Chicago Restaurants

Sure, this city has great architecture, museums, and sports venues. But at its heart, Chicago is really a food town. This is evident in the priority that good eating takes, no matter the occasion. Rain or shine, locals will wait in a line that snakes around the corner for dolled-up doughnuts at Doughnut Vault. They’ll reserve pa
Sure, this city has great architecture, museums, and sports venues. But at its heart, Chicago is really a food town. This is evident in the priority that good eating takes, no matter the occasion. Rain or shine, locals will wait in a line that snakes around the corner f
Sure, this city has great architecture, museums, and sports venues. But at its heart, Chicago is really a food town. Thi

Sure, this city has great architecture, museums, and sports venues. But at its heart, Chicago is really a food town. This is evident in the priority that good eating takes, no matter the occasion. Rain or shine, locals will wait in a line that snakes around the corner for dolled-up doughnuts at Doughnut Vault. They’ll reserve part of their paychecks to dine at inventive Alinea. And they love to talk about their most recent meal—just ask.

It's no wonder that outdoor festivals are often centered on food, from Taste of Chicago in summer, which packs the grounds at Grant Park, to smaller celebrations, like the German-American fest in Lincoln Square, a mini-Oktoberfest in fall.

Although the city has always had options on the extreme ends of the spectrum—from the hole-in-the wall Italian beef sandwich shops to the special-occasion spots—it's now easier to find eateries in the middle that serve seasonal menus with a farm-to-table mantra. For the budget conscious, it's also a great time to dine: some talented chefs aren't bothering to wait for a liquor license, opening BYOB spots turning out polished fare (just try Ruxbin in West Town).

Expect to see more Chicago chefs open casual concepts—Rick Bayless, Paul Kahan, and Michael Kornick have a head start with their respective sandwich, taco, and burger spots. Yet the goal remains the same: to feed a populace that knows good food and isn't willing to accept anything less than the best. In the following pages, you'll find our top picks, from quick bites to multicourse meals, in the city's best dining neighborhoods.

Recommended Fodor’s Video

Sort by: 31 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
CLEAR ALL CLEAR ALL
Loading...
  • 1. Acadia

    $$$ | South Loop | American

    The Northeast coast makes a splash in the South Loop with this elegant enclave from chef-owner Ryan McCaskey. Dishes are fresh, inventive, and...Read More

  • 2. Alinea

    $$$$ | Lincoln Park | American

    Believe the hype and secure tickets—yes, tickets—well in advance. Chicago's most exciting restaurant demands an adventurous spirit and a serious...Read More

  • 3. Gather

    $$ | Lincoln Square | American

    Class meets comfort in this upscale neighborhood eatery. The service is top-notch and everything on your plate is made in-house from scratch...Read More

  • 4. Grace

    $$$$ | West Loop | American

    Breakout culinary star Curtis Duffy (veteran of Avenues and Alinea) makes a home for his inventive white-tablecloth cuisine at this West Loop...Read More

  • 5. North Pond

    $$$ | Lincoln Park | American

    A former Arts and Crafts–style warming house for ice-skaters at Lincoln Park's North Pond, this gem in the woods fittingly champions an uncluttered...Read More

  • 6. Topolobampo

    $$$$ | River North | Mexican

    Chef-owner Rick Bayless wrote the book on regional Mexican cuisine—several books, actually—and here he takes his faithfully prepared regional...Read More

  • 7. Travelle

    $$$ | River North | Mediterranean

    The luxurious Langham Hotel doesn’t disappoint with this swanky Mediterranean restaurant located on the second floor. Cushy white leather seats...Read More

  • 8. TRU

    $$$$ | Near North | French

    More than a decade after TRU opened under the direction of former chef/partners Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand, the award-winning progressive French...Read More

  • 9. 694 Wine & Spirits

    $$ | West Loop | Wine Bar

    This smart wine bar is proof that you don't need more than a minimal kitchen (limited to what will fit behind the bar's counter) to thrill foodies...Read More

  • 10. Arun's

    $$$$ | Irving Park | Thai

    One of the finest Thai restaurants in Chicago—some say in the country—is also one of the most expensive, featuring only seven-course tasting...Read More

  • 11. Big Jones

    $$ | Far North Side | American

    Even if you weren't raised by a Southern grandmother, the heirloom cooking at this Andersonville restaurant will make you feel right at home...Read More

  • 12. Bistro Campagne

    $$ | Lincoln Square | French

    If you're looking for rustic French fare on the North Side, this is the place to come: crispy roast chicken with mushroom ragout, steak piled...Read More

  • 13. Bistrot Margot

    $$ | Near North | French

    We love this Old Town bistro for its faithfully executed menu, budget-friendly prices, and Parisian art-nouveau interior, even if it means sitting...Read More

  • 14. Chez Joël Bistro Français

    $$ | Little Italy | French

    Unlike the rest of Taylor Street, which is predominantly Italian in allegiance, Chez Joël waves the flag for France. The sunny, cozy bistro...Read More

  • 15. Green Zebra

    $$ | West Loop | Vegetarian

    Chef Shawn McClain took the vegetable side dish and ran it up the marquee, earning raves nationwide for giving vegetables the gourmet treatment...Read More

  • 16. Han 202

    $$$ | Chinatown | Chinese

    Tasting menus tend to come with sky-high prices, but that's not the case at this BYOB spot in Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood, just south...Read More

  • 17. Kinmont

    $$ | Near North | Seafood

    Who knew sustainability could be so sexy? Channeling the rustic sportsman’s clubs of the 19th century, this ethical fish restaurant from the...Read More

  • 18. La Sardine

    $$ | West Loop | French

    We don't know if the sardine reference was meant to telegraph the seating arrangements, but, yes, it's snug here. Still, the solid menu of...Read More

  • 19. Le Bouchon

    $$ | Bucktown | French

    The French comfort food at this charming-but-cramped bistro in Bucktown is in a league of its own. The onion tart has been a signature dish...Read More

  • 20. MANA Food Bar

    $ | Wicker Park | Vegetarian

    It's easy to miss this slim, stylish restaurant amid the clothing boutiques and bars along Division Street, but those in the know squeeze in...Read More

No Restaurants Results

Please try a broader search, or expore these popular suggestions: