Anjali Pinto

City Mouse

West Loop

From the team behind Logan Square's acclaimed Giant, this come-as-you-are concept within the Ace Hotel is just the casual, all-day eatery the West Loop needed. Stop in during daytime hours for sweet cornmeal griddle cakes laden with pork shoulder ragu, runny eggs, and hollandaise and a Breakfast Martini infused with turmeric, carrot, and seaweed. For dinner, enjoy comforting bites like fried artichokes, rigatoni Bolognese, and a double-patty burger alongside the tequila-based First Rodeo.

Kailley Lindman/Thrillist


River North

With chic digs and former Top Chef contestant Katsuji Tanabe in charge, this 6,000-square-foot River North destination promises to balance a trendy, Instagrammable aesthetic with Mexican eats that range from wholly authentic to inventively modern. Can't-miss dishes include a whole-roasted red snapper; mussels cooked in a Tecate-dashi broth; coriander-spiked beet salad tossed with queso fresco, candied walnuts, and a citrus vinaigrette; and barbacoa tacos crowned with charred pineapple, crispy potato strings, and adobo crema.

Barry Brecheisen

Steak 48

River North

Chicago's seemingly endless love affair with steakhouses marches on with Houston-born Steak 48, a sleek, contemporary meat emporium from the family that founded Mastro's. The two-story spot offers everything from a "PB&J" (pate, fig jam, and Woodford Reserve bourbon) and a BLT wedge salad to 28-day wet-aged steaks hand cut in house, bone-in short rib, and roasted Brussels sprouts sprinkled with sea salt and crispy bacon.

Galdones Photography

Margeaux Brasserie

Gold Coast

James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina offers Chicago a taste of 1920’s Parisian dining culture at this charming brasserie located on the third floor of the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. Kickstart your morning with grapefruit brûlée with coconut palm sugar and Tahitian vanilla, and a hunter's-style waffle topped with duck confit, Swiss chard, and sauce a la chausseur. Or, end the day with a foie gras parfait with macerated stone fruit, warm brioche, and grilled knob onion; Dover sole meunière; and a wood-grilled filet mignon.

Kailley Lindman/Thrillist

Riot Feast

Wicker Park

For a limited time, the pop-up concept from the teams behind Saved By The Max and annual punk festival Riot Fest is making a splash as a must-try dining experience this summer. The loud music and a carnival freak show motif nod to punk rock irreverence, but dishes like "Chicago-style" hot chicken with sport pepper hot sauce, pickles, celery salt, and poppy seed funnel cake (dubbed "Never Mind the Chicken, Here's the Funnel Cakes" in reference to the Sex Pistols) demand to be taken seriously.

Galdones Photograph

The Kennison

Lincoln Park

Boka Restaurant Group, in partnership with hospitality newcomers 90/94 Restaurant Group, breathed new life into the former Perennial Virant space with this refined neighborhood restaurant on the ground floor of the Hotel Lincoln. Classic American flavors shine in unexpected ways in dishes like the vegetarian "pastrami" on rye, which features pastrami-spiced and smoked carrots with sauerkraut, beets, horseradish, and caraway. The signature burger is decked with cheddar, house pickles, Russian dressing, charred onion, and romaine.