There are so many options when it comes to dining in Chicago that it can be hard to wade through them all and figure out which are good and which are not. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy guide of the restaurants in Chicago that you must try before any others.
All of these restaurants are so well loved that they can be difficult to get into, so be sure to call ahead for a table. Here are 16 of the Windy City’s best restaurants.
1. Alinea - 1723 N Halsted Street
Guests of this restaurant book an experience rather than just a table. Continuously ranked the best place to eat in Chicago and the United States, this upscale restaurant is always updating its menu to stay ahead of modern cuisine. We absolutely love Alinea and have featured them before, so check out
for a more detailed look at this out-of-this-world restaurant.
2. Au Cheval - 800 W Randolph Street
This wonderful hot spot serves a combination of traditional and experimental dishes, like chopped chicken liver and roasted bone marrow. They are best known for their egg-themed dishes, such as fried eggs over French fries, sandwiches, and many more.
3. Fat Rice - 2957 W Diversey Avenue
This restaurant gets its namesake from its signature dish, Arroz Gordo, which is chorizo and sofrito layered with rice and duck. Locals also enjoy the pork and ginger dumplings, as well as many other unique dishes from around the world that you can't find anywhere else.
4. Lula Cafe - 2537 N Kedzie Boulevard
Often featured on stations like the Food Network and in various local publications, this quaint restaurant offers unique dishes that taste like comfort. You can get anything from lamb to seafood entrees, but save room for dessert and finish your meal with cookies, cake, or pudding!
5. Monteverde Restaurant - 1020 W Madison Street
This beautiful and charming restaurant serves Italian cuisine with influences from around the world. They hand-make the pasta daily, and patrons can watch them at it from behind the counter. Add wine and a delectable dessert for a meal you'll never forget.
6. GT Prime - 707 N Wells Street
Plates at this awesome place are shareable and made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. It also has space for events in several upscale, private rooms ideal for businesses meetings and weddings receptions.
7. Pequod's - 2207 N Clybourn Avenue
This popular joint is where true Chicago natives go for a pan pizza. The crust is partially made by the caramelized cheese rim, and their pizza is made in the traditional Chicago style, with cheese and toppings on the bottom and sauce on top.
Pequod's also has a second location in Morton Grove, located at 8520 Fernald Ave.
8. Pleasant House Pub - 2119 S Halsted Street
What started as a bakery expanded to include an excellent pub, and today serves British-inspired food like meat pies, homemade pastries, and beer. You can also get tasty salads, chips (fries), and other traditional fare, like scotched eggs.
9. Roister - 951 W Fulton Market
This restaurant is designed to integrate the kitchen into the seating area, which makes watching your food being made is part of the experience! You'll enjoy upscale, modern dining while feasting on rustic, hearty portions of duck, pork, Wagyu beef, seafood, wedge salads, and delicious desserts.
10. Parachute - 3500 N Elston Avenue
Enjoy a small, community-style atmosphere at this Korean/American fusion diner. Seating is limited and arranged around a large table, so reservations are suggested and don't guarantee a private table. It is fun for the whole family and has an ever-changing menu to highlight seasonal ingredients.
11. Ruxbin - 851 N Ashland Avenue
This restaurant in Noble Square has been celebrated as one of Chicago's best restaurants by many major publications and is frequently featured on major network food shows. Meals here are priced by person and number of courses and strives to represent the diverse cultures and influences of Chicago. Their menu rotates seasonally, so there's always something new and amazing to try.
12. Elizabeth - 4835 N Western Avenue
Blink, and you might miss the unassuming exterior of this little hidden gem, but once inside, you will be absolutely astounded by the delightfully playful and extraordinarily delicious dishes. This incredible place marries the mind, palate, and spirit through a tasting menu that focuses on fresh fruit and veggies. Many menu items have a garden or enchanted forest theme and are as much an artistic masterpiece as they are food!
13. Publican Anker - 1576 N Milwaukee Avenue
Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this place is an homage to 20th century bars and saloons. It has a slight nautical theme and serves simple favorites like burgers, chicken, pork, seafood, soup, and sandwiches.
14. The Purple Pig - 500 N Michigan Avenue
One of the best places to eat on the city's Magnificent Mile, this restaurant is operated by a family- and professionally-trained chef. It has received many awards for being the best in Chicago and America for its rustic, shareable, Mediterranean fare.
15. Spacca Napoli - 1769 W Sunnyside Avenue
Chicago has more than just deep dish. You can get an authentic Italian pie made in a wood-fired oven right here in the city. It is open daily and also has amazing appetizers, desserts, and wine.
16. The Publican - 837 W Fulton Market
Showcasing products from local farmers and fisherman, the eclectic farmhouse menu at this joint changes daily. Mostly, the restaurant is an homage to oysters, pork, and beer, but they also serve brunch on the weekends.
Which of these Chicago restaurants do you love most? Share your thoughts and photos with us!