The best restaurants in Lincoln Square and Ravenswood

From hip fine dining to sandwich shops, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood are packed with great restaurants
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Photograph: Sara Mays Gene's Sausage Shop is a top Chicago beer garden.
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Walking through Lincoln Square is absolutely charming, with restaurants and bars on every corner. Whether you're looking for a fantastic fine dining establishment or some great Indian or Korean food, you'll find a restaurant in Lincoln Square and Ravenswood that sates your appetite.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Lincoln Square and Ravenswood

Best restaurants in Lincoln Square and Ravenswood

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Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Elizabeth Restaurant

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square
Forager and self-trained chef Iliana Regan serves "new gatherer" cuisine at her tiny Lincoln Square storefront. Dishes may include thin slices of bear, placed atop a rice crisp and served on a rock; foie gras shaped like owls; or a fried hunk of mushroom with garlic aioli. You won't find food like this at any other fine dining restaurant.
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Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, French

Bistro Campagne

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square

With a name that translates as “countryside bistro,” this restaurant is so warm and inviting we could stay all night. Ingredients are fresh and meld into French bistro classics with unforgettable flavors. There isn’t a bad thing on the menu, but if we had to limit ourselves, we’d go with onion soup, mussels steamed in Belgian ale, roasted chicken and pan-seared hanger steak flanked by amazing frites. Oh, and all of the day’s ice creams.

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Photograph: Sara Mays
Restaurants, Delis

Gene's Sausage Shop & Delicatessen

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square

Weiners, wursts and kielbasa as far as the eye can see. Gene’s is the ultimate European-style market in the former Meyer Delicatessen spot, plus it's a grocer, baker, beer, wine and liquor seller, deli, butcher and importer of everything from Kinder chocolates to pflaumenmus (plum butter). All of that takes a backseat to the sausage though—more than 40 housemade varieties from Alpine (a kielbasa with extra garlic and smoke) toZywiecka (a smoked pork and beef Polish with a sharp, peppery kick). In warm weather, head for pitchers of Pils and grilled brats on the rooftop beer garden.

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Photograph: Martha Williams
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Goosefoot

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square
Chicago has a few small, far from downtown places where chefs have carved out personal enclaves for high-level fine dining. But perhaps none were born with the maturity and finesse of this 34-seat, off-the-beaten-Lincoln-Square-path BYOB from husband-and-wife Chris and Nina Nugent. Chris, a veteran of Les Nomades, brings precision to every dish on the nine-course, $135 tasting menu. The food is technically flawless, while Nina’s front-of-the-house charm brings the personality.
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Shrimp and Grits
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
Restaurants, Soul and southern American

Luella's Southern Kitchen

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square

Chef and owner Darnell Reed taps into his grandmother Luella's southern roots and the recipes he learned as a child with this Southern restaurant. Expect dishes like bourbon chicken and waffles, crispy catfish tacos, shrimp po' boys and more.

Restaurants, Pizza

Spacca Napoli

icon-location-pin Uptown

This place is serious about Neapolitan pizza: A custom-built, oak-stoked oven kicks out bubbling beauties with perfectly charred peaks and valleys in less than two minutes. The hand-formed crust is paper-thin at the center and thicker toward the edges and has the unmistakable chew of a true Neapolitan pie. Aside from the simple marinara or Margherita (which can also be had with fresh buffalo mozz that’s flown in each Thursday), toppings run the gamut from fennel-flecked sausage to bitter rapini to prosciutto ribbons. Add a humble Italian wine-and-beer list, after-dinner options such as espresso and limoncello, and you’ve got a great night out.

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Restaurants, Sandwich shops

Jerry's Sandwiches

icon-location-pin Andersonville

Whatever anybody tells you about Jerry's—good, bad or eh—take it with a grain of salt. The place offers more than 100 sandwiches, so some are bound to be good, and others are going to disappoint. For example: the fried chicken on challah with hot sauce, pickles, ketchup and mayo? Good. The turkey Reuben? Eh. The apps here run bready (soft pretzels, bruschetta), which is hard for us to understand since, you know, you're about to eat a lot more bread. Our only guess is that all that starch is there to soak up all that beer—Jerry's has a big, impressive list, which tips the scales of the place from "restaurant" to "bar."

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Photograph: Erica Gannett
Restaurants, Korean

San Soo Gab San

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square

You’ll leave here with the essence of ash wafting from your clothes, but that’s no reason to stay away from the charcoal-fueled Korean barbecue. The wangkalbi and dai ji kalbi are marinated, not saturated, in their respective sauces, which gives the high-quality meats a chance to speak for themselves. Don’t want to smell like a campfire? Try the bibim naeng Myun, a big bowl of cold buckwheat noodles and beef topped with a spicy and flavorful chili sauce.

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Photograph: Jeremy Bolen
Restaurants, Austrian

Chicago Brauhaus

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square

This bastion of oompah fun, baron-sized beers and heaping platters of carb-tastic classics brings locals and tourists alike. The lederhosen-clad Brauhaus Trio performs nightly, packing the raucous dining hall with duos who dance zwiefacher-style (think polka with quick turns). Grab a stool at the bar, where the banter is better, the service is quicker and the time between you and your next hefeweizen much shorter.

Restaurants, American

Café Selmarie

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square

You might have stopped by this Lincoln Square bakery for a croissant to go and missed the dining room hidden in back. The first-come, first-served policy means you’ll have a half-hour wait for brunch, but a cup of coffee and slice of coffee cake will tide you over. For the main event, don’t miss the corned-beef hash: the smoky-salty beef and potatoes are flecked with herbs and topped with two perfectly poached eggs. Lunch and dinner during the week focus on comfort foods, including a yummy, grown-up mac and cheese with leeks.

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Restaurants, Contemporary American

Gather

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square
Gather is built for groups, and has a section on the menu (“gather and share”) dedicated to feeding you. It’s made up of dishes like charcuterie boards, a shareable short rib chili (you spread it on corn cakes), steak tartare served with housemade brioche. This is not a late-night spot; instead, it’s been built from top to bottom as a place to bring the parents, go on a third date or celebrate whatever upwardly mobile milestone Lincoln Square residents celebrate—kid got on the cheerleading squad, sister got into Harvard.
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