1633 N. Halsted. Lincoln Park. 312-867-3888
Italian. Thanks to Chris Pandel’s inviting menu, you can enjoy all your Italian food fantasies under one roof. Pastas to be sure, but if grilled foods turn you on, check out the halibut, branzino, and wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$
1400 W. Randolph. West Loop. 312-563-1010
Pan-Asian. Bill Kim and crew work plenty of magic from the kitchen, but snag a tabletop grill for a DIY experience, and go to town with wagyu short ribs.
L Mon–Sat, D nightly. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, BYO (up to $5 corkage; Sun only), outdoor dining. $
1227 W. 18th. Pilsen. 312-526-3851
American. Jared Wentworth’s hearty dishes showcase myriad flavors, and he loves to use open flames whenever possible. Chicken and salmon may not come as surprises, but consider how a dip of olives, panzanella, and blue crab might taste after a turn inside a smoldering wood-burning oven.
D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, outdoor dining, will seat past 11 p.m. $
5203 N. Clark. Andersonville. 773-334-6377
Korean. This inviting neighborhood staple relies on expertly cooked meats and well-seasoned sauces at fair prices to keep the buzz going. Succulent rib eye is pan-fried, but tried-and-true faves such as beef kalbi and pork spare ribs come directly from the grill.
D Tue–Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $
325 W. Huron. River North. 312-664-2727
Latin American. Pan-Latin’s day has come and gone, but N27 soldiers on, slinging Mojitos and tiny tacos (with crispy shells!) like it’s 1998. Throw a seafood grill and a churrasco-style skewer or two into the mix, and the beat goes on.
D Mon–Sat. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat). $$
1800 N. Lincoln. Lincoln Park. 312-981-7070
American. Paul Virant’s breezy-chic spot across from Lincoln Park is a smart modern take on local Americana. Hence, grilled Caveny Farm lamb merguez with grilled-onion vinaigrette and Slagel Farm beef loin with grilled ramps.
B Mon–Fri, D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $$$$
Shaw’s Crab House
21 E. Hubbard. River North. 312-527-2722
Seafood. Fresh shellfish lures a crowd to this multiroom haven for briny oysters, hefty crab legs, griddled shrimp, sushi, and, for those who want to keep it simple, “simply grilled seafood.”
L & D daily. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, high noise level. $$$$
Shokran Moroccan Restaurant
4027 W. Irving Park. Old Irving Park. 773-427-9130
Moroccan. This friendly gem offers a kitschy setting for couscous, tagines, and, from the grill, six different kebabs, including lamb, chicken, beef, and a combo. Cash only.
D Wed–Mon. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, BYO (up to $5 corkage). $
151 W. Erie. River North. 312-274-1111
Mediterranean. Flavor-packed small plates, kegged cocktails by Tippling Bros., an ebullient staff, and a gorgeous, tipsy crowd cram into a sharp gold-toned space. And then there’s the wood-burning grill, which yields New York strips, Korean short ribs, pork chops, a catch of the day, and seasonal veggies.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat). $$$
1558 N. Milwaukee. Wicker Park. 773-252-1558
Greek. This cliché-busting standout ignores most Greektown staples in favor of unsung Aegean specialties. Think mild Cypriot-style sausage and pomegranate-marinated duck gyros. But, cliché be damned, order the wood-grilled lamb chops.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level. $$
1266 N. Milwaukee. Wicker Park. 773-687-8895
Italian. Straightforward, honest dishes make this one of the most authentically Italian places around. And a fabulous selection of grilled vegetables makes it heaven for veggie lovers.
Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat). $$
449 N. Clark (enter on Illinois). River North. 312-661-1434
Mexican. You will have a ball at this most casual of Rick Bayless’s restaurants, despite crowds, tight seating, and an awkward ordering procedure. The menu of street food impresses throughout, from terrific guacamole to a lively selection of tortas from the wood-burning oven.
B, L & D Tue–Sat. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $