Chicago's 15 Best Restaurants To Visit In 2023

Chicago is home to some of the best restaurants in the world, and new ones are popping up left and right across the span of the entire city. There's no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in the plans of many local restaurants, with some closing doors for good. Luckily, many fan favorites have managed to stay afloat, and now, in 2023, several new spots are opening up to restaurant-goers who are more eager than ever to get out there and enjoy some new food.

From fine to casual dining, pop-ups to sit-downs, and full-fledged menus to limited, curated options, there's something for everyone in Chicago's latest food scene. And, as many Chicagoans know, good food isn't limited to any one neighborhood, nor is it strictly limited to the north and south sides of the city — this list covers quite the span of locations, and the cuisines even broader yet. Though new to the Windy City, each of these restaurants — and, moreover, the chefs behind them — have a story to tell and palates to please. Whether you're looking for the latest and greatest in French fine dining restaurants or more laid-back, plant-based options, Chicago's new eateries are dishing it out like never before in 2023.


As a restaurant specializing in fine Afghan and Mediterranean cuisine, Helmand offers an elevated approach to classic dishes like hummus, kofta korma, and an assortment of kabobs from beef to lamb to chicken to salmon. Whichever variation of kabob you do go with, expect a hearty plate of rice to accompany it. And do opt for dessert here — the Afghan cream roll is light and airy, with a not-too-sweet filling. Or maybe the firnee will satisfy that sweet tooth better, an Afghan pudding with warm notes of cardamom. 

Helmand certainly isn't the first place to offer Mediterranean food in the city, but for folks in Albany Park and beyond, it definitely provides a fresh taste while maintaining affordability. A family-owned restaurant, married couple Wahid Tanha and Maria Kharot have brought Helmand to life thanks to their combined expertise in Afghan food. Tanha also wears the chef hat at Helmand, and his passion for the cuisine is refreshingly apparent with each and every dish on the menu.


If you come to Chicago with visions of fine dining and a thoughtful menu to select from, then Atelier is most definitely a must-try spot. Long-term Chicagoans may recognize Atelier's space as the one that recently belonged to Michelin-starred Elizabeth; not easy shoes to fill, but executive chef Christian Hunter is gracefully conquering that challenge. A few of Atelier's New American offerings have included a pimento cheese starter, lamb bacon and caviar chowder, and a foie gras creme brûlée to finish off the meal. 

Atelier is the place to go when you want a curated dining experience. Dinner comes at a set price, though you can optionally add wine or spirit-free pairings. The menu also changes quite often, as Chef Hunter makes the most out of seasonal foods. Whenever you do happen to end up at Atelier, and whatever variation of the menu you may select from, there is absolutely no doubt that you'll leave feeling impressed with Lincoln Square's latest and greatest. 

Professor Pizza

There's no such thing as too much pizza, and moreover, there's no such thing as too many pizza places, especially in a city as vast as Chicago. One of the latest pizza joints to come out swinging is Professor Pizza, located in the West Loop. Unsurprisingly, you'll find pizza on the menu here — and some pretty darn good ones, at that. Play it safe with a deluxe pepperoni pie, or opt for the more divisive Humboldt pie, which features vodka sauce, pepperoni, pineapple, red onion, pickled jalapeño, and ranch. 

Professor Pizza also offers quite a bit of wiggle room when it comes to the crust, with the default being a "cracker thin" crust; for some extra cash, however, you can opt for a New York-style, Sicilian-style, Detroit-style, or even a grandma-style crust. Otherwise, don't expect too many frills from this joint — it's a pizza place through and through, but boy, does it do it well. 


If you've never had a brisket banh mi, then you're missing out — and Umamicue, which is a pop-up operating out of Logan Square's Spilt Milk tavern, is here to change that. Pitmaster and owner Charles Wong has seamlessly blended fan-favorite Chinese and Vietnamese dishes like crab rangoon, spring rolls, and of course, the classic banh mi with smoky, Texas barbecue-inspired meats to create food that is exactly as mouthwatering as it sounds. 

Umamicue offers a truly refreshing take on barbecue, and for those purists who enjoy their brisket straight-up and as-is, you can order that as well (there are plate options), or perhaps crispy pork belly is more up to your speed. Whatever smoked meat you opt for, be sure to get in and get it while you can — Umamicue only serves at Split Milk three days a week: Tuesday-Thursday. It's a small window for barbecue with such big flavors, but it's worth making a trip for.

Dear Madison

We know that oysters are a pretty polarizing food; some people love the wet, slimy texture, whereas others are steadfastly put off by it. If you fall into the former category and happen to enjoy the seafood delicacy, then you're in for a treat with West Loop's Dear Madison. As expected, Dear Madison offers plenty of oysters, but you can also order mussels, ceviche, or even a fried chicken taco if seafood simply isn't your thing. And what better way to wash down some fresh oysters than with a stiff cocktail? Dear Madison offers its fair share of cocktails, ranging from margaritas to martinis to sangria. 

Are you more of a morning person? No problem, you can also snag brunch here, and yes, oysters are on the menu in the A.M., too. If you're more of the traditional type, however, then you may enjoy land favorites like chicken and waffles, steak and eggs, or chilaquiles. 

Boonie's Filipino

If you've been seeking fresh Filipino food in the Chicago area, then you are ever-so in luck — Boonie's Filipino is officially in its own space and serving up some pretty spectacular eats. Those who frequent Revival Food Hall may recognize the name and perhaps even the cuisine; Boonie's served at the popular downtown food hall for nearly two years, and in late 2022, that operation with sights set on the future.

The future, of course, has proven to be bright for Boonie's, as it now has a restaurant front in Lincoln Square. Boonie's also has room for a much bigger menu, and the chefs are taking full advantage of offerings that include small plates like lumpiang Shanghai, a Filipino-Chinese fusion of pork spring rolls. If you're hungry for something more than a small plate, perhaps you'll opt for a dish serving up to two people, like the classic sinigang, AKA trout that's still swimming in a delicious and warm tomato broth.

Asador Bastian

If you want to enjoy your dinner in a dark, moody, and alluring atmosphere, then you'll want to check out Asador Bastian, a chophouse with Basque influences. Chef Doug Psaltis has created a beautifully curated menu for the River North restaurant, and as you might guess from the Basque-inspired chophouse description, high-end cuts of meat are the stars of this show. Per the menu, the beef "has been aged on the hoof to develop a deeper and richer flavor over many years." Matured and cut in-house daily, Asador Bastian strives to "only serve the best-in-class and the most authentic expression of Basque-style beef."

Of course, Asador Bastian does much more than just beef. Perhaps you'll join them for a small plate, like hongos y huevos (mushrooms and eggs) or cured sardines with salsa verde. And for a memorable night out, opt for a special menu selection such as the royal red prawn, which has traveled all the way from Spain to make the menu.

Fonda Cantina

The folks at Fonda Cantina describe the restaurant as "a culinary memoir to Mexico," and its simple but refined menu certainly proves it to be true. Chefs Carlos Cahue and Miguel Escobar are both from small towns in Mexico, and both got their culinary starts in the most organic way possible — from watching family members cook. Fonda Cantina showcases generations of recipes, methods, and good cooking at its finest. That, combined with the professional culinary skills that both chefs have acquired throughout their lives, has proven to be a huge success for this Mexican restaurant, which is located in Evanston, just slightly outside of the city limits.

As for the food specifically, expect classic dishes like carne asada and tacos de camaron at their absolute finest. The albondigas are a must-try: warm, tender beef meatballs, which are cooked in a tomato-chipotle broth and served with tortillas. And don't forget the cocktails, which range from classic margaritas to micheladas to a rum-forward take on a Moscow Mule.

Shabu Plus Rotary Hot Pot

Sometimes it's not enough to just enjoy good food. Maybe you want some entertainment, a small thrill, a good laugh — and Shabu Plus Rotary will certainly deliver on all fronts. This Wicker Park hot pot place will do more than just feed you; it will offer up a seemingly endless stream of vegetables on a rotating belt and deliver your fresh brisket on a tiny red truck. 

This choose-your-own-adventure hot pot restaurant is especially ideal for the indecisive folks out there. You can't choose between egg noodles or ramen noodles? No worries, just choose both! Not sure whether to opt for truffle sauce, soy sauce, or chili sauce? No problem, you can whip up your own dressing concoction at the sauce bar. Sure, not everyone is a fan of gimmicky restaurants, but Shabu Plus also delivers truly delicious food — from high-quality meat to fresh produce (and a huge selection of it, at that). This hot pot place is ideal for those who want their meal with a side of fun and those who just want, well, hot pot

Pasta Veneta

How could we create a list of Chicago's best new restaurants without including a pasta place? Sure, there's no shortage of Italian-inspired pasta joints in the city, country, or even the world, but that doesn't mean that a new one shouldn't have its time to shine. Pasta Veneta stands out above the rest for a simple reason: simplicity. Instead of relying on gimmicks or bizarre ingredients to draw a crowd, Pasta Veneta relies on fresh, tried-and-true ingredients done right. The classic spaghetti and bolognese dish isn't broken, so this place isn't trying to fix it; instead, it's serving it heartily and with heart. Other worthy contenders include the spinach-stuffed tortelloni or the slightly more adventurous gnocchi with braised beef short rib. 

Located in the West Loop, and more specifically in Fulton Market, Pasta Veneta is in one of the trendiest spots in the city. There are nearly endless restaurants to choose from in the area, but if you're looking for a cozy date night spot or a good comfort meal, Pasta Veneta is most definitely the way to go.

Bell Heir's BBQ

There's a reason that BBQ is so popular in the U.S., surpassing backyard shindigs and making it onto the restaurant scene — because it really is that delicious! And when it comes to good barbecue, you can't go wrong with classics like buttermilk fried chicken, brisket, and rib tips. Bell Heir's BBQ offers that and much more; if you've ever wanted brisket mac n' cheese, Bell Heir's has you covered. If you've dreamt of pulled pork nachos, your dreams are a reality because Bell Heir's offers such a dish, too.

Not only does this BBQ joint offer finger-smacking good food, but it's approaching the style with family in mind. Tyris Bell opened Bell Heir's BBQ after running another Chicago hot spot, Luella's Southern Kitchen, for several years with his brother and chef Darnell Reed. With Luella's recipes in mind, Bell is taking on BBQ in Canaryville, though anyone in Chicago should be so smart as to get their hands on this grub.

Lost Reef Lounge

Some restaurants have a "wow" factor when it comes to the food, others have it when it comes to the atmosphere, and Lost Reef Lounge has both. This new Lakeview East spot is Chicago's first aquatic lounge — meaning there are aquariums nearly everywhere you turn, so you can dine with the fish as you dine on fish. The food menu features plenty of seafood options, from ahi tuna tartare to hamachi crudo, but there are turf options, too. Whatever food you end up getting, don't expect a hot plate here; a self-proclaimed cold-scratch kitchen, Lost Reef Lounge offers, expectedly, cold plates and dishes that require no cooking.

We'd be remiss not to mention Lost Reef Lounge's cocktails, as the spot have quite the list of imbibements. Whether you want a classic cocktail, such as a gimlet or Manhattan, or you want to stay on theme and go for a Great Barrier or Last Splash, there's something for everyone at this cocktail lounge. Ideal for date nights, the Lost Reef Lounge will fully immerse you in the aquatic atmosphere, and you'll enjoy every second of it.

Le Select

If you're looking for the latest and greatest in French fine dining, then you'd be remiss not to choose the tasteful Le Select. It's pretty difficult to reinvent the wheel when it comes to French cuisine, but fortunately, Le Select isn't trying to do that. Instead, Michelin star-chef Daniel Rose aims to showcase the fare in all its glory, and that means serving up absolute classics such as French onion soup, escargot, steak frites, and duck à l'orange. The meals are as lush as the deep red dining booths that outfit the space. 

Appetizers and entrees are important for any good meal, but at Le Select, dessert is just as crucial. Perhaps you'll want a post-dinner, pre-dessert service du fromage (AKA cheese), or you'll skip straight to the sweet stuff without reserve. Once you get there, you won't be disappointed — pair that espresso with an eclair or creme caramel for the ideal balance of bitter and sweet. 

Kimski 2.0

Bridgeport residents and Maria's bar enthusiasts have been familiar with Kimski for years; Kimski 2.0, however, is back in its same location, offering an updated menu with a heavier Korean focus. You can still expect Korean-Polish fusion with Kimski 2.0, with potato and cheese pierogis, Maria's standard Polish sausage, and dressed fries remaining on the menu. As for a more Korean-forward approach, Chef Won Kim has added the likes of garlic chili cucumbers, a cheesy beef sandwich, a KBBQ platter, and much more to the updated menu. 

Kimski was such a success from the get-go thanks to its unique cross cuisine and ideal balance between pub-yet-elevated food. During his sabbatical, Chef Kim tested out a variety of new dishes at pop-ups across the city and beyond, eventually landing on the menu for Kimski 2.0. With a set menu in place, however, Kim is still embracing room for experimentation, so when you do visit Kimski 2.0, expect weekly or monthly specials to keep things interesting. 

Don Bucio's Taqueria

Rounding out our list is the Logan Square-based taqueria, Don Bucio's, which goes where few taquerias have gone before — an entirely plant-based route. Indeed, every single item on Don Bucio's menu is vegan, and just one glance at the menu will leave you astounded at the innovation. Don Bucio's isn't slapping Beyond Beef on a tortilla and calling it a day; instead, it's serving up Guajillo-braised jackfruit, soy-based flank steak, and "al pastor" (which is actually made from legumes and root vegetables), cut fresh off the trompo. 

While many people find plant-based eating to be a bit intimidating and unfamiliar, owner Rodolfo Cuadros and executive chef Gustavo Ocampo approach it with accessibility in mind. With easily-recognizable dishes like burritos, tortas, and even "steak" fajitas on the menu, even the most steadfast meat-eaters will find something to love at this place. And don't skip out on dessert here — sweet treats like choco churros and coconut Arroz con leche feature a cashew dulce du leche, making for the perfect plant-based dessert to end a tasty meal. 


If you're looking for authentic southwest Indian dishes served in a bright, laid-back setting, then you'll definitely want to check out Thattu. This Avondale-based spot is led by chef Margaret Pak, and it specifically highlights Keralan cuisine: Picture everything from chicken biriyani to Kadala curry to pork chop peralan, which features a massive bone-in pork chop atop a bed of collard greens and a tangy sauce.

We'd be remiss to not also mention Thattu's impressive cocktail offerings. There's the Pazhanjan, which puts a banana-y twist on a classic Old Fashioned thanks to additions like crème be banana and garnishes like banana leaves and a torched plantain. If you need a little pick-me-up alongside your dinner, you may opt for the Madras, which is sort of like an espresso martini, featuring vodka along with chicory-laced coffee and coconut flavor.

Thattu is the place to go if you want the ideal combination of comforting classics mixed with a modern flair. While it does take walk-ins, your best bet is to make a reservation and ensure your spot at this new Avondale hot spot.


From the impressive selection of steaks grilled over a custom hearth to the indulgent pasta list all the way down to the shellfish tower, Fioretta is the place to go when you want the most opulent dining experience possible. A newcomer to Fulton Market, Fioretta is an Italian steakhouse that has much more to offer than just beef. Of course, if you go there for a good cut of steak, you won't be disappointed with the selection that offers everything from a New York strip to a whopping 34-ounce Tomahawk.

If steak isn't your thing, fear not; you won't have any shortage of options, and perhaps the truffle mushroom lasagna or wild sea bass will be more up to your speed. Between the high-end menu and sophisticated atmosphere, this is definitely the place you want to go to impress a date or enjoy an extravagant night out with friends. There's even a dress code, so throw on your finest outfit and enjoy a night of much-better-than-fine steaks.


Many people tend to avoid vegan food for fear that it's nothing but salads and tofu, but Herbivore proves this outdated notion couldn't be further from the truth. Whether you follow a strict vegan diet or are vegan-curious, Herbivore will satisfy all your cravings. Chef Max Musto has crafted some truly innovative recipes, perfecting combining comfort food and plant-based ingredients into something that anyone (who follows any diet) might enjoy.

So, what sort of comfort food are we talking about? Well, if you're a fan of double-stacked cheeseburgers, chopped cheese sandwiches, garlic wings, and animal-style fries, then you'll likely want to try one of everything off of Herbivore's menu. If you're lucky enough, you might check out the Bridgeport spot when they have cheesy gorditas on the menu for the week — yes, the ever-popular Taco Bell offering, but in plant-based form. Herbivore is a great example of just how far vegan food has come, and how it will only get bigger and better from here.