Iranian Pearl Asetra 000 caviar, chips, and garnishes at BLVD
Iranian Pearl Asetra 000 caviar, chips, and garnishes at BLVD Photos: Jeff Marini

Caviar is no longer just for the very rich. A spike in domestic production has spawned many affordable, high-quality options for cured fish eggs, letting cost-conscious diners enjoy this salty delicacy. “We want to take it off its pedestal,” says Guy Meikle, the owner of Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar, one of a growing number of new places putting caviar front and center on the menu. Willing to spend? There are more high-end imported options available now, too. No matter your budget, you’ll be able to get a taste of this once-rarefied luxury.

Vol. 39 caviar

1. Vol. 39

39 S. La Salle St.

Choose from the caviar and Champagne cart in this Loop bar, and order quantities as small as a quarter ounce. The American hackleback ($10 for a quarter ounce) has an exhilarating pop. If smooth and creamy is more your style, try the kaluga ($18 for a quarter ounce). $$$


BLVD caviar


817 W. Lake St.

This glam West Loop spot offers three options, including rare Iranian Pearl Asetra 000 ($220 per ounce), the closest you’ll get to almost-impossible-to-find wild beluga caviar, says chef Johnny Besch. The prized roe is served on a three-tiered tray stacked high with chips and blini. $$$$$


Café Marie-Jeanne caviar

3. Café Marie-Jeanne

1001 N. California Ave.

Bowfin caviar is an all-day treat here. Add a dollop to a breakfast sandwich or omelet for $5, try a 10-gram portion ($12 with garnishes), or go all in at brunch with the caviar toast ($20). “My goal is to get people slathering salty fish eggs on as many things as possible,” says chef-owner Mike Simmons. $


The Press Room caviar

4. The Press Room

1134 W. Washington Blvd.

Owner George Saldez wanted something “fun and a little fancy” to round out the menu at this rustic-chic West Loop establishment. He settled on white sturgeon roe ($50 for 10 grams) and Siberian sturgeon caviar ($70 for 10 grams) from Calvisius, an Italian producer. Saldez says either pairs beautifully with Burrata and Champagne. $$$$


Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar

5. Heritage Restaurant & Caviar Bar

2700 W. Chicago Ave.

The selection of caviar and uncured fish roe runs at least a dozen items deep at this Humboldt Park spot, with à la carte offerings starting at $10 (for 15 grams of domestic bowfin or whitefish roe). Platters showcase caviar in 12- or 30-gram portions, which come with housemade black bread, potato chips, pickles, and various minced accoutrements. $$