Where to Eat in Chicago Right Now
It seems like overnight our lives changed in nearly every regard, from how we work and travel to how we exercise and gather. How we dine, of course, is no exception, with restaurant opening restrictions depending on the state, city, and venue itself -- and changing on the regular.
It’s all the more reason to seize those moments when we can, tapping into takeout and delivery options and reserving socially distanced seats for what we crave most in restaurants: warm hospitality and expertly crafted eats. Couple that with the chance to support some of our favorite spots now, and call it a major win-win.
Offering everything from hotly anticipated tasting menus to French-Filipino fare, here are some of Chicago’s best restaurants to eat at or order from now -- all eager and honored to be serving their city the best way they know how.
Centre Street Kitchen
The gist: This Lincoln Park restaurant is all about dining good and doing good -- a commemorative “donation wall” encourages guests to make their own mark, with all participating proceeds benefiting Never Had a Bad Day Foundation, a nonprofit supporting pediatric cancer patients.
The food: Keep the good vibes a comin’ with a medley of crowd-pleasing plates -- shakshuka in a spicy red pepper and tomato sauce, Baja fish tacos with blackened tilapia and crispy slaw, and Flintstone French toast, with Fruity Pebble battered challah bread and -- for the grown-ups -- Rumchata cream.
The cost: Starters $10, mains $12-13, cocktails $13.
How to order: Open for indoor and outdoor seating; visit their website to request a reservation, and to phone in takeout orders. Delivery available via UberEats.
The gist: Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s clever takes on global fare, in a space that feels just as special: a 5,900-square-foot former printing house, outfitted in rich velvets, hand-glazed tiles, and rugged leathers.
The food: Japanese, Thai, Indian, Middle-Eastern, and American flavors collide here in seriously synced ways, from tempura-fried elotes and five-spice duck dumplings to curry BBQ blowfish tails and masala-rubbed lamb ribs. Cocktails are equally pronounced -- opt for the Remix, a kitchen-driven dram of rum, black currant, and chocolate walnut bitters.
The cost: Starters $9-12, mains $16-45, drinks $13-15.
How to order: Open for limited indoor and outdoor dining, and available for takeout via Toast
The food: Modern-day interpretations of Southern 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 order: Open for indoor and outdoor dining via Resy (reservations required). The full menu is available for takeout online, in addition to a selection of to-go cocktails.
Pizza Friendly Pizza
The gist: Fine dining rubs shoulders with rock-and-roll vibes thanks to chefs Noah Sandoval (Oriole) and Ruben Villalobos, who spin out high-caliber pies in the back alley of indie music haven The Empty Bottle.
The food: Sicilian-style pan pizzas available by the slice or the whole, with combinations like Ezzo’s cup and char pepperoni, burrata, and fresh basil or rapini, chévre, lemon, and garlic. Try them alongside the The Pizzaberry Tonic, a spirit-free concoction of fennel, black peppercorns, and Tasmanian pepperberries from acclaimed bartender Julia Momose (Kumiko).
The cost: Slices $4.50, whole pies $33, sandwiches $12, and salads $10.
How to order: Available for outdoor dining and takeout via the walk-up window, and via Tock.
The gist: Chef Carlos Gaytán honors his hometown of Huitzuco, Mexico with this River North restaurant, as evidenced by bold flavor combinations and earthy, award-winning design that consistently points back to the region.
The food: Find exciting introductions to Gaytán’s Mexico throughout his menu: Guerrero-style pork shank with black bean puree and habanero salsa; stuffed poblano peppers with wild mushrooms and panela cheese; and fried red snapper with salsa cruda and peanut aioli.
The cost: Appetizers $15-20, mains $26-32, cocktails $13.
How to order: Open for indoor and outdoor dining via Resy (reservations required). Available for carryout and delivery service via Caviar, Grubhub, and UberEats, serving a full menu with wine, beer, and cocktails (plus cocktail kits).
Eleven Eleven Chicago
The gist: Enjoy an eclectic playlist and down-to-earth, attentive service at this West Loop restaurant, where chef Charlie Welch showcases dishes that reflect a handful of international influences.
The food: Travel the world in orders like Cuban sandwiches, shrimp and grits, and sticky sesame wings -- flavors found just as easily in vegetarian choices, too -- think BBQ cauliflower “burnt ends.”
The cost: Starters $12, mains $18, desserts $6.
How to order: Open for dining; takeout and delivery orders available online.
The gist: Fun French-American pastries and contemporary Filipino food 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 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 pastries -- namely the ube and huckleberry Basque cake, or the apple butter and raclette fondue croissant.
The cost: Pastries $3-7, mains $15-25, wines $5 by the can, or $20-27 for retail bottles.
How to order: Open for counter service with limited patio seating. Takeout and delivery available online.
Robert Et Fils
The gist: An homage to chef-owner Rob Shaner’s teen years in Paris, the North Center newcomer features modern French cuisine set to prix-fixe menus (when dine-in service commences).
The food: Family-style takeout menus rotate frequently, with options like roasted chicken with preserved lemon stuffing and picholine olives and tarragon puff pastry filled with seasonal fruits and buttermilk crѐme anglaise.
The cost: $80 for a family-style takeout menu for 2.
How to order: Takeout available via Tock.
The gist: After making three-Michelin star waves with Grace, chef Curtis Duffy and business partner Michael Muser are at it again with Ever, where a whimsical prix-fixe reflects Duffy’s refined, season-driven approach.
The food: A 10-course tasting menu features colorful, playful compositions (underpinned by serious technique). Look for a focus on land (Miyazaki beef with crispy sunchoke and sesame pudding) and sea (Osetra caviar with poached Alaskan king crab and citrus lace), along with veg-forward options like braised maitake mushrooms with pecorino.
The cost: $285 per person.
How to order: Dine-in service only; reservations via Tock.
Mi Tocaya Antojería
The gist: Chef Diana Davila’s neighborhood restaurant is a nod to her upbringing and travels through Mexico via a progression of lesser known, regional specialties.
The food: Journey through the menu with small, medium, and large plates, such as braised beef tongue with peanut salsa, Yucatan-style slow roasted pork in banana leaves, and fish con mole verde, featuring a frequently rotating selection of fish.
The cost: Antojitos $5-16, Antojos $13-20, Familiares $19-48, cocktails $12.
How to order: Open for outdoor dining (Reserve via Resy) and for
takeout and delivery -- order online or via Tock.
The gist: Husband-and-wife team John Shields and Karen Urie Shields showcase two kinds of dining experiences in their multi-level West Loop locale, with a couple of things in common: serious hospitality and a focus on high-quality ingredients (straight from a variety of nearby farms).
The food: The Loyalist features casual French fare (with a crowd-pleasing burger and impressive sundae, complete with kombu ice cream and caramel). Meanwhile, Smyth is the spot for upscale eats, offering a tasting menu of a whopping 17 courses -- all seasonally driven and loaded with locally sourced finds.
The cost: Smyth; $195 per person. The Loyalist; appetizers start at $7, entrees start at $19.
How to order: Both restaurants are open for indoor and outdoor dining, with pick-up available via Tock.
The gist: There are now 20 restaurants in the BOKA Restaurant Group portfolio -- and this is the one that started it all. Marvel at the dreamy design, high-caliber service, and modern American fare, carefully executed by chefs Lee Wolen and Meg Galus.
The food: Start with seasonal stunners like the summer tomato (with pine nuts, dill, and quinoa) or the ricotta dumplings (with sweet corn and Thai basil), to be followed by the whole roasted dry aged duck, a staple here. Don’t miss dessert from Galus, who whips up many a decadent finale (think dark chocolate mousse with blackberry, ginger, and hibiscus).
The cost: Starters $18, mains $37, cocktails $15. Or, opt for the five-course tasting menu, $120.
How to order: Open for indoor and outdoor seating and available for takeout via Caviar.
The gist: The team behind this Greek dining favorite touched down in River North, bringing to the neighborhood the same contemporary Mediterranean cuisine they’ve been serving at their Lincoln Park and Winnetka locations for one and 10 years, respectively.
The food: Start with any of the menu’s Greek wines, then try an array of regional favorites, from saganaki and grilled octopus to pork gyros and beef and lamb meatballs.
The cost: Starters $12, mains, $20, cocktails, $13.
How to order: Open for patio and limited indoor seating, reservations (and pickup orders) via Tock. Delivery available via Caviar and Grubhub.
The gist: Farm-to-table fare is at its best at this bright, perennially hip Logan Square fixture, where chef Jason Hammel and team adhere to daily changing plates, as acutely dictated by the season.
The food: Always fresh and always changing, with some recent interpretations like tomato and lobster salad (with red quinoa and Thai basil), Rushing Waters trout (with Genesis Farm cucumbers, black garlic, and poppy seed), and challah French toast (with butterscotch, Klug Farm peaches, and creme fraiche).
The cost: Brunch and lunch starters $14, mains $20, and cocktails $12. Or, spring for the three-course farm dinner, $34.
How to order: Walk-up window open for pastries and coffee, and takeout options available via Tock, featuring brunch and lunch boxes, DIY Pasta Yia Yia kits, picnic baskets, and farm dinners.
The gist: Former Schwa chef Norman Fenton helms the kitchen at this sleek Uptown restaurant, where he offers an 11-course seasonal tasting menu.
The food: Fenton recently returned from a nine-month road trip through the States and Mexico, a journey that informs much of his current menu. Discover that inspiration in plates like sweet pea ravioli with uni foam and nasturtium purée, or the Chicago Fizz, a finale of dark rum custard, port wine reduction, and, for good measure, Pop Rocks.
The cost: $130 per person.
How to order: Open for indoor seating via Tock, with takeout options coming soon.
Dr. Murphy's Food Hall
The gist: The latest to join Chicago’s food hall lineup, this 10,000-square-foot space features eats from 11 vendors, largely spotlighting minority and women-owned businesses.
The food: Taste the world in one sitting here, thanks to Mississippi red hot tamales from Lil’ Delta, Nepalese dumplings from Kathmandu, samosas from Maharani, and chicken banh mi sandwiches from Viet Nom Nom.
The cost: Starters $7-9, mains: $9-11, cocktails $12.
How to order: Open for dining and available for takeout online.
The gist: After finessing the Italian and steak spheres, the RPM team strikes again -- and this time, they’ve made seafood central. Couple on-point fare with upscale environs and Chicago River views, and consider it the ultimate Saturday night spot.
The food: Start with the tuna tartare, topped with avocado and yuzu, then meander into heartier portions of Baja fish tacos, spicy miso black cod, or grilled king crab, complete with curry aioli.
The cost: Starters $21-26, mains $27-41, cocktails $15.
How to order: Open for patio and limited dining room seating, reservations strongly recommended. Carryout and delivery also available.
The Rooftop at Nobu Hotel Chicago
The gist: Actor Robert DeNiro, film producer Meir Teper, and sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa are behind this long-awaited hotel, which debuted in the West Loop this summer. Head to the 5,000-square-foot rooftop for small plates, hand-crafted cocktails, and panoramic city views.
The food: Menu highlights include sashimi, sushi, and kushiyaki; the full beverage program includes an exclusive sake menu.
The cost: Nigiri and sashimi $10, mains $30-40, cocktails $15.
How to order: Open for indoor and outdoor seating; no takeout or delivery.
The gist: Regional Italian cooking, plus an onsite pastificio, from Top Chef winner Sarah Grueneberg.
The food: Handmade pasta and family-style Italian favorites are the go-tos here -- namely the Burrata e Ham, Ragu alla Napoletana (with soppressata meatballs and tomato-braised pork shank), and Cacio Whey Pepe, a play on the classic Roman pasta dish with Mancini bucatini and ricotta whey.
The cost: Snacks $6-$9, small plates $10-$24, pasta $16-$22, mains $24-$78, cocktails $14-$17.
How to order: Open for indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout and pick-up orders available online.
The gist: Saddle up for splurge-worthy occasions at this restaurant, where Chef Giuseppe Tentori has curated a meat-centric menu amidst fairytale-forest environs (not short of colossal chandeliers and faux fur upholstery).
The food: Menu items range from the light and refreshing (tomato salad with jumbo lump crab and burrata) to the over-the-top (e.g., The Carnivore, featuring four 8-ounce cuts of meats like filet mignon and Australian Wagyu).
The cost: Starters $17, mains $30, steaks $75, cocktails $13.
How to order: Open for indoor and outdoor dining, and available for pick-up via Tock and DoorDash.