Best restaurants in Humboldt Park
Come summertime, we jump at the chance to have dinner on Rootstock's intimate sidewalk patio with a glass of wine in hand. The small but mighty restaurant utilizes market-fresh ingredients to showcase the best flavors of the season. Try dishes like roasted foie gras with strawberries and rhubarb or carrot agnolotti with white wine, garlic and pecorino. Allow you server to point you toward an excellent pour of vino or beer to extend your stay.
This is the sweetest, tiniest restaurant on Earth. The room is seamlessly both contemporary (a video projector screens fish swimming around the floor of the entryway) and traditional (tiny plants and lovely ceramics turn the booths homey). And the service is as unpretentious as it is attentive. The chefs veer close to excessive but never go anywhere near the grotesque cream-cheese realm that has poisoned many a neighborhood-sushi restaurant. Instead, their creations are positively refined.
The charming Humboldt Park pie and soda spot has spinning stools that lend a retro feel, but the flavors here aren’t stuck in time—the creative slices rotate regularly, but think blueberry-rose or key lime-hibiscus flavors. The house soda program is just as successful, with sodas like a lively pineapple-lemongrass or lavender grape. Savory options, including ham and cheese scones and breakfast sandwiches, round out the menu.
One of Chicago’s oldest family-run businesses has operated out of the same storefront, distinguished today by its vertical neon sign and quaint painted lady facade, since its establishment in 1911. Today it’s a good all-arounder, with doughnuts and danish for breakfast, and a wide selection of cake slices and cookies (many in Chicago sports team motifs) for dessert.
Jesse Diaz has turned this unassuming West Town café into a coffee destination. Sidle up to the bar for a taste of Dark Matter coffee, which is roasted in eight-pound batches above the café in unusual flavor profiles that have caught the attention of area restaurants. Diaz’s unconventional roasting approach extends to iced coffee, which achieves its delicate flavor using heat-extraction rather than trendy cold-brewing. No clue what we’re talking about? One of the veteran baristas behind the bar can walk you through it.
You won't want to leave the restaurant without getting a meat and cheese plate. Chef Mike Simmons took notes during his time at Rootstock, assembling a small but delightful selection of fancy meats and cheeses. The house-made pâté and foie gras terrine is both rich and smooth, served with slices of bread, mustard, olives and jelly. Cheeses include a rotating selection of hard cheeses like mimolette and softer varieties like delice du jura.
A caviar bar in Humboldt Park? Believe it. Though Heritage offers an expansive selection of top fish eggs, there's more to the brunch and dinner menus than meets the eye. Expect landlocked bites like roasted vegetable ramen, grilled ramps and butterscotch pudding.
This darling little ice cream shop is the perfect stop on your way to all of those great destinations along California Avenue. Stop in and grab a cone of your favorite—we're fans of the peanut butter chocolate chip and the blood orange raspberry—and take a pint home too, while you're at it.
When you tire of Chicago's cavernous downtown steakhouses, trek over to Humboldt Park and allow Boeufhaus to excite you. The French- and German-inspired brasserie is sexy and intimate, the kind of place that's fit for celebrating a special occasion. Though the main attraction here is the beef, be sure to add on seasonal appetizers like the roasted ramps with red and green romesco and vinegar.
What does a Brendan Sodikoff coffee shop look like? Exactly what you’d expect—there are Doughnut Vault doughnuts, espresso drinks and Rare Tea Cellar teas, plus boozy steamers, spiked steamed milk drinks. The nutty Scotch & Honey is made with Famous Grouse, almond and honey, and it’s just as enjoyable to sip it while perusing the art books stacked around the cafe as it is after dinner. The space has a Bohemian vibe, with mismatched furniture, but a humidor and bourbon bar keep this place feeling like a Sodikoff joint.
Don’t be fooled by the 1950s greasy-spoon atmosphere—that’s just retro decor—this Humboldt Park diner focuses on local ingredients and healthy options. Hormone-free meat is the name of the game here, so eat your breakfast sausage without guilt. And breakfast is served until 3pm, so you don’t even have to get up early. The menu can change depending on what’s in season, but there are always a number of solid standard egg dishes and Mexican-inspired options.
There’s a fine line between kitsch and authenticity, and this homely chicken shack sits right in the middle. Because despite the crowds of hipsters, homeboys and yuppies devouring whole birds, this place still looks and feels the way we imagine a rural Kentucky chicken shack does. And that’s a good thing, since it means juicy rotisserie chickens flanked by tortillas and salsa, sides like corn or banana pudding, plus a rotating roster of freshly made fruit pies.
This daytime sandwich shop serves up some seriously large sandwiches. Easily splittable for lunch, grab the Cuban—which is packed with ham and pork and loaded with mustard and mayonnaise. Other perks: The shop also doubles as a convenience store, so grab snacks that may not be on the menu as you wish.
Owner and executive chef Zoe Schor transforms ordinary-sounding dishes (fajitas, pasta primavera, grilled salmon) into thoughtful masterpieces at her Humboldt Park hideaway. Though the menu changes with the seasons, a few of our day-one favorites include the chicken nuggets, which are available for just $1 at happy hour, and the loaded baked potato gnocchi, which comes topped with bacon, sour cream, cheddar and crispy potato skins.
This tiny taco joint on the corner of Chicago Avenue and Grand Avenue serves up solid tacos that are mostly under $3 along with other Mexican classics. We're fans of the asada and pastor with onions, cilantro, lettuce and tomato with a side of beans and rice. The spot only has a handful of tables, so snag one when you come in.