located in the West Loop on W Randolph St. The restaurant itself is a mix of tavern and diner-style and feels very old school.
The Dearborn is located just a few blocks west of the northern edge of Millennium Park and is the perfect go-to spot if you’re on the Loop. The atmosphere is nice and modern, the service is friendly, and the food is always excellent.
Basically, you can’t go wrong with dining here. If you watch Food Network, you might even know that The Dearborn’s fish and chips are the ones that “beat Bobby Flay.” The parmesan truffle fries are also popular. Stop in anytime from brunch through dinner!
Starbucks Reserve Roastery
Pay a visit to the largest Starbucks in the world. The Starbucks Reserve Roastery has five floors that consist of a gift shop, bakery and cafe, coffee and cocktail bars, and a rooftop. Since it’s located on the Magnificent Mile, it’s the perfect place to stop for a drink and light snack.
Lines are often out the door and around the block, so know that the atmosphere is busy and buzzing. Many items on the menu are specialty so you won’t be able to find them at other Starbucks. One of my favorites is the Nutella cornetto. Overall, it’s a little touristy, but it’s still a fun thing to do.
📚 Related Reading: The Magnificent Mile isn’t too far from the lakefront. If you’re looking to see the lake, check out our guide to Chicago beaches.
For modern Mediterranean cuisine and a great selection of wine and cocktails, head to one of avec’s two locations in the West Loop and River North.
The West Loop location is known for its extensive wine list accompanied by small plates and select meals. But if you’re looking for a more meal-centered dining experience, head to the River North location. Here, enjoy a meal at the restaurant before heading up to bar avec on the 8th floor, where you’ll be greeted with beautiful city views.
At either location, though, be sure to try the chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates!
👉 Pro Tip: Visit the West Loop location on a Tuesday when all bottles of wine are half off!
With locations in the Loop, Streeterville, River North, and the West Loop, Beatrix makes a great option for visitors. The dining room is open all day long, but Beatrix is especially known for its delicious brunch menu. They offer classic dishes of American cuisine with some other selections mixed in, which are all equally tasty.
Their fresh-squeezed juices are a must-try and the pastry counter has so many delicious options. Simply put, everything at Beatrix is a hit. If you’re looking for the brunch place to hit up with friends, this is it.
👉 Don’t Miss: Beatrix locations are so convenient for visitors. You’re sure to find a location that will fit into your Chicago itinerary.
Beatnik On The River
Nothing beats dining on the Chicago River, especially when the atmosphere is as colorful and vibrant as it is at Beatnik. The restaurant offers indoor dining as well as patio dining with beautiful views of the city and river.
Many come just for the ambiance and tasty selection of creative cocktails, but the restaurant offers a great weekend brunch menu, too. As for food, the baba ghanoush and hummus are popular choices. I’d recommend this place for small plates, drinks, and the beautiful ambiance. Beatnik does get booked up, so be sure to make reservations ahead of time!
👉 Don’t Miss: Beatnik is in a central location. Spend your morning sightseeing in the Loop, stop for lunch or brunch at Beatnik, and then head up to River North for more exploring!
Smyth and The Loyalist
Smyth and The Loyalist is a dual-concept restaurant located in the West Loop. The first floor, Smyth, is a tasting menu restaurant with an open kitchen and dining room concept. Just below Smyth is the restaurant’s bar and lounge, The Loyalist, which has a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
The burger is a fan favorite at The Loyalist, but both floors shine a light on seafood and farm-to-table cuisine. This is a great restaurant to book for special occasions.
Spice up your pizza game with a trip to Bonci Pizzeria in the West Loop. Bonci serves up Roman-style pizza with crispy crusts and a constantly rotating variety of flavors and toppings. The ever-changing combinations keep Bonci interesting, but always good.
There are no set pizza portions or slices, and instead, they cut how much or how little you like. Then, you pay by weight. So, go to town and try as many types of pizza as you like!
If you haven’t heard of Alinea, allow me to explain. When it comes to fine dining, Alinea is a Chicago institution. This modernist restaurant in Lincoln Park has received international praise and is the only restaurant in the city that’s received 3 Michelin stars.
It’s been named Best Restaurant in the U.S., Best Restaurant in North America, and even Best Restaurant in the World. You may have even seen Alinea on Netflix’s series, Chef’s Table.
A visit to Alinea is not cheap, but this is because it’s an immersive and private fine dining experience. Diners are offered multi-sensory and multi-course tasting menus, sure to be unlike anything they’ve experienced before.
👉 Pro Tip: The dress code is “elevated casual” so be sure to dress appropriately. For help with packing, read our Chicago packing list!
Galit recently earned its first Michelin star, and it’s easy to see why. This Lincoln Park restaurant serves up a flavor-packed, customizable four-course tasting menu. Dishes are a combination of flavors from the Middle East as well as Israeli cuisine.
The hummus can’t be raved about enough (especially the brisket hummus). Galit also offers a unique lineup of cocktails and an impressive selection of wines, including less commonly known options from the Middle East. The atmosphere at Galit is comfortable, relaxed, and welcoming. The staff is also quite knowledgeable. Come hungry and leave full and feeling good.
📚 Related Reading: Lincoln Park is one of Chicago’s best neighborhoods with tons to do.
Summer House Santa Monica
Light, airy, and well—summer-y, is how I’d describe the atmosphere at Summer House Santa Monica, which is located on N Halsted St in Lincoln Park. Considering the large atrium and ambiance of the summer-inspired dining room, this makes sense. On the wall, they even have a “countdown to summer.”
Most of the food is New American cuisine, with some Italian, Asian, and Mexican influences blended in. Each time I’ve dined here, the food and drinks have never disappointed me. Everything on the menu is tasty, but I always get the crispy chicken sandwich. The truffle fries are also delicious!
👉 Pro Tip: If you can, dine here in the summertime when the atrium is open. It’s great!
📚 Related Reading: Trying to decide when to visit the Windy City? Read our guide for the best time to visit Chicago.
Big Star is the perfect place to go for a fun, casual meal with friends. Although Big Star has Wicker Park and Wrigleyville locations, the Wicker Park location is trendy for its patio dining at the center of the neighborhood.
They have a variety of tacos to choose from, but I especially love the pescado and camarones fritos. If you come with a group, order a margarita pitcher and split the Big Star nachos—they’re to die for.
👉 Pro Tip: If you’re in Wicker Park but pinched for time, head to the taco window right next to Big Star. Here, you can order your food to go.
Bloom Plant Based Kitchen
Gone are the days of vegetarian options being bland and boring. Bloom Plant Based Kitchen on N Milwaukee Ave in Wicker Park proves just that. Upon entry, the dining room is light and bright with lots of greenery.
The food is inspired by a variety of cuisines. The tacos and aguacate are especially tasty. Save room for dessert, too, and try the camote cheesecake. Vegetarian or not, the food here is fresh, flavorful, and just good.
If you’re in charge of dinner plans, Etta is a crowd-pleaser. Everything on their Italian and hearth-inspired menu is beyond tasty and the portions always leave me feeling full. With locations in River North and Bucktown, it’s convenient to work into your itinerary.
The wood-fired pizzas and pasta are super flavorful and rotate based on seasonal ingredients. They also have an extensive wine list. Monday through Thursday from 5:00 – 6:30 pm, they offer a happy hour with cocktails, wines, and small bites.
Looking for that casual neighborhood joint for burgers, hot dogs, and fries? Redhot Ranch is a go-to for greasy bites. This is also where you can try a Chicago-style hot dog.
Redhot is known to use sausage with natural casing, which gives their hot dogs a different bite than the typical Vienna beef sausages. Their smash burgers are also quite popular. Lastly, Redhot is cash only, so come prepared.
Iraźu is the first and only Costa Rican restaurant in Chicago. Located in Bucktown, it’s a restaurant full of healthy, fresh, and hearty dishes like the shrimp ceviche, casado (try the skirt steak one!), and sweet plantains.
They also have a good selection of vegetarian options. The restaurant itself is casual and colorfully decorated. If you go, be sure to order the oatmeal shake.
West Town Bakery
Staying in West Town? Head to West Town Bakery on W Chicago Ave for a comfortable, casual, yet delicious brunch. It’s the perfect spot to snag some pastries and catch up with friends over coffee and breakfast classics (eggs benedict and breakfast sandwiches are really great).
The interior is cool and diner-esque, and it has a real local, neighborhood vibe. If you want something for the road, snag some cake balls to go.
If fine dining is your style, Jeong will not disappoint. This Korean-inspired restaurant features a multi-course tasting menu with superb flavor combinations. The courses are inventive and all-around beautifully plated, making the visit to Jeong an experience, too.
Standout courses include the wagyu beef and salmon tartare. For couples and those wanting to plan a special dinner, Jeong’s minimalist, modern dining room provides the perfect peaceful and intimate atmosphere. Lastly, the staff is attentive and welcoming.
👉 Pro Tip: There is no defined dress code, but most diners dress business casual.
Looking for flavor? Pay a visit to Demera’s Restaurant in Ravenswood for some delicious Ethiopian food. Here, the atmosphere is casual with an emphasis on “tradition served family-style.”
It’s the perfect place for group dinners with friends so you can share a messob (a combination platter with proteins and vegetables), which is the best way to try different dishes and experience a variety of flavors. Demera’s also has a good selection of dishes for vegetarians and vegans.
Luella’s Southern Kitchen
Even though it’s in the north, Chicago still boasts some delicious southern soul food. This can be seen (and tasted!) at Luella’s Southern Kitchen in Lincoln Square along Lincoln Ave. Think southern comfort food like shrimp and grits (so good), chicken gumbo, and chicken and waffles (these are a must-try). Come hungry, order at the counter, and leave happy.
Whether you’re just visiting or are a Chicago local, you need to try Lula Cafe in Logan Square. Brunch is especially popular, and the food here consists of top-notch favorites like buttermilk pancakes, breakfast burritos, and classic sandwiches.
If you’re looking for something a little different, the pasta Yia Yia with bucatini, brown butter, and cinnamon is delicious and totally unique. Lula has a really warm, relaxed, and welcoming vibe to it. It feels local and is the kind of place that regulars frequent. The customer service is also superb. Come here for a hearty meal and a good conversation with friends.
Virtue is a Hyde Park restaurant serving up elevated southern classics with an occasional twist. The restaurant has a cozy, contemporary dining room and the atmosphere is welcoming. The Virtue team boasts unpretentious service and a sense of southern hospitality.
Try the melt-in-your-mouth short ribs or blackened catfish. You won’t regret it. Remember to make reservations ahead of time. Enjoy your meal at this Michelin star restaurant.
👉 Don’t Miss: If you’re headed down to Hyde Park, be sure to check out nearby attractions like the Robie House and Museum of Science and Industry.
Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings
Qing Xiang Yuan is considered by many to have the best dumplings in Chicago. Whether you like your dumplings steamed, boiled, or pan-fried, this restaurant offers them in a variety of fillings (including some which are seasonal, like seafood). There are even vegetarian and vegan options.
If you’re visiting Chinatown, Qing Xiang Yuan is the perfect stop for lunch or dinner. I recommend bringing some friends so you can choose a variety of dumplings and sample them all.
Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen
Since 1942, Manny’s Cafeteria & Delicatessen has been serving up Jewish deli classics. The place is no-frills and has a large dining room set up cafeteria-style. As soon as you walk in the door, you’ll be hit with old-school vibes.
The corned beef sandwich is the most popular item on the menu, stacked high with meat. But they also offer an array of other hot dishes such as matzo ball soup and more. To top off your Manny’s experience, head to the gift shop area in the back where you can get baked goods, coffee, candy, and more.
Topo Gigio Ristorante
If you’re a big fan of pasta like me, then head to Topo Gigio in Old Town (but I recommend making reservations first). The Italian restaurant has a warm, old-school feel, and the servers are friendly. Most seating is found throughout the indoor dining room, but a front and back patio is available on warmer days.
Everything on the menu is pretty traditional, which is the appeal. They also have an extensive wine list, especially for red wine. All the food is tasty but the pasta and sauces are my favorite.
👉 Don’t Miss: Topo Gigio is right down the street from The Second City comedy club. Stop for dinner before or after a show!
FAQs About Where to Eat in Chicago
What Chicago restaurants should you not miss?
In Chicago, restaurants you should not miss are Kasama, Beatrix, Girl & The Goat, Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Au Cheval, Galit, avec, and Pequod’s Pizza.
What is the most iconic restaurant in Chicago?
Alinea is one of Chicago’s most iconic restaurants, especially since it’s the only restaurant in the city to receive three Michelin stars. Other notable restaurants include Girl & The Goat, Kasama, and Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse
What are the best rooftop restaurants in Chicago?
Cindy’s has one of the best rooftop experiences in the city. It’s especially great for visitors since it overlooks iconic attractions like Cloud Gate in Millennium Park, as well as views of Lake Michigan. For a more city vibe, bar avec is a fantastic rooftop spot.
What food is Chicago famous for?
Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs. However, Chicago is also known as a foodie destination, so there are a diverse range of cuisines to pick from, making it an all-around global food scene.
That’s it for our list of best restaurants! When it comes to food, Chicago does not disappoint. No matter your taste buds, you’re sure to find something delicious.
Before you go, be sure to check out my guide to the best stuff to do in Chicago.
I hope I’ve helped you find one of the best Chicago restaurants for you!
(cover image: Page Light Studios / Shutterstock)