Diversity Best Expressed: The Best Places To Eat In Chicago - Updated 2021

places to eat in chicago

Chicago is a city whose prosperity was built from the ground up. The city would have been nothing without the collective unity of all sorts of people in order to make the community successful. This cooperation has made Chicago into an especially interesting city, because it has grown into and embraced its diversity to make its own identity as the third most-populous city in the United States. This diversity is especially reflected in the food travelers can find in Chicago. The selection of great places to eat in Chicago is extensive, and simply walking one block over can yield an entirely new dining experience.

1. Pinstripes: Bocce Ball and Bowling Restaurant

Just a 10-minute walk from Navy Pier is the fun restaurant of Pinstripes. Guests can choose between just eating at the bistro, or participating in the bowling alley or bocce ball courts. The bistro features mostly American foods such as burgers, pizzas, and flatbreads, as well as pastas, desserts, and gluten free options. Admission for bowling and bocce depends on a few factors: how many guests are participating, how many hours, what time of day you are visiting and on what days you are visiting. Because of these multiple factors I recommend checking their website to get the best idea of how much your time there will cost. Bowling shoes are required and are 5 USD per person. The bowling alleys and bocce courts are very popular, so making a reservation for your party is recommended. This restaurant is perfect for family outings, as well as adult gatherings, so if you’re looking for great food and easy going activities, this is the perfect place.

Pinstripes: Bocce Ball and Bowling Restaurant

Address: 435 E Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60611

Website: Pinstripes

2. Cité Chicago

🍽Seafood Risotto 🍽 #citechicago #seafoodrisotto #finedining #chicagorestaurant #restaurantwithaview

A post shared by Cite Restaurant Chicago (@citechicago) on Apr 20, 2017 at 6:24pm PDT

What could be better than eating great food while enjoying fantastic views of the Chicago skyline, Lake Michigan, and Navy Pier? Well that is exactly what Cité Chicago provides you. This amazing restaurant is at the top of Lake Point Tower, and offers 360-degree views of the area. The restaurant serves up great steaks, seafood, and has an extensive wine list. Cité is open from Monday to Thursday 6pm to 10pm, Friday and Saturday 6pm to 11pm, and Sundays 11:30am to 3pm for brunch then 6pm to 10pm. The restaurant is available for private events that can accommodate up to 150 guests with tables, or 225 guests without. Cité’s Private Event Manager is available at +1 3125954845 or [email protected]

Cité Chicago

Address: 505 North Lake Shore Drive, 70th floor, Chicago, IL 60611

Website: Cité Chicago

3. The Capital Grille

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

As one of Chicago’s best steakhouses, the Capital Grille is an impressive establishment. Entrées here range from steak, to sushi, to seafood. The Grille also has over 350 wines available, a collection with at least one wine from nearly every wine-growing territory on Earth. Reservations are not required but are recommended. Guests can meet with an event coordinator to plan an elegant private event that will surely make an evening special.

The Capital Grille

Address: 633 N St Clair St, Chicago, IL 60611

Website: The Capital Grille

4. Bandera

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

A post shared by Tyler (@neurhoe_) on Feb 18, 2017 at 2:33pm PST

There is Spring magic in the air!

Posted by Bandera Restaurant (Chicago) on Sunday, May 5, 2019

Bandera is a lively yet sophisticated restaurant that serves American food with a Southwestern influence. It overlooks Michigan Avenue and provides live jazz music. All guests are brought Bandera’s famous skillet cornbread upon being seated at their table. The menu of Bandera includes a variety of satisfying salads, ribs, pork, rotisserie chicken, and much more. Parking is available for the restaurant at the ROW Garage that is located at 50 East Ohio Street and is 16 USD for 3 hours. Bandera is open Sunday through Thursdays 11am to 10pm, and Friday through Saturday 11am to 11pm. The restaurant is casual dining, but does like to be clear about what they expect their patrons to wear and reviews these policies on their website under the section labeled “Dining Info”. Additionally, Bandera does not recommend bringing children to their restaurants, both for maintaining the calm environment and because it may not provide seating specifically for children (high chairs, booster seats etc). Overall Bandera is a great location for a healthy and laidback dining experience.


Address: 535 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Website: Bandera

5. Yolk

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

A good breakfast is an essential component to a great day of exploring Chicago. Yolk’s goal is to provide its guests with original and hearty breakfasts that will help them start their day. Yolk is a concept restaurant born from the desire of Taki Kastanis to create a friendly restaurant with an urban appeal that could bring together both locals and travelers. Yolk has 6 locations in the city of Chicago: Streeterville, near Navy Pier; South Loop, near the Field Museum; West Loop, on Madison Avenue near the Presidential Towers; Marina City, along the Chicago River near the House of Blues; River North on Chicago Avenue; and Lakeview off of Diversey Parkway near the Elks National Veterans Memorial. This makes it easy to plan a visit no matter where you are staying or planning to go within the city.


Address: Streeterville: 355 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611; South Loop: 1120 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605; West Loop: 500 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60661; Marina City: 340 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654; River North: 747 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654; Lakeview: 501 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614

Website: Yolk

6. Wildberry Pancakes and Café

For the love of pancakes...waffles...and all things sweet. #WildberrysChicago

A post shared by Ankit Pandey (@ankit_arithmetic) on Feb 25, 2017 at 1:10pm PST


A post shared by Liz Thompson (@queenlizmxo) on Oct 2, 2014 at 2:31pm PDT

Located just across East Randolph Street from Millennium Park, Wildberry Pancakes and Café is another great spot for getting breakfast and also lunch. Wildberry’s philosophy revolves around using only locally grown, farm fresh ingredients, as well as freshly baked breads. Wildberry’s menu features all the breakfast staples such as: eggs Benedict, omelets, skillets, pancakes, crepes, and French toasts. For lunch, the menu includes: Panini’s, wraps, salads, and sandwiches. The café also serves coffees, fresh fruits, oatmeal, and yogurts. Wildberry’s is open daily from 6:30am to 2:30pm. Parking is available nearby in the Prudential Parking Garage, and the Millennium Park Parking Garage.

Wildberry Pancakes and Café

Address: 130 E. Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601

Website: Wildberry Pancakes and Café

7. Girl and the Goat

Source: Photo by user star5112 used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Scallops, English pea quinoa, Chinese sausage

A post shared by Steven James Wong (@stevenjwong) on Apr 20, 2017 at 8:04pm PDT

Randolph Street is one of the main veins of traffic in Chicago, and its reputation as a hot spot for some of the city’s best restaurants is not unfounded. One of these must-see restaurants is the Girl and the Goat. This rustic yet elegant eatery seeks to combine a menu of classic foods with international flair. The menu of this restaurant has so much variety and unique dishes it would be pointless of me to begin listing them all, so just take a look at the menu on their website which is linked below. The Girl and the Goat holds special Chef’s Events, where guests can indulge in a special evening following a specific theme, or attend a cooking demo. This restaurant is open Sundays through Thursdays from 4:30pm to 11pm, and Fridays to Saturdays 4:30pm to 12am. A visit to the Girl and the Goat will give you the chance to experience the amazing work of Chicago native Stephanie Izard, who is the head chef of this fine establishment.

Girl and the Goat

Address: 809 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Website: Girl and the Goat

8. Gino’s East

Gino's East Pizzeria, Chicago, Illinois
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are 5 Gino’s East locations in Chicago. For the purpose of this guide I am referring to the original Gino’s East located on Superior Street, just a 6-minute walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. This local favorite is famous for having one of the best deep-dish pizzas you can find. Gino’s is also famous for being a restaurant that was truly built by its community. A claim supported by the names and messages written by its thousands of patrons all over the walls. And of course, should you visit, you can add something of your own to the collection. Gino’s is open Sunday through Thursday from 11am to 9pm, and Friday to Saturday 11am to 10pm.

Gino’s East

Address: 162 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611

Website: Gino’s East

9. Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

There are several Lou Malnati’s locations throughout both inner and outer Chicago. So many in fact that discussing the details of them individually would be quite cumbersome, so I suggest you visit their website for additional details. Some locations offer only carryout and delivery services, while others are full service restaurants. The original location is a quaint restaurant decorated with memorabilia of Chicago sports teams. It is open Sunday through Thursday 11am to 10pm, and Friday to Saturday 11am to 12am. Lou’s does do catering, and can also host for private events.

Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Address: Lincolnwood Location: 6649 Lincoln Ave, Lincolnwood, IL 60712

Website: Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

10. Au Cheval

The Best Burger
Source: Photo by user Steven Miller used under CC BY 2.0

It’s debatable whether or not one can actually call this a diner, so I’ll leave the deciding up to you. If so, it’s definitely the most fancy diner I’ve ever seen. Au Cheval is another Randolph Street resident, that makes its mark as “a diner-style bar and restaurant with a passion for eggs”. This intimate restaurant’s décor is moody and the classic diner layout is violently juxtaposed with the expensive textures of the furniture. Its menu ranges from roasted bone marrow to a traditional cheeseburger, and has plentiful cocktails and beers. Au Cheval is open Monday through Saturday from 11am to 1am, and Sunday 10am to 12am. The restaurant does serve a reduced menu from 3pm to 5pm on both Saturday and Sunday. This corner diner is truly a phenomenon that must be experienced in person.

Au Cheval

Address: 800 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607

Website: Au Cheval

An eclectic collection

The patchwork quilt of restaurants that make up the Chicago community is something special that can only be born under certain circumstances. Not every city can bring together the best of its diversity to create memorable restaurants that welcome travelers with ease, but Chicago has managed to do just that. It is unfortunate that more excellent restaurants couldn’t have been featured in this guide, but I suppose you’ll just have to go discover them for yourself.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

Hi there, my name is Sydney. I am a student pursuing my master's degree in international human rights law. My insatiable curiosity about the world is something that has defined me since childhood....Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Chicago
Good things are meant to be shared!