Great Places to Eat Late in Chicago

Whether you want a cheap bite or a nice dinner, here are 49 places you can get served even if you show up past 11 p.m.

Dusek’s   Photo: Clayton Hauck

Downtown


Allium

    

Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E Delaware. Gold Coast. 312-799-4900
American. By introducing a creative list of American comfort food classics—from crab fritters with lobster-caviar dip to cheese-curd mashed potatoes—the once-staid Four Seasons lounge radiates a welcome air of playfulness and whimsy. Bone-in rib eyes with blue cheese fondue and a homemade Chicago-style hot dog reinvent the city’s most iconic dishes for the white-tablecloth set, while small plates pull their inspiration from the fields, streams, and campfires of the Midwest. Think sugar snap peas with guanciale, brandade-smeared walleye, and a s’more for dessert. The miso butterscotch milk shake will appeal to ice-cream lovers of all ages.
B, L & D daily. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat; snack food only) $$

Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

    

218 W Kinzie. River North. 312-624-8154
American, steaks. Sure, the rib eye is delicious at Brendan Sodikoff’s sexy bi-level spot. But the true stunners are found outside the menu’s steak section. A gigantic meatball nested among chewy hand-cut noodles is simplicity perfected; ditto the lemony roast chicken and the prime rib sandwich that drips with smoky Monterey Jack. Augment your meal with the city’s best old fashioned and a wedge of velvety chocolate cream pie.
D nightly.  Wheelchair accessible, BYO (up to $5 corkage; BYO-ers must share one glass with another table), will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$$

Benny’s Chop House

    

444 N Wabash. River North. 312-626-2444
Steaks, seafood. Precious few steak houses offer both wet- and dry-aged prime beef. Count Benny’s in. Grilled romaine with lemon garlic vinaigrette primes the palate; blue cheese croquettes among the must-have sides. Pan-seared walleye with chive butter sauce for seafoodies. Awesome wine list first; rich s’mores cheesecake last.
L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$$

Bin 36 •

339 N Dearborn. River North. 312-755-9463
Contemporary American. With wine and cheese galore, dinner seems expendable at this vino-centric draw.
B, L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

Bistro Voltaire

    

226 W Chicago. River North. 312-265-0911
French. The decor (black, white, red), music (Piaf), and menu (onion soup, snails, crème brûlée) are straight from a Paris playbook, but astute cooking and a genuinely cozy vibe in this narrow dining room transcend cliché. The soup, crusty bread, and paper-wrapped frites are reassuringly spot-on. More ambitious dishes also succeed: Expect feather-light puff pastry on the vol-au-vent, perfectly cooked bright green beans with the medallions of roast pork, and tangy braised red cabbage with the seared duck breast. Reasonably priced, mostly French, wines. A Monday prix fixe three-course meal is a real deal ($29).
D Mon–Sat. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$

The Boarding House

    

720 N Wells. River North. 312-280-0720
Wine bar/Contemporary American. Owner and master sommelier Alpana Singh has decked out her four-story wine mecca with a glitzy array of eye-popping accoutrements. The first floor glitters with a chandelier fabricated out of hundreds of dangling wineglasses, while an artfully lit fourth-floor dining room romantically balances dark, brooding shadows and dapples of light. You can’t miss with anything from the wine list, but the dinner menu lacks focus, offering a head-scratching mix of North African, Mediterranean, and American dishes. For the best results, keep it simple, perhaps with a plate of creamy Burrata topped with fresh peaches, a meaty pork chop with stone-ground grits in a hazelnut broth, and a moist olive oil cake topped with berries. Those interested in a less formal affair can sip a Chardonnay and enjoy a collection of pizzas and sandwiches in the first-floor wine bar.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat, wine bar) $$$

Café Iberico •

737 N LaSalle. River North. 312-573-1510
Spanish. Sangría flows at this lively tapas bar. Best bets: thin ham with Manchego and tomato bread or the char-grilled octopus with french fries. Pintxos lounge upstairs on weekends.
L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. $

The Gage •

24 S Michigan. Loop. 312-372-4243
Contemporary. Prime digs near Millennium Park and ritzy comfort food such as vindaloo mussels, locally crafted sausage, and a prime burger keep this gastropub abuzz.
L & D daily. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$

Gene & Georgetti

    

500 N Franklin. River North. 312-527-3718
Steaks, Italian. Chicken, seafood, and Italian options take a back seat to the wet-aged prime beef at this iconic steak house. Iceberg salad and ho-hum potatoes accompany most entrées. The place could not be any less hip, but that’s a small sacrifice for steaks this good—it can stay frozen in time forever.
L & D Mon–Sat. Free dinner parking, (free valet), wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$$

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

    

1028 N Rush. Gold Coast. 312-266-8999
Steaks, seafood. This mecca of meat attracts scenesters and tourists who like their beef prime and their martinis huge. There are T-bones and New York strips, but if price matters, look to the meatloaf. Bakery-size cakes are overkill. (Rosemont, 847-928-9900; Oak Brook, 630-954-0000)
L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. $$$$

Gilt Bar

    

230 W Kinzie. River North. 312-464-9544
Contemporary American. Brendan Sodikoff’s debut project mixes gilt and shadows, but ace servers keep things light, steering you through the menu of notched-up comfort food. Splurge on the blatantly hearty meat dishes, such as a delicious 20- to 25-ounce rib eye. Intriguing cocktails and impeccably curated beer list. Fudgy brownies satisfy with simplicity.
D nightly.  Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, BYO (up to $5 corkage; BYO-ers must share one glass with another table), outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$

GT Fish & Oyster

    

531 N Wells. River North. 312-929-3501
Seafood. The trendoids rule at Giuseppe Tentori’s slick small-plate draw. The cold dishes are good, but hot dishes are great—especially the oyster po’ boy sliders and the just-different-enough clam chowder. A foie gras and shrimp terrine actually tastes like a natural coupling, while a coconut sundae with French curry ice cream tastes atypical. No—special.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$

Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

    

60 E Grand. River North. 312-379-5637
Steaks, seafood. Crowds flock to this brawny emporium, though there’s better prime beef out there for the prices. Look instead to the wonderful stone crab claws, excellent grilled mahi-mahi with chimichurri and jicama slaw, and luscious Key lime pie.
L & D daily. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$$

Mr. Beef •

666 N Orleans. River North. 312-337-8500
Italian. Chicago’s most hallowed Italian beef is at this shack, which boasts the same thin-sliced beef, hot or sweet peppers, and soggy French roll as always. Cash only.
L Mon–Sat, D Fri, Sat. Free dinner parking, wheelchair accessible, will seat past 11 p.m.(Fri, Sat) ¢

Nacional 27

    

325 W Huron. River North. 312-664-2727
Latin American. Pan-Latin’s day has come and gone, but Nacional 27 soldiers on, slinging Mojitos and tiny tacos (with crispy shells!) like it’s 1998. At 11 p.m. on the weekends, dancers descend. Until then, you can feast on a handsome hunk of short rib in ancho chili sauce or fork-tender suckling pig over mashed boniato. Giggle at the mini tacos if you like, but you’ll gobble them up all the same. Finish with a tres leches cake, and you might ask yourself why that marvelous confection has yet to make the jump to mainstream ubiquity. Who’s ahead of the curve now?
D Mon–Sat. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

Paris Club Bistro & Bar

    

59 W Hubbard. River North. 312-595-0800
French. (Closed six weeks, starting January 6, for the addition of a ramen bar) Jerrod and R.J. Melman have created a trendy spot for the masses. You can build a meal of hit-and-miss small plates, such as French onion “fondue,” but you will find true romance with the classics. Start with a charcuterie board or the Grand Provençal vegetable plate, then move on to a caramelized pork belly. Finish with the incredible apple strudel.
D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Wed–Sat) $$

Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta •

864 N State. Gold Coast. 312-751-1766
Pizza. Rudy Malnati Jr. carries on the tradition of Chicago-style pizza in this festive spot. The buttery deep-dish remains among Chicago’s best. (See pizanoschicago.com for all locations.)
L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. $

Pizzeria Uno •

29 E Ohio. River North. 312-321-1000
Pizza. This is where deep-dish started, and it remains the place for the genre. If it’s crowded, send someone to stand in line at Due a block away (619 N Wabash, 312-943-2400).
L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. (Mon–Sat) $

The Purple Pig

    

500 N Michigan. River North. 312-464-1744
Mediterranean. Crammed into the equivalent of a studio apartment, the Purple Pig isn’t for those seeking solitude or romance. It is, however, for those seeking dazzling small plates. Try the crispy chicken kebabs with homemade tzatziki, spearmint peas with bacon, and fried P’tit Basque cheese with quince paste. The diverse wine and beer lists, which offer treats for all tastes and price points, gives the place a local vibe.
L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. $$

Sable Kitchen & Bar

    

Hotel Palomar, 505 N State. River North. 312-755-9704
American. With half and full portions available for most items, Heather Terhune’s menu is fresh and playful, if slightly mind-boggling. The best dishes reside in the “Between Bread” section, which boasts seriously succulent sliders. The restaurant has an awkward setup, but after a few of mixologist Mike Ryan’s cocktails, you tend to get over it.
B Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. (bar) $$

Smith & Wollensky

    

318 N State. River North. 312-670-9900
Steaks, seafood. A bustling, masculine interior and ringside seats to the Chicago River set the scene for seafood appetizers and dry-aged steaks. Start with scary-large (and scary-priced, at $21) cocktail shrimp with green goddess ginger sauce and then focus on bone-in filets or Kansas City sirloins. Downstairs grill more casual. Extensive wine list, mostly American. Service on autopilot.
L & D daily. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. $$$$

Sunda •

110 W Illinois. River North. 312-644-0500
Pan-Asian. Nobody really comes to this sleek nightclubby spot for the reimagined and goofily named Asian dishes—people come for the flashy cocktails and the scene. But as long as you’re here, don’t miss the Devil’s Basket of spicy soft-shell crabs.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$

Sushisamba

    

504 N Wells. River North. 312-595-2300
Japanese, Pan-Latin. This party atmo pleases with flashy cocktails and small plates of Latin-Japanese blended creations. Fried calamari with plantain and tamarind is a big winner. Sushi spinoffs include fat Samba rolls. Share an assortment of four sashimi seviches and tiraditos and an order of skewered robata. Service can be helter-skelter, but it almost seems apropos.
L & D daily. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$

Tanta

    

118 W Grand. River North. 312-222-9700
Peruvian. Gastón Acurio, Peru’s premier chef and culinary ambassador, promised big in this colorful spot—and he delivers. The latest outpost of his empire, which stretches from Barcelona to San Francisco, synthesizes the fascinating complexities of Peruvian cuisine, whereby Asian and African flavors weave in and out seamlessly. The giant menu covers admirable ground: impressive seviches such as the Japanese-influenced version of ahi tuna, avocado, cucumber, and tamarind; anticuchos such as skewered chimichurri octopus with fried garlic and olive sauce; a ginormous and juicy pollo a la brasa with three aji sauces and arroz con choclo (rice with sweet corn, cream, and cheese). The rib eye a lo pobre, a terrific take on a classic Afro-Peruvian dish, consists of 20 ounces of wet-aged, grass-fed beef slathered in chorrillana sauce, topped with a fried egg, and bottomed with a rice-and-bean pancake—one of the best new dishes of the year. Bonuses: fun desserts (try the oozy las trufas de chocolate with lemongrass ice cream), stiff cocktails, and sharp service.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

Tavernita

    

151 W Erie. River North. 312-274-1111
Spanish. Flavor-packed small plates, kegged cocktails by the Tippling Bros., an ebullient staff, and a gorgeous, tipsy crowd cram into a sharp gold-toned space. The menu salutes Spain with Faroe Island salmon crudo, blistered pimientos de padrón, and housemade pappardelle. Desserts are a letdown, but no one seems to care—especially after midnight.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$$

North

Ada Street

    

1664 N Ada. Industrial Corridor. 773-697-7069
Mediterranean-inspired small plates. Once you get past the unlikely industrial location, this young, hip boîte offers solid sour-salty-spicy gastropub food. Fried black-eyed peas outdo Beer Nuts by a trendoid mile; cavatelli with mint pesto shows off seasonality in this milieu for strong flavors. Weak ingredients and oversalting sink some dishes. Cocktails don’t live up to the hype.
D Mon–Sat. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $

ATK Andy’s Thai Kitchen

    

946 W Wellington. Lake View. 773-549-7821
Thai. Andy Aroonrasameruang’s devoted fans have followed him and his menu from TAC Quick Thai Kitchen to this tiny BYO under the el, enduring long waits and erratic service at peak times for the sake of dazzling food. Expect fine renditions of familiar dishes but also plenty of delightful less commonly encountered options. Crispy onchoy, a tempura feast of shrimp, ground chicken, and Chinese water spinach, makes all other salads seem wimpy and unimaginative. Yum woon sen talay is equally mind-expanding with its slippery glass noodles heaped with seafood—light, substantial, superfresh, minty, and seriously spicy all at once.
L & D daily. BYO (up to $5 corkage), will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri) ¢

Café Ba-Ba-Reeba!

    

2024 N Halsted. Lincoln Park. 773-935-5000
Spanish. This friendly stalwart of the Lettuce Entertain You empire holds sway with its tasty tapas, festive vibe, and gentle prices. Appetizer and dessert pintxos cover interesting territory without dumbing anything down. Paella comes three ways. Nice Spanish wines, many under $40.
L Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $

Goose Island Brewpub •

1800 N Clybourn. Lincoln Park. 312-915-0071
American. Seriously good beer is the draw, and chitchat is easy in these casual digs. Create a four-beer flight ($10) from the 24 or so draft choices. Weekend brewery tours. (In Wrigleyville, 773-832-9040)
L & D daily. Br Sat, Sun. Free dinner parking, wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $

R.J. Grunts •

2056 N Lincoln Park West. Lincoln Park. 773-929-5363
American. Lettuce Entertain You launched its empire—and Chicago’s first salad bar—in 1971 at this beloved icon.
L & D daily. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. (Mon–Sat) ¢

Thai Pastry Restaurant

    

4925 N Broadway. Uptown. 773-784-5399
Thai. The menu at this hospitable spot covers familiar territory with reliable renditions of more than 100 dishes. Steamed dumplings, kicky salads, and satisfying noodle-centric entrées deliver the goods; curries are as bold as you want them to be; sweet treats beckon irresistibly from the pastry case. Servers maintain composure even when the place is packed.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, BYO (up to $5 corkage), will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) ¢

Troquet

    

1834 W Montrose. Ravenswood. 773-334-5664
French. This is frites heaven, for sure, but the tiny menu includes other great things. Follow moules with quiche, charcuterie, a croque monsieur, or whitefish with fries and a salad. Sports on TVs over the bar and modest bistro fare on your table offer a winning combo indeed.
L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $

Twin Anchors •

1655 N Sedgwick. Old Town. 312-266-1616
Barbecue. On the same corner since 1932, this comfy tavern touts its slow-cooked baby back ribs as the world’s best. Maybe not, but they are the falling-off-the-bone sweet-sauced kind beloved by many Chicagoans.
L Sat, Sun; D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $

South


Dusek’s

    

1227 W 18th. Pilsen. 312-526-3851
American. Longman & Eagle’s chef and co-owner make rapidly gentrifying Pilsen’s dreams come true with this delightful reimagining of the old Thalia Hall space. Jared Wentworth’s smart menu covers a lot of ground, from the American South to the Farthest East of Asia. His hearty dishes showcase nuanced flavors, as in a magical matsutake mushroom risotto with caramelized chestnuts and a sweet Asian pear relish. Impeccable oysters and top-notch choucroute give way to clever desserts, such as the doughnut-hole-like fried stout with bavarois (Bavarian custard), coffee jelly, and toffee. Relatively inexpensive cocktails and an impressive ever-changing beer program add to the allure; warm, prompt service multiplies it exponentially. The result? An irresistible restaurant, that’s equal parts throwback charmer and of-the-moment star.
D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. $

West

Au Cheval

    

800 W Randolph. West Loop. 312-929-4580
American. Abandon your diet and plunge fork-first into the unapologetically heavy grub at Brendan Sodikoff’s chic diner-style charmer. Servers—arguably the city’s best—ably suggest craft brews to complement the downright drool-worthy fried bologna sandwich or perhaps garlicky mashed potatoes to supplement the juiciest and most humongous pork porterhouse imaginable. A cheeseburger? Go for broke and add a fried egg on top.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, BYO (up to $5 corkage; BYO-ers must share one glass with another table), high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. $$

Avec

    

615 W Randolph. West Loop. 312-377-2002
Mediterranean. After more than 10 years, Avec is still a well-oiled machine, playing to a packed house every night. Expect simple, seasonal, shareable small plates that let their ingredients shine. Cases in point: the brandade and a salad of hanger steak, shaved artichokes, pine nuts, and kale. To quote a nearby diner: “You’ve got to get the pork shoulder. It will change your life.”
D nightly. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, outdoor dining (drinks only), high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. $$

Bite Cafe

    

1039 N Western. Ukrainian Village. 773-395-2483
American. Adjoining the Empty Bottle, this amiably hip hangout possesses some serious cooking chops. Garlic-scented roast chicken is a treat, as is any of the pan-seared seafood. Terrific burgers and fries too.
B, L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, BYO (up to $5 corkage), high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. ¢

Davanti Enoteca

    

1359 W Taylor. Little Italy. 312-226-5550
Italian. This Scott Harris gem veers far from the red-sauce tradition of its Taylor Street forefathers. Chewy-crusted pizzas are tough to pass up, but thoughtful antipasti, vasis (spreads such as ricotta with local honey), and simple, unadulterated pastas steal the show. Bottles of wine for retail sale. (In River North, 312-605-5900)
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $

Girl & The Goat

    

809 W Randolph. West Loop. 312-492-6262
Contemporary American. No one can accuse Stephanie Izard of being cautious with her small-plate menu, which introduces roasted goat shanks, kohlrabi salads, and shiitake-caramel gelato to the masses. Be bold. Try the goat chowder with whitefish and an apple gremolata, a meaty sugo pappardelle with gooseberries, or a trout fillet with bacon relish and tuna crema. Beer lovers and wine mavens will find much to enjoy, but those afraid of big crowds and blaring soundtracks will rush for the exits.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

HotChocolate

    

1747 N Damen. Bucktown. 773-489-1747
American. The hyperseasonal menu at Mindy Segal’s inviting storefront refuses to take a back seat to the James Beard award winner’s illustrious desserts. Begin with the exceptionally fresh soup and follow it up with a salad, chock-full of Werp Farms field greens, and the well-seasoned crab cake sandwich. But let’s be honest: You’re there for the sweet stuff. On that front, housemade ice creams and flavored hot chocolates are the ticket. Impressive craft beer list.
L Wed–Fri, D Tue–Sun. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

Longman & Eagle

    

2657 N Kedzie. Logan Square. 773-276-7110
American. The buzz never dies down at this corner tavern, where the cooking is hyperseasonal, wildly creative, rich, and filling. Earthy pasta dishes and protein-packed salads give way to maple-braised pork shank, roasted venison, or—for the less adventurous carnivore—a Slagel Family Farm burger. Vegetarian options are fewer but also well wrought. Dessert is mandatory and includes stunners like tender olive oil doughnuts nestled in a bowl of almond cream and hazelnut praline. Grab a pre- or postmeal bourbon concoction at Longman’s Off Site Bar, a diminutive garage–turned–watering hole. For a less gluttonous experience, every bit as delicious as dinner, try brunch.
Br, L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. $$

Lula Café

    

2537 N Kedzie. Logan Square. 773-489-9554
Contemporary American. Hip without chasing trends, more snug than smug, this early adopter of farm-to-table principles continues to turn out creative, enlightened food that glides through the seasons at a high level. A spring entrée might employ lemon and three preparations of cauliflower to complement leaner-than-usual short ribs and banish winter heaviness. Beet bruschetta chaperones marinated kale, revivifying the beets–goat cheese–red onion cliché. A smelts appetizer marries a fried crunch, soft fish, and a thick citrus sauce. The funky atmosphere exudes honesty, with knowledgeable (not know-it-all) servers and ingredient-driven prices. Contentment reigns.
B, L & D Wed–Mon. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. $$

Pegasus •

130 S Halsted. Greektown. 312-226-3377
Greek. The price continues to be right at this sunny icon, where heaping platters of taverna-style classics appear to be immune to inflation. There’s plenty of pomp, spectacle, and nods to dining on the shores of the Aegean here, but a three-course meal of loukaniko sausage, a pastitsio and chicken riganati combo, and Greek yogurt for dessert remains a steal. All this comes with knowledgeable service and free valet parking.
L & D daily. Free dinner parking, wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $

The Publican

    

837 W Fulton Market. West Loop. 312-733-9555
Contemporary American. Don’t be lulled into porky bliss by all the salty-sour-sausagey delights. Undergirding the food at Paul Kahan’s beer hall are composition and technique to rival most restaurants with whiter tablecloths (or any tablecloths). The pig ear strips on the Little Gem Salad, for example, crunch exquisitely, and the romaine, fennel, and buttermilk vinaigrette please without peacocking. Desserts, maybe a touch fancier, evince top talent.
L Mon–Sat (3:30–5:30 p.m.) D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly (brunch only), outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

The Rosebud •

1500 W Taylor. Little Italy. 312-942-1117
Italian. Reservations carry little weight at this flagship of a local empire (rosebudrestaurants.com); however, the zuppe di mare, calamari, and cavatelli mean everything.
L & D daily. Free dinner parking (weekday lunch), Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $

Three Aces

    

1321 W Taylor. Little Italy. 312-243-1577
American. Forget what you thought you knew about pub grub at this dark, rock ’n’ roll–themed tavern. Yes, it serves a solid burger—dripping with aged cheddar and bacon jam—but the menu’s gems are Matt Troost’s seasonal dishes, a showcase of local farms, featuring beautifully plated housemade pastas and sophisticated meaty entrées. Sure, there are missteps (bland Brussels sprouts swimming in oil and a lamb-sausage pizzetta overwhelmed by pickled peppers), but this “bar food” rivals far fancier—and pricier—joints in town. Impressive lineup of Midwestern craft beers and Taylor Street’s best outdoor patio.
D nightly. Free dinner parking (winter only, through April), wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. ¢

Tocco

    

1266 N Milwaukee. Wicker Park. 773-687-8895
Italian. Straightforward, honest dishes make this one of the most authentically Italian places around. Decor is a bit cold, but superb soups and salads, bountiful antipasti platters, housemade pastas, and wood-fired pizzas (we love the casereccia) will warm you right up. Finish with gelato or tiramisù-like torta di mandorle.
D Tue–Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

Yusho

    

2853 N Kedzie. Avondale. 773-904-8558
Japanese yakitori. Matthias Merges shows off his skill with flame and skewer at this sharp lair for yakitori, Japanese-inspired grilled street food with a Basque backbeat. With 30 small plates, nightly specials, and loads of designer cocktails, artisanal beers, and sakes, there’s plenty for all palates. A jar of chicken liver mousse topped with skewered livers and crisp chicken skin gets you into the spirit. Even the mochi is grilled and finished with wasabi white chocolate.
D Wed–Mon. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

Suburban


Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria •

6649 N Lincoln, Lincolnwood. 847-673-0800
Pizza. Since 1971, the Malnati family has run this deep-dish institution. For dessert, warm chocolate chip cookie “pizza” à la mode. (See loumalnatis.com for all locations.)
L & D daily. Free dinner parking, wheelchair accessible, child friendly, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) ¢

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