Chicago is America’s spiritual steak capital, having once packaged most of the country’s beef. Nowadays, it’s known for flavor-packed ribeyes and bone-in filets served in elegant chophouses. Here, top chefs recommend the best.
Is there a better steak town in the U.S. than Chicago? Experts make a good case for the Windy City: They’ve picked their favorite cuts from their top steakhouses and told us why they’re remarkable.
If you haven’t eaten steak in Chicago in a while, you might want to start making plans. Now. The city has an obsession with top-quality beef, with an assortment of must-have sides and sauces. On this list: A certified classic steakhouse that was a favorite of Sinatra’s, a modern meat place in Google’s local headquarters, and even a Korean barbecue spot.
These recommendations come from people who know their beef—some of the country’s very best chefs and restaurateurs. Let them guide you to the right cuts.
66 W. Kinzie St., River North
Pictured: The A5 Wagyu
Here’s why Chicago native Nick Kokonas goes to RPM Steak’s sexy, softly lit modern dining room, headed up by Doug Psaltis. “It’s a great room, they do everything right and don’t overthink it,” Kokonas says. “I will usually start with the seafood tower, which is simple, fresh, and really well done. What else do you want from a steakhouse starter?” Then his guests will order their own steaks. “But for the table, we’ll get one or two of the Wagyu/Kobe selections (from $85 for the Miyazaki),” he explains. “All the A5 [the highest grade of Kobe] they serve are the real deal, which is not true at some steakhouses, and I’ll order two for the table as a ‘side dish.’ Personally, I cannot eat Kobe as a main. It’s just too rich, but I love a tasting alongside my steak and comparing the different types they have.” And that’s why Kokonas always assembles a large group when he heads to RPM.
—Recommended by co-owner Nick Kokonas of Alinea, Next, and the Aviary, Chicago.