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Photograph: Anthony Tahlier

The 22 best new restaurants in Chicago right now

Summer has arrived and it's brought a varied crop of new Chicago restaurants along with it.

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Written by
Morgan Olsen
&
Zach Long
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With Chicago fully reopening, new restaurants are springing up to welcome hungry guests eager to return to the routine of dining in public. The best new restaurants in Chicago include a fancy French brasserie in the Loop, a new Italian concept from a Top Chef winner in the West Loop and a small-but-mighty gourmet hot dog stand operating out of a shipping container in Bronzeville. As you begin to plan your summer dining schedule (don't forget about all of those amazing outdoor restaurants in Chicago), we want to help you track down some fresh spots to sample. That's why we've assembled a list of the best new restaurants in Chicago that have opened their doors in recent months. Don't forget to call ahead for reservations, bring along a mask and tip generously as you explore these new options.

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best restaurants in Chicago

Best new restaurants in Chicago

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Loop
  • price 3 of 4

Named for both of his grandmothers and combining elements of Italian and Croatian cooking, Top Chef winner Joe Flamm's Rose Mary brings seasonal dishes to a cozy Fulton Market space lined with hanging plants. Flamm describes the menu as "Adriatic drinking food," packed with heart dishes like Gnocchi with beef cheek pašticada (a wine-soaking process) and pork ribs served with a cabbage and yogurt relish. The wine list focuses on organic, biodynamic and sustainably farmed options while the cocktail menu shows off tipples made with underutilized (on this side of the ocean, at least) Eastern European spirits.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • West Loop

Executive Chef Guillermo Reyes (formerly of Mi Tocaya Antojeria) oversees this Oaxacan-inspired cantina, cooking Mexican cuisine with the seasonal produce of the Midwest. Alongside standard dishes like cochinita pibil tacos, guacamole and elotes, you'll find less conventional options like a king crab chile relleno and duck served with mole negro. Stick around after dinner to sample drinks from Chikatana's agave-focused cocktail program, which focuses on the lesser-known agave spirits raicilla and sotol.

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  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Logan Square

You may recognize chef Doug Psaltis as the "P" in RPM (Steak, Italian, Seafood, etc.), the glitzy collection of restaurants operated by Lettuce Entertain You. After leaving the hospitality group in 2019, Psaltis is striking out on his own with his first solo project: Andros Taverna, a contemporary Greek restaurant in the heart of Logan Square. Working alongside his wife and pastry chef, Hsing Chen, Psaltis cranks out a lineup of fresh, feel-good fare that's rife with vegetables, seafood and addictive dips.

  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Armour Square

Kenny Yang of Strings Ramen Shops has taken the reins at this classic Chinatown restaurant, renovating the space and adding neon accents and artwork inspired by the streets and markets of 1950s Hong Kong. Spanning two stories, Ken Kee Restaurant diners can order from a traditional menu packed with familiar Chinese dishes or a new Noodle Cart menu, served out of a dedicated kitchen. You can build your own noodle bowl, choosing from four varieties of broth and eight types of noodles, and then top it with all sorts of proteins and vegetables.

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  • Shopping
  • Liquor stores
  • Lincoln Park

Touting locations in San Francisco and New York City, Verve Wine's first Midwest outpost is nestled inside Lincoln Common, a luxury apartment complex and retail destination in Lincoln Park. In addition to a shop packed with bottles and helpfulk somms, you'll also find an in-house wine bar, with a menu overseen by Roister vet Ryan Epp. Pair a carefully-curated list of pours with dishes like oysters, burrata, bone marrow and mussels—and don't be afraid to ask for some suggestions if you're not sure if you should pair your meal with a Syrah or a Gruner.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Grand Boulevard
  • price 1 of 4

Founded by local musician Bobby Morelli and his daughter Brooklyn, the Hot Dog Box operates out of a shipping container in the Boxville Marketplace, located right off the Green Line in Bronzeville. Following in the footsteps of creative encased meats purveyors like Hot Doug's and Chicago's Dog House, the father-and-daughter duo is known for it's speciality sausages, such as a filet mignon steak dog covered in bourbon BBQ sauce and a pickle mignon steak paired with truffle peanut butter sauce. Of course, there's also an extremely solid standard Chicago-style dog on offer if you're not feeling adventerous.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Loop

A contemporary French brasserie set within the Pendry Chicago hotel (inside the famed Carbide & Carbon building), Venteux is the latest project from former Temporis chef Donald Young, who earned his first Michelin star at the age of 28. Set in a cozy, wood-paneled space, the kitchen turns out traditional French delicacies such as steak frites and French onion soup alongside less conventional options like an omelette topped with trout roe. During the day, a cafe with 40-foot windows looking out on Michigan Avenue serves a smaller menu of elevated breakfast and lunch offerings (care for a midday seafood tower?) to hotel guests and passersby.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • River West/West Town

Taking over the former home of Bar Biscay in West Town, Three House brings affordable dinner, lunch, breakfast and coffee options to a stretch of Chicago Avenue. You'll find fries, empanadas and coffee on the menu for just $3.33 (in reference to the restaurant's name) and plenty of other intriguing dishes that similarly won't break the bank. Swing by in the morning to snag avocado toast or a fried chicken biscuit smothered with chorizo gravy, then come back at lunch to devour a smash burger or a fried-chicken sandwich.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • North Center

Robert et Fils sends us time-traveling into the depths of chef-owner Rob Shaner's childhood, when his late father's job took the family to Paris when Shaner was a teenager. In addition to falling in love with the food and culture, father and son (Bob and Rob) dropped their American names in favor of the more French-sounding Robert. The name of this North Center restaurant translates to "Robert and son," a heartfelt homage Shaner has been planning for years. Paying tribute to their time in Paris, the tasting menu infuses old-school French gastronomy and American playfulness—with a hit of umami flavors at every turn.

  • Restaurants
  • Lincoln Park

An ambassador for Peranakan cuisine in Chicago, Kapitan offers plenty to love (and discover) in Lincoln Park. The lengthy menu spans breakfast, lunch and dinner with Malaysian favorites from chef Khoon Lew. Start the day with lo mai gai, a dim sum dish that finds sticky rice stuffed inside steamed lotus leaves. For dinner, it's all about the sambal shrimp, which is cooked in a spicy house sauce and served with asparagus and okra. But as soon as you see the kuih—tiny, bite-sized sweets made fresh daily—you'll gladly save room for dessert.

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  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • West Loop

Dealing in handmade chocolates and buttery pastries, Good Ambler keeps the West Loop sugared up from morning until early evening. The exceptionally cozy space is anchored by a sprawling pastry case stocked with edible eye candy, including croissants, tarts, babka, muffins, cookies and candy bars—all crafted by pastry chef Kevin McCormick (Per Se) in collaboration with Mondelēz International (which happens to be headquartered in the same building). A menu of coffee and tea drinks keeps you from slipping into an inevitable sugar coma.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Lake View

Determined to emulate the feeling of sitting down at your grandmother's table, Dear Margaret is a French-Canadian eatery that plays with Midwestern ingredients. Owner Lacey Irby and executive chef Ryan Brosseau achieve this by imbuing their menu with an abundance of comfort and care, resulting in produce-packed salads, hearty mains and classic, feel-good desserts. Who's Maraget? Brosseau's mémé, or grandmother, the renowned preservationist and family cook who inspires the restaurant's ethos.

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  • Restaurants
  • Soul and southern American
  • East Garfield Park

For more than 25 years, business coach Niquenya Collins has helped others realize their dreams. Now, the entrepreneur is taking her own advice and doing what she loves most: cooking smile-inducing, belly-warming Afro-Caribbean-soul food for the masses. Operating out of food and drink incubator the Hatchery, Cocoa Chili serves dishes like Jamaican jerk chicken, Senegalese poulet yassa and Caribbean salmon with mango salsa. Hearty sides like fried plantains and roasted veggies round out the menu, but no order is complete without the namesake cocoa chili, which is spiked with Collins's signature spice blend.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Avondale

The Midwest goes to Sicily at Daniela Vitale and Steven Jarczyk's fast-casual concept, Sfera Sicilian Street Food. The menu revolves around two delicious dishes: The arancini are stuffed and fried risotto balls, while the saccia is a folded semolina pizza that boasts a pasta-like center. And yes, they have a Chicago-style version of the latter that's loaded with Italian sausage, green peppers and mushrooms. For dessert, it's all about the hand-filled cannoli in seasonal flavors like pistachio and Door County cherry.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Lower West Side

Named after a bygone lumberyard in the area, Pilsen Yards replaces Monnie Burke's with a casual, music-fueled concept that specializes in tacos and other Mexican eats plus a long list of cocktails and beer. Guests can plan their visit around a jam-packed calendar of live DJs and art shows that promise to grace the space all year. Also noteworthy is the covered outdoor patio that's outfitted with heated cement floors and overhead heaters for maximum coziness. Psst! Look out for The Alderman, an intimate, in-house speakeasy cocktail lounge that's coming soon.

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  • Restaurants
  • Filipino
  • Wicker Park

The folks behind Filipino restaurant Cebu do a lot of things very well (including lumpia, pork tocino and gambas), but their tamarind chicken wings have become a fast favorite among loyal customers. This new-ish spinoff spotlights the beloved menu item and shows off a range of other Asian-inspired wing sauces, like soy-calamansi, sambal BBQ and mango-habanero. Each order includes a side of rice, but there's no harm in tossing in an order of seasoned fries.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Logan Square

A tasty homage to the streetside eateries of Mexico City, Taqueria Chingón brings pozole, ceviche and tortilla-wrapped meats to Bucktown. The venture is a partnership between Sotero Gallegos (La Sardine), Oliver Poilevey (Le Bouchon) and Marcos Ascencio (Bar Lupo)—three men with a shared passion for the classics. The tacos al pastor are a must, with tender bits of pork finding their match in creamy avocado salsa, sweet pineapple and flecks of cilantro. Vegetarians aren't left out of the fun: There's a veg-based version of the dish that subs in portobello mushrooms and celery root to create a spot-on rendition that's anything but boring. A bowl of chile-laced pozole warms the belly in the winter months, while the zesty octopus and shrimp ceviche is the perfect refresher come summer.

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  • Restaurants
  • Eating

After announcing that his fine-dining restaurant Ever would pivot to takeout, renowned chef Curtis Duffy is dropping more big (and previously unimaginable) news. He's just launched Rêve Burger, a virtual restaurant that's available for pickup and delivery exclusively through DoorDash and Caviar. The name has a dual meaning: Rêve is a French word that translates to "dream" in English; it's also "ever" spelled backward, a nod to his current West Loop restaurant. The star of the short but sweet menu is a double-patty stacker that's loaded up with American cheese, dill pickles and a swath of secret sauce—all flanked by caramelized brioche buns. Diners can opt to make it vegetarian by subbing in plant-based Beyond patties.

  • Restaurants
  • Wicker Park

If you're into the idea of a plant-based diet but can't fathom giving up sweets, pasta and sushi, the menu at Uncooked might pique your interest. With locations in Fulton Market and Wicker Park, the vegan spot offers uncooked, plant-based eats that emulate dishes like ravioli, ramen, sesame noodles and cacio e pepe. There are juices and smoothies, too, but perhaps most intriguing are the cakes, which are free of gluten and sugar but taste deliciously decadent (chocolate almond butter is a fan-favorite). Even sweeter, Uncooked is a family operation that's helmed by Carole Jones, her son (Jeremy Jones) and his wife (Kaitlyn Jones)—a trio that's dedicated their lives to feeling good through food.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • West Loop

Chef Stephanie Izard's culinary empire gets a little sweeter with the opening of Sugargoat, a bakery housed inside Little Goat Diner that features the creations of Izard and pastry chef Faith Taheny. Inspired by each chef's in-home baking experiments during quarantine and the flavors of their childhood (think fries dipped in milkshakes and pancakes topped with lots of maple syrup), Sugargoat serves a rotating menu of cakes, pies, cookies and cupcake, along with muffins, bagels, scones and croissants in the morning (plus Dark Matter coffee). Highlights of the menu include a savory avocado toast cake—combining a sourdough cake with tomato caramel and avocado buttercream—and a chocolate french fry pie, which uses a french fry crumble crust and chocolate malt filling.

  • Restaurants
  • Lake View

We could all use a little CBD in our coffee. At Lakeview brunch spot Wake 'n Bacon, you can get the cannabis-derived compound added to just about everything on the menu. With the help of chef Will Silas, husband-and-wife team Gabriel and Sarah Ayala pulled from their respective heritages to build the food lineup, spotlighting dishes from Taiwan, Argentina, El Salvador, the Philippines and beyond. The purple-hued ube pancakes are topped with bacon, fried eggs, breakfast potatoes, pickled peppers, cheddar and spicy maple syrup. Craving something sweet? The peach crumble crepes are stuffed with vanilla-lemon cream cheese and covered in stone fruit and granola.

Every dish can be upgraded with a dose of cannabidiol from Chicago-based company Half Day CBD. For the unfamiliar, CBD doesn't have psychoactive properties, so you're not going to get high from an order of flapjacks. Though there are still plenty of unknowns about the plant extract, most distributors claim that it can help ease anxiety, stress and insomnia. Did we mention that you can get it added to any drink on the menu, too? Wake 'n Bake is a one way ticket to Chill Town.

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