Food & Drink

Chow Down in Chi-town: 19 Must-Try Lunch Spots in Chicago

Chicago, the Windy City, is known for its stunning skyline, deep-dish pizza, and hot dogs. But it's not just the food that makes Chicago stand out.

The city is also home to some of the best lunch spots in the country, offering a range of cuisines that reflect the diverse cultures and communities that call Chicago home.

Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a leisurely lunch, Chicago has something for everyone.

From trendy cafes to classic delis, there's no shortage of options to choose from. And with so many great lunch spots in the city, it can be hard to know where to start.

That's why we've put together a list of the best lunch spots in Chicago. We've scoured the city to find the hidden gems and the must-visit spots that are sure to satisfy any craving.

So whether you're a local looking for something new or a visitor hoping to experience the best of Chicago, our list has got you covered.

1. Au Cheval

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

Au Cheval is an upscale American diner known for its delicious burgers and fries. This walk-in only spot can get busy, but the quick and friendly service makes it worth the wait.

The bone marrow appetizer is a must-try, and the Caesar salad and French 75 cocktail are also popular choices.

The single cheeseburger with egg and bacon is a fan favorite, but vegetarian options are not available.

The open kitchen adds to the ambiance and showcases the use of high-quality ingredients, including foie gras. Au Cheval is a solid choice for a casual lunch or dinner with friends.

2. The Purple Pig Restaurant

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

The Purple Pig Restaurant is a must-visit for foodies looking for a unique culinary experience. With a focus on pork and an open kitchen, this gastropub offers a chic and airy setting for lunch.

The menu is diverse and innovative, featuring dishes like beef tartare and milk-braised Berkshire shoulder.

The service is excellent, and the atmosphere is vibrant and full of energy. A great spot for sharing dishes and trying new things.

Highly recommended for those looking for a memorable lunch experience.

3. Saigon Sisters

Saigon Sisters
567 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661 (Google Maps)

Saigon Sisters is a Vietnamese restaurant that serves delicious and authentic Vietnamese cuisine. The food is packed with flavor, and the portions are generous.

The staff is friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere is lovely. The restaurant is a great spot to go with friends after work or for a casual lunch.

The cocktails are smooth, and the menu offers a variety of options, including banh mi sandwiches, bao buns, soups, and more.

If you're in the mood for light Vietnamese fare at a casual locale, Saigon Sisters is definitely worth a visit.

4. Eleven City Diner

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

If you're looking for a classic diner experience with quality food and friendly service, Eleven City Diner is a must-visit spot.

Their all-day brunch menu offers delicious options like the Old School Box with lox and the works, and the homemade hash is a standout dish.

The retro-style decor adds to the fun atmosphere, but be prepared for a wait during peak hours.

Whether you're a local or just passing through, Eleven City Diner is a destination for deli and diner fare that won't disappoint.

5. Lou Mitchell's

Lou Mitchell's
565 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60661 (Google Maps)

Lou Mitchell's is an iconic diner that has been serving up hearty breakfasts and lunches since 1923.

Their menu offers a wide range of options, with generous portions for a reasonable price. The staff is friendly and works hard to accommodate everyone, even during busy times.

The old-school diner atmosphere adds to the charm of this Chicago staple.

Whether you're in the mood for pancakes, omelets, or biscuits and gravy, Lou Mitchell's is a great spot to grab a delicious meal.

6. Little Bad Wolf

Little Bad Wolf
1541 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60660 (Google Maps)

Little Bad Wolf is a must-visit lunch spot for burger lovers. The Bad Burger is a standout menu item, with all its components made to perfection.

The restaurant also boasts an incredible selection of cocktails, beer, and hard alcohol. The atmosphere is lively and fun, making it a great spot to meet up with friends or enjoy a night out.

Although the music can be a little loud, it adds to the overall vibe of the place. The service is attentive and the prices are reasonable.

If you're looking for a delicious burger in a great atmosphere, Little Bad Wolf is definitely worth checking out.

7. avec Restaurant

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

Avec Restaurant is a Mediterranean spot that offers a variety of unique and flavorful dishes. The chorizo dates and focaccia are highly recommended.

The restaurant has an intimate atmosphere with wood walls and a modern steel countertop.

Service is attentive and friendly. The food is delicious, with inventive small and large plates. The pork belly and manchego gelato are particularly noteworthy.

A great spot for brunch or happy hour, with reasonable prices for the quality of food and service.

8. The Dearborn

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

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

The menu offers a wide range of food, including unique appetizers and delicious entrees like fish and chips, fried chicken, and steak.

The drinks are varied and satisfying, and the service is prompt and professional. The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, making it a great spot for brunch, lunch, or dinner.

The Dearborn is a must-visit for anyone looking for a classic and elevated dining experience.

9. The Gage

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

The Gage is a lively gastropub that serves inventive American cuisine and a wide variety of beers. The restaurant's elegant atmosphere and great food make it a perfect choice for those looking for a fancy meal.

The menu offers a range of options, from pub classics like Scotch Egg and Poutine to more refined dishes like Scallops and Watermelon Gazpacho.

The service is excellent, with friendly and attentive waitstaff. The restaurant has a sprawling bar and cocktail area, with an enclosed patio overlooking Millennial Park.

Whether you're stopping in for a quick lunch or a night out with friends, The Gage is a great place to eat and drink downtown.

10. Arturo Express Restaurant and Catering

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

Arturo Express Restaurant and Catering is a hidden gem for lunch in the downtown area.

With a variety of menu options, including sandwiches, pasta, and personal pizzas, there is something for everyone.

The staff is friendly and attentive, making for a pleasant dining experience. The Italian beef sandwich is a must-try and the daily meal deals offer great value.

This spot is also a go-to for catering needs. Don't miss out on this delicious and affordable lunch spot.

11. RL Restaurant

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

RL Restaurant is a sophisticated American restaurant with an upscale atmosphere. The menu offers classic dishes like corned beef sandwiches and Chilean sea bass, cooked to perfection.

The bread assortment comes with quality butter and the escargot is a must-try. Although the food is a bit pricey, the service is excellent and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly.

The decor is classic Ralph Lauren with dim lighting, dark wood paneling, and an impressive collection of artwork.

The restroom is clean and elegant, with beautiful flower arrangements. If you're looking for a stylish lunch spot with great food and service, RL Restaurant is worth a visit.

12. Chicago Lunchbox

Chicago Lunchbox
400 S Financial Pl, Chicago, IL 60605 (Google Maps)

Chicago Lunchbox is a must-visit lunch spot for anyone looking for delicious and affordable Asian fusion cuisine.

The menu is small but offers a variety of rice and noodle bowls, sandwiches, and salads. The food is consistently flavorful and not greasy.

The service is friendly and quick, making it a great spot for a lunch break. Vegetarian and vegan options are available, and the portion sizes are reasonable.

The food truck experience is also available for events and catering. Don't miss out on this unfussy pick for Asian fusion fare.

13. Valois Restaurant

Valois Restaurant
1518 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615 (Google Maps)

Valois Restaurant is a popular lunch spot that serves up delicious, no-frills American comfort food.

With a cafeteria-style setup, guests can choose from a variety of meals or create their own. The breakfast options are especially tasty, with freshly prepared dishes served hot and quickly.

The service is friendly and efficient, and the prices are reasonable. The atmosphere is casual and cozy, with a mix of patrons from all walks of life.

Cash only, but there is an ATM on site. A must-visit for anyone in the area looking for a satisfying meal without any fuss.

14. Saucy Porka South Loop

Saucy Porka South Loop
335 S Franklin St, Chicago, IL 60606 (Google Maps)

Saucy Porka South Loop is a must-visit lunch spot for foodies looking for something unique.

This Asian-Latin fusion restaurant offers a variety of delicious options that will leave your taste buds wanting more.

The staff is friendly and helpful, making for a great overall experience. While the restaurant lacks in ambiance, the food more than makes up for it.

Prices are reasonable, making it a great spot for a quick lunch. Don't miss out on the loaded fries and the pork bahn mi!

15. 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 in a sleek and modern setting.

The menu features classic American dishes with a contemporary twist, as well as a variety of appetizers and desserts.

The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, providing excellent service to diners.

The atmosphere is warm and inviting, with a chic decor and plenty of TVs for sports fans. Doc B's is the perfect spot for a Sunday lunch or a dinner out with friends.

16. 1308 Chicago

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

1308 Chicago is a hidden gem worth discovering. This small lunch spot offers a simple menu with quality selections.

The butter burgers and corn ribs are must-haves. The cozy and relaxed atmosphere is perfect for a business meeting or a romantic date.

The staff is warm and welcoming, and the service is great. Don't forget to try their house-made non-alcoholic sodas, they're incredible.

This is a place that you'll want to come back to again and again.

17. Cafecito

7 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60606 (Google Maps)

Cafecito is a must-visit spot for lunch. The sandwiches are delicious and made with fresh ingredients.

The coffee is also top-notch. The only downside is the long lines during lunchtime, but it's worth the wait.

The small seating area is not ideal for dining in, but the food is perfect for a quick bite.

The staff is friendly and remembers regulars. Cafecito is definitely a hidden gem in the city.

18. Remington's

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

Remington's is a sleek and modern steakhouse with excellent food and service.

The menu offers a variety of American dishes, and the wine selection is impressive. The upscale bar is a great place to enjoy a drink or two.

The atmosphere is cool and informal, making it a perfect spot for a business lunch or a night out with friends.

The staff is attentive and polite, and the food is always fresh and tasty. Whether you're in the mood for a steak or seafood, Remington's has something for everyone.

19. Bistronomic

840 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (Google Maps)

Bistronomic is a modern French bistro that offers creative and delicious dishes. The stylish dining room adds to the overall experience.

The restaurant serves small, medium, and large plates, making it easy to try a variety of dishes.

The service is excellent, and the chef often comes out to engage with guests. The prix-fixe menu is a great deal, but ordering a la carte is also a good option.

The plating and portion sizes are impressive. Bistronomic is a must-visit for those looking for an authentic French dining experience.