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

River North, a vibrant Chicago neighborhood, combines stylish nightclubs, upscale eateries, chic shops, and historic architecture with stunning river views.

Quick recommendations: start with Beatrix for a health-focused brunch or The Smith for inventive comfort food.

Below, discover our selection of the 12 best River North restaurants for an unforgettable dining experience.

1. Beatrix

At Beatrix, the wellness ethos is front and center in their menu, offering a delightful dining experience in Aloft hotel’s chic ambiance. Their Lemon Pancakes, accompanied by blackberries and lemon syrup, make for an ideal start to the day.

For a spicier option, Chicken Tinga with guajillo chili offers the perfect level of heat. Their Enlightened Caesar salad, enriched with Greek yogurt dressing, is a lighter choice, especially when paired with Prime Steak.

What to order: Light & FluffyLemon Pancakes, Spicy Chicken Tinga, Enlightened Caesar, Slow-Cooked Short Rib, Attitude Adjustment

Address: 519 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, United States

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2. The Smith

Renowned for its heartwarming comfort food and creative cocktails, The Smith features a subway-station-inspired setting with white tiles and a lively bar. Notable selections include fresh Oysters and Benedict Johny, enhanced by roasted tomato hollandaise.

The creamy Mac + Cheese and Ricotta Gnocchi are perfect for a fulfilling brunch. For dessert lovers, the chocolate layer cake is a must-try, offering a rich and gooey delight.

What to order: Oyster of the Day, Ricotta Gnocchi, Mac and Cheese, Benedict Johnny

Address: 400 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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3. Obelix

Obelix offers a cozy and stylish dining experience with its Parisian ambiance, featuring white tablecloths and checkered floors. The menu blends French dishes with international flavors, such as scallop with Okinawan sweet potato or Moroccan-style carrot salad.

Macaron Au Foie Gras and Beef Wellington stand out for their unique blend of flavors and perfectly cooked meat, making them memorable choices for a fine dining experience.

What to order: Macaron Au Foie Gras, Beef Wellington, Macaroni Gratin, 10-Day Dry-Aged Duck Breast

Address: 700 N Sedgwick St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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4. Gilt Bar

Gilt Bar’s speakeasy atmosphere, with marble floors and vintage decor, sets the stage for an evening of diverse dishes and innovative cocktails. Their Tenderloin Steak Tartare and Roasted Bone Marrow are standout choices, offering unique flavors and textures.

For a sweet finish, the Chocolate Layer Cake is a chocolate lover’s dream, combining a rich taste with a perfect texture.

What to order: Tenderloin Steak Tartare, Wood Fired Bone Marrow, Steamed Mussels, Ricotta Gnocchi, Chocolate Layer Cake

Address: 230 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL, United States

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5. Indienne

Indienne brings a fusion of Old World India and European modernism to fine dining, with a menu that features inventive dishes like Garlic Naan and Passion Fruit Pani Puri. Regularly rotating options like Jackfruit Katsu showcase the chef’s creativity, providing a flavorful and visually appealing dining experience.

What to order: Tasting Menu (six-course, vegan or non-vegan), Jackfruit Katsu

Address: 217 W Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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6. RPM Italian

RPM Italian elevates Italian cuisine with a blend of classic and modern dishes in a sophisticated setting. Signature dishes like Maine Lobster Ravioli and Spicy King Crab in squid ink pasta exemplify the restaurant’s culinary excellence. The Brussel Sprouts and RPM Cheesecake, complemented by a glass of Pinot Noir, round off the meal perfectly.

What to order: Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Spicy King Crab, Charred Pepperoni Pizzette, RPM Cheesecake

Address: 52 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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7. RPM Steak

RPM Steak is a premier steakhouse known for its global beef cuts and elegant ambiance. The Chateau Uenae Snow Wagyu stands out for its unique flavor, while the Gruyere Popovers offer a light and fluffy start to the meal. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the perfect pairing options available.

What to order: Gruyere Popovers, Chateau Uenae Snow Beef, Millionaire’s Potato

Address: 66 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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8. Sushi-san

Sushi-san’s blend of traditional Japanese cuisine with modern styles creates a vibrant and unconventional dining experience. Their Spicy Tuna specialty maki and Tako Tacos showcase the restaurant’s creative approach, while the Megatron San-Set offers a fresh seafood experience.

What to order: Spicy Tuna, Megatron San-Set, Tako Taco

Address: 63 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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9. Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf

At Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf, the upscale French steakhouse experience is complemented by a speakeasy ambiance. Their Dry-Aged Bone-In Rib-Eye Steak and Roasted Bone Marrow are rich and flavorful, making for a memorable dining experience in an elegant yet unpretentious setting.

What to order: Dry-Aged Bone-In Rib-Eye Steak, Roasted Bone Marrow, Tenderloin Steak Tartare

Address: 218 W Kinzie St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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10. Portillo’s

Portillo’s is synonymous with Chicago’s culinary heritage, offering iconic hotdogs, beefed-up sandwiches, and burgers. Their Italian Beef Sandwich and Char-Grilled Polish Sausage are classic Chicago eats, while the Chocolate Cake Shake is a unique and indulgent treat.

What to order: Italian Beef Sandwich, Char-Grilled Polish sausage, Chocolate Cake Shake

Address: 100 W Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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11. XOCO

XOCO, led by Chef Rick Bayless, delivers an authentic Mexican culinary experience. Their Ahogada torta and Churro Chicken Sandwich offer a delightful mix of traditional and contemporary Mexican flavors, complemented by the Aztec chocolate drink.

What to order: Ahogada, Spicy Churro Chicken Sandwich, Aztec Chocolate

Address: 449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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12. Etta

Etta’s warm and inviting atmosphere perfectly matches its menu of hearth-grilled dishes and wood-fired pizzas. Their Fire-Baked Focaccia with honey and truffle ricotta is a standout choice, while the fresh Oysters provide a taste of the sea with each bite.

What to order: Fire-Baked Focaccia, Oysters, Margherita, Old Fashioned cocktail

Address: 700 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654, United States

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To sum up River North’s culinary landscape, you could say the neighborhood is an abode for world-class establishments, Chefs and cooks with creative genius, and people well-versed in the language of excellent food.

There’s no other way to immerse yourself in the vibrant city culture than going around these restaurants. 

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