Lifestyle

Places to Eat in Chicago’s River North

Places to Eat in Chicago's River North

Chicago’s River North neighborhood is a bustling hub of activity, known for its trendy restaurants, lively bars, and vibrant nightlife. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to decide where to dine. To make things easier, this article will highlight 10 of the best places to eat in River North.

Whether you’re in the mood for classic American fare, authentic Italian cuisine, or something more exotic, River North has something for everyone. From cosy cafes to upscale dining establishments, the neighbourhood is home to a diverse array of restaurants. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to the top 10 places to eat in River North, ensuring that visitors and locals alike can enjoy the best culinary experiences the neighbourhood has to offer.

Iconic Steakhouses

Chicago is known for its steakhouses and River North has some of the best. Here are two iconic steakhouses that are worth checking out.

Chicago Cut Steakhouse

Chicago Cut Steakhouse is a classic steakhouse that offers a modern twist. The restaurant features a stunning view of the Chicago River and offers a wide variety of steak cuts, seafood, and sides. The menu includes classic dishes like filet mignon and ribeye, as well as more unique options like wagyu beef and lamb chops.

The restaurant has an elegant and sophisticated atmosphere, with a dress code that requires business casual attire. The service is top-notch, with attentive and knowledgeable staff who are happy to make recommendations.

RPM Steak

RPM Steak is a trendy and upscale steakhouse that offers a modern take on the classic steakhouse experience. The restaurant features a sleek and stylish interior, with a menu that includes a wide variety of steak cuts, seafood, and sides.

The menu includes classic dishes like porterhouse and filet mignon, as well as more unique options like wagyu beef and bone-in ribeye. The restaurant also offers a selection of homemade sauces and rubs to complement the steaks.

The service at RPM Steak is excellent, with friendly and knowledgeable staff who are happy to provide recommendations. The restaurant also has an extensive wine list, with options to suit every taste and budget.

Authentic Italian Cuisine

When it comes to authentic Italian cuisine in River North, two restaurants stand out from the rest: Il Porcellino and Siena Tavern.

Il Porcellino

Il Porcellino is a classic Italian trattoria that serves up traditional dishes made with fresh, high-quality ingredients. The menu features a range of pasta dishes, including the popular cacao e pepe and rigatoni alla vodka. For those who prefer something heartier, the restaurant also offers meat dishes like the signature roasted pork shoulder.

The atmosphere at Il Porcellino is cosy and inviting, with warm lighting and rustic decor. The restaurant is perfect for a romantic date night or a casual dinner with friends.

Siena Tavern

Siena Tavern is a modern Italian restaurant that combines traditional flavours with contemporary techniques. The menu features a variety of small plates, pasta dishes, and entrees, all made with locally-sourced ingredients.

One standout dish at Siena Tavern is the truffle gnocchi, which is made with house-made potato gnocchi, blalocally sourced, and parmesan cheese. The restaurant also offers a wide selection of wines and cocktails to pair with your meal.

The atmosphere at Siena Tavern is chic and sophisticated, with sleek decor and a lively bar area. It’s the perfect spot for a night out with friends or a special occasion.

Contemporary American Eateries

Duck Duck Goat

Duck Duck Goat is a contemporary American restaurant located in the heart of River North. The restaurant is known for its modern Chinese cuisine and offers a unique dining experience. The menu features a variety of dishes, including dim sum, noodles, and rice bowls.

One of the most popular dishes at Duck Duck Goat is the “Three Happiness” rice bowl, which includes crispy pork belly, char siu pork, and Chinese sausage. The restaurant also offers a variety of cocktails and craft beers to complement the food.

The Smith

The Smith is a popular contemporary American eatery located in River North. The restaurant offers a diverse menu that includes everything from salads and sandwiches to steak and seafood.

One of the standout dishes at The Smith is the “Filet Mignon Benedict,” which features a poached egg, hollandaise sauce, and crispy hash browns. The restaurant also offers a variety of craft cocktails and a carefully curated wine list.

Both Duck Duck Goat and The Smith offer a unique dining experience with delicious food and a welcoming atmosphere. These contemporary American eateries are a must-visit for anyone looking for a great meal in River North.

Seafood Specialties

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab is a renowned restaurant in River North, Chicago, that serves some of the best seafood in the city. The restaurant is famous for its stone crab claws, which are flown in daily from the Gulf of Mexico. Along with the stone crab, Joe’s Seafood also serves a variety of other seafood dishes such as Alaskan King Crab Legs, Dover Sole, and Lobster Bisque.

The restaurant’s interior is elegant and sophisticated, with a classic Chicago steakhouse vibe. The service is impeccable, and the staff is knowledgeable about the menu and the wine list. Joe’s Seafood is a bit on the pricey side, but the quality of the food and the overall dining experience make it worth it.

Shaw’s Crab House

Shaw’s Crab House is another popular seafood restaurant in River North, Chicago. The restaurant has been serving seafood for over three decades and has a reputation for being one of the best seafood spots in the city.

Shaw’s Crab House offers an extensive menu that includes everything from crab cakes and oysters to sushi and sashimi. The restaurant’s signature dish is the Alaskan King Crab Legs, which are cooked to perfection and served with drawn butter.

The atmosphere at Shaw’s Crab House is casual and relaxed, with a nautical theme that adds to the overall dining experience. The restaurant also has a lively bar area that serves some of the best cocktails in the city. Shaw’s Crab House is a great spot for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends.

Casual Dining Spots

Ema

Ema is a Mediterranean restaurant located in River North that offers a casual dining experience. The menu features a variety of small plates, dips, and spreads, as well as larger entrees. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are also available. The atmosphere is lively and the service is friendly. Ema is a great spot for a casual lunch or dinner with friends or family.

Beatrix

Beatrix is a neighbourhood restaurant that serves American cuisine with a healthy twist. The menu features a variety of dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Beatrix is known for its signature coffee and bakery items, including their famous chocolate chip cookies. The atmosphere is casual and the service is attentive. Beatrix is a great spot for a quick bite or a casual meal with friends.

Asian Fusion Flavors

Chicago’s River North is home to an array of Asian fusion restaurants that combine traditional Asian flavours with modern culinary techniques. Here are two must-try restaurants for those looking to experience Asian fusion cuisine in River North.

Sunda

Sunda offers a unique blend of Southeast Asian and Japanese cuisine in an upscale setting. The menu features a variety of dishes, including sushi rolls, small plates, and entrees. One standout dish is the Crispy Brussels Sprouts, which are served with a sweet chilli glaze and candied bacon. Another popular dish is the Miso Glazed Sea Bass, which is served with shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, and ginger soy reduction. Sunda also offers a variety of craft cocktails and sake to complement the meal.

Roka Akor

Roka Akor is a Japanese steakhouse that also features a selection of sushi and sashimi. The restaurant’s signature dish is the Robata Grilled Shishito Peppers, which are served with bonito flakes and yuzu salt. Other standout dishes include the Wagyu Beef and Kimchi Dumplings and the Grilled Octopus with yuzu kosho and pickled cucumber. Roka Akor also has an extensive beverage menu, featuring a variety of sake, wine, and craft cocktails.

Overall, Sunda and Roka Akor are two excellent options for those looking to experience Asian fusion cuisine in River North. With their unique blend of flavours and upscale atmospheres, they are sure to impress even the most discerning diners.

Brunch Favorites

River North is home to some of the best brunch spots in Chicago. Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savory, these two restaurants are sure to satisfy your cravings.

Yolk

Located on East Ohio Street, Yolk is a popular brunch spot that savours classic breakfast dishes with a creative twist. Their menu features everything from pancakes and waffles to omelettes and benedicts. They also offer gluten-free and vegetarian options, making it a great spot for everyone.

One of the standout dishes at Yolk is their Red Velvet French Toast. This indulgent dish is made with slices of red velvet cake that are dipped in a custard batter and cooked until golden brown. It’s then topped with cream cheese icing and fresh berries for a sweet and tangy finish.

Hampton Social

Hampton Social is a coastal-inspired restaurant that’s known for its seafood dishes and beachy atmosphere. Their brunch menu features a variety of dishes, including omelettes, sandwiches, and salads. They also offer bottomless mimosas and bloody marys for those who want to indulge.

One of the must-try dishes at Hampton Social is their Lobster Roll Benedict. This unique take on a classic benedict features a toasted English muffin topped with lobster meat, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. It’s served with a side of crispy tater tots, making it the perfect brunch dish.

Fine Dining Experiences

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf is a French-inspired steakhouse that offers a luxurious dining experience. The restaurant has a sophisticated and intimate atmosphere, with dim lighting and plush leather booths. The menu features classic steakhouse dishes, such as bone-in ribeye and filet mignon, as well as French-inspired dishes like escargot and foie gras. The extensive wine list offers a variety of options to complement any meal.

GT Prime Steakhouse

GT Prime Steakhouse is a modern steakhouse that offers a unique dining experience. The restaurant has a sleek and contemporary design, with a focus on wood and metal accents. The menu features a variety of cuts of meat, including wagyu beef and dry-aged ribeye, as well as non-steak options like lamb chops and octopus. The side dishes are also noteworthy, with options like truffle fries and roasted cauliflower. The cocktail menu is also impressive, with creative and unique options like the “Smoked Old Fashioned”.

Both Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf and GT Prime Steakhouse offer fine dining experiences in River North. With their upscale atmospheres, high-quality ingredients, and extensive drink menus, they are perfect for a special occasion or a romantic night out.

Related

Local Pizzerias

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is a popular spot for deep-dish pizza lovers. The restaurant has been serving up its signature pies since 1971 and has become a Chicago staple. The crust is buttery, flaky, and crispy, while the sauce is tangy and flavorful. Lou Malnati’s is known for its classic cheese and sausage pizza, but it also offers a variety of toppings to satisfy any pizza craving. The restaurant has a cosy and welcoming atmosphere, making it a great spot for a casual night out with friends or family.

Portillo’s

While Portillo’s is primarily known for its hot dogs, the restaurant also serves up some delicious pizza. Their thin-crust pizza is crispy and flavorful, and the toppings are always fresh and plentiful. Portillo’s offers a variety of pizza options, including classic cheese and sausage, as well as more unique options like BBQ chicken and bacon. The restaurant has a fast-casual atmosphere, making it a great spot for a quick bite to eat during a busy day of exploring River North.

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