Chicago Offers Restaurant-Goers Plenty of Options
By Kerry Pianoforte
From local favorites like the Italian beef sandwich and deep-dish pizza to the finest global cuisine, the Windy City has something to please all palettes.
The Capital Grille
633 N. St. Clair
This high-end steakhouse boasts a locker packed with dry-aged beef, an extensive wine cellar and clubby ambiance of polished leather and dark wood.
Crofton on Wells
535 N. Wells Street
A minimalist, 70-seat storefront serving delicious seasonal American cuisine prepared with a French flair.
33 W Kinzie St.
This classy sports-fan favorite wraps up steak, Italian food and baseball into one handsome Chicago-loving package. Expect hearty, classic interpretations of Italian specialties.
Heaven on Seven on Rush
600 N. Michigan Ave, 2nd floor
A taste of the Big Easy right here in the Windy City. Specialties include jumbo, jambalaya and po-boy sandwiches.
Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap
41 E. Superior Street
This lively sports bar/restaurant serves a number of mouth-watering entrees from tender baby back ribs with tangy-sweet barbecue sauce to a grilled nine-ounce hamburger patties custom-served with toppings ranging from mushrooms and bacon to blue cheese and peppercorns.
Lawry’s the Prime Rib
100 E Ontario Street
It’s more American than British, but it does serve the best roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and its prime rib is served tableside with mashed or baked potato and creamed horseradish.
Mike Ditka’s Restaurant
Tremont Hotel, 100 E Chestnut Street
Features the juicy ‘Fridge’ burger, which stuffs a half-pound, hand-formed patty of Angus beef into a brioche bun. Stand out items are steaks and chops, especially Ditka’s legendary ‘Da Pork Chop’.
1470 McConnor Parkway
With its dark wood details, celebrity photos and tuxedo-clad waiters, this upscale steakhouse chain has the air of a posh men's club. Dinners begin with a waiter-driven cart laden with fresh vegetables, live lobster and cuts of steak; customers choose from porterhouse, rib eye, bone-in prime rib and more. Side dishes are traditional and enormous, from baked potatoes and creamed spinach to steamed broccoli with hollandaise.
415 N. Dearborn Street
This retro 1940s chophouse is decorated with prizefight photos and a replica of John L Sullivan’s championship belt. Prime beef is seared at high heat with a salt-and-pepper crust sealing in the juices and offers sides, big enough to share, include creamed spinach, mushroom caps and horseradish mashed potatoes.
Asian & Pan-Asian
600 W Chicago Avenue
Serving Kobe prime rib, maki rolls, lobster, sushi and sashimi in a stunning space alongside the Chicago River.
52 W Illinois Street
This sleek restaurant combines harmony and balance with appealing food: a satay bar offers grilled-to-order skewered meats with sauces, while house specialties include shrimp dumplings and black pepper scallops.
721 W. Grand Ave
With unpretentious atmosphere and service, La Scarola is a local favorite for good Italian food at reasonable prices
Latin, Mexican & Spanish
445 N Clark Street
These two adjoining restaurants serve authentic regional Mexican dishes created from recipes gathered south of the border by owners Rick and Deanne Bayless. Upscale Topo accepts reservations, but its sister restaurant does not.
412 N Clark Street
Vibrant colors, a dark postmodern interior and hot South and Central American specialties make this a River North favorite. Unexpected twists and unusual sauces offset traditional Latin dishes.
Luke's Italian Beef
215 W Jackson Blvd
Lunchtime Loop favorite serves up a delicious rendition of one of Chicago's most famous eats.
Carm's Beef & Snack Shop
1057 W Polk St
The menu features burgers, Italian sausage, and sub sandwiches packed with mortadella, capricola and salami--but most people come to Carm's for the Italian beef sandwich.
29 E. Ohio St.
The pizza is excellent, dripping with cheese and not too much sauce, and featuring a flaky, crunchy, almost pie-like crust.
The Billy Goat Tavern
430 N. Michigan Ave.
This bar/lunch counter was immortalized on SNL for its "cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger."
Navy Pier, 700 E Grand Avenue
This stylish seafood restaurant boasts views through large picture windows of Lake Michigan and a 40-foot long showcase kitchen offers meaty crab cakes and steamer pots of clams and mussels with drawn butter or tangy garlic sauce.
Shaw’s Crab House & Blue Crab Lounge
21 E. Hubbard St.
Crab dishes deservedly so get top billing, but there are plenty of other reasons to visit from creamy New England clam chowder and cool, shucked-to-order raw oysters to entrees like ruby-red sesame-glazed tuna and a seafood platter with garlic shrimp and sea scallops with lump crab cake.