Where to Eat in Chicago Right Now

From Oriole’s triumphant return to yet another Parson’s Chicken & Fish.

Chateau Carbide
Chateau Carbide | Photo by Jake Rosenberg
Chateau Carbide | Photo by Jake Rosenberg

Summer in Chicago is in full swing, and, thankfully for us, the city’s dining scene is no exception. In addition to a host of exciting new restaurants, several standout spots are continuing to reopen their doors after long periods of rest and renovation and more still are adding additional locations to their already-praised portfolios.

No matter the motivation behind this momentum, this list arms diners with an increasing medley of options to peruse, whether you’re seeking multi-course menus and Coravin pours or patio seating and fried chicken sammies. From rooftops and hotel hangouts to neighborhood staples and Michelin-starred stunners, here’s your late summer guide to Chicago’s absolute best eats now.

Travelle
Photo by Marcin Cymmer

The gist: Situated on the second floor of the Langham Chicago, this restaurant is equal parts elegant and approachable, complete with on-point hospitality, a solid bar program, and striking views of the city (not to mention the kitchen, thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass paneling). After several months of hibernation, the team reopened recently for breakfast, brunch, and dinner, with the addition of two big name talents: chef de cuisine Qi Ai (Acadia, Sixteen, Boka) and pastry chef Nitin Bali (Ritz-Carlton properties around the globe).
The food: Ai brings a fresh eye to the menu, relying heavily upon relationships with farms and orchards across the Midwest to whip up dishes like burrata with tomato jam or ramp pasta with asparagus and poached egg. Balance is in play across the board in texture and flavor alike, with thoughtful attention paid to acidity and spice (key for plates like strawberry gazpacho and Maine lobster roll served with pickled peppers and brown butter hollandaise). Save room for dessert—Bali’s creations are as enjoyable to admire as they are to eat, especially the Cocoanut (a chocolate coconut “shell” of coconut mousse encircled by zingy pineapple sorbet) and the Break the Pod (a palm-sized cacao bean cracked open to reveal four decadent layers of chocolate).
The cost: Starters $8 - $26, mains $18 - $72, cocktails $15 - $23, wines by the glass $14 - $30.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Avec River North
Photo by Isabelle Langheim

avec River North

River North

The gist: Fans of pioneering West Loop wine bar avec were revved up about this latest One Off Hospitality (Big Star, The Publican, Publican Quality Meats) debut, and for good reason. It arrives on the scene with its very own rooftop space—bar avec—where a totally different food and drink menu awaits. Those who’ve a tough time snagging seats at the original, uber cozy location, take comfort: This version stretches over a sprawling 4,750 square feet, outfitted in light and lush interiors spanning white tile, terrazzo, and warm wood paneling.
The food: Expect several standbys and staples, from chorizo-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates and salted cod brandade to ‘deluxe’ focaccia with taleggio and truffle oil. There are also plenty of additions in the form of wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, and seafood-focused hits.
The cost: Small plates $8 - $28, large plates $20 - $48, cocktails $13 - $15, wines by the glass $14 - $25.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish
Photo by Clayton Hauck

The gist: This is the fourth Chicago-area Parson’s Chicken & Fish venture from the team at Land and Sea Dept. (Longman & Eagle, Lonesome Rose, Lost Lake), with other locations in Logan Square, Lincoln Park, and West Town. Expect the same summer-ready playlist and low-key vibes as its sister haunts—and, of course, that perennially cool patio scene.
The food: Fried chicken and fish are the specialty here. Look for favorites like fried chicken sandwiches or chicken nuggets (complete with housemade honey mustard sauce). Those hankering for a different kind of handheld can opt for the burger, a coming together of Slagel Farms patties, griddled onion, and North Star pickles on a brioche bun. And, of course, don’t miss the slushies—the negroni is a must, and the new Bright 'n Sunny, with Deep Eddy Vodka, Aelred Melon Aperitif, and lemon, ain’t too shabby, either.
The cost: Shareables and mains $4 - $35, cocktails $7 - $12, wine by the glass $8, wine by the bottle $32.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating, reserve large parties via Resy, or order take-out and delivery via DoorDash and Caviar.

Avli Taverna
Photo courtesy of Avli Taverna

Avli Taverna

Lincoln Park

The gist: Modern Greek small plates and solid accolades (including some Michelin Bib Gourmand nods) make this corner spot a neighborhood favorite—and the prime Lincoln Park patio only helps matters.
The food: Look for plates consistent with the team’s other locations, including saganaki topped with peppered figs and honey, grilled artichokes with capers and lemon zest, and halloumi with sesame and tomato marmalade.
The cost: Starters $10 - $17, mains $16 to $36, cocktails $9-$15, wine by the glass $10-$16.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Jaleo
Photo courtesy of Jaleo

Jaleo

River North

The gist: This splashy opening marks the first Chicago restaurant from celebrated chef José Andrés, twice named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” and awarded “Outstanding Chef” and “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation for his culinary and community work alike. Journey through a modern-day Spain via a vast assembly of sangrias, paella, and tapas—many of which are inspired by the dishes of Andrés' childhood.
The food: Signatures plates include the endivias con queso de cabra y naranjas (endives with goat cheese, oranges, and almonds); gambas a la zahara (head-on shrimp with garlic and olive oil); and for dessert, Quesada Asturiana, a Basque-style “burnt” cheesecake with payoyo cheese. Four different paellas arrive tableside, ranging from arroz rabo de toro (Meloso-style rice with braised oxtail) and arroz a banda con gambas y sepia (cuttlefish sofrito and head-on shrimp), to the classic Paella Valenciana. Those looking to go big can opt for one of the tasting menus—the “Jaleo Experience” and “José’s Way” offer thoughtful explorations of both contemporary and traditional tapas.
The cost: Starters $12 - $30, mains $8 - $75, cocktails $15, wine by the glass $6 - $9.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Adorn Bar & Restaurant
Photo by Haas Photography

Adorn

Gold Coast

The gist: After several years in Cleveland, Ohio, chef Jonathon Sawyer returned to his hometown of Chicago to launch this project (and bring with him plenty of accolades, from a Food & Wine Best New Chef award to a James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes finalist title). Located on the 7th floor of The Four Seasons Hotel, the restaurant offers sweeping views of the Mag Mile and downtown skyline, plus a collection of dishes that draws heavily upon Sawyer’s experiences around the globe.
The food: Italy, France, and Japan all inform the offerings here, as evidenced by creations like A5 Miyazaki beef with twice-cooked suet potato, Caesar salad with parmesan anchovy dressing and crispy parsley, and velvety lobster spaghetti. Dessert-wise, it’s all about pastry chef Juan Gutierrez’ Taste of India, an eye-catching plate of gulab jamun, burnt milk ice cream, and saffron.
The cost: Starters $9 - $23, mains $23 - $62, cocktails $15 - $17, wine by the glass $12 - $22.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Château Carbide
Photo courtesy of Chateau Carbide

The gist: This tony rooftop launched earlier this summer with the arrival of Pendry Chicago, situated in the historic Carbide and Carbon Building on the corner of Michigan and Wacker. But once guests ascend to floor 24, they can forget about big city living—suddenly it’s all about the French Riviera, amid a backdrop of striped loungers, oversized rattan lanterns, and dreamy string lighting.
The food: In daytime hours it’s an array of picnic-style offerings, and come evening, the focus shifts to sushi and light bites like salads and crudos.
The cost: Starters $12 - $25, sushi $19 - $44, cocktails $10 - $22, wine by the glass $11 - $49, wine by the bottle: $36 - $195.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Apolonia

South Loop

The gist: The latest from chef-owner Stephen Gillanders (S.K.Y.), this South Loop emporium serves up seasonal, coastal European and Mediterranean fare within walking distance of McCormick Place (plus offers private dining rooms for special occasions). A bright, airy space greets diners, as do welcoming hours—daytime and dinner service run seven days a week here.
The food: The kitchen team places an emphasis on the wood-burning oven and grill, with signature plates ranging from black truffle puff bread to scallop tagliatelle and grilled branzino. For dessert, try the banana budino cake with bourbon and granola, and when it comes to drinks, explore the in-house vermouth program, showcased both by the glass and on tap.
The cost: Starters $9 - $16, mains $16 - $29, cocktails $13 - $15, wine by the glass $11 - $15.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Little Wild
Photo by Nick Lipton

Little Wild

West Loop

The gist: Perched on the seventh floor of the Ace Hotel, this brand-new rooftop has become a fast favorite for those seeking hip vibes, good tunes, and an impressive food and drink program. Modern, minimalist decor means that your attention can fall on those stunning skyline views—not to mention the dancing, made possible by a frequent rotation of DJs, pop-up events, and album anniversary celebrations.
The food: Snacks like chicken katsu sliders, chorizo nachos, and late night tamales are house specialties, as are cocktails like Love Me Tomorrow (gin, elderflower, mint) and the signature Painkiller, a frosty take on the tropical rum-coconut-pineapple tipple.
The cost: Snacks $5 - $16, cocktails $10 - $15, wines by the glass $11 - $16, wines by the bottle $44 - $64.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Bristol
Photo by Kathleen Robinson

Bristol

Bucktown

The gist: Chef Larry Feldmeier (The Albert, Sixteen) recently took the reins at this locally loved restaurant, where he’s been putting forth seasonally spirited plates and, as of late, a tasting menu that may just be one of the best deals in town (eight courses for $85 with an optional $65 wine pairing).
The food: The menu showcases options like hamachi tartare with cucumber foam, corn tortelli with truffle and basil, yellow squash gazpacho with capers and raisins, and ribeye with potato salad and broccolini. What more do you need?
The cost: Tasting menu $85 - $150.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Kumiko

West Loop

The gist: Kumiko, the Japanese-inspired drinking den from award-winners Julia Momose and Noah Sandoval, reopens its doors this month, ushering in longtime and newfound fans alike for cocktail flights and artful food pairings.
The food: Those yearning for a taste of Sandoval’s fare without the Oriole price tag can enjoy Michelin-grade handiwork for wallet-friendly prices in the form of expressions like Japanese fried chicken, katsu sandos, and toasted koji ice cream. Elsewhere, Momose makes her cocktail prowess known through expertly crafted concoctions (both boozy and non) as well as a world-class lineup of specialty spirits and sake.
The cost: Starters $4 - $20, mains $12 - $100, cocktails $21 - $25.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Oriole

West Loop

The gist: This Michelin-starred eatery recently reopened with even more space to spread their wings (get it?). Guests can look forward to a larger dining room, a new bar and lounge area, and a kitchen nearly three times its original size. Version 2.0 reflects owners Cara and Noah Sandoval’s passions, from baseball and art-punk music to interior design and cuisine—expect to catch a glimpse of it all, thanks to a pre-meal tour with bites and sips along the way.
The food: The multi-course prix fixe highlights the best ingredients Sandoval and crew can dig up at any given moment. Though bookings begin at 5 pm daily, night owls can spring for the newly launched “Nightcap Seating,” a chance to swing into the lounge at 10 pm or later for cocktails from Julia Momose and an enticing “Ham Sandoval."
The cost: Tasting menu $285, wine pairings $105 - $275.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Rose Mary
Rose Mary | Photo by Anthony Tahlier

Rose Mary

Fulton Market

The gist: Former Spiaggia executive chef and Top Chef champ Joe Flamm’s first restaurant is an homage to Italian and Croatian coastal cuisine—lovingly dubbed “Adriatic drinking food.” Named after his two grandmothers, Rose Mary’s inviting space sparkles thanks to glossy azure tilework and the bustling open kitchen’s eye-catching charcoal hearth. 
The food: The seasonally-driven menu showcases Flamm’s mastery with pasta (think: tagliatelle with duck sausage, cavatelli cacio e pepe). But that hearth also churns out stunning roasted vegetables like coal roasted beets with honey and pistachio, not to mention show-stopping seafood dishes (OMG grilled clams with ramp butter!). Don’t skip the squid-ink crni risotto with lobster brodo or the pork ribs doused in a sweet-sticky chile agrodolce. Wine director Sarah Traynor knocks it out of the park with her well-curated Mediterranean-heavy wine list featuring a healthy selection of Croatian wines—even an entire section dedicated to pet-nats.  
The cost: Shareables and mains $10 - $72, cocktails $15, wine by the glass $11 - $20; wine by the bottle $35 - $415.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

The gist: The third outpost of a New York and San Francisco wine bar and bottle shop mini-chain (there’s seriously great juice, here), this edition marks the first with a full kitchen and features the culinary stylings of chef Ryan Epp (Roister, Per Se). The expansive, gorgeously designed setting in the middle of upscale Lincoln Commons allows for a beautiful patio set back off the busy street. 
The food: From bites to mains, the vibe is Spanish tapas bar meets French bistro. The currently smallish menu featuring shareable enticements like jamon Iberico, Hewn Bakery baguette with cultured butter, Island Creek oysters, P.E.I. mussels with Calabrian chili, foie gras torchon, and callot de boeuf au poivre with crispy potato. 
The cost: Sharables and mains $5 - $28, wines by the glass $9 - $20, beer $8 - $12, cocktails $15.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served bar seating or reserve via Resy.

Taqueria Chingon
Taqueria Chingón | Photo courtesy of Taqueria Chingón

The gist: This modest Western Avenue taco joint debuted mid-pandemic under the helm of Le Bouchon owner Oliver Poilevey alongside chefs Sotero Gallego and Marcos Ascencio. What sets it apart? An upscale approach to Mexican street tacos with a focus on unctuous al pastor (and even a vegetarian version). 
The food: These may be some of the best tacos served in Chicago right now—and that’s saying a lot. From al pastor and duck carnitas to cochinita pibil and meat-free options like campechano with crispy Oaxacan cheese and fried artichoke with olive tapenade aioli, you can go back every day and never get bored. Don’t skip the quesadilla apps or the tres leches cake for dessert.
The cost: Tacos $4.50 - $6, appetizers $5 - $9, desserts $6.
How to book: Stop by for counter service or order take-out via Toast.

Life On Marz Community Club
Life On Marz Community Club | Photo courtesy of Life On Marz Community Club

The gist: The folks behind Bridgeport-based Marz Community Brewing Co. have ventured north to set up shop on the edge of Logan Square and Bucktown. Inspired by VFW halls, the aptly-titled project aims to foster community within a whimsical space festooned with bright colors and clean design.  
The food: While it’s all about Marz beers, CBD seltzers, nitro coffees, and canned ‘booch, you can also snack on Makowski’s sausages and hot dogs, housemade seven-spice nori snack mix, flavored jerky, meat sticks, and more. 
The cost: Snacks $5 - $11, drinks $4 - $6. 
How to book: Stop by for counter service.

Andros Taverna
Andros Taverna | Photo courtesy of Kinship

Andros Taverna

Logan Square

The gist: After splitting from his partnership in the RPM restaurants (he was the P), chef-owner Doug Psaltis teamed with his pastry chef wife, Hsing Chen (French Laundry, Manresa), and restaurateur Ryan O’Donnell (Coda di Volpe, Gemini) to bring modern Greek cuisine to Logan Square. The nightly supper and weekend brunch menus pay homage to his roots growing up around his grandfather’s Greek diner in Queens, N.Y., with added sophistication and attention to seasonal details. 
The food: Of course you’ll get gyros off the spit with hand-stretched pita cooked in the wood oven, but forget about the theatrics often associated with Greek American spots. Here, it’s more about the fresh flavors of the Mediterranean: spicy whipped feta, tzatziki, chicken souvlaki, creamy taramasalata (a fish roe dip to make you say wow), grilled octopus, lamb chops, and garlic chicken. Chen shines with an array of flaky, sweet, and savory pastries at brunch—and don’t skip the tart froyo topped with drizzled crumbles of baklava. It’s tasty enough to prompt a vigorous “Opa!” (but do us all a favor and just don’t). 
The cost: Brunch: $9 - $22, dinner starters and mains $5 - $46, cocktails $12 - $14, wine by the glass $12 - $18.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Testaccio
Testaccio | Photo by Rachel Bires

Testaccio

Logan Square

The gist: After enjoying huge success with the Piemonte-inspired Osteria Langhe, owner Aldo Zanninoto set his focus on Rome. Testaccio, which quietly opened last summer, evokes the essence of a classic Roman neighborhood in a lively environment with a patio perfectly set up for social distancing. Watch for Soif, a subterranean wine lounge, to debut soon.
The food: Chef Jacob Solomon has a lot of fun with the wood-burning oven in the middle of the bar. Case and point? Dishes like whole Greek sea bass or salt-cured chicken with roasted cauliflower and farro tabbouleh. Get your carb fix with a trio of crispy crust pizzas and some of the best pasta in the city, including his perfectly balanced orecchiette cacio e pepe. The bar delights with classic Italian cocktails and refined spirit-free drinks (try the balanced Apium with some mezcal) and, of course, wine expert Zanninoto has compiled a fantastic list of mostly Italians alongside Mediterranean surprises from Turkey to Greece to Israel. 
The cost: Brunch $9 - $19, dinner starters and mains $4 - $29, cocktails $12, wine by the glass $11 - $17
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out online.

Dusek's
Dusek's Tavern | Photo by Lorenzo Tassone

The gist: After undergoing a redesign to brighten up the space, chef Ben Truesdell (Pacific Standard Time) has officially taken the reins at this Pilsen landmark. Truesdell harnesses his love of seasonal vegetables and seafood to add even more levity to the menu, morphing this once-dimly lit tavern to a lighter dining destination where many dishes kiss the flames of the wood-fired grill. 
The food: Enjoy veggie-forward creations like a hearty English pea salad with feta, walnuts, mint, and farro and wood-roasted asparagus atop horseradish-cheddar sauce, as well as super-fresh wood-roasted Mt. Lassen trout and heftier meat-focused items like crispy pork schnitzel and dry-aged ribeye in a beef jus. And don’t skip pastry chef Ashley Robinson’s aptly-named Kentucky butter cake. 
The cost: Mains and starters $7 - $70, cocktails $8 - $13, beer on draft $5 - $8, wine by the glass $9 - $14, wine by the bottle $30 - $56.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Virtue

Hyde Park
The gist: Decorated fine dining veteran chef Erick Williams launched this Hyde Park stunner back in late 2018, showcasing the soulful Southern flavors and technical prowess that continue to shape his culinary journey.
The food: Modern-day interpretations of American classics and age-old family recipes alike, from blackened catfish with BBQ carrots to chicken gumbo with andouille sausage (and, of course, cornbread with honey butter).
The cost: Starters $11, mains $26, sides $7, desserts $9, cocktails $12.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out and delivery via Toast.
Kasama
Courtesy of Kasama Restaurant

Kasama

Ukrainian Village

The gist: Fun French-American pastries and contemporary Filipino fare from Genie Kwon and Tim Flores—two Chicago chefs with an impressive culinary CV (i.e., Oriole’s opening pastry chef and chef de cuisine, respectively). The space—formerly occupied by the late-great Winchester—is both sleek and inviting with an open kitchen, custom tilework, and spacious twin patios for socially-distanced snacking.
The food: Expect big flavors in every direction, from a house-made Filipino sausage with garlic rice, fried egg, and pickled papaya to off-the-cob corn with asparagus, charred scallion mayo, and wasabi tobiko. Top it off with one of Kwon’s game-changing sweets—namely the ube and huckleberry Basque cake or the apple butter and raclette fondue croissant. 
The cost: Pastries $3 - $7, mains $15 - $25, canned wine and beer $5 - $9, wine by the bottle $24 - $55.  
How to book: Stop by for counter service, order take-out via Toast, and get delivery via Tock.

Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.