A stunning space that brings Mediterranean vibes to the heart of the West Loop, Aba and its California-infused take on Mediterranean small plates and shareable entrees like slow-braised leg of lamb has diners flocking to this LEYE spot.
302 N. Green St.
At this smart South Loop restaurant, chef Ryan McCaskey creates impressive riffs on contemporary classics for his tasting menus and a la carte dishes. Head to the bar for more casual fare, including terrific versions of a lobster roll and burger.
1639 S. Wabash Ave.
Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf
This hip, European-style steakhouse features a retro-cool atmosphere with an oh-so-flattering candlelit atmosphere. While there are plenty of terrific steaks, it’s the non-red-meat offerings—baked crab cake, Southern-style fried chicken—that top our must-have list.
218 W. Kinzie St.
Rick Bayless does it again with this subterranean mezcal bar, a quaint space located below Frontera offering Mexican market-themed cocktails and spicy, flavor-packed fare like grill-roasted wagyu and drowned taquitos.
443 N. Clark St.
A nightlife hub in River North, this Mexican hot spot from DineAmic is a blast of bright energy. Top Chef veteran Katsuji Tanabe offers delightful dishes like blue shrimp ceviche with mezcal, red onion and charred lemon.
65 W. Kinzie St.
Benny’s Chop House
This River North spot combines a classic steakhouse ambience with top quality dry- and wet-aged USDA prime steaks and pristine seafood with more modern dishes.
444 N. Wabash Ave.
With a former Charlie Trotter’s chef in charge, it’s no wonder this Logan Square spot, which features handcrafted cocktails and a menu of terrific snacks and small plates, is such a hit.
3143 W. Logan Blvd.
This Ukrainian Village steakhouse specializes in grass-fed, grain-finished meat, ranging from budget-friendly steak frites to a decadent 55-day dry-aged ribeye. The talented chefs behind this hip spot also know their way around lighter fare.
1012 N. Western Ave.
Cherry Circle Room
This intimate restaurant not only pays homage to the 1893 historic building it resides in, but to the iconic restaurant of the same name that once was located inside the Chicago Athletic Association building. It’s a beautiful throwback to a elegant era and that includes the food, too, which ranges from Caesar salad with fried smelts to roasted leg of lamb for two.
12 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago Cut Steakhouse
This Chicago steakhouse features more than 600 wines, dry-aged USDA prime steaks and sleek decor with a river view.
300 N. LaSalle St.
The stunning views of Millennium Park across the street are reason enough to visit this Chicago Athletic Association hotel restaurant located on the 13th floor. But equally impressive is the chic beach house vibe and the modern American food from chef Christian Ragano.
12 S. Michigan Ave.
The Duck Inn
This Bib Gourmand mainstay is tucked away on a quiet Bridgeport corner and serves up some of the best slow-roasted duck in the city along with clever takes like Japanese-style duck wings, smoky Spanish octopus and lamb bacon-topped carbonara.
2701 S. Eleanor St.
Set inside a stunning historic building, Dusek’s, from the same owners and chef as Longman & Eagle, features a rustic, beer-inspired menu with dishes such as a sausage sandwich, steak tartare, and an oyster bar. Head downstairs to Punch House lounge for terrific cocktails and retro vibe.
1227 W. 18th St.
This gastropub features locally sourced ingredients and interesting meats in cozy environs. Order a Guinness and house poutine with chicken confit and cheese curds, or stick to more classic dishes like beer-battered fish and chips.
24 S. Michigan Ave.
Gene & Georgetti
Founded in 1941, this charming restaurant is Chicago’s oldest steakhouse. Soak up the history as you dine on filets, strips, ribeyes and Italian specialties like veal scaloppine. At its second location in Rosemont, you’ll find a varied selection of private event spaces.
500 N. Franklin St.
9421 W. Higgins Road, Rosemont
This iconic Gold Coast steakhouse attracts celebs and VIPs nightly with its classically crafted cocktails, USDA Prime Angus steaks—exclusive to Gibsons—and fresh seafood.
1028 N. Rush St.
GT Fish & Oyster
It seems like restaurateurs Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz (Girl & the Goat, Boka, Perennial Virant) can do no wrong, and this modern River North seafood restaurant helmed by chef Giuseppe Tentori is no exception.
531 N. Wells St.
At this River North hot spot from Italian-born chef Giuseppe Tentori, you’ll not only find pristine cuts of meat—served in 4- and 8-ounce portions—but creative appetizers, housemade pastas and a terrific wine selection.
707 N. Wells St.
Macanese cuisine—think a mix of southeast Asia, China and Portugal—is the specialty at this charming Logan Square restaurant, which has been drawing crowds since it opened. A recently added bakery adds to its appeal.
2957 W. Diversey Ave.
A soul-filled assortment of Vietnamese dishes from chef Thai Dang are presented in perfect alignment with vibrant interior by his wife, Danielle Dang, in this acclaimed Pilsen restaurant.
1800 S. Carpenter St.
Chef Dave Park brings his approachable Korean cuisine to an intimate, cozy restaurant featuring smart twists on classic dishes like tteokbokki and odeng with both a tasting menu and a la carte options.
1460 W. Chicago Ave.
As the longtime wine director for Francesa’s Restaurant Group, Joe Fiely has extensive knowledge of the best bottles around the world. He puts that knowledge to use at his eponymous wine bar, while perfectly pairing tasty bites from each respective wine region.
813 W. Fulton Market
This L.A. hotspot has brought its innovative cuisine to the Windy City. The Japanese fusion restaurant brings together fresh sushi offerings with robatayaki cuisine—fare that’s grilled over a bincho charcoal fire. Make sure not to miss the extensive list of sake and Japanese whisky too.
339 N. Dearborn St.
This River North steakhouse staple offers diners an elegant and understated indoor space, along with a quaint sidewalk patio for dining al fresco. The expansive menu is filled with an array of steak, seafood, pasta and salad options, all made fresh in-house daily.
400 N. Wells St.
Longman & Eagle
This gastropub-meets-inn recently revamped to bring focus back to the space’s rustic roots with amped-up comfort food like the wild boar sloppy Joe, as well as six “no frills, no service” rooms available for lodging.
2657 N. Kedzie Ave.
Maple & Ash
With a Michelin two-star chef in its kitchen, Maple & Ash topples every conventional notion of the steakhouse. Indulge in filet mignon, ribeye and strip steak, or delight in the sumptuous selection of seafood. Or better yet, pay a flat price and let chef Danny Grant surprise you.
8 W. Maple St.
First the good news: At this Chicago Athletic Association Hotel bar, you’ll finds spirit-forward cocktails from Paul McGee utilizing the rare ingredients the well-connected beverage director has tracked down. The bad? With just eight seats, a spot is hard to snag. But unlike many things in life, the effort to score a reservation online is totally worth it.
12 S. Michigan Ave.
Boka Restaurant Group brings this stunning multistory tribute to seasonal Japanese cuisine. In the main dining room, you’ll find an extensive menu featuring sushi, sashimi and creative hot plates, some from the custom-built robata grill. Downstairs, sip on sake, cocktails and Japanese whisky in the sexy izakaya-inspired lounge.
820 W. Lake St.
This Matthias Merges-backed spot presents a take on dishes as American as the baseball played directly across the street at Wrigley Field.
3632 N. Clark St.
The Ruxbin crew has another hit on their hands with this global mashup that’s giving fusion a good name. Dishes such as everything wings and stuffed cabbage with pork butt and sticky rice have earned a loyal following. Cocktails offer an equally interesting slant.
1401 N. Ashland Ave.
Located on the ground floor of a high-rise condo in the North and Clybourn area, Bebu is from two Nico Osteria vets, and it shows in the stellar pizzas and salads as well as the interesting wine list and top-notch service.
1521 N. Fremont St.
Prime & Provisions
At this elegant Loop steakhouse from the same group as Siena Tavern, you’ll find USDA all-natural prime heritage Black Angus beef in its state-of-the-art dry-aging room, in addition to a selection of fresh seafood. A two-story wine tower complements the luxurious setting.
222 N. LaSalle St.
The Purple Pig
This cozy, Mediterranean-inspired small-plates spot just found a new home—a stone’s throw from its original location—and chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. rehauled its menu to include savory duck confit, octopus a la plancha and roasted bone marrow.
444 N. Michigan Ave.
Think the team behind multi Michelin-starred Alinea can’t do casual? This charming West Loop spot, with its lively vibe, laid-back service and terrific food, says otherwise. Chef Andrew Brochu creates craveworthy plate after plate, including whole chicken prepared three ways, buttered pasta with clams and a cool riff on pimento cheese.
951 W. Fulton Market
With its stunning decor and top-notch sushi, this River North spot is a feast for the eyes and mouth. Non-raw-fish lovers can opt for items off the authentic robata-style grill.
456 N. Clark St.
Celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic, acclaimed chef Doug Psaltis and the Melmans (R.J., Jerrod and Molly) have teamed up at this chic River North restaurant, which specializes in modern Italian cuisine.
52 W. Illinois St.
Celebrity-spotting and dry-aged beef come together at the sister spot to RPM Italian. The meat-focused restaurant channels Mad Men with caramel-colored booths, fabric-covered walls and a marble bar perfect for martini sipping.
66 W. Kinzie St.
Top Chef fave Fabio Viviani along with the DineAmic Team is behind this happening River North spot that features rustic Italian food in addition to a crudo/pizza bar and an expansive lounge area.
51 W. Kinzie St.
Smyth + The Loyalist
With some 30 years of culinary experience between them, including at Charlie Trotter’s and Alinea, John Shields and Karen Urie Shields have created a charming twofer in the West Loop. Downstairs, The Loyalist focuses on rustic American fare (aged ribeye, classic burger), while upstairs at Smyth, you’ll find elegant tasting menus.
177 N. Ada St.
Tortoise Supper Club
This restaurant may be a white-tablecloth spot—think steak tartare, lamb chops, wagyu steak frites—but it’s not stuffy, as the caricatures in the dining room of some of Chicago’s more notorious historic figures prove.
350 N. State St.