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A plate of tortelli.
Culinary traditions are holding strong in a changing neighborhood.
Tortello

Wicker Park’s Best Restaurants

Near West Town and Bucktown, Wicker Park offers several great spots for dining

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Culinary traditions are holding strong in a changing neighborhood.
| Tortello

It’s easy to lament the Wicker Park is what it used to be in the ‘90s when derelicts like High Fidelity’s Rob Gordon hung out at the Double Door and Reckless Records. The area is more family friendly even though bars like Estelle’s and Nick’s Beer Garden continue to serve as cornerstones along Milwaukee Avenue.

While the area keeps changing, there are still plenty of things to eat. There’s even an outlet of deep-dish champion Lou Malnati’s. While Lou’s didn’t make the list, there’s more than enough delicious pizza to pick from in the area. Walk through Wicker Park’s Six Corners intersection for a tour of the neighborhood’s best.

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Handlebar

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A neighborhood anchor since 2003, Handlebar is known for its sumptuous lineup of vegan and vegetarian comfort dishes delivered with an effortlessly cool vibe. Grab a seat at brunch for tofu scrambles and breakfast burritos, or swing by at dinner for fried avocado tacos and meat-free Nashville hot “chicken” sandwiches.

Lost Larson

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Pedigreed pastry chef Bobby Schaffer has kept the spirit of Swedish baking alive at his adorable Andersonville bakery that in 2021 expanded into Wicker Park with a bustling location on Division. Customers tend to form long lines for top-notch cinnamon rolls and moist lingonberry almond cake, so it’s a good idea to place orders in advance.

Cafe Istanbul

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Turkish food gets the spotlight at this local favorite with fancy kebobs and more. The service goes beyond a standard shawarma shack and there’s plenty for light meals or dishes that will satisfy the most robust eater. Meat fans will love this place.

Paulie Gee's Wicker Park

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Owner Derrick Tung decided to shake things up when he expanded his Logan Square pizzeria into Wicker Park, where his team specializes in long, foldable New York-style slices. Varieties include Big Bad Wolf (red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, bacon jam) and Onion Jawns (garlic, mozzarella, caramelized onions, ricotta, black pepper, basil).

Dove's Luncheonette

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This Tex-Mex diner from One Off Hospitality (Publican, Big Star) is a popular standby for Wicker Park residents who harbor a hankering for breakfast and brunch indulgences like burnt ends hash and chicken fried chicken.

A pioneer for Greek food away from Greektown, Taxim is one of the best restaurants in the area with a charming rooftop. The duck gyros are a staple, but don’t be afraid to venture beyond the familiar.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

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Chef Rodolfo Cuadros’s daring upscale vegan restaurant uses small plates to make a compelling argument that vegetables can surprise and even excite diners with a range of dietary preferences. Cuadros, also behind pan Latin hit Amaru and vegan Mexican spot Don Bucio Taqueria, was long-listed in 2022 for the James Beard Foundation’s best chef: Great Lakes award.

Piece Brewery

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Piece is usually packed with a high-energy atmosphere which makes it kind of a chore to find a table on the weekends. This is a proper brewpub with IPA and lagers available in growlers for home consumption. But wait, should we talk about the pizza? Customers will find New Haven-style pizza. Pies can be inconsistent during high-volume times, but when it’s on, it’s on.

Phodega

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Some would say Phodega is the best pho in Chicago away from Argyle Street. But this spot’s appeal goes beyond pho with a menu of habit-forming Viet dip sandwiches and a combo fried chicken/Hainanese chicken plate. It’s also a great spot to pick up oyster sauce and Korean honey butter potato chips. Owners Nate Hoops and Anthony Ngo previously operated outposts in Wicker Park and Pilsen, but in 2023 consolidated the locations into a much larger space on Division.

Artemio Bakery

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This Mexican bakery is a sweet experience for customers of all ages. Start by grabbing a tray to pile high with crunchy conchas and other delights.

Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods

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Chef Brian Jupiter (Frontier) and the folks behind Lottie’s Pub created a festive ode to New Orleans in the former Beachwood dive bar, winning over neighbors and Chicagoans all over town with fried catfish and oysters, po’boys, and boozy Southern cocktails.

Tortello

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Tortello delights neighbors with fancy pasta made just inside the restaurant’s front window. The restaurant is a boon for locals who can buy fresh pasta to cook at home but also caters to dine-in customers who can also slurp handmade noodles while sitting on the Division Street patio.

The Delta

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The Delta is special with strong drinks, fun tamales, and friendly service. There’s a small back patio and it also serves a gym shoe tamale, taking the beloved South Side sandwich to new heights.

The Coach House by Zubair Mohajir

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The Coach House is one of America’s most dynamic Indian restaurants. James Beard-nominated chef Zubair Mohajir, who cooks food from a South Indian Muslim perspective, offers a unique (and pricy) tasting menu with variations of aged duck cooked using a centuries-old recipe book, a wonderful expression of the Midwest relish tray that uses Indian flatbreads, and a world-class momo with a stuffing that changes seasonally. Originally, Coach House shared the space with casual restaurant Wazwan, but in fall 2023, Mohajir replaced it with Lilac Tiger, a cocktail bar with food and a collaboration with restaurateur Ty Fujimura (Arami) and chef Won Kim (Kimski). The chicken nuggets are stellar, and so is the duck-fried rice.

Antique Taco Wicker Park

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This counter-service taqueria is among the most stylish and creative Mexican spots in the neighborhood, featuring delectable dishes like crab and shrimp flautas, crispy fish tacos with spicy tartar sauce and smoked cabbage, and horchata milkshakes topped with whipped cream. Owners also operate an outpost in Bridgeport.

Alliance Bakery

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Pastry competition is fierce in Wicker Park, and classical French heavyweight Alliance Bakery is easily among the top contenders. Experts at both flavor and aesthetics, its bakers whip up elegant cakes, immaculate macarons, flaky croissants, and much more. In 2023, owner and veteran pastry chef Peter Rios expanded Alliance to a second outpost in West Town.

Bonchon Division

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Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon has a veritable cult following, and three years ago, Wicker Park residents found out why: perfectly crunchy chicken (wings, drums, and strips) slathered in soy or spicy glaze. Patrons can expect other familiar Korean and Japanese options including bulgolgi, japchae, chicken katsu, and takoyaki. Other locations are open in Chinatown and suburban Glenview.

Tous Les Jours

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Massive Korean-French bakery chain Tous Les Jours has earned the adoration of locals for its laminated pastries, cakes, and sandwiches. The lovely cafe is a treat for the eyes, too, with colorful creations lined up inside a glowing pastry case.

Falafel & Grill

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A reliable and unfussy storefront destination for generous portions of shawarma, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and gyros, Falafel & Grill has sated fans for a dozen years on Milwaukee Avenue. A second location is open near the border of Lakeview and Ravenswood. The salads are great and the meat gets a satisfying char from the flattop.

Chengdu Impression Wicker Park 成都印象

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A Sichuan favorite in its home neighborhood of Lincoln Park, Chengdu Impression launched a second outpost in 2021 on Milwaukee Avenue — an area with limited options for Chinese cuisine. Menu hits range from Chinese American dishes like Mongolian beef to stewed rabbit, dry-chili chicken, and spicy mapo tofu.

Tacos & Burrito Express #3

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Recently moved, this is one of the most reliable Mexican restaurants for a late-night meal. Forget about the overrated burritos at the hyped place a few blocks south, Tacos & Burrito Express has moist, delicious steak that turns first-time diners into regulars.

Schwa Restaurant

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A low-fi Michelin-starred restaurant where there’s no delineation between the back and front of the houses, Schwa has a habit of sparking vigorous discussion. While Schwa isn’t quite as wild as it was in the early years, the restaurant retains a rebellious streak in the fine dining world.

Kennedy Rooftop

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Rooftop bars are relatively uncommon in Wicker Park, so the Kennedy’s 2020 opening on the seventh floor of the Hyatt Place Hotel was a big deal for the neighborhood. It’s ideally positioned for panoramic views of Willis Tower and pairs food and drink with a retractable awning, fire pits, lounge chairs, and more outdoor toys — including cozy igloos for cold weather. Those who understand that they’re here for the view will have a good time.

Handlebar

A neighborhood anchor since 2003, Handlebar is known for its sumptuous lineup of vegan and vegetarian comfort dishes delivered with an effortlessly cool vibe. Grab a seat at brunch for tofu scrambles and breakfast burritos, or swing by at dinner for fried avocado tacos and meat-free Nashville hot “chicken” sandwiches.

Lost Larson

Pedigreed pastry chef Bobby Schaffer has kept the spirit of Swedish baking alive at his adorable Andersonville bakery that in 2021 expanded into Wicker Park with a bustling location on Division. Customers tend to form long lines for top-notch cinnamon rolls and moist lingonberry almond cake, so it’s a good idea to place orders in advance.

Cafe Istanbul

Turkish food gets the spotlight at this local favorite with fancy kebobs and more. The service goes beyond a standard shawarma shack and there’s plenty for light meals or dishes that will satisfy the most robust eater. Meat fans will love this place.

Paulie Gee's Wicker Park

Owner Derrick Tung decided to shake things up when he expanded his Logan Square pizzeria into Wicker Park, where his team specializes in long, foldable New York-style slices. Varieties include Big Bad Wolf (red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, bacon jam) and Onion Jawns (garlic, mozzarella, caramelized onions, ricotta, black pepper, basil).

Dove's Luncheonette

This Tex-Mex diner from One Off Hospitality (Publican, Big Star) is a popular standby for Wicker Park residents who harbor a hankering for breakfast and brunch indulgences like burnt ends hash and chicken fried chicken.

Taxim

A pioneer for Greek food away from Greektown, Taxim is one of the best restaurants in the area with a charming rooftop. The duck gyros are a staple, but don’t be afraid to venture beyond the familiar.

Bloom Plant Based Kitchen

Chef Rodolfo Cuadros’s daring upscale vegan restaurant uses small plates to make a compelling argument that vegetables can surprise and even excite diners with a range of dietary preferences. Cuadros, also behind pan Latin hit Amaru and vegan Mexican spot Don Bucio Taqueria, was long-listed in 2022 for the James Beard Foundation’s best chef: Great Lakes award.

Piece Brewery

Piece is usually packed with a high-energy atmosphere which makes it kind of a chore to find a table on the weekends. This is a proper brewpub with IPA and lagers available in growlers for home consumption. But wait, should we talk about the pizza? Customers will find New Haven-style pizza. Pies can be inconsistent during high-volume times, but when it’s on, it’s on.

Phodega

Some would say Phodega is the best pho in Chicago away from Argyle Street. But this spot’s appeal goes beyond pho with a menu of habit-forming Viet dip sandwiches and a combo fried chicken/Hainanese chicken plate. It’s also a great spot to pick up oyster sauce and Korean honey butter potato chips. Owners Nate Hoops and Anthony Ngo previously operated outposts in Wicker Park and Pilsen, but in 2023 consolidated the locations into a much larger space on Division.

Artemio Bakery

This Mexican bakery is a sweet experience for customers of all ages. Start by grabbing a tray to pile high with crunchy conchas and other delights.

Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods

Chef Brian Jupiter (Frontier) and the folks behind Lottie’s Pub created a festive ode to New Orleans in the former Beachwood dive bar, winning over neighbors and Chicagoans all over town with fried catfish and oysters, po’boys, and boozy Southern cocktails.

Tortello

Tortello delights neighbors with fancy pasta made just inside the restaurant’s front window. The restaurant is a boon for locals who can buy fresh pasta to cook at home but also caters to dine-in customers who can also slurp handmade noodles while sitting on the Division Street patio.

The Delta

The Delta is special with strong drinks, fun tamales, and friendly service. There’s a small back patio and it also serves a gym shoe tamale, taking the beloved South Side sandwich to new heights.

The Coach House by Zubair Mohajir

The Coach House is one of America’s most dynamic Indian restaurants. James Beard-nominated chef Zubair Mohajir, who cooks food from a South Indian Muslim perspective, offers a unique (and pricy) tasting menu with variations of aged duck cooked using a centuries-old recipe book, a wonderful expression of the Midwest relish tray that uses Indian flatbreads, and a world-class momo with a stuffing that changes seasonally. Originally, Coach House shared the space with casual restaurant Wazwan, but in fall 2023, Mohajir replaced it with Lilac Tiger, a cocktail bar with food and a collaboration with restaurateur Ty Fujimura (Arami) and chef Won Kim (Kimski). The chicken nuggets are stellar, and so is the duck-fried rice.

Antique Taco Wicker Park

This counter-service taqueria is among the most stylish and creative Mexican spots in the neighborhood, featuring delectable dishes like crab and shrimp flautas, crispy fish tacos with spicy tartar sauce and smoked cabbage, and horchata milkshakes topped with whipped cream. Owners also operate an outpost in Bridgeport.

Related Maps

Alliance Bakery

Pastry competition is fierce in Wicker Park, and classical French heavyweight Alliance Bakery is easily among the top contenders. Experts at both flavor and aesthetics, its bakers whip up elegant cakes, immaculate macarons, flaky croissants, and much more. In 2023, owner and veteran pastry chef Peter Rios expanded Alliance to a second outpost in West Town.

Bonchon Division

Korean fried chicken chain Bonchon has a veritable cult following, and three years ago, Wicker Park residents found out why: perfectly crunchy chicken (wings, drums, and strips) slathered in soy or spicy glaze. Patrons can expect other familiar Korean and Japanese options including bulgolgi, japchae, chicken katsu, and takoyaki. Other locations are open in Chinatown and suburban Glenview.

Tous Les Jours

Massive Korean-French bakery chain Tous Les Jours has earned the adoration of locals for its laminated pastries, cakes, and sandwiches. The lovely cafe is a treat for the eyes, too, with colorful creations lined up inside a glowing pastry case.

Falafel & Grill

A reliable and unfussy storefront destination for generous portions of shawarma, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, and gyros, Falafel & Grill has sated fans for a dozen years on Milwaukee Avenue. A second location is open near the border of Lakeview and Ravenswood. The salads are great and the meat gets a satisfying char from the flattop.

Chengdu Impression Wicker Park 成都印象

A Sichuan favorite in its home neighborhood of Lincoln Park, Chengdu Impression launched a second outpost in 2021 on Milwaukee Avenue — an area with limited options for Chinese cuisine. Menu hits range from Chinese American dishes like Mongolian beef to stewed rabbit, dry-chili chicken, and spicy mapo tofu.

Tacos & Burrito Express #3

Recently moved, this is one of the most reliable Mexican restaurants for a late-night meal. Forget about the overrated burritos at the hyped place a few blocks south, Tacos & Burrito Express has moist, delicious steak that turns first-time diners into regulars.

Schwa Restaurant

A low-fi Michelin-starred restaurant where there’s no delineation between the back and front of the houses, Schwa has a habit of sparking vigorous discussion. While Schwa isn’t quite as wild as it was in the early years, the restaurant retains a rebellious streak in the fine dining world.

Kennedy Rooftop

Rooftop bars are relatively uncommon in Wicker Park, so the Kennedy’s 2020 opening on the seventh floor of the Hyatt Place Hotel was a big deal for the neighborhood. It’s ideally positioned for panoramic views of Willis Tower and pairs food and drink with a retractable awning, fire pits, lounge chairs, and more outdoor toys — including cozy igloos for cold weather. Those who understand that they’re here for the view will have a good time.

Related Maps