In a city famed for its culinary scene, how do you choose where to go for dinner? With so many talented chefs and buzzy restaurants popping up in Chicago, it's truly difficult to try them all. Even after you try to narrow it down, you can still be left with a lofty bucket list, so we're highlighting a select few of the most anticipated openings in the Windy City.
Each restaurant on our list was recently opened by an acclaimed chef, so you know you'll be in for a treat. From a vegetarian-forward restaurant to an approachable spot to share a meal, ahead are seven new restaurants to try in Chicago, whether you're a local or just passing through.
This vegetable-driven restaurant opened in Wicker Park in May. The Clever Rabbit menu, which is divided into four sections (platters, salads, vegetables, and plates), includes an extensive offering of vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free dishes, as well as thoughtfully sourced meats and seafood. Also, expect creative cocktails to the likes of a carrot margarita with sage and a matcha gin and tonic with honey and lemon.
2015 W. Division St., Chicago
We adore the Scandinavian simplicity of this darling restaurant on Randolph's restaurant row in the West Loop. Picture muted brick walls, exposed ductwork, and folding glass doors that open to outdoor seating. Elske's American- and Danish-inspired menu includes à la carte offerings like fermented black bean agnolotti with morels and sugar peas and fried soft-shell crab salad with endive, cucumber, and garden herb cream, as well as an eight-course tasting menu ($85).
1350 W. Randolph St., Chicago
From the upscale Alinea Group (Alinea, Next Restaurant, and The Aviary) is Roister, a casual concept that opened last April in West Loop. The à la carte menu, dreamed up in part by chef Andrew Brochu, is prepared mostly over an open hearth. Though it’s the most casual restaurant from the Alinea Group, offerings include Japanese wagyu and a foie gras candy bar for dessert. Make note: The whole chicken with chamomile is not to be missed. Also, like the food, the décor at this open-kitchen restaurant strikes a balance between casual and refined.
951 W. Fulton Market, Chicago
Inspired by 1920s Paris, this fine-dining Michael Mina brasserie opened this month inside the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. The restaurant serves classic French fare like escargot bordelaise and cheese and champagne carts. Margeaux also features $30 bottomless rosé for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, local Chicago beers on tap, and cocktails concocted with matcha. For a casual, Parisian-inspired sidewalk café visit Petit Margeaux with outdoor seating in the hotel's courtyard.
11 E. Walton St., Chicago
Smyth and the Loyalist
Opened in the West Loop at the end of August 2016 is this two-story concept by husband-and-wife duo John and Karen Urie Shields. On the first floor is The Loyalist, which serves à la carte seasonally focused fare like red beets with grilled strawberries, sunflowers, and fresh goat cheese, while upstairs, the Smyth offers five-, eight-, and 12-course tasting menus.
177 N. Ada St., Chicago
Fat Baby Tacos
Bookmark Fat Baby Tacos if you plan to be out late Thursday through Saturday when it's open from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. The casual spot, which debuted in May, is nestled in the River North neighborhood. Expect slow-roasted chicken and carnitas, homemade tortillas, handcrafted cocktails, and tamales.
109 W. Hubbard St., Chicago
This contemporary American restaurant opened July 6 in Hotel Lincoln. At The Kennison, chef Bill Walker focuses on seasonal and sustainable ingredients for the menu, including tagliatelle prepared with buckwheat, green garlic, fava, and maitake, and raw bar offerings like scallop crudo served in a shell and oysters with frozen champagne mignonette.
1816 N. Clark St., Chicago
Have you been to any of these new restaurants in Chicago? Is there one you can't wait to try? Let us know.