Chicago Restaurant Guide

Chicago chefs. Source: Crain's Chicago Business

Chicago is a culinary treasure chest and boasts a bevy of impeccable restaurants, which I have had the pleasure of exploring over the past several years of living here. Since I often receive requests for recommendations, I figured I would put together a selection of my personal favorites. While this list is by no means exhaustive, I have been to and enjoyed every spot that appears here. 

The list is broken down by cuisine and also includes a section for cocktails. Symbols next to the restaurant name highlight important attributes and if I have reviewed the restaurant, you will find a link below the restaurant's website. Please let me know if you would like some recommendations! There's nothing I enjoy more than helping people select the perfect restaurant, whatever the occasion may be. 

Decoding the restaurant guide:
Bargain, under $30 per person  
  Date night spot
$  Splurge, $60+ per person

564 W Randolph St.

Sumi Robata Bar
702 N Wells St.

La Sirena Clandestina
954 W Fulton Market

The scene @ Kanela Breakfast Club. Source: Daily Candy

Ann Sather★ 
Multiple locations

Au Cheval
800 W Randolph St.

Birchwood Kitchen
2211 W North Ave.

Chicago Bagel Authority
Multiple locations

Chicago q
1160 N Dearborn St.

Kanela Breakfast Club
3231 N Clark St.

Little Goat Diner
820 W Randolph St.

Lula Cafe
2537 N Kedzie Blvd.

Meli Cafe & Juice Bar
Multiple locations

Multiple locations

The Peasantry      
2723 N Clark St.   
The 3rd Coast
1260 N Dearborn St.

Multiple locations


Burger @ 25 degrees. Source: Zagat
25 Degrees

Au Cheval
800 W Randolph St.

Burger Bar
1578 N Clybourn Ave.

Butcher & the Burger
1021 W Armitage Ave.

DMK Burger Bar
2954 N Sheffield Ave.

Edzo's ★ 
Multiple locations

M Burger ★ 
Multiple locations

Bar @ The Drawing Room. Source: Luxis

2523 N Milwaukee Ave

The Aviary $
955 West Fulton Market
The Barrelhouse Flat      
2624 N Lincoln Ave.

Billy Sunday
3143 W Logan Blvd.

C-View (rooftop) 
166 E Superior St.

The Drawing Room
937 N Rush St.

NoMI Lounge (rooftop) 
800 N Michigan Ave.

Punch House
1227 W 18th St 

Sable Kitchen & Bar
505 N State St.

3201 W Armitage Ave.

Three Dots and a Dash
435 N Clark St.

The Violet Hour
1520 N Damen Ave 
The Whistler
2421 N Milwaukee Ave
Contemporary American: Casual

Salmon @ Sola. Source: Sola
Bavette's Bar and Boeuf
218 W Kinzie St.

228 W Chicago Ave.    

Frog & Snail     
3124 N Broadway Ave.    

Gilt Bar 
230 W Kinzie St.

Girl & the Goat     
809 W Randolph St.  

Goose Island      
Mulitple locations     

Little Goat Diner
820 W Randolph St.

Maude's Liquor Bar
840 W Randolph St.

2119 S Halsted St.
The Peasantry      
2723 N Clark St.   

Perennial Virant
1800 N Lincoln Ave.

The Publican     
837 W Fulton Market    
851 N Ashland Ave 
Sable Kitchen & Bar      
505 N State St.  

2873 N Broadway St. 

3868 N Lincoln Ave.      

Uncommon Ground     
Multiple locations    
Contemporary American: Upscale

Dining room @ NoMi. Source: Cheeky Chicago

Acadia $
1639 S Wabash Ave.

Alinea $
1723 N Halsted St.

Blackbird $
619 W Randolph St.

Boka $
1729 N Halsted St.

Graham Elliot $      
217 W Huron St.

NoMI Kitchen $
800 N Michigan Ave.

North Pond $
2610 N Cannon Dr.

Sepia $
123 N Jefferson St.
Whoopie pies @ Sable. Source: Dining Chicago

Bobtail Ice Cream       
2951 N Broadway St.   

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
3404 N Southport Ave

Mindy's Hot Chocolate      
1747 N Damen Ave.  

Sable Kitchen & Bar    
505 N State St.  

Sprinkles Cupcakes       
50 E Walton St.   

Hema's Kitchen     
Multiple locations

Indian Garden
247 E Ontario St #2 


Tagliolini nero @ Balena. Source: Chicago Reader
1633 N Halsted St.

Coco Pazzo

Disotto Entoteca
200 E Chestnut St 

Eduardo's Enoteca
1212 N Dearborn St.

1312 S Wabash Ave.

La Gondola

Mia Francesca
3311 N Clark St.

Osteria Via Stato
620 N State St.

Pasta Palazzo★ 
1966 N Hasted St.

Piccolo Sogno      
464 N Halsted St.     

Piccolo Sogno Due    
340 N Clark St.   

710 N Wells St.  

Spiaggia $
980 N Michigan Ave 


Tacos @ Big Star. Source: Chicago Magazine

Antique Taco
1360 N Milwaukee Ave

Big Star★ 
1531 N Damen Ave.

Chilam Balam
3023 N Broadway St.

Masa Azul
2901 W Diversey Ave 
108 W Kinzie St.

Mexique (Mexican-French fusion)
1529 W Chicago Ave.

Piece Brewery & Pizzeria
1927 W North Ave.

Pizzeria da Nella
1443 W Fullerton Pkwy.


Hamachi crudo @ GT Fish & Oyster. Source: Chicago Magazine
GT Fish & Oyster      
531 N Wells St.   

Hugo's Frog Bar 
1024 N Rush St.  

Oceanique (Evanston) $      
505 Main St.    

Shaw's Crab House    
21 E Hubbard St.    

Soup & Sandwich 
Bat 17 (Evanston)
1709 Benson Ave.

Chicago Bagel Authority       
Multiple locations      

The Goddess & Grocer★      
Multiple locations   

Multiple locations


Steak @ Mercat a la Planxa. Source: Esquire

151 W Erie St.  

Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba 
2024 N Halsted St.      
The Purple Pig
500 N Michigan Ave.

Mercat a la Planxa

638 S Michigan Ave.   

1023 W Lake St 

Andy's Thai Kitchen
946 W Wellington Ave.

Tac Quick Thai      
3930 N Sheridan Rd.    

Le Colonial (upscale Vietnamese-French fusion)
937 N Rush St.


  1. case face, i will actually be referencing this frequently. gracias.

  2. Could you please create a symbol especially for wine and charcuterie meetups?

    1. I'm not sure the general public shares our passion for wine and charcuterie meetups, but I would be happy to email you to discuss this at greater length

  3. Love the list. My BF and I are coming to Chicago in July 2013 to see Pearl Jam (or first trip to your fair City). From your list (or from an upgraded list) can you give me one must go to place for (breakfast, lunch and dinner).

    1. Hmm, that's a tough one! For brunch, I'd have to say Meli Cafe in River North (541 N. Wells)- that's my absolute favorite. For lunch and dinner, can you maybe give me a type of cuisine or price point? Have to narrow it down somehow. There are too many choices!