Where to find the freshest catch in town

There’s something about food from the ocean and other bodies of water that people are drawn to. Perhaps it’s the seemingly endless variety of delicacies or maybe it’s the brininess of each bite that evokes images of sandy beaches and radiant skies. Equally, for chefs, there are waves of opportunities to create diverse and complex dishes.

Though Chicago is far from the East and West coasts, many places fly in fresh catch daily so the city is still home to some of best seafood restaurants in the country. New additions to the list for 2019 include Rick Bayless’s Baja-focused restaurant, Leña Brava, One Off Hospitality’s French-inspired Café Cancale, and the fried specialties of Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods.

14. Shaw’s Crab House

Lettuce Entertain You’s venerable crab house is still a standard-bearer for pristine seafood more than three decades after opening. The space is split into a formal dining room and a lively oyster bar, where diners can crack into crab legs, lobster, and seasonal specials like fried soft shell crab and stone crab claws. The bar offers live blues on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and the weekend brunch buffet is a crowd-pleaser as well.