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Esmé
Photograph: Dan Piotrowski

The 18 best Lincoln Park restaurants

Whether you're hungry for pizza, tapas or Michelin-starred fine dining, Lincoln Park's restaurant scene is sure to satisfy.

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen
Contributor
Samantha Nelson
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The chic residential neighborhood of Lincoln Park may be best known for its lake views and sprawling namesake park, but it’s also home to some of the best restaurants in Chicago. You’ll find everything from a celebrated tasting menu you’ll need to book months in advance to one of the best deep dish pizza spots in Chicago. You can even visit one of the best brunch spots in the city and then spend your day wandering the Lincoln Park Zoo or enjoying some sun at North Avenue Beach. Whatever you’re looking for in a meal, these restaurants are sure to deliver.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Lincoln Park Chicago

Best Lincoln Park restaurants

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 4 of 4

Regularly lauded as the best restaurant in Chicago, if not the country, Alinea lives up to the hype. Chef and mastermind Grant Achatz delivers a well-orchestrated ride that plays with textures and temperatures while remaining grounded in season, flavor and flawless execution. The menu is constantly changing, so you never know what dish will steal the show when you’re in the audience.

  • Restaurants
  • Israeli
  • Sheffield & DePaul

James Beard Award-winning chef Zachary Engel (Shaya, Zahav) serves a $68 four-course, choose-your-own-adventure menu to give you a tour of Middle Eastern cuisine with an emphasis on Midwestern ingredients. Start with hummus and salatim—traditional Levantine snacks and spreads including pickles and Turkish peppers—before moving on to coal-roasted dishes such as turkey shawarma with rhubarb. Galit also offers an expansive selection of Middle Eastern wine and makes its own gazoz, a fruit- and herb-infused soda popular in Israel.

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  • Restaurants
  • Pizza
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

With exposed brick and plasma-screen TVs, Pequod's is firmly a neighborhood bar. But Pequod's is a bar that serves some of the best pizza in the city. The signature pan pizza is ringed with caramelized cheese, and slices are massive—one piece makes a meal.  Add veggies to lighten it up a bit, or go all in, with the sausage pie, dotted with perfectly spiced, Ping-Pong ball–size pieces of seasoned ground pork.

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 3 of 4

Esmé means beloved in French, and former Next chef Jenner Tomaska and his wife and business partner Katrina Bravo have designed this Michelin-starred restaurant as a love letter to Chicago and its creative culture. They regularly collaborate with local artists, exhibiting their pieces in the restaurant and developing tasting menus inspired by their work with a portion of the proceeds benefiting a charity of their choice. Complete your meal with pairings chosen by operations and beverage director Tia Barrett (The Alinea Group) from a wine list showcasing women and BIPOC producers.

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Athenian Room
  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

The theory goes like this: The first time you eat at this unassuming Greek spot, you may try the gyro salad—well-spiced slices of meat sitting atop simple greens—and you’ll think: “Not bad.” But according to the cultish customer base that swears by this place, it’s on your third visit—when you order the juicy chicken kebabs, the vinegary Greek fries or the flaky spanakopita—that the spell is cast.

  • Restaurants
  • American creative
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 3 of 4

A mainstay in Chicago's vast food scene, Boka has been serving inventive seasonal American fare for more than a decade. Chef Lee Wolen is the mastermind behind balanced dishes like grilled Spanish octopus with smoked cauliflower, hazelnut and cucumber, and whole roasted dry-aged duck with huckleberry, endive and buckwheat. Order a la carte or go all in on an eight-course tasting menu.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

With an assortment of breads, tasty sandwiches and a popular weekly pizza night in its repertoire, this airy Lincoln Park bakery-cafe certainly has range. But Floriole’s soul is its French pastry, skillfully executed by owner Sandra Holl. Among our favorite offerings are the canelés, petite, fluted cakes with caramelized exteriors and custardy cores flavored with vanilla and rum. Another showstopper is the lovely gateau basque, a sweet, almond meal-rich cake filled with pastry cream and tart berries and baked till it's golden.

  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Lincoln Park

Try contemporary spins on Greek dishes such as filo-wrapped shrimp served with spicy mayo and a ground lamb burger topped with spicy feta or embrace traditional fare with cod roe dip and lobster spaghetti. The 50-seat spot is divided into two dining areas and you can also grab a seat at the bar and take advantage of happy hour specials on Greek wine and beers and cocktails such as the Mykonos Mule made with rum and Greek honey liqueur.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sheffield & DePaul
  • price 2 of 4

Sushi's the name of the game at Juno. Under the watchful eye of sushi chef BK Park, you'll find immaculate sashimi, restrained maki and creative takes on Japanese classics. Yes, everything looks beautiful and you'll want to spend time admiring what you've ordered, but don't take so many Instagram photos that you forget to actually eat your food.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Lincoln Park

Named for owner Mitchell Abou Jamra’s grandmother and channeling her warm hospitality, Evette’s combines Lebanese and Mexican cuisine with dishes including plates of chicken shawarma served over fries with sides of date and herb couscous and salad, and tacos stuffed with gyro meat and halloumi. You can also indulge with a plate of garlic and feta fries or a baklava shake while doing some people-watching from a stool at the plant-lined window.

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  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

Take a trip to Spain at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba!, which offers an extensive menu of pintxos and tapas including chorizo-wrapped dates, spicy potatoes with tomato aioli and piri-piri fried chicken thighs. Gather in the covered all-season patio to share paella and a pitcher of house-made cava or passion fruit sangria and finish with cinnamon flan topped with saffron syrup. Reservations are recommended for lunch and dinner, but walk-ins can grab a spot in the lounge for a daily happy hour from 4–6 p.m.

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 3 of 4

Look closely for the signs or you’ll miss this cozy restaurant tucked next to a pond within Lincoln Park. Reservations are required for chef César Murillo’s seasonal tasting menu, which features gorgeously presented and perfectly crafted dishes like lamb tartare served with a wreath of kataifi and topped with a bit of spicy zhoug. Splurge on the wine pairings as you won’t want to miss the Austrian dessert wine that pairs with cheese plate’s savory brulee, aged cheddar and brioche.

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  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

The folks at Blue Door Farm Stand are obsessed with seasonality, and they work with their suppliers to ensure every menu is packed with peak produce. Taste the difference in dishes such as brussels sprouts and kale salad tossed with maple-tahini dressing and spaghetti primavera with zucchini and spinach. The rustic dining area, which is spread across two floors, is filled with sunlight and adorned with farmhouse-chic furniture, making it an ideal destination for brunch with friends or a dinner date.

  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 1 of 4

Chicago restaurateur Jared Leonard spent over a year perfecting his personal recipe for Nashville hot chicken, and the dedication shows. Taste his craft at one of six locations (and counting), where poultry is served Naked, Classic, Hot or X-Hot. We're big fans of the slaw-topped hot chicken sandwich, and we've been known to toss in collard greens and mac and cheese from time to time.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eclectic
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 3 of 4

The Old World, dimly lit wine cellar atmosphere and live classical and flamenco guitarists makes Geja’s Cafe a reliable date night destination. Get cozy and cook your way through a four-course meal that starts with a Gruyere cheese fondue with breads, fruits and vegetables and continues with your choice of proteins including beef tenderloin, lobster and chicken breast served with eight dipping sauces. The meal ends with Belgian chocolate fondue and marshmallows for roasting.

 

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 2 of 4

Summer House Santa Monica is the closest you'll get to the West Coast without hopping on a plane. The menu is light and bright, with dishes including ahi tuna and watermelon tartare served with housemade chips and kale salad with golden beets and toasted pecans. Gather with friends and share a large format cocktail like the Rocky Mountain Punch made with prosecco, rum, lemon and cherry liqueur, and save some room for fresh-baked sea salt chocolate chip cookies.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 2 of 4

A menu of made-from-scratch dishes spotlighting seasonal Midwestern fare has made Gemini a neighborhood standby for more than a decade. Start your meal light with salmon tartare served with wonton chips before moving onto hearty dishes like steak frites with bone marrow butter. Make sure to also order a few of Pauly Graves’ signature cocktails like the Squirtsky Draft made with grapefruit vodka, lime and cold-pressed grapefruit juice. It’s perfect for sipping on the restaurant’s dog-friendly sidewalk patio. 

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