1. Aba, 2. Spacca Napoli, 3. Andros Taverna, 4. Alinea, 5. Elske, 6. Proxi, 7. Monteverde, 8. Claudia, 9. Giant, 10. Pequod’s Pizza, 11. The Duck Inn. The Emerald City of America’s heartland benefits from seasonality like few others in the country. From acclaimed chefs to dining experiences memorable for their hospitality and haute cuisine alike, here are the best restaurants in Chicago now.
- Spacca Napoli
- Andros Taverna
- Pequod’s Pizza
- The Duck Inn
Aba ranks first in the list of best restaurants in Chicago. Modern Mediterranean cuisine is delightfully adaptable, offering full flavors to vegans, vegetarians, and carnivores alike. And no one in Chicago understands the style like Aba. Mezze, both hot and cold, are served alongside house-made spreads and breads. Raw fish is just as popular as flame-charred kebabs. Shawarma spiced skirt steak arrives at the table, alongside falafel slathered in avocado tzatziki. It’s also a great place for drinks with a view, thanks to its light-filled atrium filled with potted plants and trees.
Aba’s lush atrium is framed by potted plants and trees and features a large, well-lit back bar. Globe lamps hang from the vaulted glass ceiling, which is framed by wood beams. The room is alive and full of light. Healthy eaters graze lightly on shared plates, looking up between bites to take in the surroundings—and the stunning rooftop view.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are used in seasonal cocktails. Reserve cocktails (made with higher-priced spirits), large-format offerings (punches and the like for six to eight people), and a diverse wine list divided by grape, region, and historical and cultural significance are also available.
Google Rating: 4.8/5.0
Address: 302 N. Green St., Floor 3, Chicago, Illinois, 60607United States
Phone: (773) 645-1400
Spacca Napoli ranks 2nd in the list of best restaurants in Chicago. Chef-owner Jonathan Goldsmith has mastered the art of Neapolitan-style pizza, having previously worked in social work and real estate before dedicating himself to the craft. No deep dish here—these golden crust discs with seasonal toppings are the real deal. Spacca Napoli pizzas have a legendary reputation due to high-quality ingredients and a commitment to technique. With a casual, homey, and approachable ambiance, it’s ideal for families and even take-out.
Spacca Napoli, located in Chicago’s sleepy Ravenswood neighborhood, has long been a favorite of the pizza set. When you walk in, you’ll notice the heart of the operation: two Italian brick wood-burning ovens churning out Neapolitan pizzas that would make your nonna cry. The rustic space is simply decorated, with bright lights, exposed brick, and brightly painted walls—humble, but you’re here for the pizza, so don’t be too concerned. Spacca Napoli’s dining room and, in warmer months, sprawling patio are packed with multigenerational families. The pizza joint also offers quick delivery and takeout pies for locals looking for something a little more special than standard delivery pies.
Spacca Napoli’s dining room and, in warmer months, sprawling patio are packed with multigenerational families. The pizza joint also offers quick delivery and takeout pies for locals looking for something a little more special than standard delivery pies. There is a small selection of whites, reds, and rosés, as well as bottled Italian beers. Finish your meal with any of the Italian amari, such as Averna, Strega, or Cynar.
Google Rating: 4.7/5.0
Address: 1769 W Sunnyside Ave.Chicago, Illinois, 60640United States
Phone: (773) 878-2420
Chef Doug Psaltis serves contemporary Greek cuisine rooted in thoughtful sourcing and sustainable practices at this Logan Square newcomer. The restaurant is an homage to the Mediterranean and its flavors, rooted in culinary heritage and welcoming hospitality. It was inspired by a love for the cosmopolitan taverns of Greece. Begin with pork shoulder gyros and char-grilled octopus, then save room for pastry chef Hsing Chen’s dessert. The co-star here is wine, and the list features 25 Greek labels in proud, abundant fashion (boasting one of the more robust programs in the city).
With terra cotta bricks, extensive woodwork, copper-colored metal detailing, lush hanging greenery from overhead trellises, and large tablet, rounded-edge mirrors, this bright and airy restaurant showcases hints of its Greek emphasis throughout its interiors (a nod to shapes found in traditional Greek architecture). A wood-burning hearth is the focal point of an open kitchen concept and bar, and an expansive, glass-enclosed greenhouse allows for breezy, indoor-outdoor seating—perfect for these Mediterranean-inspired surroundings.
Expect to see date nights, friends celebrating a variety of occasions, and families—often those with Greek ancestry looking for updated takes on the cuisine they grew up eating. Greek wines are the main attraction here, and the menu highlights them proudly and abundantly (boasting one of the more robust programs in the city). More than 25 Greek labels from various regions, including Thessaly, Attica, Santorini, Crete, and Macedonia, greet guests. Cocktails aren’t forgotten either: For a variety of Greek-inspired imbibing options, the team uses ingredients such as Iliada Olive Oil, Otto’s Athens Vermouth, and Skinos Mastiha.
Google Rating: 4.6/5.0
Address: 2542 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60647United States
Alinea’s reputation speaks for itself as the highest-ranking North American restaurant and a six-time winner of Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants. Grant Achatz’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant has consistently finished first or second in the annual poll, which is decided by Elite Traveler’s jet-set readership. This phenomenal success can be attributed to Achatz’s hypermodern and emotional approach to dining, which is admired around the world.
The Alinea group now has several locations (including Next, another restaurant on this list), but it is at this original outpost that Achatz combines all of his inventive skills. The team of innovative collaborators and creative staff produce forward-thinking, deconstructed cuisine worthy of its three-star status. The Gallery menu is a 16-to-18-course journey through cutting-edge molecular gastronomy and classic fine dining.
The Salon Menu is also available to guests. This 10-to-12 course menu, served in three salons on the second floor, is marketed as a more approachable experience but is no less innovative. Finally, The Kitchen Table is Alinea’s newest experience, where guests are treated to the most immersive and intimate gastronomic experiences in the world.
Address:1723 N. Halsted St., Chicago, Illinois, 60614United States
Phone: +1 312 867 0110
Elske’s enclosed courtyard, complete with fur-covered benches, folded fleece blankets, and a roaring outdoor fireplace, epitomizes hygge. The name, which is Danish for “love,” also hints at what to expect from Anna and David Posey. They have two dining options, so you aren’t forced to eat for hours if you don’t want to, and the reasonably priced-for-its-quality tasting menu ($115) features eight courses of new American dishes kissed with Danish touches. It’s a truly unique restaurant that serves intensely personal dishes that demonstrate a mastery of ingredients, presentation, and subtle flavors.
Elske, located just a few blocks west of the hustle and bustle of Randolph Row restaurants, attracts diners who appreciate the quieter surroundings—couples looking for a romantic night out, or families taking visiting parents out for a low-key but impressive meal. Elske’s overarching theme is intentional fine dining, which extends to the wine list, which features bottles from thoughtful winemakers such as Lioco in California and Brianne Day in Oregon. They also have a cocktail menu, non-alcoholic cocktails, a list of house-made snaps (similar to schnapps), and a non-alcoholic juice pairing for the set menu.
Google Rating: 4.6/5.0
Address: 1350 W. Randolph St, Chicago, Illinois, 60607
Phone: (312) 733-1314
Proxi ranks 6th in the list of best restaurants in Chicago. The handsome, architectural Proxi, located in a former printing press, is divided into three spaces: With low-slung, midcentury-style furniture, the lounge has a Mad Men living room vibe; the open-plan dining room has a chef’s counter that looks directly into the kitchen; and colorful tile and white stone make the bar feel spacious and inviting. A vibrant, global soundtrack sets the tone for the international street food concept throughout.
Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s Mad Men-style outfit complements Sepia, his popular upscale restaurant next door. The menu reads like an Asian hawker market, showcasing Zimmerman’s global street food influences, such as hamachi crudo with blood orange nahm jim, smoked pumpkin tamales with goat cheese and pasilla piloncillo, and Vietnamese beef stew with lemongrass and Thai chili. The flavors and preparations range from Indian to Mediterranean to Thai to Mexican. And, whereas Sepia is known for its wine list, Proxi is known for its inventive cocktails—ingredients such as compressed pineapple, toasted cashew orgeat, and chamomile-infused Lillet Blanc provide flavorful surprises.
Address: 565 W. Randolph St, Chicago, Illinois, 60661United States
Phone: (312) 466-1950
The high priestess here is chef Sarah Grueneberg (former Top Chef contestant and Tony Mantuano’s protege at Spiaggia). Every dish is reasonably priced, encouraging multiple orders and revisits of the seasonally driven menu. The lively, airy dining room is alive with clinking glasses and a healthy buzz as guests reach over each other for tastes of each other’s dishes. Grueneberg and her team of pasta-makers are hard at work on that night’s eight or nine offerings, behind a slightly raised bar—or stage, depending on your perspective.
From savvy tourists to well-heeled West Loop residents, Monteverde is one of the most difficult seats in town to secure. The restaurant, which opened in 2015, is officially a neighborhood draw, attracting pasta-loving gourmands as well as out-of-town parents who are impressed by the contemporary Italian dishes. Naturally, Italian wines dominate the wine list, though Italian varietals from California, such as Broc Cellar’s excellent Nero d’Avola, are sprinkled throughout. Prices range from $40 to $200 per bottle for interesting, food-friendly indigenous varieties like Fiano di Avellino, Falanghina, and Carricante, as well as more well-known styles like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.
Google Rating: 4.5/5.0
Address: 1020 W Madison St., Chicago , Illinois, 60607United States
Phone: (312) 888-3041
Claudia ranks 8th on the list of best restaurants in Chicago. This restaurant, which began as a twice-month pop-up in Chicago’s West Town in 2015, finally got its brick-and-mortar footing earlier this fall—and a Michelin star soon after. Those pop-up days allowed chef Trevor Teich and his team to garner some sweet accolades and local love, and fans are now flocking here on a nightly basis for a taste of what Teich does best—contemporary fine dining highlighting his training in French and Japanese cuisine—as well as his natural knack for storytelling. Discover it through his 10-course tasting menu, a whimsical culinary journey that functions like a chapter from one of your favorite childhood books, as the restaurant suggests.
Experience the charm of this restaurant before even stepping foot inside, housed within an 1880s-era storybook cottage in the heart of Bucktown (the golden snail door knocker only helps matters). When you do enter, it may feel like your home away from home, owing to the nostalgia it elicits. A display case near the foyer features mementos of beloved childhood stories, ranging from hardcovers of Peter Pan and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to objects like a clock and magnifying glass “cut in half”—reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s office and the many “half-objects” it houses.
The fun doesn’t stop there: a wine list reveals Alice in Wonderland-inspired illustrations, and that snail? From the service team’s lapel pins to an entire course dedicated to it (“Snails in the Woods”), it is honored throughout the dining experience. Three distinct dining spaces are outfitted with velvety fabrics, rich wood tones, warm lighting, and mixed metal accents: the upstairs dining room, first-floor Chef’s Table, and, just beyond, The Bar at Claudia, where guests can partake in an a la carte experience and enjoy an impressive selection of cocktails.
Address: 1952 North Damen Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60647United States
Phone: (773) 697-9486
Giant ranks 9th on the list of best restaurants in Chicago. Giant’s long, 44-seat room may appear ironic in comparison to other lauded restaurants, but don’t be fooled by its size. Giant is effortlessly minimal and stylish—white-washed brick opposite modern wood-paneling, simple gray and yellow banquets—and the place is always packed. Chef Jason Vincent runs the energetic establishment, serving a menu of 15-20 seemingly unrelated small and medium plates. The chef’s dedication to flavor is the common denominator. There are no trend-followers, no themes, and no mission other than to serve high-impact cuisine.
Address: 3209 W Armitage Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60647United States
Phone: (773) 252-0997
Pequod’s is a staple in Chicago’s competitive pizza scene, but don’t call it deep dish. The style was created by the late Burt Katz (before he opened Burt’s Place), a Chicago food legend, and features a fluffier, airier dough with a dark ring of crispy caramelized cheese, thanks to the high-sided pan the pizza is cooked in. Expect a wait, or reserve a table online ahead of time. Expect a wait—on busy weekends, this casual spot draws a crowd, with groups facing waits of up to two hours. Pequod’s is a casual neighborhood sports bar with the usual trappings (high booths, exposed brick), but it also has one of the best pan pies in town. While Pequod’s is a local favorite, it also draws a fair share of out-of-town visitors looking for the signature pizza. Pro tip: Reserve a table online ahead of time.
This is a beer and pizza joint featuring local craft taps. They work with local breweries and have a long-standing IPA partnership with Spiteful that goes especially well with their pizza. Pequod’s is a staple in Chicago’s competitive pizza scene, but don’t call it deep dish. The pan style was created by the late Burt Katz (before he opened Morton Grove’s Burt’s Place), a Chicago food legend, and features a fluffier dough that is airier than its denser counterparts, with a dark ring of crispy caramelized cheese, thanks to the high-sided pan the pizza is cooked in.
Address: 2207 N Clybourn Ave., Chicago, Illinois, 60614United States
Phone: (773) 327-1512
The Duck Inn
Chef-owner Kevin Hickey is a neighborhood native who returns to his haunts at this homey-yet-luxe “gastrotavern” that feels both personal and superlative. The Duck Inn is named after Hickey’s great-Depression-era grandmother’s restaurant, which was once located near the tavern’s current location—and the food pays homage to that history. Choose the five-course tasting menu or go hog-wild (or is it ducking wild?) on the a la carte menu of upscale comforts, depending on your dining style.
Duck Inn, which is divided into two rooms—a modern bar in the front and a cozy, candlelit dining room just past two French doors—feels like it’s been in Bridgeport forever. Chef-owner Kevin Hickey is a neighborhood native who returns to his haunts at this homey-yet-luxe “gastrotavern” that feels both personal and superlative. While the vibes in each room are different—freewheeling and casual at the bar, convivial and conversational in the dining room—they all work together. Diners who would not normally visit this neighborhood are flocking here for the cozy, cheffy takes on gastropub fare.
Google Rating: 4.2/5.0
Address: 2701 S Eleanor St., Chicago, Illinois, 60608United States
Phone: (312) 724-8811