In the West Loop’s Fulton Market District, there is a food hall called Time Out Market. Here, guests can sample food from a range of Chicago-based eateries, bars, and bakeries at vendor booths. Restaurants like Bar Goa, Colombia, Arami, Big Kids, and others were hand-selected. There is something here for everyone, and overall the vibe is lively and perfect for groups. Let’s follow us to find out the best restaurants in Chicago in this post!
Boka (Lincoln Park)
Boka has established itself as one of Chicago’s most interesting dining establishments thanks to its approachable, seasonally inspired new American menu, which has earned the restaurant a MICHELIN star, three stars from the Chicago Tribune, and James Beard Award nominations. Renowned chef Lee Wolen has a talent for adding depth, texture, and one or two surprising flavors to dishes that appear to be straightforward.
For instance, Wolen’s famous roasted chicken is given the gourmet treatment with sunchoke, maitake, and black garlic, while Spanish octopus is served with smoked cauliflower, hazelnut, and crisp cucumber. These meals are provided in Boka’s exquisitely designed dining rooms, each of which has huge circular banquettes and lush green walls that make it feel like its own tiny planet.
Filipino restaurant Kasama offers meals, pastries, coffee, and drinks in a homey yet contemporary setting. Here, brunch is the big draw, and lines frequently extend around the block. The food and pastries are absolutely out of this world excellent, but I particularly like the chicken adobo, lumpia, and the Filipino breakfast.
You can reserve a table for their tasting menu with Filipino influences for dinner for a more upscale eating experience. If you have the time, go to Kasama, one of Chicago’s best new restaurants that recently received its first Michelin star. You won’t be sorry.
Goat and the Girl: Best restaurants in Chicago
The West Loop restaurant of Top Chef champion Stephanie Izard has been operating since 2010, yet customers continue to flock there in droves for sharing platters of wood-fired oysters and goat empanadas (with miso-blue cheese aioli and squash-apple slaw). If you can’t get a reservation here, the Chicago native has also used her skills at the popular Fulton Market Chinese restaurant Duck Duck Goat and Little Goat Diner, which both serve upscale comfort cuisine.
When executive chefs Noah Sandoval and Genie Kwon launched Oriole in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood in 2016, they weren’t messing around. After only a year in operation, the couple’s modern setup had earned two Michelin stars while avoiding the stifling environment that frequently results from such a bestowal.
The 28-seater is undoubtedly apartment-like with exposed brick walls, paper pendant lighting, and an open kitchen, but the cuisine is very different from what you’d find at your friend’s dinner party. A wine list with an old-world feel coexists with meals like Japanese Wagyu with white alba truffle, matsutake, and onion ash and Spanish mackerel with Asian pear, seaweed, and sea grapes.
Athletic Association of Chicago
Chicago Athletic Association appears to be a beautiful historic hotel that is ideally situated across the street from Millennium Park. However, once inside, you’ll see that the structure is home to several excellent bars and restaurants. In search of expansive views, family-style dishes, and premium cocktails? To the rooftop restaurant Cindy’s, go upstairs. Reserve a table at Cherry Circle Room if a steak and martini are what you’re after. For all of your late-night burger needs, the hotel’s first floor also has a Shake Shack. Even better, reserve a room and stay for a while.
Claudia: Best restaurants in Chicago
This restaurant, which began as a twice-monthly pop-up in Chicago’s West Town in 2015, eventually received a brick-and-mortar foundation this fall, followed shortly after by a Michelin star. Chef Trevor Teich and his team had time during those pop-up days to win some sweet accolades and local love, and now fans are coming here every night to sample what Teich does best: contemporary fine dining that showcases his training in French and Japanese cuisine as well as his natural talent for storytelling.
Discover it with his 10-course tasting menu, a fanciful culinary adventure that reads like a chapter from one of your favorite childhood books, as the restaurant’s name suggests.
Chef and business owner Jonathan Goldsmith has perfected the skill of making Neapolitan-style pizza, having previously worked in social work and real estate. These golden-crusted discs with seasonal toppings are the real deal—no deep dish here.
Pizzas from Spacca Napoli have a famous reputation because of their superior ingredients and meticulous preparation. It’s the ideal place for families and takeout thanks to the relaxed, cozy, and welcoming atmosphere.
With its Korean American fusion cuisine, this tiny restaurant outperforms its size and has been recognized with a MICHELIN star, a James Beard Award, and a spot on Bon Appétit’s list of the Best New Restaurants. Wherewithall, a sister restaurant across the street, is still operating despite being closed for repairs and offering a four-course menu that changes every week in addition to cocktails and bar snacks.
The baked potato bing bread with sour cream butter, a buttery loaf stuffed with bacon, potato, and cheese, vegan mayo tofu, and a ten-piece plate of Korean fried chicken with spicy gochujang sauce are among the restaurant’s hallmark dishes when it reopens later this year.
Demera (Uptown): Best restaurants in Chicago
Tigist Reda brought her business energy and love of cooking with her when she emigrated to the United States from Ethiopia in 2007. Shortly after her arrival, she founded Demera. The restaurant immediately became the city’s premier location for Ethiopian cuisine thanks to the chef’s thorough preparation of the dishes—she even toasts and grinds all of her spices.
Chicagoans can sample eight different chef’s creations by ordering one of the mob platters, which can feed groups of two to eight people and include dishes like Kik alicha, a stew of split yellow peas with onions, garlic, and turmeric, or ye-beg wot, which features bone-in lamb that has been braised in a hot berbere chile sauce. Ask about the tej, a house-made honey wine that has enough sweetness to counteract the spice, if you want to lessen the heat in some foods.
Make a reservation at Smyth if your budget allows for one pricey supper. The restaurant only received its first Michelin star last year and has since been awarded two. Executive chefs John and Karen Shields collaborated with local producers in rural Smyth County, Virginia, where the bi-level New American kitchen draws its inspiration.
You can choose to eat more casually downstairs (in The Loyalist dining room, which is actually a second venue), or you can travel upstairs if you’re interested in the tasting menus (5-, 8-, and 12-course options). Come hungry so you can polish off platters of foie gras and Dungeness crab with scrambled Kani miso, as well as aged ribeye with spring onion marmite and buttermilk.