clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A hand positions a fois gras shortbread “cookie” on top of a bowl containing a fois gras medallion and fois gras-filled gnocci covered in a chicken broth.
At George Trois in Winnetka, diners can enjoy a multicourse tasting menu, while Aboyer in the same building, offers French brasserie classics.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

The 20 Essential Chicago Suburban Restaurants

The best bites outside city limits

View as Map
At George Trois in Winnetka, diners can enjoy a multicourse tasting menu, while Aboyer in the same building, offers French brasserie classics.
| Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Chicago is a world-class culinary city. What often gets overlooked, though, are the terrific options available in the surrounding areas. Destination dining exists in the suburbs and those who live near the following spots can likely attest to their excellence. There’s a range here, from fine dining to the finest burgers and hot dogs in northeastern Illinois. So think outside the city limits and have an adventure.

For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may still pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Chicago Culinary Kitchen

Copy Link

Owners Kristina and Greg Gaardbo have earned high marks and a devoted following for their Texas-style barbecue. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the couple sold limited quantities of brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and other smoked meats on the weekends. They’ve since expanded into a full-fledged restaurant with an extensive menu of craft beer and weekly specials.

Charlie Beinlich's

Copy Link

Charlie Beinlich’s was created back in 1950 in the image of a north woods bar, complete with wood paneling and fish trophies on the wall. Its menu is simple: shrimp cocktail and sandwiches (grilled cheese, ham, tuna and egg salad). But the true standout is the burger. It’s a thick patty of meat, cooked on a grill, served on a toasted and buttered bun, ideally with grilled onions and a side of crispy crinkle fries. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it’s the sort of burger that makes a diner sigh afterward, “Ah, that hits the spot.” Be warned: it’s cash only.

Bob Chinn's Crab House

Copy Link

Living in the Midwest means fresh, quality seafood is a rare catch. Fortunately for suburbanites, Bob Chinn’s receives products daily from local purveyors and offers an extensive selection of crab legs, lobsters, fish, shrimp, and a killer mai tai. The crab house’s success has made it one of the highest-grossing independent restaurants in the country. It celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and although Bob Chinn died in April, his family promises to continue the way he would have wanted.

George Trois

Copy Link

George Trois is actually two restaurants in the same building. George Trois is a temple to fine dining with a seasonal tasting menu. Aboyer is a brasserie that mixes French classics such as moules marinière and foie gras with chicken wings and sliders. Both are run by chef Michael Lachowicz (who previously worked at the legendary Le Francais), who recently overhauled both dining rooms.

Buffalo Joe's

Copy Link

For North Shore residents, wings are synonymous with this Evanston institution. The chicken is fried until it’s extra crispy and then tossed in founder Joe Prudden’s tangy, buttery sauce. Spiciness ranges from mild to “suicide,” and the quintessential game day food is best paired with a side of Buff Joe’s waffle fries.

Mitsuwa Marketplace

Copy Link

Chicago’s premiere Japanese market is actually tucked away in suburban Arlington Heights, where legions of longtime fans beat a path to shop for produce and Asian packaged goods. It also houses Pastry House Hippo, a bakery packed with delectable Japanese pastries, an outpost of the confectionary brand J. Sweets, and a bustling food court with stalls featuring sugary Japanese-style crepes, ramen, udon, donburi, and more.

Pita Inn

Copy Link

Since it opened 40 years ago, Pita Inn has become celebrated for its falafel, shawarma, kebabs, hummus, lentil soup, and, of course, its soft and pillowy pitas. (Keeping up with the times, there are now Impossible kebabs.) But also don’t sleep on the garlic sauce, which elevates anything it touches, from a pita sandwich to a plate of french fries. There are now four additional locations, plus a grocery store in Skokie.

Burt's Place

Copy Link

Burt’s Place was the last restaurant founded by Burt Katz, the legendary Chicago pizza-maker who first added a ring of caramelized cheese around the crust (his other spots include Pequod’s and the recently-closed Gullivers); Anthony Bourdain once said that Burt’s was the only Chicago-style pizza he ever loved. Before his death in 2016, Katz passed his recipes onto Jerry Petrow, his hand-picked successor, who continues to run Burt’s Place in the style of the master.

Chodang Tofu Village

Copy Link

Stay nourished with sizzling-hot tofu soups courtesy of this Korean stalwart in Mount Prospect. Chodang dedicates much of its menu to comforting sundubu-jjigae served in stone pots. There are several variations, including seafood, beef, and pork, and diners choose their spice level. Each order arrives with a host of banchan and a raw egg to poach in the broth.

New York Bagel & Bialy

Copy Link

The best bagels in Chicagoland are boiled and baked in a Lincolnwood strip mall just off I-94. This 24-hour shop slings New York-style bagels that are soft, chewy, and doughy. Grab a dozen to go or enjoy them in sandwich form, filled with lox, corned beef, or pastrami.

A lox sandwich.
Bagel enthusiasts swear by the ones from this Lincolnwood shop.
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

Gene & Jude's

Copy Link

The iconic River Grove hot dog stand needs little introduction. Its famous Depression Dog is topped with just mustard, onions, relish, sport peppers, and a handful of fries. Ketchup lovers will have to look elsewhere for the tomato condiment: it’s expressly forbidden inside Gene & Jude’s.

Two Depression Dogs.
Gene & Jude’s hot dogs are a Chicago classic.
Gene & Jude’s [Official Photo]

Johnnie's Beef

Copy Link

Italian beef aficionados know that the finest version of the sandwich is out in Elmwood Park (there's a second Johnnie’s in Arlington Heights, too). The well-seasoned beef is finely chopped and loaded onto Gonnella bread, and diners can (and should) have it dipped in jus and balanced with giardiniera or sweet peppers. On a hot day, the housemade Italian ices are also required eating.

Bien Trucha

Copy Link

It doesn’t get as much recognition as some Chicago taquerias but Geneva residents know Bien Trucha stacks up to the best. The town’s busiest restaurant, whose name roughly translates to “on top of one’s game,” sets the standard for Mexican dining in the suburbs with an outstanding array of tacos. The signature Bien Trucha taco — carne asada, chorizo, roasted tomatillo salsa, and a layer of melted Chihuahua cheese — is a must-try.

A platter of tacos.
The taco game is strong at Bien Trucha.
Bien Trucha [Official Photo]

Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits

Copy Link

In 2011, four Spiaggia vets landed in Berwyn and opened a cozy neighborhood bistro. The result: Destination-worthy Mediterranean fare consisting of seasonal shared plates, pastas, and flatbreads. The eclectic drink list is equally impressive, showcasing a selection of old world wines and small-batch spirits. Autre Monde is currently offering weekend dinner packages for two on Tock.

Katy's Dumplings

Copy Link

An essential spot for Chinese food, Katy’s is renowned for its hand-pulled noodles and fresh dumplings. Menu favorites include pan-fried potstickers, beef noodle soup, and scallion pancakes stuffed with meats and veggies.

Paul Virant's lauded restaurant has received critical acclaim and was previously a recipient of a Michelin star. The focus is on fresh, seasonal ingredients and Virant also specializes in pickling and preserving. Vie offers a three-course prix fixe menu for $60 (wine pairings and dessert are extra), which changes with the seasons.

Chuck's Southern Comforts Cafe

Copy Link

Head to Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe for some divine smoked meats. The menu boasts Cajun staples, like seafood gumbo and po’ boys, but the star of the show is the barbecue. Feast on ribs, pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken, and more. Can’t decide on just one? Order the three-meat sampler platter. A second Chuck’s is located in Darien.

Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket

Copy Link

A secret fried chicken recipe passed down over generations has helped Dell Rhea’s become a historic and necessary pit stop along Route 66. The restaurant has been feeding hungry travelers the same juicy chicken with a side of nostalgia since 1946.

Al Bawadi Grill

Copy Link

There are several Middle Eastern restaurants in densely Arab-populated Bridgeview, but Al Bawadi stands above the others. Once guests step inside, they’re treated to Arabian décor, servers dressed in traditional outfits, and wood-fired meats and seafood. An added bonus: Every meal starts with complimentary eggplant dip. A second location is in Niles.

A plate of grilled meats and rice.
Grilled meats are the specialty at Al Bawadi.
Al Bawadi [Official Photo]

Maple Tree Inn

Copy Link

Beloved Cajun-Creole restaurant Maple Tree Inn reopened in 2019 in Homewood after a fire destroyed its original location in Blue Island, where it had been serving Big Easy-style meals since 1980. (Previously, it had been a modern American restaurant until its owner had a hangover-fueled epiphany one New Year’s Day.) All the classics are here — barbecue shrimp, gumbo, jambalaya — plus some originals, like voodoo nuts, garlic cloves covered in andouille sausage and then smoked.

Chicago Culinary Kitchen

Owners Kristina and Greg Gaardbo have earned high marks and a devoted following for their Texas-style barbecue. Before the COVID-19 crisis, the couple sold limited quantities of brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and other smoked meats on the weekends. They’ve since expanded into a full-fledged restaurant with an extensive menu of craft beer and weekly specials.

Charlie Beinlich's

Charlie Beinlich’s was created back in 1950 in the image of a north woods bar, complete with wood paneling and fish trophies on the wall. Its menu is simple: shrimp cocktail and sandwiches (grilled cheese, ham, tuna and egg salad). But the true standout is the burger. It’s a thick patty of meat, cooked on a grill, served on a toasted and buttered bun, ideally with grilled onions and a side of crispy crinkle fries. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it’s the sort of burger that makes a diner sigh afterward, “Ah, that hits the spot.” Be warned: it’s cash only.

Bob Chinn's Crab House

Living in the Midwest means fresh, quality seafood is a rare catch. Fortunately for suburbanites, Bob Chinn’s receives products daily from local purveyors and offers an extensive selection of crab legs, lobsters, fish, shrimp, and a killer mai tai. The crab house’s success has made it one of the highest-grossing independent restaurants in the country. It celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, and although Bob Chinn died in April, his family promises to continue the way he would have wanted.

George Trois

George Trois is actually two restaurants in the same building. George Trois is a temple to fine dining with a seasonal tasting menu. Aboyer is a brasserie that mixes French classics such as moules marinière and foie gras with chicken wings and sliders. Both are run by chef Michael Lachowicz (who previously worked at the legendary Le Francais), who recently overhauled both dining rooms.

Buffalo Joe's

For North Shore residents, wings are synonymous with this Evanston institution. The chicken is fried until it’s extra crispy and then tossed in founder Joe Prudden’s tangy, buttery sauce. Spiciness ranges from mild to “suicide,” and the quintessential game day food is best paired with a side of Buff Joe’s waffle fries.

Mitsuwa Marketplace

Chicago’s premiere Japanese market is actually tucked away in suburban Arlington Heights, where legions of longtime fans beat a path to shop for produce and Asian packaged goods. It also houses Pastry House Hippo, a bakery packed with delectable Japanese pastries, an outpost of the confectionary brand J. Sweets, and a bustling food court with stalls featuring sugary Japanese-style crepes, ramen, udon, donburi, and more.

Pita Inn

Since it opened 40 years ago, Pita Inn has become celebrated for its falafel, shawarma, kebabs, hummus, lentil soup, and, of course, its soft and pillowy pitas. (Keeping up with the times, there are now Impossible kebabs.) But also don’t sleep on the garlic sauce, which elevates anything it touches, from a pita sandwich to a plate of french fries. There are now four additional locations, plus a grocery store in Skokie.

Burt's Place

Burt’s Place was the last restaurant founded by Burt Katz, the legendary Chicago pizza-maker who first added a ring of caramelized cheese around the crust (his other spots include Pequod’s and the recently-closed Gullivers); Anthony Bourdain once said that Burt’s was the only Chicago-style pizza he ever loved. Before his death in 2016, Katz passed his recipes onto Jerry Petrow, his hand-picked successor, who continues to run Burt’s Place in the style of the master.

Chodang Tofu Village

Stay nourished with sizzling-hot tofu soups courtesy of this Korean stalwart in Mount Prospect. Chodang dedicates much of its menu to comforting sundubu-jjigae served in stone pots. There are several variations, including seafood, beef, and pork, and diners choose their spice level. Each order arrives with a host of banchan and a raw egg to poach in the broth.

New York Bagel & Bialy

A lox sandwich.
Bagel enthusiasts swear by the ones from this Lincolnwood shop.
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

The best bagels in Chicagoland are boiled and baked in a Lincolnwood strip mall just off I-94. This 24-hour shop slings New York-style bagels that are soft, chewy, and doughy. Grab a dozen to go or enjoy them in sandwich form, filled with lox, corned beef, or pastrami.

A lox sandwich.
Bagel enthusiasts swear by the ones from this Lincolnwood shop.
Jeffy Mai/Eater Chicago

Gene & Jude's

Two Depression Dogs.
Gene & Jude’s hot dogs are a Chicago classic.
Gene & Jude’s [Official Photo]

The iconic River Grove hot dog stand needs little introduction. Its famous Depression Dog is topped with just mustard, onions, relish, sport peppers, and a handful of fries. Ketchup lovers will have to look elsewhere for the tomato condiment: it’s expressly forbidden inside Gene & Jude’s.

Two Depression Dogs.
Gene & Jude’s hot dogs are a Chicago classic.
Gene & Jude’s [Official Photo]

Johnnie's Beef

Italian beef aficionados know that the finest version of the sandwich is out in Elmwood Park (there's a second Johnnie’s in Arlington Heights, too). The well-seasoned beef is finely chopped and loaded onto Gonnella bread, and diners can (and should) have it dipped in jus and balanced with giardiniera or sweet peppers. On a hot day, the housemade Italian ices are also required eating.

Bien Trucha

A platter of tacos.
The taco game is strong at Bien Trucha.
Bien Trucha [Official Photo]

It doesn’t get as much recognition as some Chicago taquerias but Geneva residents know Bien Trucha stacks up to the best. The town’s busiest restaurant, whose name roughly translates to “on top of one’s game,” sets the standard for Mexican dining in the suburbs with an outstanding array of tacos. The signature Bien Trucha taco — carne asada, chorizo, roasted tomatillo salsa, and a layer of melted Chihuahua cheese — is a must-try.

A platter of tacos.
The taco game is strong at Bien Trucha.
Bien Trucha [Official Photo]

Autre Monde Cafe & Spirits

In 2011, four Spiaggia vets landed in Berwyn and opened a cozy neighborhood bistro. The result: Destination-worthy Mediterranean fare consisting of seasonal shared plates, pastas, and flatbreads. The eclectic drink list is equally impressive, showcasing a selection of old world wines and small-batch spirits. Autre Monde is currently offering weekend dinner packages for two on Tock.

Katy's Dumplings

An essential spot for Chinese food, Katy’s is renowned for its hand-pulled noodles and fresh dumplings. Menu favorites include pan-fried potstickers, beef noodle soup, and scallion pancakes stuffed with meats and veggies.

Related Maps

Vie

Paul Virant's lauded restaurant has received critical acclaim and was previously a recipient of a Michelin star. The focus is on fresh, seasonal ingredients and Virant also specializes in pickling and preserving. Vie offers a three-course prix fixe menu for $60 (wine pairings and dessert are extra), which changes with the seasons.

Chuck's Southern Comforts Cafe

Head to Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe for some divine smoked meats. The menu boasts Cajun staples, like seafood gumbo and po’ boys, but the star of the show is the barbecue. Feast on ribs, pulled pork, brisket, smoked chicken, and more. Can’t decide on just one? Order the three-meat sampler platter. A second Chuck’s is located in Darien.

Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket

A secret fried chicken recipe passed down over generations has helped Dell Rhea’s become a historic and necessary pit stop along Route 66. The restaurant has been feeding hungry travelers the same juicy chicken with a side of nostalgia since 1946.

Al Bawadi Grill

A plate of grilled meats and rice.
Grilled meats are the specialty at Al Bawadi.
Al Bawadi [Official Photo]

There are several Middle Eastern restaurants in densely Arab-populated Bridgeview, but Al Bawadi stands above the others. Once guests step inside, they’re treated to Arabian décor, servers dressed in traditional outfits, and wood-fired meats and seafood. An added bonus: Every meal starts with complimentary eggplant dip. A second location is in Niles.

A plate of grilled meats and rice.
Grilled meats are the specialty at Al Bawadi.
Al Bawadi [Official Photo]

Maple Tree Inn

Beloved Cajun-Creole restaurant Maple Tree Inn reopened in 2019 in Homewood after a fire destroyed its original location in Blue Island, where it had been serving Big Easy-style meals since 1980. (Previously, it had been a modern American restaurant until its owner had a hangover-fueled epiphany one New Year’s Day.) All the classics are here — barbecue shrimp, gumbo, jambalaya — plus some originals, like voodoo nuts, garlic cloves covered in andouille sausage and then smoked.

Related Maps