Cyrano’s Café and Wine Bar on the Riverwalk Yes, the kitchen is a shack, and the whole operation looks perilously makeshift. But with a view of the river and skyline, a glass of rosé in hand and a table crowded with jars of duck rillettes, you’ll go from dubious to devoted. 233 E Riverwalk South (312-616-1400). El: Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Randolph/Wabash. Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $12.
Chicago Burger Co You start with a choice of burger patty—salmon, tuna, turkey, beef or veggie—and add on to your heart’s content, pulling from a huge list of toppings. The best part? No matter what combination you choose, it goes pretty great with a beer and a waterside seat. 301 E North Water St (312-464-1000). El: Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to Randolph/Wabash. Lunch, dinner. Average burger: $9.
Chicago Cut Steakhouse Big, beefy and bustling sum up this newcomer, which recently brought on chef Jackie Shen (Red Light) and amped up its seafood offerings (e.g., miso-glazed sea bass) in time for the opening of its riverside patio. 300 N LaSalle St (312-329-1800). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Merchandise Mart. Bus: 11, 125, 156. Breakfast (Mon–Fri), lunch, dinner. Average main course: $32.
Fulton’s on the River This Levy Restaurants spot is as much about the view as the food. The menu—equal parts seafood and steakhouse—is nothing out of the ordinary, but everything is of exquisite quality. King crab legs from the extensive raw bar are fresh and sweet, and the firecracker glazed shrimp are to die for. 315 N LaSalle St (312-822-0100). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Merchandise Mart. Lunch (Mon–Fri), dinner. Average main course: $25.
Japonais The space (including a riverview patio) is sexy and vibrant, and the kitchen offers incredible cuisine, centering on superb-quality raw fish, presented simply or whacked out into tasty rolls. Must-haves include the yukke toro (diced fatty tuna topped with a raw quail egg) and “Le Quack Japonais” (roasted duck). 600 W Chicago Ave (312-822-9600). El: Brown, Purple (rush hrs) to Chicago. Bus: 8, 66. Lunch (Mon–Fri), dinner. Average main course: $25.
The Terrace at Trump The close-up view of the Wrigley Building from Trump Tower is a sight best appreciated by a local. So prepare to loosen your wallet, and head to the 16th-floor terrace for the recently launched “Polynesian chic” menu, which includes seafood platters and tiki cocktails, like the Tahiti Traveler, served in a pineapple. 401 N Wabash Ave (312-588-8030). El: Red to Grand. Bus: 2, 3, 29, 62, 145, 147. Lunch, dinner. Average cocktail: $20.