The 17 Best Restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs

From flashy Winnetka newcomers to a Japanese gem in Arlington Heights.

For us city dwellers, it was once hard to conjure a solid reason to visit the suburbs—save for a trip to the Allstate, Six Flags, or (of course), some QT with the parents. But those landscapes are quickly changing, bringing with them ample standout restaurant openings which, in turn, do their part to remind us of all the reliable regional standbys equally deserving of attention. Here are 17 excellent suburban dining destinations, all proving to us time and time again how a journey beyond the city limits may be exactly what this weekend needs.

Lake Forest
Styled after a 15th-century English manor, this stately property opened as a hotel in 1929, and in the years since has debuted multiple onsite dining outlets. While The English Room and White Hart Pub are obvious draws, prioritize a trip to The Bar, a locally beloved gathering spot thanks to its timeless environs and on-point hospitality. Experience both while saddled up before “chief spirits officer” Jorge Centeno, who puts forth a masterpiece of a drinks list (that, we might add, would hold its own any day of the week by big-city standards). Try the espresso-laced Smoking Jacket or Nitro Old Fashioned (complete with coffee stout foam), then meander over to the food menu, where modern American interpretations from chef Brad Parsons await. Don’t miss the venue’s most surprising offering—excellent sushi and sashimi, paired alongside an array of premium sake.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Oak Brook lobster roll
Courtesy of RH Oak Brook

Oak Brook
Those who like a little shopping with their meal will be pleased to hear of the second RH concept to grace Chicagoland, which is every bit as dreamy as its Gold Coast 3 Arts Club Café location. Inspired by the classic gardens of Europe, the rooftop is set beneath a dramatic atrium with retractable glass walls, twinkling chandeliers, and heritage olive trees. Expect an ingredient-driven menu full of farm-fresh finds (think Crispy Artichokes with Potato and Rosemary or Shaved Vegetables with Pecans), but meat seekers can’t go wrong with the Burger or Shaved Ribeye on Garlic Bread—two of the team’s favorites.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable.

Locals have been flocking to this Glencoe outpost ever since it opened in 1997 (and, before that, to the Highland Park location from the same team). European, Mediterranean, and Californian influences pepper the menu, which emerge during dinner hours by way of Braised Lamb Shank, Beef and Celery Stew, and Pomegranate Chicken—not to mention plenty of seafood options based on what’s market-fresh that day. Francophiles will do well by the house specialty—Chicken Liver Pate—and if that wasn’t rich enough, save room for sweet finales like Creme Brulee and Flourless Chocolate Cake.
How to book: Call 847-446-0404 to reserve or order take-out and delivery.

Photo by Cristina G Photography

Fueled by the suburban success her city-based catering business was garnering, Towne & Oak founder Elaina Vazquez decided to open a brick and mortar in one of the areas she loved most. Almost one year in, the restaurant has been just as well received as Vazquez’s catering venture, thanks to crowd-pleasing salads, tartines, and homemade biscuits (her best seller). Swing by for lunch orders like the Miso Salmon Bowl (with pearl couscous and roasted sweet potato), grab a buzz to-go with their Autumn Spice Latte, or stick around for happy hour and partake in any of the thoughtfully arranged options from their beer and wine list.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Toast.

Photo by Alexis Cohen, Courtesy of Kinship

After seeing much success with their city-based projects (including Andros Taverna, Coda di Volpe, and Gemini), the Ballyhoo Hospitality team decided to touch down on the North Shore with Pomeroy, an ode to the Parisian brasserie and all the low-key elegance it encompasses. Leave that job to Jean Banchet Award-winner and James Beard Award-nominee Jason Paskewitz, who serves an array of French favorites: Trout Almondine, Filet au Poivre, and Steak a la Bordelaise, to name a few. Desserts like the Chocolate Pot de Crème, with brandied cherries and whipped crème fraiche, only further the likelihood of a repeat visit.
How to book: Reserve via Resy.

Courtesy of Great Coast Commons

There’s something for everyone at this neighborhood spot, where the menu ranges from tacos and burgers to flatbreads and fried chicken. Kick things off with an order of Monkey Bread (and that epic Dill Butter) before heading onto larger portions of Pork Schnitzel, Faroe Island Salmon, or General Tsao’s Cauliflower. Outdoor dining is available year-round, but those seeking take-out will be just as satisfied—family-style specials like the Roasted Salmon Dinner or Fried Chicken and Biscuits are regularly on offer.
How to book: Call 847-728-0101 to reserve or order take-out and delivery.

George Trois
Photo by Tom Gavin

For a special night in the ‘burbs, make a reservation at George Trois, where chef Michael Lachowicz delivers a multi-course menu exhibiting classic French cuisine ushered into the 21st century with modern interpretation. Case in point? Plates like Ora King Salmon and Golden Kaluga Caviar with Chive Crème Fraiche, or Soy-glazed A5 Wagyu Ribeye with Sweet Corn Hushpuppies. Those hoping to check out the chef’s style without the prix-fixe commitment can do so just next door at Aboyer, the team’s take on American-French fare with a la carte orders like Roast Chicken over Potatoes Dauphinoise or Beef Tenderloin with Foie Gras and Truffle Sauce.
How to book: Reserve via Tock.

Fun fact: the name Zenwich is inspired by the transcendental high that occurs after eating one of its sandwiches. Okay, that may not be true, but it won’t matter once you set foot in one of the state’s very best restaurants. Bring one of these flavorful Asian-inspired sandwiches back to the office and you’ll spend your entire lunch hour blissfully unaware of the fact that your Big Mac-eating co-worker is staring enviously at your Spicy Garlic Shrimp or Pork Katsu Sandwich.
How to book: Stop by for counter service.

Flickr/Mike Gebert

Elmwood Park
Johnnie's Beef is consistently listed as the top Italian Beef joint in Chicagoland by pretty much everyone who’s ever been there, including us. Blame the expertly seasoned cuts of beef, spice-rich, complex gravy, and juicy, perfect-every-time sausage for the lines snaking out the door on any hot summer day. Order yours with sweet and hot peppers and spend the rest of your afternoon basking in a well-earned meat coma.
How to book: Stop by for counter service.

Vie Restaurant Pan-Seared Scallops
Vie Restaurant

Western Springs
Paul Virant’s seasonally driven contemporary American showstopper also happens to serve one of the best burgers in the state. The menu draws inspiration from local Illinois farms, with its fabled pickling techniques passed down by both of Virant’s grandmothers. Vie has received an impressive amount of awards (including a previous Michelin), but don’t show up for the accolades—you're really here for the pickles.
How to book: Reserve via Resy or order take-out via Tock.


Once inside this seemingly unassuming Nuevo Latino eatery, expect to feel transported. Start with one of the team’s specialty cocktails (we vote for the Sangria Libre), then move onto an array of flavor-packed plates, from the Cangrejo (pan-seared lump crab cake with papaya-jicama relish and jalapeño aioli) to the Cordero (braised leg of lamb with wild mushrooms and hoja santa-fennel couscous). Dessert is just as decadent—try the Tres Leches, ladled with dulce de leche ice cream and gooey caramel.
How to book: Reserve via OpenTable or order take-out via Toast.

Montarra Grill

Algonquin may sound a trek for us Chicagoans, but if you’re heading to Montarra Grill (one of our best restaurants in the state), we’re all about it. Come hungry, bring a few friends, and order anything and everything, from hand-cut Certified Angus Steaks to hand-rolled Ricotta Gnocchi.
How to book: Reserve via SevenRooms or order take-out via ChowNow.

Gene and Jude’s

River Grove
No list of the best restaurants in the suburbs would be complete without the fabled Gene & Jude’s, one of the state’s best restaurants as well as its most iconic. Open since 1946, this hot dog stand has mastered the art of the perfectly cooked, natural casing, Vienna Beef classic red hot topped with fries. While you’re here, do right by your order—i.e. the Double Dog, topped with mustard, relish, onions, sport peppers, and of course, a heaping serving of fries.
How to book: Stop by for counter service.

Paradise Pup

Des Plaines
Paradise Pup is a small roadside burger shack and a favorite among locals thanks to juicy, delicious char-grilled patties topped with Merkts cheddar cheese. Throw in addictive crinkle-cut fries (which cheese fanatics can also top with Merkts) and one of its killer chocolate malts, and you’ve got a meal that’s worth both the journey and the inevitable lines.
How to book: Stop by for counter service.

Burt's Place

Morton Grove
Anthony Bourdain called the pies served at Burt’s “the only deep dish pizza he ever loved”—and we couldn’t think of a higher praise. It’s only natural, then, that the venue has made the cut, as both the best deep dish and best pan pizza in Chicago (not to mention one of the best pizza joints in the state). Its secret? Don’t ask us. Ask Burt.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out via Slice.

Mitsuwa Marketplace

Arlington Heights
If someone tells you it’s worth a 45-minute drive from the city to eat food in a food court, they’re probably lying. That’s unless they’re talking about the food court at Mitsuwa Marketplace, the always-packed oasis of Asian delights with a cluster of counters peddling sushi, ramen, Chinese eats, Japanese specialties, and Korean dishes, as well as a bakery, café, and confectionery. Grab one of Chicago’s best bowls of ramen alongside a Choco Crab Donut and green tea for a trip that will have you see Arlington Heights in a whole new light.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating.

Sen Sushi Bar

Oak Park
The Midwest isn’t exactly known for seafood, yet somehow, the pescatarian feats on offer at Sen Sushi—the picturesque town’s second Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant—taste so fresh, you’d swear Oak Park was oceanside. While Sen’s classic sashimi and makimono are delicious, it’s the contemporary maki that has earned the restaurant its loyal following. Peruse an extensive menu, but be sure to land on a couple of the must-try rolls, including the SEN stuffed with shrimp tempura and fire-torched scallop and the Ghost Ship, loaded with sweet potato and dusted with crispy panko.
How to book: Stop by for first come, first served seating or order take-out and delivery online.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.
Jay Gentile is a contributor for Thrillist.