5 Must-Visit Chicago Restaurants
There’s no shortage of great places to eat in the Windy City, but a handful of new dining spots are worth the trip.
Chicago is as famous for its food as for its lakeshore views and neighbourhood enclaves, offering dining choices to please every palate. Legendary steakhouses such as Gene & Georgetti, Michelin-star dining rooms such as Seasons at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago along with scores of bistros, delis, cafés, gastropubs, trattorias and chophouses mean that visitors may wonder how they can ever decide from among so many choices. For now, here are some of the newer stars of the Chicago dining scene that you shouldn’t miss—and some of the dishes each has served.
Longman & Eagle, 1 773/276-7110
2657 North Kedzie Avenue
Why go: Chef Jared Wentworth calls the place a “whiskey bar,” with more than 200 spirits at the bar, but the real reason to go is the gutsy Chicago-style food served up with sophisticated swagger in a rollicking atmosphere.
What to eat: The menu changes weekly, but the roast chicken with pommes purée, Swiss chard, caramelized onion, pickled cherry and date jus is excellent.
Take note: You should also try the whiskey flights—three three-quarter-ounce tastes of some of the bar’s famous brands.
Girl & the Goat, 1 312/492-6262
809 West Randolph Street
Why go: Compared with all the new eateries in Chi-Town, “G&G” tops them all with no-holds-barred conviviality, warehouse-farmhouse décor and an always-packed bar. Oh, did we mention out-of-this-world international-inspired cuisine? Owner Stephanie Izard is a local hero, having won season 4 of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef.”
What to eat: grilled pork ribs with a crispy pig’s ear slaw and grilled scallion vinaigrette.
Take note: You can sit in the lounge or at the bar, or reserve one of the four seats at the open kitchen, where you might be asked to help.
Henri, 1 312/578-0763
18 South Michigan Avenue
Why go: Hailed as an “instant classic,” Henri offers very contemporary, very civilized French–American cuisine in a charming, romantic room inspired by the work of Chicago architect and “the father of modernism,” Louis H. Sullivan.
What to eat: butter-poached lobster with beets, woodland mushrooms and beurre monté.
Take note: Its location is steps away from Millennium Park and Symphony Center, making it a good choice pre-concert.
Chicago Cut Steakhouse, 1 312/329-1800
300 North LaSalle
Why go: This is not just another great Chicago steakhouse, albeit with its own butcher and aging locker, but one with a great chef, Jackie Shen, to expand the menu well beyond the usual clichés of the genre. Her famous “Chocolate Bag” dessert is part of the fun.
What to eat: any of the steaks, but also the Great Lakes whitefish with a clam vin blanc sauce.
Take note: Floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning panoramas of the Chicago River, below, and the city skyline.
Paris Club, 1 312/595-0800
59 West Hubbard
Why go: It’s become an overnight hit for its ebullient hospitality, hearty bistro classics, a reasonable wine list, 14 craft beers on tap and terrific charcuterie plates to share. You can’t help but have a good time.
What to eat: macaroni gratinée with French ham.
Take note: Upstairs, the Studio Paris nightclub and lounge, with a retractable glass roof that opens to the Chicago cityscape, has become one of the hottest venues in town, both with locals and visiting celebrities.