Summer is the time of year we all wish we could lounge on a beach and let our worries fade away with the sun. While Illinois isn’t known for palm trees and ocean waves, we do have something that might transport you to exotic shores. These tropical restaurants in Illinois will make you feel like you’re on vacation in Hawaii, Jamaica, or Puerto Rico.
If you love themed restaurants, you can’t miss these 11 eateries sprinkled throughout the state. Keep scrolling for all the delicious details.
1. Kahuna's Burger's - 104 W Harris Avenue in Greenville
Nautical doesn't always have to mean seafood. This family-owned and operated restaurant serves up dynamite burgers you must try. Known for making their own homemade salad dressings, you can either eat in or grab your grub through the drive-thru. We recommend ordering the Volcano, which is fried potatoes with tons of toppings.
2. The Tiki Terrace - 1591 Lee Street in Des Plaines
You don't have to go to Hawaii for an epic, tropical experience. This restaurant is a Luau-style dinner theatre featuring authentic, Hawaiian dishes and dancing. Each dish is made with colorful, fresh ingredients. Menu items include Mahi-Mahi, coconut chicken, and kalua pork.
Get more information here.
3. Bahama Breeze Island Grille - 406 E. Golf Road in Schaumburg
This restaurant is so good it has a chain of locations throughout the Untied States. Enjoy chicken, seafood, and steak dishes while listening to island music and sipping tropical cocktails out of pineapples. Locals' favorite dishes include jerk chicken pasta, coconut shrimp, and baby back ribs.
4. Castaways - 1707 N 4th Street in Chillicothe
Since 2005, this festive eatery has been serving up budget-friendly eats in a fun atmosphere. It bills itself as a no-frills place to take the kids and still get some fruity and delicious drinks for yourself. Menu items span the board and include sandwiches, burgers, pizza, soup, salads, and more.
5. Delicia Tropical Cafe - 780 Villa Street in Elgin
Opening in 2009, this dine-in and carry-out restaurant serves authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. Patrons enjoy flavorful seafood, chicken, meat, salads, sandwiches, and more. We recommend the fried chicken or meat stuffed pastries.
6. Mahalo - 1501 N Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago
This modern Hawaiian cuisine restaurant in the Wicker Park neighborhood is an island paradise that feels like a surf shack. It has two levels, two bars, indoor dining, and an amazing outdoor patio. Menu items are inspired by Polynesian-Asian fusion and include dishes like pork ramen, smoked salmon bowls, huli huli chicken, and more.
7. Hala Kahiki Tiki Bar & Lounge - 2834 River Road in River Grove
With over 130 tropical drinks to choose from (such as Zombies, Mai Tais, and ice cream drinks), it might be best to have a big meal before arriving here. You can sit at the bar or table inside or enjoy the outdoor garden patio. Guests also like to browse the Hawaiian gift shop which sells tropical shirts, jewelry, and home decor.
8. Island Party Hut - 355 East Riverwalk South in Chicago
Go to where the party never ends and enjoy live music, outdoor games, and drink specials at this incredible eatery. You can get a bucket slushie with your meal along this Chicago River Walk gem. Locals love the pulled pork, burgers, brats, and other favorites from the grill. Guests sit outside by the water and patrons can even rent a party boat for their own private, tropical experience.
9. Hokkaido Restaurant - 3311 N University Street in Peoria
This upscale restaurant includes a hibachi grill, cocktail lounge, and sushi bar all in one. If you love Asian dining, you'll want to try their incredible chicken, seafood, duck, and veggies dishes as well as wantons, crab ragoon, and tempura. The best part might be the drinks. Get all your tropical favorites such as pina colodas, mojitos, and margaritas.
10. Kuchie's on the Water - 579 Wesley Road in Creve Coeur
Check out this casual, riverfront restaurant situated right on the Illinois River. It is the home of the original shipwreck bloody marry (pictured), and you have to try one. Otherwise, guests enjoy burgers, seafood, sandwiches, and an extensive appetizer menu. For those trying out their sea legs, there is room for 15 boats to dock while dining.
11. Tropic Island - 553 E 79th Street in Chicago
Quench that craving for island cuisine and check out this Jamaican-inspired restaurant. Open since 1993, it is home to some of the best jerk chicken in the city. Guests also enjoy large portions of pork, seafood, and veggie dishes as well as beautiful fruit plates.