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Cultivate by Forbidden Root
Photograph: Garrett Sweet

The 19 best new restaurants in Chicago right now

Regional sandwiches, an over-the-top steakhouse and a glitzy hot hot destination are ready to serve you.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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What are you craving right now? There's a decent chance that one of the best new restaurants in Chicago is serving it right now. The past few months have welcomed a new burger joint from Gordon Ramsay, a brewpub overseen by one of the best breweries in Chicago and a hot pot restaurant where bowls of broth are delivered by robots (when they're not on the fritz). As you begin planning your spring dining schedule, we want to help you track down some fresh new spots to sample. That's why we've put together a list of the best new restaurants in Chicago that have opened their doors in recent months. Best of luck as you try to snag a reservation!

RECOMMENDED: Discover more of the best restaurants in Chicago

Best new restaurants in Chicago

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Humboldt Park

Situated in the same building at California Avenue and Augusta Boulevard that once housed Café Marie-Jeanne, Segnatore gives the space a makeover, serving Italian dishes in a dining room festooned with dried flowers, vintage oil paintings and candelabras. Chef Matt Troost compiles a menu that’s reverent in its technique (particularly the handmade pasta) but decidedly playful in its presentation, including dishes like a freestyle “lasagna”—a heap of garlic mafaldine swimming in whipped ricotta and a mushroom bolognese. There's no shortage of new Italian restaurants in Chicago right now, but Segnatore offers something markedly different than the rest.

  • Restaurants
  • Gastropubs
  • Lincoln Square

Local brewery Forbidden Root breathes new life into the former home of Band of Bohemia with Cultivate, a restaurant and brewery that serves seasonal fare and beer made with botanical ingredients. Don't arrive expecting the same drinks and dishes you'd find at the Forbidden Root brewery in West Town—Cultivate serves an almost entirely different array of beers as well as food that you can share with the table, like chili-rubbed short ribs or a bowl of savory smoked trout rillette. Build your own flight of beers to experience the latest creations, including hazy pale ales and lagers. There's also a separate taproom (open on Fridays and Saturdays) that serves Forbidden Root beers alongside some selections from other local and national breweries.

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  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Loop

If Jaleo is chef José Andrés’s tribute to Spanish cuisine, Bazaar Meat is his globe-trotting interpretation of a steakhouse. Boasting beautiful views of the Chicago River and a menu that you'll have to take some time to pour over, this collaboration with the Gibsons Restaurant Group will make carnivores very happy. From steaks sold by the pound to whole suckling pigs (available with a 24 hour notice), the menu at Bazaar Meat goes big. Try to save some room for the unique delicacies on offer, including fluffy cotton candy foie gras and bread made with Kobe beef. There are even options for vegetarians (or those who need to eat something green for a change), including a hearty mushroom ramen and several salads.

  • Restaurants
  • Hot dogs
  • Portage Park
  • price 2 of 4

The Hot Dog Box started as a pop-up suasage stand inside a shipping container in Bronzeville, but it's quickly grown into a beloved Chicago institution. Building on their success, local musician Bobby Morelli and his daughter Brooklyn have opened a second location in Portage Park, serving their signature creations out of a kitchen that dressed up to look like a shipping container. With indoor seating, this location can operate year-round, serving everything from Chicago-style dogs to fancy filet mingon steak dogs dressed up with toppings. There's even a smoked alligator hot dog named after the street (Milwaukee Avenue) where this outpost is located.

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  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • West Loop

Helmed by a pair of chefs that hail from the Greek island of Mykonos, Lyra brings the bohemian accents and fresh cuisine of a small village restaurant to Fulton Market. A wood and coal burning hearth in an open kitchen forms the centerpiece of a dining room that sports earth tones and lots of hanging lights with basket-like shades. The menu features grilled octopus, charred beets, grilled lamb shops and plenty of other dishes that showcase smoky flavors. Make sure to peruse the extensive list of Greek wines or select something from the cocktail menu, which includes a martini made with olive washed vodka.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Little Italy, UIC

The latest addition to Taylor Street comes from the folks behind Coalfire, Tempesta Market and suburban staple Ristorante Agostino. A disassembled Italian scooter is mounted on the wall in the dining room, where housemade pasta and grilled meats (including a 24oz bone-in ribeye) are set in front of diners. Naturally, you'll also want to pay attention to the antipasti section of the menu, where you'll find salumi provided by Tempesta alongside braised octopus and focaccia served with 'njuda. When warm weather arrives, make a reservation to dine on a rooftop deck—you might be able to spot nearby Arrigo Park, known as "Peanut Park" by Little Italy locals.

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  • Restaurants
  • Sandwich shops
  • Avondale

In search of hearty Midwestern sandwiches? Look no further than TriBecca’s Sandwich Shop, helmed by Becca Grothe, who honed her skills as a cook at Honey Butter Fried Chicken. The menu reflects the type of sandwiches that Grothe grew up eating in central Illinois, including regional delicacies like the loose meat sandwich (made famous by Maid-Rite) and an open-faced hamburger piled with fries and cheese sauce called a Horseshoe. Vegetarians can also get in on the fun by ordering a tofu Cubano or a crispy cauliflower sandwich. Just make sure to save room for a "tubers donut," a potato-based pastry fried in butter that's served with sweet or savory toppings.

  • Restaurants
  • British
  • Lincoln Park

Brendan Sodikoff’s latest addition to the Hogsalt Hospitality restaurant empire is an intimate homage to the pubs of 1920s England—it's a little like stepping into an episode of some BBC period drama. The Anglo-Indian cuisine isn't quite as dazzling as the decor, but the selection of pot pies and an endive salad topped with shaved paneer are servicable. We'd recommend stopping in for a British-style or a cocktail, but Armitage Alehouse is usually too busy for walk-ins—and reservations are still hard to come by.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Loop

A glitzy Las Vegas export that features a dining room lined with flashing screens, robots that ferry bowls of steaming broth and some lots of dry ice, The X Pot takes hot pot dining to the next level. Be prepared to rack up a bill at this restaurant in the Roosevelt Collection, because the majority of the options on the menu are rather expensive, including various cuts of Wagyu beef and ornate seafood platters. If you just want to dip some meat into bowls of steaming broth, you might be better off looking elsewhere—The X Pot is an Instagram-friendly experience for hot pot aficionados with deep pockets.

  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

The Loop isn't the bustling city center that it used to be, but a new wine bar and café called GoodFunk is ready to welcome downtown commuters back. Run by the group behind Beatnik and Porto, leafy potted plants twist above a 16-seat bar of pale pink marble inside this cozy, European-inspired spot. The menu focuses on natural wine from “iconoclastic” winemakers, accompanied by appetizers like veggie and jamón ibérico flatbreads, as well as “tinned treasures,” a.k.a. fancy canned fish. If you're returning to the office, at least you can look forward to a glass of fruit wine from Sweden or zippy junmai ginjo sake from Japan.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Rush & Division

Not far from the glitzy dining and shopping destinations that line Rush Street, the new Italian restaurant helmed by chef Soo Ahn (formerly of Michelin-starred Band of Bohemia) boasts a dining room that might be a bit too lively for some. But if ordering tender pasta and steaks drizzled in an eight-year aged balsamic in a club-like (minus the dancing) atmosphere sounds appealing, you'll find yourself at home at Adalina.

  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • River North

In his first Chicago restaurant, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay slings hamburgers, hot dogs, salads and other casual bites from a 5,000-square-foot space in River North. As you've probably guessed, the eponymous Gordon Ramsay Burger focuses primarily on butter-basted signature burgers—which come in varieties like the Hell's Kitchen Burger, topped with asadero cheese, roasted jalapeños, avocado, roasted tomatoes and house-made jalapeño aioli—though you'll also find hot dogs (served with or without ketchup) and fries on its menu.

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  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • River North

The menu at this underground speakeasy—located beneath celebrity chef José Andrés' flagship restaurant, Jaleo—centers around one ingredient: Jamón ibérico, the dry-cured Spanish ham that's prized for its smooth, nutty taste. You'll find the jamón nestled into dishes like a foie gras terrine served with ibérico de bellota as well as on the drink menu, which includes savory beverages like the Consomé Cocktail, a combination of a house-made pork consomé with palo cortado and amontillado sherries topped with egg foam. 

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

The latest project from the Boka Group and Chef Lee Wolen (Boka) takes over the former home of Bellemore, serving Italian dishes in an ornate space where diners sit under an arched pergola draped in greenery or flowing sheets of fabric that hang from the ceiling. You'll find crispy arancini, salads, homemade pastas, pizzas, meats and veggies on the menu—including Wolen's signature chicken parmigiana, topped with fire roasted tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella. Lesser known Italian and West Coast Italian wineries are the focus of Alla Vita's bottle list—and there are cocktails (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for those who don't need a glass of red or white with their meal. Don't forget to save room for a slice of tiramisu!

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

Inspired by the mission-driven values of chef Erick Williams and his Hyde Park institution Virtue, former Next chef Jenner Tomaska and wife Katrina Bravo are setting their fine dining restaurant on a similar path. You'll find a variety of seasonal ingredients served in custom dishware on the evolving tasting menu at Esmé, where tickets start at $200 for a multi-course meal. Outside of the usual menu, Tomaska also collaborates with local artists on special dinners inspired by their work, donating a portion of the proceeds to a charitable organization. Plus, the entire beverage program (from cocktails to the wine list) highlights women and BIPOC producers, allowing diners to sip something they likely haven't sampled before. 

  • Restaurants
  • Spanish
  • River North

The first of five concepts that acclaimed chef José Andrés plans to launch in Chicago, Jaleo is much like past iterations in Washington D.C., Orlando and Las Vegas, boating a menu inspired by the traditional dishes of Andrés's childhood. You can order tapas, paellas, sangrias and Spanish wines à la carte, or choose from two tasting menus focused around contemproary and traditional tapas. You can't go wrong with an order of head-on shrimp prepared with garlic and olive oil or a paella made with a selection of seasonal vegetables—and keep an eye out for the basement speakeasy (called Pigtail) that's scheduled to open in the coming months.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Wicker Park
  • price 2 of 4

Earlier this year, Amaru chef Rodolfo Cuadros transformed his pandemic-era ghost kitchen—which served health-conscious, slightly upscale vegan dishes out of Amaru’s Bucktown space—into this brick-and-mortar, completely plant-based (and gluten-free) restaurant in Wicker Park, where you’ll find everything from charcuterie boards made with cultured almond “cheese” to cashew e pepe, a novel dish that coats cold kelp noodles in a luxurious cashew cream. The restaurant is BYOB for now, so bring a bottle of wine until the owners roll out their planned cocktail menu.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Logan Square
  • price 2 of 4

Walking into Lardon—a meat- and cheese-centric cafe off the California Blue Line stop—is a bit like entering an amalgamation of every little bistro you’ve ever seen on the European episodes of Parts Unknown. Of course, most European bistros aren’t spinning records, nor do they serve Wisconsin-made hunks of gouda (that's just how you know you're in Logan Square). The all-day concept serves Metropolis coffee and baked goods from Aya Pastry in the morning, sandwiches for lunch and charcuterie and drinks in the evening, plus a selection of dinner entrees on weekends. We recommend grabbing a table in the evening for a meat-and-cheese board—full of glistening Bresaola, salami, honeycomb, smears of house-made preserves, rosemary-flecked truffled lardo and Midwestern cheeses. Split between two people, the chef board is nearly enough to function as a full meal; split between three to four, it’ll tide you over between after-work drinks and an at-home dinner.

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  • 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.

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