As much as we love our dining stalwarts—the places we frequent again and again—there's something extra special about the best new restaurants Chicago has to offer. Of course, with so many newcomers to choose from, it can be tricky for even the most savvy foodie to sift through the noise. Like an in-the-know friend, we've got you covered with a roster of amazing new spots—from one of the most innovative Mexican restaurants Chicago has ever seen and an upscale brewery to a grab-and-go dumpling spot in the Loop. These delicious newcomers could eventually become some of the city's most beloved eateries, topping our list of the best restaurants in Chicago. Scope out the 11 best new restaurants Chicago has to offer and plan your next meal accordingly.
Best new restaurants in Chicago
Channeling the Mediterranean but rooted in the Midwest, this sophisticated Logan Square restaurant centers around a custom-made wood-fired oven that adds serious depth to the season's finest produce. Chef-partner Charles Welch (Sepia, Honey's) specializes in edible masterpieces that are equal parts delicious and beautifully plated. Don't skip the flavor-packed pastas, like the goth-hued black garlic rigatoni or the deeply savory braised rabbit pansotti. The cocktail menu sports a roster of revamped classics (like the mezcal-based Negroni), and the wine list is punctuated with some seriously curious pours (we're big fans of the Mexican chardonnay).
After outgrowing its Pilsen digs, Moody Tongue moved west to a sprawling, 28,600-square-foot space (the former home of defunct Baderbrau Brewing), giving the brewery more room to play. Housed inside the new headquarters is an on-site brewery and production facility as well as two unique dining experiences helmed by executive chef Jared Wentworth. Guests can choose to feast on a 12-course tasting menu in the upscale Dining Room or have a more casual experience in the Bar, where food is offered a la carte. Of course, Brewmaster Jared Rouben’s food-friendly beers will runneth over in both spaces, with popular pours like Sliced Nectarine IPA and Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison, as well as more experimental brews like the Scotch Barrel Aged Peated Scotch Ale.
From the folks who brought us Beatnik and Celeste comes this lively West Town boîte that transports diners to the small fishing villages stationed along the coasts of Galicia and Portugal. As such, the menu here is rife with fresh-from-the-water seafood, sourced from family-owned business in both regions. If you can, reserve a seat at the 26-seat chef's island, where you can choose from a five- or 10-course tasting menu that highlights dishes not available on the regular dinner menu, like seaweed "spaghetti" with mussel carbonara. There's also a formidable selection of Spanish and Portuguese wines to explore, with a menu of more than 300 bottles.
The word "gadabout" translates to a habitual pleasure-seeker, which seems like a fitting name for a restaurant that deals in reimagined, globe-trotting street food. The best way to fully enjoy this Andersonville eatery is by rounding up a table full of friends and ordering snacks like chickpea fritters, buffalo skate wings, a shrimp-stuffed pancake and beef heart skewers.
Dumpling fiends know that Qing Xiang Yuan in Chinatown serves some of the tastiest dumplings in town. The family-owned restaurant, which traces its humble roots to a basement food court, now has a second, quick-service location in the Loop. At JIAO, guests can expect shorter wait times and a grab-and-go experience that's built for lunchtime noshing. Choose from pillow pockets filled with everything from truffle and beef to pork and cabbage.
Beloved chef Carlos Gaytán makes his triumphant return to Chicago with Tzuco, a breathtaking River North restaurant that pays homage to his hometown of Huitzuco, Mexico. It won't take you long to realize that this restaurant is different—the interior is unlike anything we've ever seen in Chicago, designed with an earthy palette and outfitted with thorn-covered vines and other artifacts native to Huitzuco. The menu, too, honors his hometown and his mother's cooking techniques. The Chicharron de Pescado is a standout favorite, with a whole fried fish, chunks of tender meat, tangy salsa, pickled veggies and feta cheese foam. Gaytán also owns next-door bakery, Panango, where diners can cruise the pastry case for conchas, stuffed croissants and other traditional Meixcan treats.
The couple behind Michelin-starred Parachute scooped up another Avondale storefront and transformed it into a whimsical dining retreat with a tasting menu that changes as often as the weather shifts in Chicago. Priced at $65, guests are treated to a four-course meal that always includes generous add-ons. And don't plan on peeping the menu before you go—owners and IRL couple Beverly and Johnny Clark switch things up daily and don't confine their cuisine to any particular labels. One thing is for certain: You'll never have the same dining experience twice at Wherewithall.
We're usually wary of fast-casual taco shops so close to the Loop, but Asadito Taco proves us wrong with its hand-pressed tortillas, spot-on al pastor and craveworthy margaritas. If you're dining with a group, consider ordering one of every taco, with options that range from barbacoa and chicken tinga to citrus shrimp and roasted mushroom. Don't fear the avocado margarita, which sounds peculiar but totally rocks your tastebuds. And since Asadito is so conveniently located near Ogilvie and Union Stations, there's no reason you shouldn't grab an order of churro bites to take for your train ride.
Team Alinea goes full-on Midwestern with its latest project, an elevated, supper-club–inspired den tucked below Roister in the heart of the West Loop. Make a reservation in advance to find out how Chicago's fine-dining heavyweights tackle throwback classics like oysters Rockerfeller, spun Caesar salad, juicy prime rib and—of course—pristine frozen grasshopper pie.
We like to think of Tortello as the fresh pasta shop we didn't know we needed. Of course, now that we have it, our pasta standards are through the roof and we're constantly craving the al dente noodles that this Wicker Park restaurant cranks out on the daily. While you're waiting in line, turn your attention to the front of the space, where sfoglini knead, roll and shape hand-crafted pastas. When you get to the register, you'll have to make some game-time decisions, but just promise us that you'll order the namesake Tortelli, which are stuffed with creamy burrata and topped with brown butter, crispy sage and roasted hazelnuts. Deliziosa!
Have you ever been on a vacation so inspiring that you wanted to bring a piece of the trip home with you? That's exactly what celebrated chef Paul Kahan did after traveling to a tiny French town called Cancale for his 50th birthday. Of course, he didn't just bring back a souvenir; he and his One Off Hospitality partners opened a restaurant dedicated to the easy-going French fare he experienced there. Situated in the heart of Wicker Park, Café Cancale slings East and West Coast oysters by the dozen, delicate starters and seafood-heavy mains. Erika Chan begs you to save room for dessert with tempting chocolate-coffee eclairs and buckwheat crepes drizzled with goat's milk caramel.