swift & sons chicago
Swift & Sons | Kailley Lindman/Thrillist

Chicago is, and will always be, a meat market, so finding a prime cut of beef will never be a challenge. There's also a range of spots to enjoy said meat -- from the classic “guys definitely used to smoke cigars in here” banquet rooms to the recent wave of convention-breaking new-comers spreading outside the boundaries of River North. These 12 steakhouses do it best.

Chicago Cut Steakhouse

Chicago Cut Steakhouse

River North
Prime steaks are both cut and dry-aged on-site before being brought into a 225-seat, red velvet-boothed dining room flanked by towering wine shelves. Get a load of the river and the skyline as you take on a marinated Cajun rib eye or blue cheese-topped filet. Chicago Cut's key to staying on top of the steak game, according to managing partner David Flom: Nebraska beef that’s raised around 1,300 feet above sea level for the best balance of dense muscle and intense flavor.

Boeufhaus Chicago

Boeufhaus

Humboldt Park
This cozy, carnivore-friendly brasserie may lack the opulence and prime real estate of Chicago's Downtown steakhouse set, but a meal here is nothing if not fit for royalty. Stop in during lunch hours for a best-in-show Reuben sandwich, then come back for a dinner packed with French-meets-German stunners like short rib beignets, leek spaetzle, and a 55-day dry aged ribeye draped in creamy Bearnaise.

Gibson's Steakhouse

Gibson's Bar & Steakhouse

Gold Coast
Gibson’s mammoth steaks are crowd pleasers for convention-goers, high rollers, celebrities, gold-diggers, and gold-digging celebrity high rollers who go to conventions alike. The success of their menu hangs on being over-the-top with its items, ranging from king crab claws to a 48oz porterhouse to a gargantuan macadamia turtle pie.

Michael Jordan's Steakhouse

Michael Jordan's Steakhouse

Streeterville
His Airness doesn’t only have a fever for crushing the Jazz, he’s also bringing a killer lineup of steak to the table (via a glass catwalk overlooking the InterContinental Hotel), including a 45-day dry-aged Delmonico with a ginger-balsamic vinegar jus that you’ll want to lap up with your tongue.

David Burke's Primehouse

David Burke's Primehouse

River North
With a 35-day-aged Kansas City sirloin and a 75-day-aged bone-in rib eye, you won’t find a more mature cut of beef than those coming from Primehouse’s Himalayan salt-tiled aging room. The originator of in-house dry-aging even brings the process into its tremendous blue cheese chuck burger.

Bavette's Bar and Boeuf

Bavette's Bar & Boeuf

River North
Dining at Brendan Sodikoff’s speakeasy-style steakhouse is like being thrust into a meats-and-Scotch-filled Ron Swanson fantasy. Their unbeatable boeuf is served up in many forms, such as Béarnaise filet mignon or bone marrow spread on fresh frites.

Swift & Sons

Swift & Sons

West Loop
With lauded chefs Chris Pandel and Meg Galus at the helm of the dinner and pastry programs, respectively, you can expect an exceptional experience from chopped steak tartare appetizer to the salted caramel-drenched S&S Cracker Jack dessert, and every meaty course in between at this modern steakhouse on Fulton Market. The steak selection ranges from an 8oz filet on the petite side to a mouthwatering 34-day dry-aged porterhouse on the colossal side, and also includes a buttery beef wellington for two complemented with mushrooms foie gras, and spinach.

Mastro's

Mastro's

River North
Though a mere outpost of an Arizona-based steakhouse chain, swanky Mastro's has woven itself as deeply into to the fabric of the local steakhouse scene as its Chicago-born counterparts. The posh concept sprawls across two levels and spotlights inventive martinis, more than 15 steak and chop preparations, and a see-and-be-seen piano bar that's open until 2am daily.

Jeff Marini

RPM Steak

River North
With its sleek digs and balanced menu, this sophisticated collaboration between the Melmans, Rancics, and Chef Doug Psaltis effortlessly bridges the gap between old-school and new-school steakhouses. The black truffle burger topped with rich foie gras butter is one of the most luxurious power lunch options in town, while the expertly crafted cocktails, thoughtful vegetable sides, abundant steaks, and table-side baked Alaska share the spotlight at dinner, making for a meal that's as impressive as it is well-rounded.

Benny's Chop House

Benny's Chop House

River North
A 200-seat steakhouse with an old-school feel (plush booths, dark wood trim, etc.), Benny's massive global wine list and cocktail menu pairs with their Allen Brothers steaks and playful spins on classic dishes, including liver & onions made w/ foie, pork belly, and caramelized onions.

Erie Cafe

Erie Cafe

River North
A riverside classic that draws with its unpretentious atmosphere, Mad Men aesthetic, and -- on top of a vaunted roster of beef -- the grilled calamari is mandatory eating. 

Gene & Georgetti

River North
This Italian steakhouse is Chicago’s oldest (serving Frank Sinatra and Keanu Reeves!!), and holds its reputation as a meaty flagship with its broiled, wet-aged T-bones, strips, and rib eyes.

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Kailley Lindman is a contributing writer for Thrillist Chicago, as well as a freelance food photographer, food blogger at KailleysKitchen.com, and recovering vegetarian. Follow her at @KailleysKitchen

Senior editor Sean Cooley regrets ever having tasted steak sauce His half-baked musings are tweeted at @SeanCooley.

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1. Chicago Cut Steakhouse 300 N LaSalle, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

A steakhouse hit among the power meal set, Chicago Cut attributes its quality cuts to the Colorado cattle it raises 1,300ft above sea level. The beef is dry-aged for 35 days then butchered on-site, and no matter what you order (the bone-in prime rib is knockout good), expect dense muscle and an intense flavor. The 225-seat space, outfitted with red velvet booths, overlooks the river.

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2. Boeufhaus 1012 N Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

This beef-driven brasserie in Humboldt Park pulls influences from French and German cuisines, creating an unlikely fusion fare that’s comforting, protein-packed, and appropriately indulgent. A towering Rueben with house corned boeuf and sauerkraut on a potato loaf stuns on the lunch menu, while pillowy beignets stuffed with braised short rib, rye spaetzle, and a dry aged ribeye makes for the most satisfyingly carnivorous dinner in the 'hood.

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3. Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse 1028 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611 (Near North Side)

This upscale Gold Coast steakhouse is known for three things: its celebrity clientele, mammoth steaks (especially the Tomahawk 42 chop), and macadamia turtle pie. Gibsons is where you go to eat an over-the-top meal in the company of high-rollers.

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4. Michael Jordan's Steak House 505 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Near North Side)

Located inside the InterContinental on Magnificent Mile, the namesake basketball star's steakhouse has a killer lineup of cuts and top-notch seafood options. If you're feeling extra-luxurious, splurge for a reservation at Table 23, the special table reserved for Jordan that guests can sit at when he's not there. Table 23 has its own multi-course family-style menu that includes a prime Delmonico and lobster tail entree.

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5. David Burke's Primehouse 616 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611 (Near North Side)

Located within the James Hotel, this upscale River North steakhouse serves reputable dry-aged ribeyes, porterhouses, and strip steaks. Aside from the classics, the menu features creative carnivore dishes like Wagyu beef sashimi and kobe corn dogs, as well as pasta and a host of vegetable sides for those who aren't meat inclined.

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6. Bavette's Bar & Boeuf 218 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

More a promise than a clever name, Bavette's Bar & Boeuf unapologetically delivers an abundance of whiskey and slab-after-slab of expertly prepared meat. Bavette's 24 oz. bone-in ribeye may be the best piece of meat your money can buy in Chi-town, but, if steak's not your thing, they also offer fresh oysters, Southern-style fried chicken, and double-cut Berkshire pork chops. And because nothing goes together better than a rare steak and a fine whiskey, Bavette's offers more than 50 whiskeys to stir into classic cocktails like mint julips, rye Old Fashioneds, and modern alternatives like spicy picklebacks.

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7. Swift & Sons 1000 W. Fulton, Chicago, IL 60607 (West Loop)

From Boka Restaurant Group and B. Hospitality, this massive and chic steakhouse in West Loop features a seafood restaurant within the restaurant, stylish design with Midwestern touches, and a menu that includes classic steaks, chilled king crab legs, gold leaf-flecked sundaes. How regal.

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8. Mastro's Steakhouse 520 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

An outpost of an Arizona-based steakhouse chain, the swanky Mastro's is a major player in the Chicago steakhouse scene. The River North spot sprawls across two levels and features a menu of more than 15 steaks and chops, plus inventive martinis and a see-and-be-seen piano bar. The creamed spinach and baked potato sides are absolute classics.

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9. RPM Steak 66 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (River North)

Located in River North, this sophisticated steakhouse collaboration between the Melmans, Rancics, and Chef Doug Psaltis effortlessly bridges the gap between old and new school. The black truffle burger topped with rich foie gras butter is one of the most luxurious power lunch options in town, while the expertly crafted cocktails, vegetable sides, steaks, and table-side baked Alaska share the spotlight at dinner.

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10. Benny's Chop House 444 N Wabash Ave, , IL 60611 (River North)

More modern than old-school, this River North chophouse has an upscale, power set vibe complete with plush booths, dark wood trim, and a grand piano. Benny's has a massive global wine list that pairs well with classy steaks and modern sides like crispy kale, parmesan truffle fries, and remoulade onion rings.

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11. Erie Cafe 536 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Near North Side)

Erie Cafe is a classic River North steakhouse that draws crowds with its unpretentious atmosphere, 1960s vibes (there's something very Mad Men about it), and outdoor riverside seating. The menu offers a variety of prime aged steaks and chops, seafood, pasta, and tons of delicious house specialties. Be sure to order the grilled calamari, it's downright awesome.

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12. Gene & Georgetti 500 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60610 (River North)

This Italian steakhouse in River North is Chicago's oldest, having served everyone from Frank Sinatra to Keanu Reeves since opening in 1941. It's hard to tell what Gene & Georgetti's does best -- steaks and chops, or Italian classics like fried calamari, chicken parm, and veal vesuvio.

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