12 Best Evanston Restaurants To Eat At In 2024 (+ What To Order)

Evanston is a city on the North Shore along picturesque Lake Michigan, famous for its educational institutions like Northwestern University and Rotary International.

In this suburban Illinois city where diversity has almost become a culture on its own, you bet it has a booming culinary landscape.

Quick Recommendations: Campagnola and Oceanique

With that said, feast your eyes on the 12 best Evanston restaurants you must absolutely check out. 

1. Campagnola

Campagnola is a cozy Italian spot loved by many. Its warm atmosphere, adorned with charming paintings and a quaint patio, makes everyone feel at home. It’s always busy, especially on weekdays. 

You can’t go wrong with their Roasted Beets; they’re a hit with their sweet flavor and creamy goat cheese. If you’re looking for a hearty meal, try their Squid Ink Spaghetti Diavolo, packed with scallops, shrimp, tomato, red peppers, and chili flakes.

What to order: Roasted Beets, Roasted Duck, Squid Ink Spaghetti Diavolo

Address: 815 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

2. Oceanique

Oceanique is a beloved spot in Evanston known for top-notch service, delicious food, and an inviting atmosphere. The restaurant’s sleek design, overseen by owner and chef Mark Grosz, provides the perfect backdrop for the star attraction—the food. 

If you’re new here, go for the 5-course tasting menu, featuring delights like Organic Scottish Salmon and Prime Creekstone Filet Mignon. 

For those who prefer to choose their dishes, the Cold Seafood Platter is a hit, boasting fresh lobsters, shrimp, and scallops. A true seafood haven!

What to order: Chef’s 5 Course, Cold Seafood Platter

Address: 505 Main St, Evanston, IL, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

3. Shinsen

Shinsen in Evanston combines Japanese and Thai cuisines creatively. While its modern design doesn’t favor a specific culture, subtle nods to both, like Buddha images, add charm.

The food delights both eyes and taste buds. Don’t skip the Robata Skirt Steak; it’s impeccable. Explore the Tamarind Noodles for some tangy goodness or try the Black Widow Maki, featuring black rice and tobiko.

What to order: Robata Skirt Steak, Thai Iced Tea, Black Widow Maki, Tamarind Noodles

Address: 1322 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

4. Peckish Pig

Peckish Pig is a cool place that’s both a brunch spot and a local pub. Inside or out on their patio, the bar is where it’s at, with lots of colorful drinks to choose from and a big TV. 

Late-night snack? Try their Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Spanish Chorizo. 

And don’t forget the Whipped Goat Cheese & Honeycomb—it’s tasty! They also make some really creative cocktails, like the Carribean Spice & Everything Nice. You’ll love it!

What to order: Bacon-Wrapped Dates, Whipped Goat Cheese & Honeycomb, Caribbean Spice & Everything Nice

Address: 623 W Howard St, Evanston, IL, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

5. NaKorn Urban Thai

NaKorn offers modern Thai cuisine with a traditional touch. It’s upscale yet cozy, perfect for hanging out with friends. 

My top picks? The Ginger Bourbon Popcorn Chicken and Frisée (Fried Tofu) are must-tries, each with its own delicious sauce. 

For something heartier, try the Coconut-Curry Braised Chicken—it’s infused with Persian spices and Thai herbs, a real treat!

What to order: Ginger Bourbon Popcorn Chicken, Frisée (Fried Tofu), Coconut-Curry Braised Chicken

Address: 1622 Orrington Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

6. The Barn Steakhouse

The Barn stands out as a premier steakhouse in downtown Evanston, offering top-notch dining and service. Inside, you’ll find warm colors, classy booths, and a well-stocked bar. 

Get their Pan Seared Salmon—it’s exceptional with dill yogurt sauce and crisp cucumbers. For a special treat, opt for their Prix-Fixe dinner with a choice of salad, main course like New York Strip Steak or Za’atar Roasted Chicken, and dessert options like Arnie’s Chocolate Velvet Cake.

What to order: Pan-Seared Salmon, Dry Age Ribeye, Prix-Fixe Dinner, Pecan Streusel Carrot Cake, Cocktails, Wine

Address: 1016 Church St Rear, Evanston, IL, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

7. Union Pizzeria

Union Pizzeria serves up Italian-Asian fusion pizzas and enticing small plates, like Mussels with saffron and Pernod and Scottish Salmon with mint salsa verde.

With a rich history and urban chic decor, it’s a go-to spot for Neapolitan artisan pizza enjoyed in a cozy ambiance. 

Don’t skip their Quattro Formaggi and Margherita pizzas—they’re extraordinary spins on classics!

What to order: Quattro Formaggi, Margherita, Mussels, Scottish Salmon, Wine

Address: 1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

8. Le Peep Evanston

At Le Peep in Evanston, brunch is a big deal! With a rich 45-year history, this cozy spot values top-notch ingredients and treats guests like family. 

Step in and relax while you munch on their Triple Decker sandwich packed with turkey, bacon, and ham, or enjoy the sweet Stuffed French Toast oozing with vanilla ricotta and cream cheese. Don’t let this brunch gem slip away—it’s a must-try!

What to order: Triple Decker, Stuffed French Toast, Dawn Breaker

Address: 827 Church St, Evanston, IL 60202, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

9. Alcove

Previously known as Chef’s Station, Alcove offers a creative American dining experience with a touch of sophistication and eccentricity. Expect to splurge a bit, but it’s worth every penny for the exceptional food and service. 

Treat yourself to the umami flavors of their Yellowfin Tuna Tartare or the melt-in-your-mouth Pan-roasted Beef Tenderloin paired with charred broccolini. 

For dessert, be sure not to overlook their Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake, adorned with decadent Grand Marnier chocolate sauce—you won’t regret it!

What to order: Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, Pan-roasted Beef Tenderloin, Warm Flourless Chocolate Cake

Address: 1625 Maple Ave, Evanston, IL 60201, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

10. Cupitol Coffee & Eatery

Formerly the Keg Bar, Cupitol is now a hotspot for coffee lovers. It’s the perfect spot for a hearty breakfast any time of day or simply to enjoy award-winning coffee. The bright, airy interior with wooden accents is Instagram-worthy. 

Their Berry Mascarpone French Toast is incredibly fluffy! Pair it with the Skirt Steak and Eggs or Spanish Omelette for a satisfying meal. 

Wash it all down with a Flat White, Matcha Latte, or Classic Mimosa for a complete brunch experience.

What to order: Berry Mascarpone French Toast, Skirt Steak and Eggs, Spanish Omelette, Flat White, Matcha Latte, Classic Mimosa

Address: 812 Grove St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

11. Blind Faith Cafe

Blind Faith is a great spot for yummy vegan food that’s just as tasty as regular meals. The place looks fancy, and the service is awesome. 

You’ve gotta try their Seitan Marsala—it’s like homemade seitan in a sweet sauce with mushrooms. 

And their Mongolian Stir-Fry? It’s packed with spicy flavors over brown rice that tastes so good! Even if you’re not big on vegan stuff, you’ll still love their food!

What to order: Seitan Marsala, Mongolian Stir-Fry, Kung Pao

Address: 525 Dempster St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States

Website | Instagram

12. Joy Yee Noodle

Opened in 1994, Joy Yee is a trailblazer in pan-Asian cuisine, offering high-quality dishes at affordable prices. Renowned for their exceptional bubble teas and smoothies, Joy Yee’s vibrant ambiance greets you with towering displays of colorful drinks.  

Get the Korean Beef Over Rice, Orange Chicken, or Pad Thai Noodles. You can’t go wrong with any of the three! 

For drinks, the refreshing Mango Fruit Freeze smoothie or the Pomegranate Lemon Iced tea is the way to go.

What to order: Korean Beef Over Rice (Bulgogi), Orange Chicken, Pad Tai Noodles, Mango Fruit Freeze, Flavored Tea (Pomegranate Lemon)

Address: 533 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201, United States

Website | Instagram | Facebook

There you go, that ends our Evanston culinary crawl. We hope you’ll visit one or two of them soon — or what about all?

Going somewhere else? We have prepared a list of the best Chicago Riverwalk restaurants here.