Food & Drink

Chow Down! Discovering Chicago’s Top 12 Lunch Spots

If you're looking for a great lunch spot in Chicago, you're in luck! This city is known for its diverse and delicious food scene, and there are countless restaurants to choose from.

Whether you're craving a hearty sandwich, a fresh salad, or something a little more exotic, you're sure to find something that will satisfy your taste buds.

Of course, with so many options, it can be tough to know where to start. That's why we've put together this guide to the best lunch restaurants in Chicago.

We've scoured the city to find the top spots that offer great food, great service, and a great atmosphere. Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, we've got you covered.

So, what can you expect from our list? Well, we've included a mix of classic Chicago institutions and newer, trendier spots. We've also made sure to include a range of cuisines, so whether you're in the mood for Italian, Mexican, or something else entirely, you'll find a restaurant that fits the bill.

And of course, we've only included restaurants that we've personally tried and loved, so you can trust that these are truly the best of the best.

1. Au Cheval

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

Au Cheval is an American restaurant that offers an upscale take on the classic diner experience. The open kitchen prepares a range of dishes, from bologna to foie gras.

Their signature dish is the cheeseburger, which is a double patty with various toppings available.

The restaurant is dimly lit, creating a cozy atmosphere. The service is excellent, with friendly and attentive staff.

Prices are on the higher side, but the quality of the food and service make it worth it. Au Cheval is a must-try for anyone looking for a gourmet take on American comfort food.

2. The Purple Pig Restaurant

The Purple Pig Restaurant
444 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Google Maps)

The Purple Pig Restaurant is a top-rated lunch spot with a focus on pork and Mediterranean cuisine.

The open kitchen adds to the lively ambiance, and the chic, airy setting makes for a comfortable dining experience.

Dishes are meant for sharing, and the creative use of ingredients makes each dish unique and flavorful.

The attentive servers keep the flow of the dining experience going, ensuring a pleasant visit. Reservations are highly recommended to secure a table at this iconic gastropub.

3. avec Restaurant

Avec Restaurant
615 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60661 (Google Maps)

Avec Restaurant offers flavorful and unique Mediterranean cuisine at an exceptional price point.

The communal dining area adds to the cozy and minimalist atmosphere. The staff is attentive and friendly, making you feel like part of the family.

The bacon-wrapped dates and charred cabbage are must-try dishes. The wine selection pairs well with the proteins.

Highly recommended for a satisfying and delicious lunch experience.

4. Eleven City Diner

Eleven City Diner
1112 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 (Google Maps)

Eleven City Diner is a retro-style restaurant that specializes in deli and diner fare.

The menu offers a wide range of options, including Challah French toast, Bad A** sandwich, and homemade hash.

The portions are large, and the prices are reasonable. The staff is friendly, and the service is great.

The atmosphere is lively and jazzy, making it a must-visit spot when in the area. However, it can get busy during rush hours, so plan accordingly.

5. The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille
633 N St Clair St, Chicago, IL 60611 (Google Maps)

The Capital Grille is an upscale chophouse chain that offers classic American fare in a clubby, refined setting.

The restaurant is known for its excellent food, service, drinks, and appetizers.

The steaks are cooked to perfection and full of flavor, while the sides, such as the Parmesan Truffle Fries and Creamed Spinach, are mouth-watering.

The staff is attentive and provides exceptional customer service. The Capital Grille is a great option for a relaxing and tasty lunch experience.

6. The Dearborn

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

The Dearborn is a stylish American tavern that serves up market-driven eats and cocktails in a handsome architectural space.

The menu offers a wide range of American cuisine, including unique appetizers and a delicious fried chicken. The drinks are varied and satisfying, with a Daily Manhattan that stands out.

The customer service is impeccable, making it a great spot for a special occasion or a casual lunch. The atmosphere is cozy and chic, with natural light and clean bathrooms.

The prices are reasonable for the quality of food and service. If you're in the area, The Dearborn is definitely worth checking out.

7. Taza Cafe

Taza Cafe
176 N Franklin St #1822, Chicago, IL 60606 (Google Maps)

Taza Cafe is a counter-serve Mediterranean eatery that serves classic Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes. The food is made fresh daily by the owner, Hamza, who arrives early every morning to prepare for the lunch rush.

The falafels are a standout item and are made with chickpeas, garlic, coriander, and spices like cumin, salt, and pepper.

The assorted baklava is also a must-try, made fresh in Chicago by a partner. The customer service is excellent, with friendly staff and reliable delivery for catering orders.

Taza Cafe is a great lunch spot for those looking for healthy and delicious Mediterranean food.

8. Provare Chicago

Provare Chicago
1421 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (Google Maps)

Provare Chicago is a top-notch lunch restaurant that offers a limited yet unique menu. The food is executed well and absolutely delicious.

The service is prompt, friendly, and knowledgeable about the menu. The ambiance is casual but nice, making for a great dining experience.

The restaurant is black-owned and offers a complimentary house Rum Punch shot.

The mandatory 20% tip is informed at the beginning of the meal, and the service is excellent. Provare Chicago is a must-try for anyone looking for a delicious lunch experience.

9. Cherry Circle Room

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

Cherry Circle Room is a must-visit lunch spot for anyone looking for an unforgettable dining experience. The wooden interiors and friendly staff create an inviting atmosphere that will make you feel at home.

The food is amazing and reasonably priced, and the restaurant's American menu is full of classic dishes with a modern twist.

The brunch menu is a particular standout, with the smoked sturgeon eggs Benedict being a work of art.

The restaurant is a bit difficult to find, but it's definitely worth seeking out. Reservations are highly recommended, as the restaurant is not very large.

10. Polombia

Urban Space, 15 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602 (Google Maps)

Polombia is a lunch restaurant that offers a fusion of Polish and Colombian cuisine.

The menu is diverse, and the dishes are unique and flavorful. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the food they serve.

The restaurant has a casual atmosphere and is perfect for a quick lunch break or a catch-up with friends.

The portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable. If you're looking for something different and exciting, Polombia is definitely worth a visit.

11. Arturo Express Restaurant and Catering

Arturo Express Restaurant And Catering
130 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606 (Google Maps)

Looking for a delicious and affordable lunch spot with a great atmosphere and friendly staff in the city center of Chicago, look no further than Arturo Express Restaurant and Catering!

They offer a wide selection of Italian sandwiches, personal pizzas, pasta, and salads that are sure to satisfy your hunger.

The daily specials are a great deal, and the Italian beef on Fridays is a must-try.

The staff is efficient and attentive, making your lunch experience a breeze. Don't forget to grab a tasty cookie or cannoli for dessert!

12. The Gage

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

The Gage is an upscale pub and gastropub that serves inventive American eats in a lively space with views of Millennium Park.

The restaurant offers a range of delicious and well-prepared food options at reasonable prices. The portions are enormous and can serve two to three people.

However, single guests may face food waste issues, as half-size servings are not offered. The ambiance is easygoing, and the staff is professional and friendly.

The service is excellent, and the waiters are attentive to details. The Gage is a perfect place to dine when in the area and looking for a gastro pub.