Food & Drink

Chow Town: 20 Top American Eateries in The Windy City

Chicago is a city that prides itself on its diverse culinary scene. With so many options, it can be overwhelming to decide where to eat.

Luckily, Chicago boasts some of the best American restaurants in the country. From traditional comfort food to innovative dishes, there is something for everyone.

American cuisine is characterized by its fusion of flavors and influences from various cultures. In Chicago, you can find restaurants that specialize in classic American dishes, such as burgers and hot dogs, as well as those that put a unique spin on traditional recipes.

Whether you're looking for a casual spot to grab a quick bite or a fine dining experience, you won't be disappointed.

Many of the best American restaurants in Chicago use locally-sourced ingredients to create their dishes. This commitment to using fresh, seasonal ingredients not only supports the local community but also ensures that the food is of the highest quality.

Additionally, many of these restaurants also have an extensive drink menu, featuring craft beers, cocktails, and wines that pair perfectly with their food.

If you're a foodie visiting or living in Chicago, you won't want to miss out on the city's best American restaurants.

From the ambiance to the food and drinks, these restaurants offer a one-of-a-kind dining experience that is sure to leave you satisfied. In this blog post, we'll highlight some of the top American restaurants in Chicago that you won't want to miss.

1. Au Cheval

Au Cheval
800 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607 (Google Maps)

Au Cheval is an upscale American diner known for their delicious burgers and fries. The restaurant doesn't take reservations, so be prepared for a wait.

However, the food is worth it. Their single cheeseburger with egg and bacon is a must-try.

The crispy photo hash with duck heart gravy is also highly recommended. The open kitchen adds to the ambiance and the staff is friendly and attentive.

If you're looking for a tasty burger in a cool atmosphere, Au Cheval is the place to go.

2. The Dearborn

The Dearborn
145 N Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60602 (Google Maps)

The Dearborn is a stylish American tavern that serves market-driven eats and cocktails in a beautiful setting.

The menu offers a wide range of dishes, from unique appetizers to delicious entrees. The fried chicken is a must-try, and the fish and chips are some of the best in town.

The drinks are varied and satisfying, and the service is prompt and personable. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, making it the perfect spot for a brunch or dinner with friends.

Whether you're in the mood for a classic American dish or something more unique, The Dearborn has something for everyone.

3. The Gage

The Gage
24 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (Google Maps)

The Gage is a lively gastropub with an inventive American menu.

The restaurant boasts a long list of beers and a lively atmosphere with views of Millennium Park. The food is well-prepared, elegantly presented, and delicious.

The service is attentive, and the staff is friendly and polite. The restaurant is a great place to go for lunch or dinner, especially if you find yourself on Michigan Ave.

The Gage is perfect for those looking for a unique and upscale pub experience.

4. Smyth

177 N Ada St #101, Chicago, IL 60607 (Google Maps)

Smyth is a Michelin-starred American restaurant that offers a creative and well-balanced menu.

The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, yet the service is attentive and professional. The open kitchen allows guests to watch the master chefs at work.

The wine list is lovely and the beverage pairing is interesting. The food is inventive and the presentation is simple yet rich.

While the price may be high, the value is worth it for a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience.

5. The Franklin Room

The Franklin Room
675 N Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Google Maps)

The Franklin Room is a hidden gem with a prohibition-era ambiance and exceptional service.

The menu offers creative American cuisine with a wide selection of brown booze, sake, and beers. The upscale food is well-presented and bursting with flavor.

The bartenders are knowledgeable and can whip up a mean cocktail. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic dinner.

The Franklin Room is a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique dining experience.

6. Cherry Circle Room

Cherry Circle Room
12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 (Google Maps)

Cherry Circle Room is an American restaurant with a mid-century cultural theme.

The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, perfect for a romantic night out or a special occasion. The menu is small but the food is delicious and the wine selection is impressive.

The service is professional and attentive, making for a great dining experience. The only downside is that the restroom is located downstairs.

Despite this, Cherry Circle Room is a must-visit restaurant for anyone looking for a unique dining experience.

7. EL ideas

El Ideas
2419 W 14th St, Chicago, IL 60608 (Google Maps)

EL ideas is a Michelin-starred American restaurant that offers a unique and intimate dining experience. The restaurant serves a fixed-price menu that changes regularly, featuring innovative and creative dishes made with high-quality ingredients.

The open kitchen allows guests to watch the chefs prepare and plate their meals, adding to the overall dining experience.

EL ideas is BYOB, which helps to keep costs down and makes it an affordable option for fine dining.

The service is professional and attentive without being stuffy, and the atmosphere is casual and welcoming. EL ideas is a great choice for foodies and anyone looking for a memorable dining experience.

8. Remington's

20 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60602 (Google Maps)

Remington's is a stylish and modern American restaurant that offers traditional steakhouse fare and seafood. The waitstaff is great, and the atmosphere is cozy and upscale.

The food is fantastic, and the prices are reasonable. The wine selection is impressive, and the service is attentive and friendly.

The restaurant is perfect for nice dinners, and advance reservations are advised. The outdoor seating can be limited, but the wine cellar is a must-see.

Remington's is a great place to treat yourself or others to a delicious meal in a beautiful setting.

9. RL Restaurant

Rl Restaurant
115 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Google Maps)

RL Restaurant offers a sophisticated dining experience with upscale American cuisine. The ambiance is elegant and timeless, with Ralph Lauren's signature style evident in every detail.

The menu features classic dishes such as escargot and corned beef sandwiches, as well as seafood options like Chilean sea bass.

The service is exceptional, with attentive and friendly staff.

The restaurant is a bit pricey, but worth it for the quality of food and atmosphere. It's a great spot for a special occasion or a fancy night out.

10. Doc B's Restaurant

Doc B's Restaurant
55 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Google Maps)

Doc B's Restaurant offers elevated American cuisine with refined ambience and service. The menu features a variety of American classics alongside unique appetizers and desserts.

The service is quick and professional, with attentive waitstaff that offer helpful suggestions.

The atmosphere is clean and modern, with plenty of TVs to watch the game. The food is delicious and well-prepared, with fresh and crisp flavors that are sure to please.

Doc B's Restaurant is a great spot for lunch or dinner, offering a solid menu, atmosphere, and experience that is sure to impress.

11. The Publican

The Publican
837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 (Google Maps)

The Publican is a beer-focused eatery with a creative seafood and pork-focused menu.

The atmosphere is hip with communal tables and a variety of global brews.

The staff is attentive and the food is nicely presented and delicious. The menu changes frequently, but the oysters are a must-try.

Prices are a bit steep, but the quality of the food and experience is worth it.

12. Beatrix

519 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Google Maps)

Beatrix is a must-visit American restaurant for anyone craving delicious food and drinks.

The menu is varied and caters to different diets, while the in-house desserts are a must-try. The staff are friendly, helpful and attentive without being intrusive.

The restaurant has a cozy and upbeat atmosphere that's perfect for both intimate dining and social gatherings.

With vegan-friendly options and seasonal drinks, Beatrix is a modern, all-day venue that's sure to impress.

13. 1308 Chicago

1308 Chicago
1308 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (Google Maps)

1308 Chicago is a hidden gem of a restaurant with a charming and intimate ambiance. The seasonal menu is creative and offers unique dishes that are sure to impress.

Vegetarian options are available and the service is top-notch. The cornbread and blueberry butane pickles are a must-try, and the burgers are among the best in Chicago.

The cocktails are crafted with care and the corn ribs appetizer is a standout.

Despite its small size, this New American restaurant is perfect for a date or quiet conversation over a meal. Make sure to book a reservation because this place fills up fast.

14. The Smith

The Smith
400 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Google Maps)

The Smith is a stylish American restaurant that offers elevated cuisine and happy hour drinks every day.

Their menu features fresh oysters, premium salads, and sandwiches, as well as unique dishes like arancini and brick flattened chicken.

The atmosphere is retro-chic, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. The service is attentive and friendly, making for a pleasant dining experience.

Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a fancy dinner, The Smith is definitely worth checking out.

15. Schwa Restaurant

Schwa Restaurant
1466 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (Google Maps)

Schwa Restaurant is a unique Michelin-starred American restaurant that offers a minimalistic and intimate dining experience.

The restaurant's fixed-price menus showcase inventive New American cuisine that is both creative and delicious.

The staff is scrappy, yet kind and passionate, making the dining experience unforgettable.

The BYOB policy adds to the relaxed atmosphere of the restaurant, making it a great place to enjoy a unique dining experience with friends or loved ones. Reservations fill up quickly, so make sure to check regularly for openings.

16. 676 Restaurant & Bar

676 Restaurant & Bar
676 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Google Maps)

676 Restaurant & Bar is a classy American brasserie located on the fourth floor of a hotel. The restaurant offers upscale American cuisine with locally sourced ingredients.

The menu is on the traditional side, but the food is outstanding. The service is top-notch, and the waitstaff is professional and attentive.

The ambiance is lovely, with rustic accents and a cool presentation of the ice tea.

The restaurant has a great view of the Magnificent Mile, making it a perfect place for lunch or dinner. The prices are on the higher side, but the experience is worth it.

17. Kindling

202 S Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60606 (Google Maps)

Kindling is a must-visit American restaurant. The live wood fire grill and plancha make the food unique and delicious.

The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, providing top-notch service. The atmosphere is inviting and perfect for any occasion, from a business dinner to drinks after work.

The menu offers plant-based options and caters to dietary restrictions. The decor is beautiful and brings nature into the restaurant.

Kindling is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for an elevated casual dining experience.

18. Staytion Market & Bar

Staytion Market & Bar
1 W Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60601 (Google Maps)

Staytion Market & Bar is a well-appointed American restaurant that serves upmarket cuisine. The restaurant boasts a chic and open ambiance, making it a popular spot for business associates and friends to gather.

The menu offers a range of dishes, from sandwiches to steak and pizza, with some healthy options available.

The Italian sausage and mushroom is a standout dish. The staff is attentive and accommodating, with servers like Sarah providing great service.

Staytion Market & Bar is a great spot for drinks and light dinner, with a good selection of cocktails and other beverages.

19. Lockwood Restaurant & Bar

Lockwood Restaurant & Bar
17 E Monroe St, Chicago, IL 60603 (Google Maps)

Lockwood Restaurant & Bar offers upscale, imaginative New American dining in a historic hotel lobby.

The farm-to-table menu features unique flavor combinations and fresh ingredients. The cozy ambiance and friendly service make for a delightful dining experience.

The handcrafted cocktails are a must-try, and the desserts are a perfect finish to the meal. The restaurant also offers a Friday night special of unlimited fish and chips for a great price.

If you're looking for a fine dining experience in a beautiful setting, Lockwood Restaurant & Bar is a great choice.

20. The Kitchen American Bistro

The Kitchen American Bistro
316 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 (Google Maps)

The Kitchen American Bistro is a chic and stylish restaurant that offers elevated international dishes. With a warm and inviting contemporary design, this bistro is perfect for couples or solo diners.

The high ceilings, glass bulb chandeliers, and spacious dining area with tufted leather booth-like seating provide a cozy and comfortable atmosphere.

The menu features reasonable portions of delicious cuisine, and the service is friendly and polished. The balcony views are super nice and offer a great view of the city and the river.

Although the prices are a bit steep, the sea salt cocktail and the lobster roll are highly recommended.