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Imperial Lamian serves remarkable hand-pulled noodles and dim sum.
Neil John Burger

Where to Eat and Drink in River North

One of downtown Chicago’s best dining and drinking neighborhoods has something for everyone

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Imperial Lamian serves remarkable hand-pulled noodles and dim sum.
| Neil John Burger

River North is one of Chicago’s most-frequented neighborhoods with gobs of tourists and city dwellers descending toward blocks of riverfront views, luxe shopping options, and reputable art galleries. And then there’s the area’s food and drink scene — a bustling collection of upscale eateries, hotel hangouts, crowded nightlife, and budget-friendly bites. From the big-ticket steakhouse, to the serious sushi newcomer, to the tasting menu fixture and oyster haven, here are the best places to dine and drink right now in River North.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Good Measure

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226 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 600-9268
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Folks looking for terrific cocktails at good prices, creative bar food, and more edge than other downtown spots will find that and more at this relaxed industry-approved hangout on Chicago Avenue. Chef-owner Matt Troost (Three Aces) gives downtown drinkers and eaters much more than boring wings and flatbreads, churning out fantastic bar bites including Nashville hot fried duck livers, a patty melt with foie gras caramelized onions, and loaded baked potato brandade. Cocktails are fun riffs on classics, such as the signature Toki highball.

2. Entente

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700 N Sedgwick St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 285-2247
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Michelin-starred Entente, helmed by chef and co-owner Brian Fisher (Schwa), relocated from Lakeview in March, much to the delight of River North residents. Fisher puts an innovative spin on modern American dishes like a fanciful wedge salad studded with Benton’s bacon, cambozola, and tomato, and a buttery Slagel Farms shortrib (bulgogi, bone marrow butterscotch, Tokyo turnip, sushi rice) will both delight and sate hungry diners.

A white plate holds a ring-shaped salad
Chef Brian Fisher’s creative wedge salad
Entente [Official Photo]

3. Portsmith

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660 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 202-6050
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The Dana Hotel’s restaurant prides itself on a selection of sustainable seafood options, alongside several ingredients sourced locally from nearby farms. Those details pay off in simple but flavorful dishes: The King Crab Louis with melon and avocado is one of the best ways to settle in here, as is the cacio e pepe, a classic made memorable with uni butter and black peppercorn. Bread service here is heightened, as evidenced by bonito flake sourdough, nori ciabatta, and smoked salmon, and caviar brioche — a dinner accompaniment that’s as exciting to admire as it is to eat. 

Portsmith
Nick Fochtman

4. Pacific Standard Time

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141 W Erie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 736-1778
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This breezy, effortless California-cool restaurant from One Off Hospitality and Underscore Hospitality opened to much fanfare in April 2018 and awards and accolades have rolled in ever since. It was voted one of America’s best new restaurants in 2018. The sleek, midcentury modern decor earned the restaurant a 2019 Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design. The menu keeps the West Coast vibe alive with seafood options including roasted black cod (English pea, shabazi vinaigrette, onion puree, crispy shallot, radish) and whole branzino. Diners would be advised to leave room for pastry chef Natalie Saben’s sweet offerings, including a summery citrus pavlova with lemongrass pudding, yuzu curd, grapefruit granita, and mint. Chef Erling Wu-Bower is planning a new bar and restaurant on the rooftop called the Laurel Room.

A large, bright dining room.
Pacific Standard Time’s award-winning dining room
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

5. Osteria Via Stato

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620 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 642-8450
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It was a trip through Italy for Lettuce Entertain You founder Rich Melman and chef David DiGregorio that inspired the philosophy behind this restaurant, where a commitment to seasonal and local produce and traditional Italian flavors and techniques are paramount. Today those practices show up in plates like parmesan-crusted sweet onions, hand-rolled ricotta cavatelli with wild mushrooms, and pan-roasted Faroe Islands salmon, served alongside salsa verde and a shaved fennel salad.

The perfect pair - a full-bodied Italian Chardonnay and our famous Chicken Mario.

Posted by Osteria Via Stato on Tuesday, July 2, 2019

6. Broken Shaker at Freehand Chicago

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19 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 940-3699
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Tucked within the Freehand Hotel, this Miami outpost offers unpretentious relief from the area’s occasionally over-packed restaurants and nightclubs. The name of the game is creative cocktails inside a dimly-lit room filled with a younger crowd compared to the rest of River North. Guests are best off at the bar, where they can witness the team’s prowess for kitchen-forward classics like the “Cashin’ In” (with foie gras-infused St. Germain, Bols Genever, and barley shochu) or the “Fiesta de Jardin” (with Peloton de la Muerte mezcal, raspberry, watermelon radish, and alfalfa sprouts). 

Broken Shaker is a Miami import
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

7. Tanta Chicago

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118 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 222-9700
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It’s a medley of Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish ingredients and techniques that make up this restaurant’s Peruvian plates, which celebrate the diverse landscape of the South American country. As such, expect dishes like the Chaufa Aeropuerto, an ode to the Canton immigrants of the 1800s that’s includes garlicky pork fried rice with a fluffy shrimp omelet. For a bite that’ll prove most memorable, make it the pobre nikuiri nikei, a Japanese-inspired strip of rice that’s topped with tender skirt steak, ponzu gel, and a quail egg. 

Tanta Chicago’s dining room
Tanta Chicago [Official Photo]

8. GT Fish & Oyster

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531 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 929-3501
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Seafood is the focus at this corner spot from Boka Restaurant Group, where chef Giuseppe Tentori serves up modern interpretations of coastal classics. Do start with oysters on the half shell, then dive into some of the eatery’s handheld favorites, from the oyster po'boy slider with kimchi and peanuts, to the Maine lobster roll with fried onions and pickled vegetables. Turf fanatics are well taken care of, too, thanks to options like the roasted lamb shank with eggplant and Moroccan flatbread, and black angus strip loin alongside kale and bone marrow cappelletti.

9. Gene & Georgetti

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Gene & Georgetti, 500 N Franklin St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 527-3718
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This family-owned institution is Chicago’s oldest steakhouse. Founded in 1941, the restaurant offers exceptional steaks and chops, as well as pasta, seafood, and classic Italian entrees like veal, eggplant, and chicken parm. Owners opened a suburban location in Rosemont in 2015.

Gene & Georgetti first opened in 1941.
Gene & Georgetti [Official Photo]

10. Topolobampo

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445 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60610
(312) 661-1434
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Recently crowned with the “Outstanding Restaurant” title at the 2017 James Beard awards, this fine-dining fixture from Rick Bayless and team is best known for the upscale Mexican tasting menus that have been on offer since 1991. Guests can choose between five- and seven-course experiences, the latter of which is themed and changes with every season. It’s the hub of Bayless’s empire in the neighborhood, whichincludes the wildly popular Frontera Grill, subterranean drinking spot Bar Sotano, and casual counter-spot XOCO.

11. Imperial Lamian

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6 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 595-9440
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Imperial Lamian’s CEO promised exceptional Chinese fare when this noodle haven opened in 2016, and true to his word, the restaurant delivers. Diners can expect bowls piled with long, hand-pulled noodles and round bamboo containers of steaming xiao long bao, or soup dumplings in a festive, cheery environment. The bar offers a nice selection of original cocktails and the interactive “Lunar Blossom” dessert (pandan cake, almonds, cocoa, vanilla bean) is a real show-stopper.

Imperial Lamian’s colorful dim sum offerings
Neil John Burger

12. Three Dots and a Dash

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435 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 610-4220
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This adored tiki hotspot offers an otherworldly experience in a bustling neighborhood, transporting customers to the tropics the moment they step inside. Staff source cocktail ingredients from around the world for classic and modern tiki concoctions. Tropical food items like coconut shrimp and tuna poke are also available. Owners opened the Bamboo Room, a bar-within-a-bar, in February to offer diners a more refined setting.

Sip, sip, hooray. : The Missionary's Downfall

Posted by Three Dots and a Dash on Sunday, June 2, 2019

13. RPM Steak

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66 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 284-4990
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Celebrities and locals love this gorgeous steakhouse that exudes understated glamour. Opened in 2014, RPM Steak staff have served President Obama, Taraji P. Henson, and Lady Gaga, among other famous faces to make an appearance at this see-and-be-seen spot. It’s also known for excellent Japanese and Kobe beef and over-the-top desserts like a 14K chocolate cake.

A view of RPM Steak’s central bar.
RPM Steak is the place to see and be seen.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

1. Good Measure

226 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654

Folks looking for terrific cocktails at good prices, creative bar food, and more edge than other downtown spots will find that and more at this relaxed industry-approved hangout on Chicago Avenue. Chef-owner Matt Troost (Three Aces) gives downtown drinkers and eaters much more than boring wings and flatbreads, churning out fantastic bar bites including Nashville hot fried duck livers, a patty melt with foie gras caramelized onions, and loaded baked potato brandade. Cocktails are fun riffs on classics, such as the signature Toki highball.

226 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60654

2. Entente

700 N Sedgwick St, Chicago, IL 60654
A white plate holds a ring-shaped salad
Chef Brian Fisher’s creative wedge salad
Entente [Official Photo]

Michelin-starred Entente, helmed by chef and co-owner Brian Fisher (Schwa), relocated from Lakeview in March, much to the delight of River North residents. Fisher puts an innovative spin on modern American dishes like a fanciful wedge salad studded with Benton’s bacon, cambozola, and tomato, and a buttery Slagel Farms shortrib (bulgogi, bone marrow butterscotch, Tokyo turnip, sushi rice) will both delight and sate hungry diners.

700 N Sedgwick St
Chicago, IL 60654

3. Portsmith

660 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
Portsmith
Nick Fochtman

The Dana Hotel’s restaurant prides itself on a selection of sustainable seafood options, alongside several ingredients sourced locally from nearby farms. Those details pay off in simple but flavorful dishes: The King Crab Louis with melon and avocado is one of the best ways to settle in here, as is the cacio e pepe, a classic made memorable with uni butter and black peppercorn. Bread service here is heightened, as evidenced by bonito flake sourdough, nori ciabatta, and smoked salmon, and caviar brioche — a dinner accompaniment that’s as exciting to admire as it is to eat. 

660 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654

4. Pacific Standard Time

141 W Erie St, Chicago, IL 60654
A large, bright dining room.
Pacific Standard Time’s award-winning dining room
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

This breezy, effortless California-cool restaurant from One Off Hospitality and Underscore Hospitality opened to much fanfare in April 2018 and awards and accolades have rolled in ever since. It was voted one of America’s best new restaurants in 2018. The sleek, midcentury modern decor earned the restaurant a 2019 Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design. The menu keeps the West Coast vibe alive with seafood options including roasted black cod (English pea, shabazi vinaigrette, onion puree, crispy shallot, radish) and whole branzino. Diners would be advised to leave room for pastry chef Natalie Saben’s sweet offerings, including a summery citrus pavlova with lemongrass pudding, yuzu curd, grapefruit granita, and mint. Chef Erling Wu-Bower is planning a new bar and restaurant on the rooftop called the Laurel Room.

141 W Erie St
Chicago, IL 60654

5. Osteria Via Stato

620 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654

It was a trip through Italy for Lettuce Entertain You founder Rich Melman and chef David DiGregorio that inspired the philosophy behind this restaurant, where a commitment to seasonal and local produce and traditional Italian flavors and techniques are paramount. Today those practices show up in plates like parmesan-crusted sweet onions, hand-rolled ricotta cavatelli with wild mushrooms, and pan-roasted Faroe Islands salmon, served alongside salsa verde and a shaved fennel salad.

620 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654

6. Broken Shaker at Freehand Chicago

19 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611
Broken Shaker is a Miami import
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Tucked within the Freehand Hotel, this Miami outpost offers unpretentious relief from the area’s occasionally over-packed restaurants and nightclubs. The name of the game is creative cocktails inside a dimly-lit room filled with a younger crowd compared to the rest of River North. Guests are best off at the bar, where they can witness the team’s prowess for kitchen-forward classics like the “Cashin’ In” (with foie gras-infused St. Germain, Bols Genever, and barley shochu) or the “Fiesta de Jardin” (with Peloton de la Muerte mezcal, raspberry, watermelon radish, and alfalfa sprouts). 

19 E Ohio St
Chicago, IL 60611

7. Tanta Chicago

118 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
Tanta Chicago’s dining room
Tanta Chicago [Official Photo]

It’s a medley of Chinese, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish ingredients and techniques that make up this restaurant’s Peruvian plates, which celebrate the diverse landscape of the South American country. As such, expect dishes like the Chaufa Aeropuerto, an ode to the Canton immigrants of the 1800s that’s includes garlicky pork fried rice with a fluffy shrimp omelet. For a bite that’ll prove most memorable, make it the pobre nikuiri nikei, a Japanese-inspired strip of rice that’s topped with tender skirt steak, ponzu gel, and a quail egg. 

118 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654

8. GT Fish & Oyster

531 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60654

Seafood is the focus at this corner spot from Boka Restaurant Group, where chef Giuseppe Tentori serves up modern interpretations of coastal classics. Do start with oysters on the half shell, then dive into some of the eatery’s handheld favorites, from the oyster po'boy slider with kimchi and peanuts, to the Maine lobster roll with fried onions and pickled vegetables. Turf fanatics are well taken care of, too, thanks to options like the roasted lamb shank with eggplant and Moroccan flatbread, and black angus strip loin alongside kale and bone marrow cappelletti.

531 N Wells St
Chicago, IL 60654

9. Gene & Georgetti

Gene & Georgetti, 500 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654
Gene & Georgetti first opened in 1941.
Gene & Georgetti [Official Photo]

This family-owned institution is Chicago’s oldest steakhouse. Founded in 1941, the restaurant offers exceptional steaks and chops, as well as pasta, seafood, and classic Italian entrees like veal, eggplant, and chicken parm. Owners opened a suburban location in Rosemont in 2015.

Gene & Georgetti, 500 N Franklin St
Chicago, IL 60654

10. Topolobampo

445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60610

Recently crowned with the “Outstanding Restaurant” title at the 2017 James Beard awards, this fine-dining fixture from Rick Bayless and team is best known for the upscale Mexican tasting menus that have been on offer since 1991. Guests can choose between five- and seven-course experiences, the latter of which is themed and changes with every season. It’s the hub of Bayless’s empire in the neighborhood, whichincludes the wildly popular Frontera Grill, subterranean drinking spot Bar Sotano, and casual counter-spot XOCO.

445 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60610

11. Imperial Lamian

6 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654
Imperial Lamian’s colorful dim sum offerings
Neil John Burger

Imperial Lamian’s CEO promised exceptional Chinese fare when this noodle haven opened in 2016, and true to his word, the restaurant delivers. Diners can expect bowls piled with long, hand-pulled noodles and round bamboo containers of steaming xiao long bao, or soup dumplings in a festive, cheery environment. The bar offers a nice selection of original cocktails and the interactive “Lunar Blossom” dessert (pandan cake, almonds, cocoa, vanilla bean) is a real show-stopper.

6 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654

12. Three Dots and a Dash

435 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

This adored tiki hotspot offers an otherworldly experience in a bustling neighborhood, transporting customers to the tropics the moment they step inside. Staff source cocktail ingredients from around the world for classic and modern tiki concoctions. Tropical food items like coconut shrimp and tuna poke are also available. Owners opened the Bamboo Room, a bar-within-a-bar, in February to offer diners a more refined setting.

435 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60654

13. RPM Steak

66 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654
A view of RPM Steak’s central bar.
RPM Steak is the place to see and be seen.
Marc Much/Eater Chicago

Celebrities and locals love this gorgeous steakhouse that exudes understated glamour. Opened in 2014, RPM Steak staff have served President Obama, Taraji P. Henson, and Lady Gaga, among other famous faces to make an appearance at this see-and-be-seen spot. It’s also known for excellent Japanese and Kobe beef and over-the-top desserts like a 14K chocolate cake.

66 W Kinzie St
Chicago, IL 60654

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