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8 Best Restaurants in Chicago

It's your time to taste the wonderful in Chicago.
Last Updated
:
February 17, 2024
by
Editorial Staff
The Capital Grille Chicago interior
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The Capital Grille
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Deciding where to eat in Chicago can be tougher than navigating Lake Shore Drive during rush hour. With over 7,300 restaurants crammed into this city, even choosing a neighborhood is enough to give you whiplash. From Pilsen to Portage Park, each pocket of Chi-town boasts its own mouthwatering morsels. But you’re busy! You don’t have the luxury of aimlessly meandering Milwaukee Avenue for 4 hours until hunger-induced delirium sets in.

You need a battle plan before strolling out the door into the Chicago foodscape battlefield. Luckily for you, we’ve scoured the whole delicious terrain to serve up an itinerary of the Windy City’s must-hit spots suited for every tastebud tribe. Whether you pledge allegiance to team deep-dish, stan ethnic eats, or simply seek a stellar atmosphere paired with an Instagram-worthy meal, these destinations deliver almost perfect 10s.

From critically acclaimed bastions of fine dining to James Beard-honored institutions serving up flavor bombs for under $10, we assembled a squad of spots spanning old favorites to new kids on the heat-lamp block.

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The 8 Best Restaurants in Chicago

Just don’t forget to pack your stretchy pants—even disciplined diets devolve quickly with so many A+ options. But hey, you can always walk it off along the lake afterward! Without further ado, here’s part one of your guide to conquering Chicago’s phenomenal food scene, neighborhood by neighborhood. Let’s dig in!

The Polo Inn interior
Tripadvisor
  • Address: 3322 S Morgan St, Chicago, IL 60608
  • Located near/in: –
  • Contact: (773) 927-7656
  • Hours: Mon – Tue (Closed), Wed – Thu (12:00 PM – 6:30 PM), Fri (12:00 PM – 8:00 PM), Sat (12:00 PM – 2:00 PM) | (2:00 PM – 8:00 PM), Sun (10:00 AM – 2:00 PM)

The Polo Inn is a charming establishment nestled in a vintage 1914 brownstone building, has been serving the Chicago community since 1985. This unique venue is not just a restaurant, but also a bed and breakfast, offering a blend of history, hospitality, and culinary excellence that sets it apart. But what makes The Polo Inn truly special?

The restaurant offers a diverse menu that caters to a variety of tastes. From Certified Angus Beef® steaks and burgers to seafood, sandwiches, pastas, soups, and salads, there’s something for everyone. The restaurant also offers a unique BYOB system, allowing you to bring your own bottle for a small corkage fee, with complimentary mixers provided.

It is also renowned for its Sunday gospel brunch, a unique dining experience where owner and chef Dave Samber leads diners in song in front of a Rodgers 360 Theatre organ. This interactive brunch has been recognized as one of Chicago’s best breakfast experiences.

FYI, The Polo Inn is more than just a restaurant. It also offers bed and breakfast accommodations in three handsomely decorated themed suites, each with a private bath. These suites are located in the two floors above the restaurant, providing a cozy and convenient stay for guests. Each suite is equipped with a range of amenities, including a cooked-to-order breakfast, complimentary overnight lighted parking, free Wi-Fi, and a 15% discount on lunch and dinner.

Service options: Dine-in | Kerbside pickup | No delivery

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The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille Chicago interior
The Capital Grille
  • Address: 633 N St Clair St, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Located near/in: Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile
  • Contact: (312) 337-9400
  • Hours: Mon – Tue (11:30 AM – 9:00 PM), Wed – Thu (11:00 AM – 9:00 PM), Fri (4:00 PM – 10:00 PM), Sat (5:00 PM – 10:00 PM), Sun (4:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

A trip to The Capital Grille is always a treat, whether you’re in the mood for fine dining or a business lunch. The menu is extensive, with several dishes that can be prepared in a variety of ways. The bone-in ribeye, for example, is a popular main course. It comes at 22 ounces and can be cooked to the customer’s preferred temperature, from rare to well-done. The steak is served family-style with side dishes.

While the ambiance and menu are both elegant and refined, the food is comforting and familiar. The restaurant’s cheesy au gratin potatoes, for example, are a favorite family-style side dish. The dish is a simple yet memorable side dish, and a perfect compliment to your main course.

Service options: Dine-in | Kerbside pickup | No delivery

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The Chicago Diner (Lakeview)

The Chicago Diner Lakeview interior
Martin / Google Maps Local Guides
  • Address: 3411 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657
  • Located near/in: –
  • Contact: (773) 935-6696
  • Hours: Mon – Fri (11:00 AM – 10:00 PM), Sat – Sun (10:00 AM – 10:00 PM)

When The Chicago Diner first opened its doors back in 1983, it’s fair to say some folks had their doubts. An all-veggie diner in the heart of Chicago’s meat-loving culinary scene? Mickey Hornick and Chef Jo Kaucher must have seemed crazy to some. But their little Lakeview joint defied the naysayers and became a Windy City staple. With its hip retro vibe and comfort classics like reubens and milkshakes, The Diner is a delicious taste of Chicago’s history.

The Chicago Diner offers a wide range of vegetarian and vegan options that are as delicious as they are diverse. From the Reuben Rolls and Greek Salad to the Chicken Shawarma Plate and Enchiladas al Gusto, there’s something for everyone. And let’s not forget about the desserts. The Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake, Pumpkin Pie Shake, and Lavender Lemonade Craft Soda are all vegan and all delicious.

Service options: Dine-in | Takeaway | No-contact delivery

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Eddie V’s Prime Seafood

Eddie V's Prime Seafood Chicago interior
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood
  • Address: 521 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Located near/in: The Shops at North Bridge
  • Contact: (312) 595-1114
  • Hours: Mon – Wed (4:00 PM – 9:00 PM), Thu (11:00 AM – 8:00 PM), Fri – Sat (4:00 PM – 10:00 PM), Sun (4:00 PM – 9:00 PM)

A seafood chain restaurant, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood serves fresh fish and seafood prepared with sustainable practices. The menu changes daily, depending on the season, and includes both domestic and international options. The restaurant’s interior is decorated with earth tones, bold-colored artwork, and mixed wood finishes.

In addition to serving fresh seafood, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood also offers an extensive wine list and prime beef cuts. The restaurant is located at 3100 W. Seventh St. in the River Oaks District. In addition to serving great seafood, Eddie V’s offers live jazz, and a casual atmosphere. Free Wi-Fi is available in the restaurant. The menu includes items such as Kaluga Huso Petrossian caviar and Jumbo Lump crab cake. The restaurant also features classic mojitos and Sedimentary Chardonnay during Happy Hour.

Service options: Dine-in | Kerbside pickup | No delivery

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Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken (Streeterville)

Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken Streeterville exterior
Do-Rite Donuts
  • Address: 233 E Erie St, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Located near/in: Streeterville Center Condos
  • Contact: (312) 344-1374
  • Hours: Mon – Fri (6:30 AM – 7:00 PM), Sat – Sun (7:00 AM – 7:00 PM)

You’ll love the donuts here, which are handmade on the Chef-owned counter. The place also features coffee and fried chicken sandwiches. The owner’s family has been making donuts for three generations, and the food is delicious. Located at 233 E. Erie St. in Streeterville, this new donut and chicken spot serves breakfast and lunch. The new lunch menu features fried chicken sandwiches, which are served on a glazed doughnut. The fried chicken is topped with a spicy sauce and a donut. The owners also serve Dark Matter Coffee, which is ethically sourced and locally roasted.

The original location, 50 W. Randolph, opened in 2012, and a second location, Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken, opened at 233 E. Erie St. in 2014. In addition to donuts, the shop has added a seating area, extended hours to 7:00 PM, and has added fried chicken sandwiches. Mahin declined to say what other new items are on the menu. The new locations are located in the same building as Shake Shack, but the developer has not revealed what plans they have for the rest of the building.

Service options: Dine-in | Takeaway | Delivery

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Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab Chicago exterior
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
  • Address: 60 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
  • Located near/in: The Shops at North Bridge
  • Contact: (312) 379-5637
  • Hours: Mon – Thu (11:30 AM – 9:30 PM), Fri – Sat (11:30 AM – 10:00 PM), Sun (11:30 AM – 9:30 PM)

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab is a restaurant that is known for its stone crab from the Gulf of Mexico. This restaurant offers a variety of steaks, chops, seafood, and fried seafood at reasonable prices. Customers can also try out the famous Joe’s mustard sauce, which has hints of spices and garlic.

Guests can choose from a variety of entrees and appetizers, including a creamy spinach-stuffed mushroom topped with a stringy Swiss cheese. Other starters include crispy fried calamari and crab and artichoke gratin. A second option is stone crab bisque.

Service options: Dine-in | Kerbside pickup | Delivery

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Smoque BBQ

Smoque BBQ exterior
Smoque BBQ
  • Address: 3800 N Pulaski Rd, Chicago, IL 60641
  • Located near/in: –
  • Contact: (773) 545-7427
  • Hours: Mon (Closed), Tue – Thu (11:00 AM – 8:00 PM), Fri – Sat (11:00 AM – 9:00 PM), Sun (11:00 AM – 8:00 PM)

Smoque BBQ is one of the most popular barbecue restaurants in the city, with a menu that’s full of classic American fare. The menu features everything from brisket sandwiches to pulled pork platters. You can even get rib dinners with sides and sauces. The restaurant is also BYOB, so you can bring your own drinks. Smoque’s meat is tender, flavorful, and smoky.

The prices are low for BBQ, with sandwiches starting at $7 and a platter with two sides costing $21. For $32, a slab of ribs comes with all the fixins and a side of slaw. You can even try a tasting portion of the meat to see if it’s to your liking. You can also bring your own beer, so you can enjoy your meal in the company of friends and family.

Smoque BBQ is a neighborhood joint that draws crowds on a daily basis. Their menu features regional barbecue and even mini portions for kids. Another popular Chicago barbecue joint is Fat Willy’s Rib Shack, a sit-down Logan Square spot with full menus of barbecue and sides. The menu also features coloring pages for children.

Service options: Dine-in | Kerbside pickup | Delivery

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Doughnut Vault

Doughnut Vault exterior
Doughnut Vault
  • Address: 401 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654
  • Located near/in: –
  • Contact: (312) 285-2830
  • Hours: Mon – Sun (7:30 AM – 1:00 PM)

Located in a former bank vault, the Doughnut Vault serves up to 600 delicious doughnuts every day. Owner Brendan Sodikoff, a former executive chef at Alain Ducasse’s Per Se, opened Doughnut Vault in River North, Chicago, over a year ago. He also owns half a dozen other restaurants in the city, including Au Cheval Diner, Gilt Bar, Maude’s Liquor Bar, and Pizzeria Cella. Despite operating over a dozen other restaurants in Chicago, Brendan Sodikoff only works at Doughnut Vault for 10 hours a week.

Although the Doughnut Vault is a part of the same restaurant group, it is very different from the other locations. The Doughnut Vault is known for its classic flavors and artisanal donuts. Typical varieties include lemon poppyseed, toasted almond, and buttermilk old-fashioned. The atmosphere is more like a small coffee shop than a fancy restaurant.

The Doughnut Vault has one of the largest doughnut selections in the country. You can choose from a large variety of cake and glazed donuts. A visit to The Doughnut Vault is an experience worth having. However, be aware that it is only open for a short window, and you will most likely have to wait for a while until your order is ready.

Service options: Kerbside pickup | No-contact delivery | No dine-in

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