clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

The Go-To Restaurants for Mindshare Chicago, June 2019 (1)

Created live with your friends at Vox Media

View as Map
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Working downtown means that you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dining options. But that can also mean the potential for serious analysis paralysis: How do you decide? Luckily, we’ve done exhaustive research into this matter and are here to make sure you can eat well. Most of these spots can be found within a few blocks of the office, with a couple options a bit farther afield for days when you know that feedback on your new campaign won’t be coming in for a while. Besides, who couldn’t use a walk?

Read More
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT
Lettuce Entertain You’s West Loop restaurant has quickly become a go-to destination for al fresco dining and summertime vibes. The popularity is in part due to its rooftop patio, which is decked with cozy couches, lush greenery, and even heated igloos during winter. CJ Jacobson supplies ramped-up Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, such as hummus, kebabs, and housemade Stracciatella.

Dark Matter Coffee - The Mothership

Copy Link

Dark Matter Coffee, with its Star Lounge Coffee Bar, offers a small artisan company with amazing fair-trade coffees from Central and South America.

Big Star

Copy Link

BEST OUTDOOR DINING
The most-visited patio in town needs little introduction. Come early (dogs are welcome) or expect to wait a while as the line is sometimes hours long. Those who tough it out are rewarded with tacos, margaritas, whisky, and a prime spot for people watching. A second location is at Hotel Zachary across from Wrigley Field.

Parson's Chicken & Fish

Copy Link

BEST OUTDOOR DINING
A massive patio? Check. Negroni slushies? Ready to go. Fried chicken? Of course. The party never stops at Land and Sea Dept’s sizzling chicken shack, where patrons can easily spend an entire day hanging out. The food is worth sticking around for; the lineup of greasy goodness includes hush puppies, fried fish, and crunchy chicken that’s been brined and dipped in buttermilk hot sauce. A second Chicago location is now open in Lincoln Park.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish 
[Official Photo]

Girl & The Goat

Copy Link

BEST RESTAURANT TO TAKE A NEW CLIENT
Since winning season four of “Top Chef” in 2008, Stephanie Izard has been one of the city’s most popular chefs. Her original restaurant, Girl & the Goat, is still tough to reserve as fans continue to flock in to try bold, signature dishes like oven-roasted pig face and goat empanadas. Izard capped off her quick rise to fame with a Best Chef: Great Lakes award in 2013. She’s since expanded her Chicago footprint with acclaimed restaurants Duck Duck Goat, Little Goat Diner, and Cabra.

The Aviary

Copy Link

BEST FANCY HAPPY HOUR
The Aviary is what happens when the people behind one of the world’s best restaurants (Alinea) open a cocktail bar: revolutionary drinks that excite every sense and a mixology show behind the fenced in “cocktail kitchen.” It’s a must for any cocktail fan passing through the Windy City, and who can even try to get into the tiny cocktail bar the Office underneath.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Portillo's Hot Dogs

Copy Link

BEST HOT DOG
A Chicago-style hot dog is a can’t-miss while visiting the Windy City, and eaters don’t have to leave downtown to check out the most beloved local chain in the area for dogs, Italian beef, addictive milkshakes, chocolate cake, and much more for cheap.

La Pizza & La Pasta at Eataly Chicago

Copy Link

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A TEAM LUNCH
The only Midwest location for Joe and Lidia Bastianich’s Italian food wonderland, the Chicago spot includes two floors full of restaurants focusing on an array of dishes, grocery and retail items, a microbrewery, a Nutella bar, gelato, and much much much more. Former partner and disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali sold his shares and stepped away from the business in 2017.

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria

Copy Link

BEST NEARBY PIZZA
The Malnati Chicago Classic: Chicago is synonymous with deep dish pizza and Lou Malnati’s famed pies are a glorious overload of cheese and carbs that no true Chicagoan is ashamed of loving. The Malnati Chicago Classic takes it to the next level with a layer of lean sausage patty atop an oh-so-good buttercrust.

Maple & Ash

Copy Link

MOST BEAUTIFUL (INSTAGRAM-WORTHY)
Chicago steakhouse culture was turned on its ear when this Gold Coast jewel combined uniquely chef-driven meat dishes with a sultry scene in fall 2015. Acclaimed chef Danny Grant brought his talents back from South Beach to fire up the wood-burning hearth where his team churns out the lavish cuts steakhouse fans expect as well as creative twists including towers of roasted seafood, sauternes soaked foie gras, and the 40-ounce “Eisenhower” cut for $175. The wine and bubbly selections are also top-notch, all served in a gorgeous space jammed nightly with partying A-list locals, so if blowing a good chunk of the expense account isn’t in the cards the downstairs bar and patio is also there for a more affordable night.

Maple & Ash
[Official Photo]

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION
Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas’ three-Michelin-starred avant garde fine dining institution is quite simply one of the world’s best restaurants. Food obsessives make pilgrimages from around the globe to the 10-year-old Lincoln Park restaurant to experience Achatz’s emotional, interactive and expensive tasting menus, which play out in a recently renovated backdrop that now features three distinct dining options. It clocked in at No. 34 on the most recent World’s 50 Best List in 2018 and was among Eater National’s best restaurants in America. Dishes predictably change often on the tasting menus, but the edible balloon and tabletop dessert are among those that put it on the world stage.

Matthew Gilson

Cindy's

Copy Link

BEST ROOFTOP BAR
Cindy’s, the uber-popular rooftop bar and restaurant on the 13th floor of the acclaimed and restored Chicago Athletic Association hotel in the Loop, built a new outdoor bar on its terrace overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Come for boozy popsicles and ice cream pops, multiple rosé options, a rotating large-format cocktail menu, and more.

BEST LOCAL SANDWICH
Rick Bayless, celebrity chef and an ambassador of Mexican cuisine, is a household name. His cochinita pibil torta — only available on Wednesdays — is served on crusty bread spread with black beans and achiote paste, layered with pickled onions and habanero salsa, and finished off with juicy strands of a slow-roasted suckling pig.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Aba

BEST NEW RESTAURANT
Lettuce Entertain You’s West Loop restaurant has quickly become a go-to destination for al fresco dining and summertime vibes. The popularity is in part due to its rooftop patio, which is decked with cozy couches, lush greenery, and even heated igloos during winter. CJ Jacobson supplies ramped-up Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food, such as hummus, kebabs, and housemade Stracciatella.

Dark Matter Coffee - The Mothership

Dark Matter Coffee, with its Star Lounge Coffee Bar, offers a small artisan company with amazing fair-trade coffees from Central and South America.

Big Star

BEST OUTDOOR DINING
The most-visited patio in town needs little introduction. Come early (dogs are welcome) or expect to wait a while as the line is sometimes hours long. Those who tough it out are rewarded with tacos, margaritas, whisky, and a prime spot for people watching. A second location is at Hotel Zachary across from Wrigley Field.

Parson's Chicken & Fish

Parson’s Chicken & Fish 
[Official Photo]

BEST OUTDOOR DINING
A massive patio? Check. Negroni slushies? Ready to go. Fried chicken? Of course. The party never stops at Land and Sea Dept’s sizzling chicken shack, where patrons can easily spend an entire day hanging out. The food is worth sticking around for; the lineup of greasy goodness includes hush puppies, fried fish, and crunchy chicken that’s been brined and dipped in buttermilk hot sauce. A second Chicago location is now open in Lincoln Park.

Parson’s Chicken & Fish 
[Official Photo]

Girl & The Goat

BEST RESTAURANT TO TAKE A NEW CLIENT
Since winning season four of “Top Chef” in 2008, Stephanie Izard has been one of the city’s most popular chefs. Her original restaurant, Girl & the Goat, is still tough to reserve as fans continue to flock in to try bold, signature dishes like oven-roasted pig face and goat empanadas. Izard capped off her quick rise to fame with a Best Chef: Great Lakes award in 2013. She’s since expanded her Chicago footprint with acclaimed restaurants Duck Duck Goat, Little Goat Diner, and Cabra.

The Aviary

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

BEST FANCY HAPPY HOUR
The Aviary is what happens when the people behind one of the world’s best restaurants (Alinea) open a cocktail bar: revolutionary drinks that excite every sense and a mixology show behind the fenced in “cocktail kitchen.” It’s a must for any cocktail fan passing through the Windy City, and who can even try to get into the tiny cocktail bar the Office underneath.

Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Portillo's Hot Dogs

BEST HOT DOG
A Chicago-style hot dog is a can’t-miss while visiting the Windy City, and eaters don’t have to leave downtown to check out the most beloved local chain in the area for dogs, Italian beef, addictive milkshakes, chocolate cake, and much more for cheap.

La Pizza & La Pasta at Eataly Chicago

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A TEAM LUNCH
The only Midwest location for Joe and Lidia Bastianich’s Italian food wonderland, the Chicago spot includes two floors full of restaurants focusing on an array of dishes, grocery and retail items, a microbrewery, a Nutella bar, gelato, and much much much more. Former partner and disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali sold his shares and stepped away from the business in 2017.

Lou Malnati's Pizzeria

BEST NEARBY PIZZA
The Malnati Chicago Classic: Chicago is synonymous with deep dish pizza and Lou Malnati’s famed pies are a glorious overload of cheese and carbs that no true Chicagoan is ashamed of loving. The Malnati Chicago Classic takes it to the next level with a layer of lean sausage patty atop an oh-so-good buttercrust.

Maple & Ash

Maple & Ash
[Official Photo]

MOST BEAUTIFUL (INSTAGRAM-WORTHY)
Chicago steakhouse culture was turned on its ear when this Gold Coast jewel combined uniquely chef-driven meat dishes with a sultry scene in fall 2015. Acclaimed chef Danny Grant brought his talents back from South Beach to fire up the wood-burning hearth where his team churns out the lavish cuts steakhouse fans expect as well as creative twists including towers of roasted seafood, sauternes soaked foie gras, and the 40-ounce “Eisenhower” cut for $175. The wine and bubbly selections are also top-notch, all served in a gorgeous space jammed nightly with partying A-list locals, so if blowing a good chunk of the expense account isn’t in the cards the downstairs bar and patio is also there for a more affordable night.

Maple & Ash
[Official Photo]

Alinea

Matthew Gilson

BEST RESTAURANT FOR A SPECIAL OCCASION
Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas’ three-Michelin-starred avant garde fine dining institution is quite simply one of the world’s best restaurants. Food obsessives make pilgrimages from around the globe to the 10-year-old Lincoln Park restaurant to experience Achatz’s emotional, interactive and expensive tasting menus, which play out in a recently renovated backdrop that now features three distinct dining options. It clocked in at No. 34 on the most recent World’s 50 Best List in 2018 and was among Eater National’s best restaurants in America. Dishes predictably change often on the tasting menus, but the edible balloon and tabletop dessert are among those that put it on the world stage.

Matthew Gilson

Cindy's

BEST ROOFTOP BAR
Cindy’s, the uber-popular rooftop bar and restaurant on the 13th floor of the acclaimed and restored Chicago Athletic Association hotel in the Loop, built a new outdoor bar on its terrace overlooking Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Come for boozy popsicles and ice cream pops, multiple rosé options, a rotating large-format cocktail menu, and more.

XOCO

BEST LOCAL SANDWICH
Rick Bayless, celebrity chef and an ambassador of Mexican cuisine, is a household name. His cochinita pibil torta — only available on Wednesdays — is served on crusty bread spread with black beans and achiote paste, layered with pickled onions and habanero salsa, and finished off with juicy strands of a slow-roasted suckling pig.

Related Maps