Knowing exactly where to find the best food places in Chicago is important, whether it’s picking a hotspot for ladies’ night or a date with someone you met off Tinder. From steakhouses to restaurants with Instagram worthy backgrounds, there are so many places in the city to choose from. Here’s a list of the top 10 restaurants you need to know about during your search for a restaurant in Chicago.
Gibson’s Italia is a popular steakhouse that also features exquisite Italian dishes. Located in River West, Gibson’s offers guests a view of the riverfront that cannot be seen anywhere else. The four-level restaurant includes outdoor seating, a dining room, a floor solely dedicated to a bar and a rooftop deck. However, the view is what gives Gibson’s the advantage over other restaurants in the city. No matter where you look, you can see Chicago’s glorious bridges, skyscrapers, and lights reflecting off the river.
The Hampton Social
The Hampton Social is the perfect restaurant for any girl who wants outstanding food but also Instagram worthy photos. Located in River North, this trendy restaurant is always busy so be sure to make reservations. When walking up the stairs, the first thing you see is a huge neon light that reads “Rose All Day.” Known for their seafood, the shrimp appetizer will not disappoint your taste buds. With beach themed décor, outstanding frozen drinks and live music, The Hampton Social makes you feel like you’re on vacation, the only thing missing would be having your feet in the sand.
3 Arts Club Café
The 3 Arts Club Café is located inside of Restoration Hardware near the Northside of Chicago. If you love good food, architecture, and opportunities for beautiful Instagram photos, you have to check out this restaurant. Inside of a four-floor furniture store is where the café is hidden. While you wait for a table, be sure to grab a glass of wine and tour the building. With elegant light fixtures, water fountains, gorgeous couches, flowers and trees, the 3 Arts Club Café is a great spot for drinks with the girls or a dinner date. It’s recommended to set aside at least two hours to explore: the building has a rooftop, a bar, and glamorous artwork and furniture. Described as a coffeehouse, wine bar, and restaurant, the menu has many options. Be sure to make reservations even if you’re just going for breakfast; this place is always busy.
Maple & Ash
This trendy restaurant located in the Gold Coast gives a modern twist to the term “steakhouse.” Their wine list is named “one of the most outstanding in the world” by Wine Spectator magazine. Known for their steak and caviar, they offer a seafood tower for $45 a person that includes oysters, crab, scallops, lobster and clam. Reservations are a must though; this is a hotspot when it comes to birthdays. Maple & Ash remakes one of their menus to include the birthday person’s name, making it a keepsake and present all in one.
Located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, RPM Italian is a modern yet contemporary restaurant. With leather booths and wooden floors, the vibe is perfect for a night out or a casual dinner. Some popular dishes on their menu include sweet potato gnocchi as well as a seafood risotto. Their menu also includes steaks and pork chops, and they even have octopus and swordfish! However, their pasta is definitely what sets RPM Italian apart from other restaurants. With over 50,000 followers on Instagram, RPM Italian knows how to create a gorgeous photo worthy entree that is also delicious to eat!
Tavern on Rush
Voted “Best Outdoor Dining” by Chicago Scene Magazine, Tavern on Rush has a unique patio perfect for brunch with the girls or even a quick bite on your lunch hour. This restaurant has 6 different menus to choose from: brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert, quick bites at the bar and a cocktail menu. From pancakes and chicken sandwiches, steaks, and pizza or simple rib sliders, Tavern on Rush has anything your heart will desire. Located on popular Rush Street, this restaurant is the place you want to check-in on Facebook at!
Open only for dinner, Nellcote is inspired by a French chateau. Located in the West Loop, Nellcote is perfect for a romantic night or a group dinner. They even offer wedding packages! With high ceilings, gorgeous chandeliers and marble floors, this restaurant are not only beautiful but picture perfect. Nellcote’s menu includes New American dishes from plates of pasta and pizzas to chicken and salmon. No other word should be used to describe this place other than elegant perhaps swanky. Reservations are definitely required and be sure to save room for dessert.
Blue Door Kitchen & Garden
Located in Chicago’s Gold Coast, Blue Door provides farm-fresh ingredients and has a menu that changes seasonally. Their brunch menu includes fried chicken and waffles, eggs and hash or if you’re feeling daring try the shrimp and grits. Blue Door’s lunch menu has deviled eggs listed as an appetizer (always a favorite!) and lots of soups and salads. However, their dinner menu is what catches most customer’s eyes. Their pork chop is served with an apple cider glaze, the short rib comes prepared in a tomato broth, and their salmon comes with pickled apples. Dishes are served on gorgeous blue plates. You’ll feel like you’re in another world when dining at Blue Door Kitchen & Garden!
A family-owned restaurant located in the West Loop, La Josie cannot be compared to other Mexican restaurants. With brick walls, a leather bench and high top tables made of wood, you’ll feel as though you stepped into a loft. You’ll definitely pull out your camera for La Josie’s neon signs that read “Today’s for you” and “Tomorrow’s for me.” Their margaritas and cocktails pair very well with dishes such as enchiladas, ceviche, and al pastor tacos with pineapple! La Josie has 3 bars including one on the roof, perfect for a summer night and a must visit in the city of Chicago.
Last but certainly not least, BLVD is a modern restaurant located in the West Loop inspired by Hollywood Sunset Boulevard in California. Definitely dress to impress when coming to this restaurant. Décor includes velvet purple walls, booths with white leather and glamourous hanging chandeliers. From the outside of the building, you would have no idea that the restaurant has a 1950’s Hollywood theme. Not only is this place an Instagram must but has a very diverse menu too. Anything from steak and potatoes to global-inspired plates such as herb-crusted lamb chops, BLVD has what you’re looking for. Be sure to try the “Champaign Cocktail” on their drink menu or their chocolate peanut butter cake. Also, reservations are a must but if you’re celebrating a birthday, girl’s night or life, BLVD is the place to be!
Is this list missing any awesome restaurants? What are some of the best food places in Chicago in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!
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Ciara Barnett is a journalism and public relations student at Columbia College Chicago. When she's not writing or at the library, Ciara pours glasses of wine at a winery in her hometown of Tinley Park, Illinois. Ciara has written for various college newspapers and her articles have also been published online. She did an editorial internship for a textbook publishing company and now freelances for Society 19. When Ciara graduates college, she wants to work for a publishing company and bring more books into the world. Ciara hopes one day to become an author. She can be found on Instagram @ciarabarnettxo or on Twitter.