Best Bridgeport restaurants
No matter the season, no matter the meal, we’ll find an excuse to book it to Bridgeport for a table at the Duck Inn. Inside, the environs are cozy, warm and tinged with retro vibes; outside, the patio turns into a secluded urban oasis come summertime. True to its name, the Duck Inn serves dishes like a beefy duck fat dog for dinner and decadent rotisserie duck hash for brunch. Stop by on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for the blue plate specials, massive helpings of fried chicken, meatloaf and pasta bolognese, respectively.
Don’t waste your time searching for the crudo and antipasto. This is Bridgeport, where locals eat thick, roasted pork chops (how one person could eat the order of two is beyond us) and big bowls of penne tossed with spicy pesto, capers and succulent nibs of prosciutto. You can't leave without trying the house-made gnocchi—a bowl for the table is advised.
In chef-owner Aishan “Damao” Zhong’s first solo venture, she cooks delicacies from her hometown of Chengdu, resulting in bold, simple street fare hailing from the capital of China’s Szechuan province. Pork dumplings, hand-cut noodles, pigs’ feet and braised duck parts are presented without much embellishment beyond a fiery combination of chilis and slow-burning Szechuan peppercorns. A word to the wise: Start mild and work your way up to the mouth-numbing treats.
Instead of shelling out a small fortune for a limp dog at Guaranteed Rate Field, why not fill up before at 35th Street Red Hots? Conveniently located a block away, this tiny little stand lacks frills of any kind, and is all the better for it. The natural-casing hot dogs are snappy and beefy, and each comes with a heaping handful of extra-crispy fries.
If you’re only heading to the bakery for the large variety of excellent paczki it puts out for Fat Tuesday, you’re missing out—the traditional bakery also turns out doughnuts, like a glazed vanilla pretzel-shaped option. But one of the best things here is the bacon bun, which sells out quickly, so get there as early as you can.
The coffee-roasting operation on the corner of Morgan and 31st Street is a point of pride for Bridgeport and a source of jealousy for almost every other neighborhood. Housed in a prototypically warm-toned, wood-heavy coffeehouse (only without the fleabag couches and drum-circle vibe), Bridgeport Coffee sets itself apart by roasting its own beans and brewing them with levels of respect usually reserved for presidents. The pour-over here is a revelation—bright and clean and smooth. The fact that the expert staff and comfortable digs make you want to spend the day in the place is just a bonus.
“Slamming Korean and Polish together” since 2016, Kimski is a culture-bending, counter-service joint located within Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar. Though we stand by it no matter the season, summer is arguably the best time to visit so that you can properly enjoy the beautiful patio out back. Snack on Princess pierogies (filled with potatoes and cheese, topped with sour cream), Kopo Wangs (dressed with a sweet and spicy sauce) and Kimski poutine (fries smothered in kimchi gravy).
Han 202 might just be the best value in town. Just $35 brings four courses, with fun and flavorful options like octopus with rice vinegar butter, red snapper with basil brown sauce and a walnut tart for dessert. Figure in a tasteful dining room and a BYOB policy and this place has date night written all over it.
Since Chinatown isn’t too far away, Bridgeport is blessed with some genuinely good Chinese restaurants. That includes this Northern Chinese spot, where rice is skipped in favor of crackly wheat pancakes. They are good dipped in just about anything, or just eaten on their own. Other dishes worth ordering include plump, hand-formed dumplings bursting with juicy pork; cool spinach in puckery black vinegar, dotted with roasted peanuts; and tender lamb wok-tossed with cumin seeds, spicy from both fresh and dried chilies.
This all-day British-inspired pub is a downright delightful place to spend a weekend afternoon. You’re here for the award-winning royal pies, which are crafted with house-made pastry and filled with a variety of savory ingredients like rich beef stew, chicken and curry spices, and mushrooms and kale. You can (and should) opt to “crown” your pie with a scoop of mashed potatoes and gravy. Looking for a deal? Show up between 10pm and midnight to score your pie for just $5.
You can smell the unmistakable aroma of sautéing onions at this 24-hour diner from across the street, so you better believe each menu item is imbued with that sweet fragrance. That’s definitely true of the bone-in pork chop sandwich, which is, well, exactly what it sounds like: a grilled pork chop sandwich with its bone very much still attached, placed on a bun, squirted with some mustard, and finished with a hefty pile of those onions. It’s a messy, full-flavored lunch, and, as long as you eat around the bone, totally worth the hassle.
This seasonal South Side hot dog is just begging for a Sox home game and a warm day. Here you’ll find some flawless fully loaded hot dogs, but consider those just the tip of the jam-packed menu. Sure, you can go for a Polish or a hamburger, but don't skip some of the other oddball creations, like the A1-drenched charbroiled strip steak sandwich.
The comfortable all-day neighborhood restaurant uses local organic ingredients for its Mexican-influenced dishes. The Nanadict—pupusas with poached eggs, chorizo and poblano cream—are a breakfast signature, while the grilled shrimp and fried oyster po’ boy, with Cajun mayo and giardiniera for heat, is a must-order at lunch.
A breaded steak sandwich sounds like something truly ridiculous, but at Bridgeport pizzeria Ricobene’s, the gargantuan beast is done right. The cutlet is fried until crispy and then completely bathed in chunky, bright red tomato sauce. It’s stuffed into a roll along with some cheese, which turns gooey and melty within seconds. Pizzas, burgers, wings and other sandwiches round out the menu, but if you’re at Ricobene's you’re there for the breaded steak sandwich.
There isn’t much competition in Middle Eastern food around the Bridgeport ’hood, but Zaytune still operates as if it’s in a race for first. The simple, casual, carryout spot has a handful of tables, but most locals hover near the counter for a view of the action: Lebanese-style pita is stretched and baked daily, eggplants are bathed in herbs and olive oil before hitting the grill, falafel is formed on the fly then dropped into the fryer, and sheet pans of honey-soaked kinafa are sliced into squares with Jack-the-Ripper precision. It’s all flavorful, all fresh and all the area has of its kind—just don’t tell Zaytune that.