The never-ending poke craze shows no signs of slowing down. The Hawaiian staple, made by combining sushi-grade raw fish—traditionally ahi tuna—with assorted sauces and toppings, continues to have its moment in Chicago. From restaurants to stand-alone poke shops, here are 20 places to find the freshest bowls. Listed in alphabetical order.Read More
Chicago's 20 Coolest Poke Dishes, 2017 Edition
Where to find summer's hottest fish dish
1. Aloha Poke Co.
Chicago, IL 60661
The poke spot that kicked off Chicago's poke craze is still going strong. Expect to wait for bowls, such as the signature Aloha bowl with pineapple, cucumber, scallion, jalapeno, Maui onions, and sesame vinaigrette with a choice of tuna or salmon. Additional locations in Lakeview, Evanston, and inside Revival Food Hall.
The eclectic spot from the Tanta team blends of global flavors on both the food and drink side of the menu. Representing Hawaii is soy sauce marinated ahi tuna poké with ginger and sesame oil, topped with an egg yolk.
3. BIG & little's
Part poke bowl, part taco, all delicious. The poke tacos are a sleeper on this menu that mostly features more traditional taco offerings alongside burgers and po' boys. The original River North, Lakeview, and Wicker Park locations offer three types of poke tacos filled with ahi tuna, salmon, or steamed blue crab.
4. En Hakkore 2.0
This Wicker Park fusion spot serves up an exciting array of dishes ranging from sushi burritos and Korean wings to a tuna poke salad. Instead of a plain ol’ Caesar, spice things up with a mix of raw tuna, greens, edamame, guacamole, sweet potato, gochujang dressing, and more.
5. FireFin Poke Shop
Chicago's first freestanding poke shop offers ten different "FireFin Creations," from classic Hawaiian (ahi tuna, ono sauce, sweet onions, and cucumber over purple rice) to chicken poke, in addition to a build-your-own option.
6. Fish Bar
DMK Restaurants’ fish-centric joint offers a host of delicacies from under the sea and poke is no exception. The poke bowls features fresh fish, avocado, and sesame soy vinaigrette over brown rice. Enjoy it out on the sidewalk patio for a refreshing summer meal.
7. Furious Spoon
Noodles aren’t the only thing worth ordering at Shin Thompson’s ramen shop. The poke bowls come loaded with ahi tuna, cabbage, mushrooms, roasted garlic, and nori over a bed of rice. Mix it all up for a harmony of flavors.
8. GT Fish and Oyster
Big Eye tuna straight from Hawaii is the star of chef Giuseppe Tentori’s signature poke. It is marinated in a soy and ginger vinaigrette and served with cucumber, mango, and black sesame seeds.
9. High Tide Poke
The Loop already has several options for poke but this newcomer opens bright and early at 8 a.m. so guests can start the day off with some fresh fish. Choose one of the premade recipes like the “Salmon de la Seoul” (salmon, edamame, daikon, pineapple, scallion, crispy onion, Korean barbecue, sesame) or create a bowl to satisfy your taste buds.
10. Joy District
Poke in an ice cream cone, you say? Yes, it’s a thing thanks to chef Matt Wilde, who is serving fresh tuna in a crispy waffle cone with kaiware sprout, cucumber and avocado. The restaurant also offers more traditional tuna bowls.
Line-caught tuna is the not-so-secret ingredient in chef José Sosa’s tuna poke. Shrimp, macadamia nuts, and citrus vinaigrette complement this al fresco-friendly dish.
Wicker Park’s Hawaiian hotspot, of course, showcases an impressive poke selection. Five varieties are served, including veggie poke as well as crab poke with avocado mousse and charred red pepper vinaigrette.
13. Oyster Bah
Poke-poke is the name of the game as well as the dish that stars avocado and ginger sesame mixed with ahi tuna and king salmon.
14. Poke & Roll
Chicago, IL 60605
Those in Printer’s Row have a new spot to satiate their raw fish cravings. Head over to Poke & Roll for customizable bowls that include a variety of toppings, sauces, and proteins such as albacore tuna.
15. Poke Bowl Co.
The poke craze has even hit Whole Foods. Get some grocery shopping done at the massive Lincoln Park location and then stop at its newest food kiosk, Poke Bowl Co., for a quick and healthy bite. Each bowl can be built with an assortment of veggies, sauces, and toppings.
Angry Crab co-owner Mark Nguyen helped popularize Cajun seafood boils in Chicago. His second project has been about educating folks on another West Coast specialty—poke. It’s simple: choose a base and protein, and customize it with a plethora of toppings and spice levels. The only limit is your imagination.
Warm up for a feast of seared meat with the tuna poke from the raw bar. This version takes a traditional route with diced tuna tossed with avocado and sweet ginger dressing.
Sunda has embraced poke bowls with three preset options. Customers can also opt to build their own bowl for lunch. The most impressive rout may be the "Sumo." It comes with rice, watercress, edamame, spinach, escolar, salmon, hamachi, spicy tuna, avocado, chili soy, and spicy mayo.
19. Three Dots and a Dash
Go full Hawaiian with an Aloha Felicia (Caribbean rums, coconut cream, pineapple, and Thai basil served in a ceramic coconut) and an order of Big Ern's tuna poke. The tiki bar’s take is made with tuna and avocado mixed with a sweet poke sauce and spicy mayo on top of crispy tempura nori.
20. Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill
Colorful sushi rolls are the attention-grabber at Yuzu but the beautiful poke bowls are equally impressive. Nourish the soul with a healthy dose of veggies and tuna that arrive looking like an Instagrammer’s dream.