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RPM on the Water is one of many new options along the river.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Where to Eat and Drink Along the Chicago River

Chicago’s other waterfront has plenty of dining options

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RPM on the Water is one of many new options along the river.
| Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Whether traveling by boat or kayak, the Chicago River — an intricate system that runs from northwest to southwest — offers a fun way to explore the city’s various neighborhoods. Such adventure is sure to work up an appetite, so here are 15 great pit stops along the way to refuel with food and drinks. From pizza to craft beer, some of Chicago’s best bites can be conveniently reached by land or sea. New additions to the list for 2020 include luxurious hotspot RPM Seafood, breakfast and brunch spot Batter & Berries, and tea experts Chiya Chai.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Metropolitan Brewing

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3057 N Rockwell St
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 754-0494
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A lazy journey on the river wouldn’t be complete without a cold beer or two. Metropolitan Brewing, highly regarded for German-style lagers, keeps folks refreshed with pints of Krankshaft Kölsch and more at its Avondale taproom. The space is trendy for weddings and there’s outdoor seating. The floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of the waterfront.

A brewery along the river
Settle in for drinks and views at Metropolitan Brewing.
Dave Thompson

2. Batter & Berries

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66 E Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
(773) 248-7710
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This essential breakfast cafe in Lincoln Park debuted a Riverwalk outpost last summer in the Michigan Avenue Marketplace between Michigan and Wabash avenues. Snag French toast flights, biscuits and gravy, and more from this counter-service wing of a burgeoning brunch empire.

A flight of French toasts.
French toast flights are the star at Batter & Berries.
Batter & Berries [Official Photo]

3. Chiya Chai

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66 E Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

Acclaimed Logan Square Nepalese restaurant and tea spot Chiya Chai also operates a satellite location in the Michigan Avenue Marketplace. On the Riverwalk, patrons can find seven chai flavors along with lassis, coffee, and South Asian food including samosas and masala chicken savory pies.

A cup of iced chai on the Riverwalk.
This spot’s chai experts have seven flavors along the Riverwalk.
Pascal Photos

4. The Northman Beer & Cider Garden

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E Lower Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 228-1911
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The city’s first cider bar closed in February, but the Chicago Riverwalk outpost of the Northman remains, sporting a dog-friendly beer garden with seating for more than 500. The drink list features dozens of ciders and beers, available on draft or by the bottle/can, and is accompanied by European-inspired gastropub fare, such as doner kebab sausages, pretzels, and baked Camembert cheese.

5. Chicago Cut Steakhouse

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300 N LaSalle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 329-1800
Visit Website

Chicago’s lust for meat and potatoes knows no bounds and there are a seemingly endless number of excellent steakhouses all over town. Few, however, offer the type of idyllic view that comes with a meal at Chicago Cut. Situated along the Chicago River, this sleek and modern spot is popular among celebrities, executives, and just about anyone who enjoys a mouth-watering cut of beef. The steaks are dry-aged on site for 35 days and the bone-in rib eye is a particular favorite, praised for its tenderness and concentrated flavor. This is a favorite of ex-professional athletes.

#MondayMotivation 85 degrees Patio #LetsDoThis #aCutAbove

Posted by CHICAGO CUT STEAKHOUSE on Monday, September 30, 2019

6. Smith & Wollensky

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318 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 670-9900
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Sure, it’s a chain, but the views are just dynamite. Perched just above the Chicago River, this popular steakhouse is about as close as one can get to the water without getting splashed. Patrons can expect indulgences like USDA prime beef and seafood towers that pair well with an exceptional vantage point.

A steakhouse above the Chicago River
Riverside steakhouse Smith & Wollensky beside the famous Marina City Towers
Smith & Wollensky [Official Photo]

7. River Roast

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315 N LaSalle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 822-0100
Visit Website

A succulent piece of chicken is right up there with life’s finest pleasures and this riverside restaurant serves up one of the best versions. Whether it’s the signature whole chicken (carved tableside), tender roast beef, or fire-roasted fish, diners have many delicious choices to sink their teeth into. On weekends, brunch service is accompanied by live blues.

A riverside restaurant patio.
River Roast features delectable dishes and views.
March Much/Eater Chicago

8. RPM Seafood

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317 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

Hotly anticipated riverfront restaurant RPM Seafood, another joint venture from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic, debuted in January to much glitzy fanfare. The trendy two-floor space with lovely river views features a menu stacked with seafood towers, top-notch fishes, and cocktails. There’s also the more causal Pizzeria Portofino on the river level, all part of the RPM on the Water complex..

A large restaurant on the Chicago River.
RPM Seafood lovely gorgeous river views.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

9. City Winery

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11 W. Riverwalk South
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 229-5593
Visit Website

The Chicago Riverwalk is rife with watering holes, including the second local outpost of City Winery. Those on a boat can pull right up to the bar and restaurant and sip rosé all day long. The drinking is best paired with light bites of meats and cheeses or a panini. It’s not just a summertime destination — guests can keep the good times rolling when temperatures dip by reserving a climate-controlled bubble dome.

Join us at City Winery Chicago Riverwalk in our heated enclosure for great drinks, food and music all weekend long! We...

Posted by City Winery Chicago Riverwalk on Tuesday, April 30, 2019

10. Gibsons Italia

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233 N Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 414-1100
Visit Website

Gibsons Restaurant Group’s first new restaurant in 12 years is a triumphant success. The lavish tri-level steakhouse features Gibsons’ USDA Prime Angus beef along with a host of hearty Italian dishes, such as gold-extruded pasta and seven-year-aged risotto. Scenic views from a breezy patio and a third-floor bar with a retractable roof are the cherries on top.

A dining area overlooking the Chicago River.
Gibsons Italia offers a luxurious vantage point.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

11. RAISED | An Urban Rooftop Bar

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1 W Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 795-3444
Visit Website

This roofdeck bar on the Renaissance Chicago Hotel’s third floor offers hard-to-beat views of the Chicago River, along with plenty of drinks, snacks, and shared plates (for sustenance between drinks).

An open rooftop bar on the Chicago River.
Raised offers a menu of party fuel and fantastic views.
Raised [Official Photo]

12. Beatnik on the River

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180 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 526-3345
Visit Website

Bonhomme Hospitality Group’s boho-chic restaurant and bar also operates a riverfront location. Beatnik on the River’s 50-seat terrace delivers creative cocktails and Mediterranean-influenced plates, and captures the essence of the original with lush plants, cozy couches, and prime views. In addition, the space houses an all-day café, dubbed Café Bonhomme, that serves coffees, juices, pastries, and sandwiches.

13. Porter Kitchen & Deck

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150 N Riverside Plaza
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 781-7580
Visit Website

Situated in a newly-built skyscraper, Porter Kitchen & Deck is well-suited for soaking in the scenery. Lunch and dinner menus include familiar bar fare such as lobster rolls and truffle fries, and there’s a robust cocktail list.

14. Lawrence's Fish and Shrimp

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2120 S Canal St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 225-2113
Visit Website

With a dock conveniently located behind the building, Lawrence’s is an ideal pit stop when sailing down the river. The 24-hour fried seafood specialist has been in operation since 1971, selling an array of crispy shrimp, fish, frog legs, oysters, chicken, and more. The signature crustaceans are sourced from the Gulf and boast a thick breading, though diners can opt for lighter batter. Either way, make sure to give it a dunk in the hot sauce.

We’re open 24 hours You’re hungry. Stop by! 2120 S Canal St in East Pilsen.

Posted by Lawrence's Fish & Shrimp on Monday, December 30, 2019

1. Metropolitan Brewing

3057 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618
A brewery along the river
Settle in for drinks and views at Metropolitan Brewing.
Dave Thompson

A lazy journey on the river wouldn’t be complete without a cold beer or two. Metropolitan Brewing, highly regarded for German-style lagers, keeps folks refreshed with pints of Krankshaft Kölsch and more at its Avondale taproom. The space is trendy for weddings and there’s outdoor seating. The floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of the waterfront.

3057 N Rockwell St
Chicago, IL 60618

2. Batter & Berries

66 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
A flight of French toasts.
French toast flights are the star at Batter & Berries.
Batter & Berries [Official Photo]

This essential breakfast cafe in Lincoln Park debuted a Riverwalk outpost last summer in the Michigan Avenue Marketplace between Michigan and Wabash avenues. Snag French toast flights, biscuits and gravy, and more from this counter-service wing of a burgeoning brunch empire.

66 E Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

3. Chiya Chai

66 E Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
A cup of iced chai on the Riverwalk.
This spot’s chai experts have seven flavors along the Riverwalk.
Pascal Photos

Acclaimed Logan Square Nepalese restaurant and tea spot Chiya Chai also operates a satellite location in the Michigan Avenue Marketplace. On the Riverwalk, patrons can find seven chai flavors along with lassis, coffee, and South Asian food including samosas and masala chicken savory pies.

66 E Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

4. The Northman Beer & Cider Garden

E Lower Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601

The city’s first cider bar closed in February, but the Chicago Riverwalk outpost of the Northman remains, sporting a dog-friendly beer garden with seating for more than 500. The drink list features dozens of ciders and beers, available on draft or by the bottle/can, and is accompanied by European-inspired gastropub fare, such as doner kebab sausages, pretzels, and baked Camembert cheese.

E Lower Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

5. Chicago Cut Steakhouse

300 N LaSalle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654

Chicago’s lust for meat and potatoes knows no bounds and there are a seemingly endless number of excellent steakhouses all over town. Few, however, offer the type of idyllic view that comes with a meal at Chicago Cut. Situated along the Chicago River, this sleek and modern spot is popular among celebrities, executives, and just about anyone who enjoys a mouth-watering cut of beef. The steaks are dry-aged on site for 35 days and the bone-in rib eye is a particular favorite, praised for its tenderness and concentrated flavor. This is a favorite of ex-professional athletes.

300 N LaSalle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654

6. Smith & Wollensky

318 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
A steakhouse above the Chicago River
Riverside steakhouse Smith & Wollensky beside the famous Marina City Towers
Smith & Wollensky [Official Photo]

Sure, it’s a chain, but the views are just dynamite. Perched just above the Chicago River, this popular steakhouse is about as close as one can get to the water without getting splashed. Patrons can expect indulgences like USDA prime beef and seafood towers that pair well with an exceptional vantage point.

318 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654

7. River Roast

315 N LaSalle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
A riverside restaurant patio.
River Roast features delectable dishes and views.
March Much/Eater Chicago

A succulent piece of chicken is right up there with life’s finest pleasures and this riverside restaurant serves up one of the best versions. Whether it’s the signature whole chicken (carved tableside), tender roast beef, or fire-roasted fish, diners have many delicious choices to sink their teeth into. On weekends, brunch service is accompanied by live blues.

315 N LaSalle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654

8. RPM Seafood

317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
A large restaurant on the Chicago River.
RPM Seafood lovely gorgeous river views.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Hotly anticipated riverfront restaurant RPM Seafood, another joint venture from Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic, debuted in January to much glitzy fanfare. The trendy two-floor space with lovely river views features a menu stacked with seafood towers, top-notch fishes, and cocktails. There’s also the more causal Pizzeria Portofino on the river level, all part of the RPM on the Water complex..

317 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

9. City Winery

11 W. Riverwalk South, Chicago, IL 60601

The Chicago Riverwalk is rife with watering holes, including the second local outpost of City Winery. Those on a boat can pull right up to the bar and restaurant and sip rosé all day long. The drinking is best paired with light bites of meats and cheeses or a panini. It’s not just a summertime destination — guests can keep the good times rolling when temperatures dip by reserving a climate-controlled bubble dome.

11 W. Riverwalk South
Chicago, IL 60601

10. Gibsons Italia

233 N Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606
A dining area overlooking the Chicago River.
Gibsons Italia offers a luxurious vantage point.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Gibsons Restaurant Group’s first new restaurant in 12 years is a triumphant success. The lavish tri-level steakhouse features Gibsons’ USDA Prime Angus beef along with a host of hearty Italian dishes, such as gold-extruded pasta and seven-year-aged risotto. Scenic views from a breezy patio and a third-floor bar with a retractable roof are the cherries on top.

233 N Canal St
Chicago, IL 60606

11. RAISED | An Urban Rooftop Bar

1 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601
An open rooftop bar on the Chicago River.
Raised offers a menu of party fuel and fantastic views.
Raised [Official Photo]

This roofdeck bar on the Renaissance Chicago Hotel’s third floor offers hard-to-beat views of the Chicago River, along with plenty of drinks, snacks, and shared plates (for sustenance between drinks).

1 W Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601

12. Beatnik on the River

180 N Upper Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

Bonhomme Hospitality Group’s boho-chic restaurant and bar also operates a riverfront location. Beatnik on the River’s 50-seat terrace delivers creative cocktails and Mediterranean-influenced plates, and captures the essence of the original with lush plants, cozy couches, and prime views. In addition, the space houses an all-day café, dubbed Café Bonhomme, that serves coffees, juices, pastries, and sandwiches.

180 N Upper Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606

13. Porter Kitchen & Deck

150 N Riverside Plaza, Chicago, IL 60606

Situated in a newly-built skyscraper, Porter Kitchen & Deck is well-suited for soaking in the scenery. Lunch and dinner menus include familiar bar fare such as lobster rolls and truffle fries, and there’s a robust cocktail list.

150 N Riverside Plaza
Chicago, IL 60606

14. Lawrence's Fish and Shrimp

2120 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60616

With a dock conveniently located behind the building, Lawrence’s is an ideal pit stop when sailing down the river. The 24-hour fried seafood specialist has been in operation since 1971, selling an array of crispy shrimp, fish, frog legs, oysters, chicken, and more. The signature crustaceans are sourced from the Gulf and boast a thick breading, though diners can opt for lighter batter. Either way, make sure to give it a dunk in the hot sauce.

2120 S Canal St
Chicago, IL 60616

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