No matter where you go in Chicago, you’ll find a diverse selection of places to eat and drink in every corner of our city. These vibrant neighborhoods in particular have established themselves as foodie favorites, with new, buzz-worthy restaurants and bars popping up every day.
Need a tour guide? We’ve rounded up some of Chicago’s most restaurant-centric areas and (most importantly) where to eat in all of them.
Get a taste of the trend-setting West Loop
If you can only make it to one foodie neighborhood, the forever-hip West Loop is a frontrunner. Located in the former meatpacking district, the neighborhood is now home to one of the city’s hottest dining scenes and it’s all centered around Randolph Street, aka Restaurant Row.
Here, you’ll find celebrity chefs opening their latest hot ventures, cool new bars taking over historic factory buildings, buzzing sidewalk patios and rooftop lounges — and that’s all within a couple of blocks.
A few must-try, taste-making spots in the West Loop.
- Girl and the Goat, the flagship restaurant of Top Chef winner Stephanie Izard
- Au Cheval, home to one of the country’s most famous burgers (and equally famous waits)
- The Aviary, an innovative cocktail spot by the groundbreaking team behind Alinea
- Momotaro, acclaimed modern Japanese food and a perfect date night vibe
- avec, Mediterranean shared plates from the place that basically started the shared plates trend
- The Publican, acclaimed food with a beer hall vibe in one of the neighborhood’s original hit spots
- Sushi Dokku, a popular sushi spot with a subterranean cocktail bar, Booze Box
Get authentic flavors in Pilsen
Most Chicagoans know that the best tacos are in Pilsen, but that’s not all this Latino community has to offer. Pilsen’s dining scene is a vibrant blend of old and new that draws on multi-cultural and multi-generational influences. Think hot new fusion places setting up shop next to mom-and-pop taquerias, historic buildings transforming into multi-concept dining destinations, all within a colorful and dynamic community.
Here are a few Pilsen restaurants that represent the flavor of the neighborhood.
- HaiSous, a modern Vietnamese kitchen with an excellent tasting menu
- Taqueria El Milagro, a tortilla factory that happens to sell some of the city’s best tacos
- Dusek’s Board and Beer, an old school tavern inside historic Thalia Hall
- S.K.Y., contemporary fare with flavors from all around the globe
- Carnitas Uruapan, a family-owned taqueria known for their piles of slow-cooked pork
Go old school or new school in Bronzeville
Bronzeville is a historic neighborhood steeped in African American culture and legacy. It’s also home to a burgeoning restaurant scene that’s attracting foodies from every corner of the city. Exciting new spots are popping up alongside long-time establishments, creating a unique mix of old and new.
Here are a few spots to check out in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood.
- Pearl’s Place, a legendary spot for homemade Southern soul food
- Bronzeville Winery, a contemporary wine bar with a menu fueled by local urban gardens
- Norman’s Bistro, known for Cajun Creole cuisine and live music on Sundays
- Yassa African Restaurant, a colorful spot for Senegalese fare, like traditional stews and whole fish
- Ain’t She Sweet Cafe, a quaint cafe beloved by locals for their sandwiches
Try out classics in Lincoln Park and Lakeview
These residential neighborhoods are beloved for their tree-lined streets, charming shops, and sprawling green space along the scenic lakefront. They also happen to be home to some of the city’s most beloved restaurants. You’ll find a lot of Chicago classics here, from cozy brunch spots, to international favorites, to one of the most acclaimed restaurants on the planet.
- Summer House Santa Monica, a sun-filled escape with fresh, seasonal dishes
- Cafe Ba-ba-reeba!, the long-running tapas restaurant that still draws crowds for its signature sangria
- Batter & Berries, home to French toast flights and DIY mimosas (its BYOB!)
- Chicago Diner, proudly meat free since 1983 and known for their vegan shakes
- DryHop Brewers, gastropub fare in a rustic space, with plenty of house-made brews
- Alinea, a multi-sensory experience from one of the best restaurants in the world
Find hip eats in Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square
There’s no shortage of places to eat in Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square. And not just any places to eat. This area is known for their creative, eclectic vibes, so it makes sense that it’s home to some of the city’s most talked-about spots. You’ll find block after block of packed BYOB patios, creative fusion fare, and some of the hottest tables in town.
Check out some of the neighborhoods’ top spots to eat.
- 90 Miles Cafe, Cubanos and mojitos are the go-to move in this colorful space
- Longman & Eagle, elevated tavern fare and endless whiskey options
- Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits, get a slice of that day’s pie flavors — but hurry, they go fast
- Big Star, street food-inspired tacos on one of the city’s buzziest patios
- L’Patron, known for classic tacos and award-winning burritos
- Andros Taverna, serving up modern Greek fare in a gorgeous sunny space
Live it up in River North
Just north of the river from the Loop, River North is a popular destination for high-end dining. Once an industrial area, the neighborhood is now known as a hotspot for drinking and dining. It’s bustling streets are lined with sleek steakhouses, award-winning cocktail bars, trendy restaurants, and plenty of other spots to get your fine-dining fix. It’s the perfect place for a special occasion dinner, an unforgettable cocktail, or a night out on the town.
Here are a few spots that’ll give you a taste of River North.
- RPM Steak, a modern take on a classic Chicago steakhouse
- Topolobampo, elevated Mexican cuisine from revered chef Rick Bayless
- Eataly, a multi-story Italian marketplace complete with restaurants and bars
- Vermilion, known for their global dishes featuring Latin and Indian flavors
- Three Dots and a Dash, acclaimed tiki drinks with a hidden alleyway entrance (look for the tiki torches)
- River Roast, meat dishes carved tableside with waterfront views