It can feel good to get dressed up and head to a beautiful restaurant to spend hours sharing food and drinks with friends, but when the weather is awful or it’s been a long day, the most relaxing thing can just be to eat at home while watching TV. Luckily dining in can be just as delicious as a night out, and it’s a particularly great way to try food from popular spots that don’t take reservations. Chicago also has plenty of businesses that only serve food for carryout and delivery, a model that’s proven more popular since the COVID-19 pandemic. Let someone else handle the cooking and pick up a meal from one of these restaurants.Read More
Where to Order Takeout in Chicago
No reservations? No problem
Soul & Smoke Evanston
Soul & Smoke opened its first dine-in spot in Avondale in October, but barbecue lovers can still get smoked meats to-go at Time Out Market or at the Evanston original. Brisket is the star of chef D’Andre Carter’s celebrated menu, available by the pound or served on a brioche bun with housemade pickles. Add on soul food favorites such as mac & cheese or chicken gumbo. Place an order through Toast.
Do breakfast in bed or at least in your pajamas by ordering from the extensive menu at Honeybear Cafe. The family-owned BYOB brunch spot serves portions big enough to share or eat for dinner later, with options including breakfast quesadillas stuffed with scrambled eggs and diced bacon and pancakes layered with strawberries and cream. Wake up with a cup of Tugboat Coffee. Place an order online here.
Ethiopian food travels particularly well, with family-style meals centered on stewed meats and vegetables scooped up with spongy injera. Get a taste of what this 15-year-old spot has to offer by ordering a messob, a combination of vegetarian dishes or a mix of meats and vegetables chosen by the chef. Complete the meal with a to-go cocktail like the Merkato, a blend of Ethiopian chai, bourbon and basil. Place an order through Toast.
Strings doesn’t take reservations, but diners who don’t want to worry about waiting for a spot to slurp their noodles can order takeout or delivery from the restaurant’s Hyde Park, Chinatown, Lakeview, and Aurora locations. Choose from four types of broth to provide a warming base and customize the dish with seafood and kuro buta, adding some hell sauce for serious heat. Place an order via Toast.
Paulie Gee's Logan Square
Pizza is one of the most common takeout dishes but also at its best fresh from the oven. Paulie Gee’s handles that conflict by encouraging diners eating their wood-fired pizzas at home to preheat their oven to 500 degrees and pop the pie in until the cheese starts to bubble. The bit of extra work does wonders for the pleasantly chewy crust, though anyone who wants to eat as soon as they have the box in hand would be better off choosing the Detroit-style Logan Squares. Place an order through Toast.
Irazu Costa Rican Dining
Bucktown staple Irazu makes it easy to feed a group at home. Share a Casado, a traditional Costa Rican meal featuring chicken, tilapia, steak or vegetables accompanied by rice and sweet plantains, for four to six, or pick up a dozen empanadas stuffed with spinach & cheese, chicken or beef with potatoes best dipped in spicy green salsa. A la carte dishes are also available, though don’t be afraid to put in a big order as the food reheats well. Order delivery or takeout here.
Wicker Park Bib Gourmand winner Tortello offers top-notch handmade pastas served at the counter for takeout or a casual dine-in meal. Favorites include cacio e pepe and tortelli stuffed with burrata, though it’s well worth checking out the rotating weekend specials. The restaurant also sells meal kits, pastas and sauces for diners looking to prep their own meal at home. Order online here.
The Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant is only open for takeout and delivery, so it’s mastered the art of providing at-home diners with perfectly spiced Indian and Nepalese dishes. Staples like mutter paneer, lamb vindaloo and chicken tika masala are available a la carte or as part of a family meal for four to eight along with vegetable samosas and fluffy naan. Place an order here.
Avli River North
All of Avli’s four locations offer takeout, though only Avli River North serves Greek street food such as gyros and souvlaki and a menu of customizable bowls and perfect for lunch or a light dinner — though the bowls are rolling out to Lincoln Park and Lakeshore East soon. It’s also a great place to swing by on the way to a party to pick up a bottle of one of their signature wines along with a sampler of spreads such as tarama and hummus served with pita or vegetables. Order online here.
Proving drive-thru isn’t just for fast food, Aya Pastry offers baguettes, kouign amann and double chocolate cookies from 7 a.m. to noon daily through an express window in the parking lot. Grab a quick breakfast with Intelligentsia Coffee and a spinach mushroom cheese croissant, or stop in for a larger selection of fare from Michelin-starred pastry chef Aya Fukai including cakes and bake-at-home biscuits. Place an online order here.
Laos to Your House
Operating Thursday through Saturday, Laos to Your House offers Laotian fare exclusively for delivery, takeout or catering at their commercial kitchen at The Hatchery Chicago. The owners have made it their mission to introduce diners to the Southeast Asian nation’s top dishes, offering bento boxes and Laocuterie boards that provide a tasting of chicken wings, spicy sausage, papaya salad, sticky rice and more. Place an order online here.
Dolo Restaurant and Bar
Get dim sum to-go from Chinatown’s Dolo, which offers an extensive selection of steamed and fried dumplings, buns, crepes, cakes and rolls perfect for nibbling right out of the container. For something more substantial, pick up some lamb chops, spare ribs with black bean sauce, or a bento box with sweet and sour chicken or mapo tofu served with rice, broccoli and pork bone soup. Order online here.
Ja' Grill Hyde Park
Dinner at home can still include delicious cocktails with pickup or delivery from Ja’ Grill. Add a bottle of rum punch to meal of Jamaican fare including honey-glazed jerk chicken wings or curry shrimp, both served with rice and peas and plantains. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so placing an order through Grubhub or Uber Eats is always a good bet for a meal as relaxing as an island vacation.
Lexington Betty Smokehouse
Lexington Betty took over One Eleven Food Hall in March, making Pullman the only place to get Dominique Leach’s barbecue. The restaurant is full service, but also does a brisk carryout business offering brisket and pulled pork by the pound plus four-person family meals featuring smoked chicken or rib tips served with corn muffins and a large side of candy yams or mac & cheese. The expanded retail space also offers wagyu dogs and barbecue sauces for cooking at home. Order online here.