One of downtown Chicago’s best dining and drinking neighborhoods has something for everyone
River North is one of Chicago’s most-frequented neighborhoods with gobs of tourists and city dwellers descending toward blocks of riverfront views, luxe shopping options, and reputable art galleries. And then there’s the area’s food and drink scene — a bustling collection of upscale eateries, hotel hangouts, crowded nightlife, and budget-friendly bites. From the big-ticket steakhouse, to the serious sushi newcomer, to the tasting menu fixture and oyster haven, here are the best places to dine and drink right now in River North.
It was a trip through Italy for Lettuce Entertain You founder Rich Melman and chef David DiGregorio that inspired the philosophy behind this restaurant, where a commitment to seasonal and local produce and traditional Italian flavors and techniques are paramount. Today those practices show up in plates like parmesan-crusted sweet onions, hand-rolled ricotta cavatelli with wild mushrooms, and pan-roasted Faroe Islands salmon, served alongside salsa verde and a shaved fennel salad.
This adored tiki hotspot offers an otherworldly experience in a bustling neighborhood, transporting customers to the tropics the moment they step inside. Staff source cocktail ingredients from around the world for classic and modern tiki concoctions. Tropical food items like coconut shrimp and tuna poke are also available. Owners opened the Bamboo Room, a bar-within-a-bar, in February to offer diners a more refined setting.
Celebrities and locals love this gorgeous steakhouse that exudes understated glamour. Opened in 2014, RPM Steak staff have served President Obama, Taraji P. Henson, and Lady Gaga, among other famous faces to make an appearance at this see-and-be-seen spot. It’s also known for excellent Japanese and Kobe beef and over-the-top desserts like a 14K chocolate cake.