If you tried to keep track of every brand new restaurant in Chicago, you might go a little bit crazy. So just read this list instead. These are the new restaurant openings that seem like they have the most potential - although keep in mind, for the ones we haven’t tried, we make no promises. Go forth and be a pioneer.
We’ll be regularly updating this post. Once we’ve checked out a spot, we’ll add a note if it makes it onto our Hit List.
This new vaguely gothic cocktail bar in Lincoln Park has chandeliers, velvet drapes, big leather booths, and a long and wide-ranging cocktail list. It also has entertainment like nightly tarot readings and live music on Thursdays.
Right Bee is a small cider-based taproom that just opened in Hermosa. It has six ciders on tap: three staples and three rotating specials.
This is a new upscale food hall in the West Loop with 13 vendors including a coffee bar, beer garden, and a cocktail bar in the center of everything. You’ll find a mixture of new, new-ish, and already established vendors serving Isreali street food, salads, Cuban, sausages, tacos, katsu sandwiches, dumplings, and more, and there’s happy hour Mon-Fri from 4-7pm.
This is the new French-inspired restaurant from the Publican team located in the former Publican Anker space in Wicker Park. The menu at Cafe Cancale focuses primarily on seafood, with a raw bar as well as dishes like trout almondine and dover sole.
Mr. Maki is a new Japanese restaurant in Streeterville from the same team behind Ramen-san and Sushi-san. Along with Japanese small plates and sushi, this place also has a variety of teishoku sets (combo meals)—for example, the Hot Box comes with your choice of teriyaki or stir fry, potato salad, edamame, miso soup, and a house salad.
This is a neighborhood sushi spot that just opened in Logan Square. The menu has a wide selection of sashimi, nigiri, and rolls, along with main dishes like teriyaki and noodles.
Relo’s in University Village is exactly what it sounds like: a place to get red velvet cake, ice cream, or cookies while playing Settlers of Catan. In case desserts aren’t your thing, they also have some savory snacks, like hummus or spinach and artichoke dip.
The Smith, an American restaurant with multiple locations in New York and Washington D.C., just opened in River North. It has a wide-ranging menu with everything from oysters and steaks to housemade pasta.
It might not surprise you to learn that Janitor’s Closet, a new speakeasy-style bar in the FieldHouse Jones hotel in River North, used to be a literal janitor’s closet. We’re assuming it was a big one, because this place has 15 seats. In addition to cocktails, they’ll also serve food from 5411 Empanadas.
Cleo’s was originally a catering company, but they just opened a restaurant in Bronzeville. You can get Southern dishes like shrimp etouffee, fried chicken, and mac and cheese.
This is a new casual Nepali restaurant in University Village that specializes in a variety of momos. The menu also has a selection of grilled meats and biryanis.
This is a new upscale diner in Tri-Taylor. You can get breakfasty things like tres leches pancakes and crab omelettes, and lunch dishes like a patty or tuna melt, along with rotating daily specials.
Ellas Gyros is a casual Greek restaurant in Edgewater. Not surprisingly, the menu has gyros, along with things like stuffed grape leaves, spanakopita, and saganaki.
This is a new Italian restaurant in the West Loop, from the owners of Riccardo Trattoria in Lincoln Park. Like the original, this place has a long food menu as well as an extensive wine list.
This is a new pour-your-own-beer brew pub in West Town. It has three different beer brands for you to choose from, and the food menu is BBQ - with meats like brisket and pulled pork, and sides like baked beans and mac and cheese.
Bombobar began as a takeout window attached to Bar Siena, but now there’s a stand-alone location in Old Town. It has fresh Italian donuts and housemade gelato just like the original, plus pizza, and a burger with a sliced donut as a bun.
In not-surprising news, this new Hyde Park counter-service spot called “Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat” is a plant-based restaurant. It has vegan and vegetarian version of things like burgers, nachos, hot dogs, and cheesesteaks.
This is the brand new Peruvian restaurant from the team behind Girl & The Goat and Duck Duck Goat. It’s on the rooftop of the Hoxton Hotel, and it has a menu full of small plates like ceviche, empanadas, and a crispy pork shank. As with every other restaurant these people have, reservations are hard to come by.
We checked out Cabra and added it to our Hit List
While you’re waiting to get a reservation at Cabra, you can check out Cira - another new restaurant in the Hoxton Hotel. It’s open all day, and has Mediterranean dishes like shakshuka and falafel, along with dinner entrees like quail and grilled blowfish tails.
Ocean Prime is a new steakhouse that just opened in the Loop. It’s part of a chain that has locations in a few states, and this is the first one in Illinois. The classic steakhouse menu has a selection of steaks, seafood, and sides.
This is a new Mexican restaurant that just opened in Edison Park. It has a selection of tacos (with varieties like al pastor and roasted beet), entrees like carnitas and goat birria, and a long cocktail list.
This is an upscale new Middle Eastern restaurant in Lincoln Park. The menu has several different types of hummus (like one with brisket and tomato and another with collard greens and mushrooms), along with larger plates like kubba halib and shakshuka.
We checked out Galit and added it to our Hit List
Flat & Point is a casual BBQ spot in Logan Square that has a short, rotating menu. You’ll find dishes like pork with polenta and brisket with beets, along with sides like truffle confit potatoes.
A new Fairgrounds just opened in Fulton Market. Along with coffee, sandwiches, and salads, this location also has a cocktail bar, skee-ball, and rope swings.
This is a counter-service spot in Lincoln Park specializing in kati rolls with fillings like lamb, paneer, and chicken tikka masala. If you don’t want a kati roll, you can also get rice bowls topped with the same things.
Lola’s is a hot dog stand in Humboldt Park that serves Detroit-style coney dogs (in case you’re not a hot dog expert, that means they’re topped with chili, mustard, and diced white onions). This spot also has loose meat burgers, sandwiches, and shakes.
The Chicago omakase influx continues with Mako, a new omakase-only spot in the West Loop from the chef and owner of Juno in Lincoln Park. It’s $175 for around 25 courses of nigiri and small plates, and you can sit either at the sushi bar or at a table.
We checked out Mako and added it to our Hit List
Cebu is a new upscale Filipino spot in Wicker Park. It has dishes like lumpia, sisig, and lechon, plus a long wine list.
We checked out Cebu and added it to our Hit List
A new Gus’s just opened up in River North. It has the same menu as the original in the West Loop, so you can expect fried chicken, sides, and (perhaps most importantly) their delicious pie.
Machine is an upscale restaurant and flower shop that just opened in Wicker Park. You’ll find things like carrot tartare and braised pig tails, and a menu section called “build your own bouquet” where you pick flowers and they bring them to your table. But you probably shouldn’t eat the bouquet.
Soul Shack is a new soul food restaurant in Hyde Park. The menu has dishes like chicken and waffles, lemon pepper fried okra, and braised short ribs.
This is a new casual BBQ spot in Galewood. They have ribs (including tips), Nashville hot fried chicken, and sandwiches like pulled pork.
The original location of Lito’s is in Lincoln Park, and now there’s one in the Thompson Center, too. So after filing a small claim, you can go grab a chorizo and cheese or caramel apple empanada.
Jeong is an upscale new Korean restaurant in West Town from the former owner of Hanbun out in the suburbs. There’s an $85 seven-course tasting menu, along with a la carte options like tteokbokki with a quail egg, and kalbi with confit turnips and a carrot veloute.
We checked out Jeong and added it to our Hit List
This is a new Italian restaurant in Bridgeport serving antipasti, pastas, and mains like braciole.
Jojo’s is a diner and dessert shop that just opened in River North. They have elaborate shakes (like the “Girl Scout” with Thin Mints, brownies, gummy bears, marshmallow, and graham crackers) along with other treats, and a food menu with things like burgers, lasagna, and a pot pie.
Stone Fox is a new bar and restaurant in Andersonville. They serve thin-crust pizzas as well as dishes like carrot masala and cavatelli with shrimp.
This is a new taco spot and market in West Town. The tacos are made with flour tortillas, and have a wide variety of fillings, like tuna poke, chicken curry, and “fully loaded” cheeseburger (with bechamel, cheddar, jalapeno aioli, lettuce, and rice).
This is a casual Chinese restaurant in Lincoln Park with a short menu including a few dumpling soups, rice noodles, and crepes.
Joe’s is a brand new bar in the West Loop with a long wine list and dishes like duck egg raviolo, uni with scrambled eggs, and steak with romesco.
This is an upscale restaurant in West Town serving Indian and Nepalese food. You’ll find things like momos and tandoori venison, along with curries like vindaloo and cashew tikka masala.
Barton G. is a new restaurant in River North (part of a chain with locations in Miami and LA) that specializes in extremely elaborate presentations. For example, you can get a cocktail served in a smoking Buddha statue, an entree in a big metal cauldron, and a dessert that’s a replica of Marie Antoinette’s head made out of cotton candy and cupcakes.
A second Chicago location of Lucky Strike Social just opened in Wrigleyville. This place has activities like bowling, video games, and ping pong, along with fancy bar food like smoked gouda mac and cheese balls and filet mignon sliders.
This is a new spot in Lincoln Park specializing in Australian-style savory pies. They have varieties like mince (with ground beef, onion, and cheese), shepherd’s pie, and chicken tikka masala.
Lotus Seed is a new restaurant in Uptown that serves banh mi and bubble tea. They also have a selection of spring rolls and vermicelli.
Demera is a great Ethiopian restaurant in Uptown, and now there’s an outpost in the French Market. Try it for dishes like lemon marinated chicken, injera wraps, and glazed chicken wings.
Young American is a new bar and small plates place in Logan Square. The menu involves things like a “goth bread” made with activated charcoal.
Carnitas Uruapan is an old-school taqueria in Pilsen, and a second location just opened in Gage Park. Like the original, this one specializes in carnitas, but this location also makes its own tortillas in-house.
We checked out Carnitas Uruapan and added it to our Hit List
This is a brand new all-day brew pub in Logan Square. Along with beer, they serve breakfast toasts made with fresh-baked bread, and thin-crust pizzas (including a vegan option) for lunch and dinner.
We checked out Middle Brow and added it to our Hit List
This is a new Latin American restaurant in Albany Park with a menu ranging from tacos and burgers to octopus and flan.
Iron Age is a new all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ spot in Wicker Park. It’s $18 for lunch and $25 for dinner. They have meats like chicken, steak or pork bulgogi, and spicy squid, and they’re also open pretty late - until 2am on the weekends, and 12am during the week.
We’re big fans of Cafecito, so it’s good news that another location has opened up in Lincoln Park. It has the same menu (focused on pressed sandwiches, like the really good Cubano), and is BYOB for now.
Jay’s is a new casual BBQ spot that just opened in Austin. You can get BBQ stuff like rib tips, along with jerk chicken tacos.
After being closed for four months, the Budlong has re-opened in Lincoln Square. Come here for Nashville hot chicken (either a platter or a sandwich) and sides like biscuits or mac and cheese.
Twisted Hippo is a new brew pub in Albany Park with bar food like cheese curds, burgers, and a corn dog.
This is the second Chicago location of a national ramen chain, and it’s in Lincoln Park’s NEWCITY complex that we’re pretty sure realtors are trying to convince us is an actual neighborhood. The menu has a few different types of ramen (like tonkotsu, shio, and shoya), along with Japanese small plates.
This is a new seafood-focused restaurant in Hyde Park with dishes like baked lobster, snapper, and shrimp linguine. It also has a build-your-own seafood boil that seems to include every option from the sea except for Nemo.
Friend BBQ is a new Chinese BBQ restaurant in Chinatown, and it has a long menu of skewers, noodles, and hot and cold dishes.
Fancy Plants is a new vegan cafe in Lincoln Park. It has a short menu of vegan pastries like cinnamon rolls and cookies, along with soups and sandwiches.
There’s a new location of Roost in Wrigleyville, with the same familiar menu of fantastic fried chicken and biscuit sandwiches.
Brothers And Sisters is a new market and all-day cafe in Ukrainian Village. You can get things like breakfast sandwiches or eggs in the morning, and entrees like roasted chicken at night.
We checked out Brothers And Sisters and added it to our Hit List
Grand Trunk Road is a new Indian restaurant in Lincoln Park. The menu has dishes like mushroom and cheese naan, lamb chops, and crab masala.
Rhapsody is a new fine-dining restaurant in Uptown, with French-inspired food like lobster bisque and filet Oscar (steak topped with crab, asparagus, and bearnaise sauce). You can order a la carte, or get the four-course tasting menu for $65.
This is a new Japanese soft serve shop in Wicker Park. Along with ice cream flavors like sesame and matcha, it has other treats like mochi and cheesecake.
The Hyde is a new speakeasy-style bar in Hyde Park. You need a password to get in (and they release that password on Instagram, so it’s not a huge secret).
A second location of Parson’s Chicken and Fish just opened in Lincoln Park. It has the same fried chicken and fish as the original in Logan Square, as well as negroni slushies. Most importantly, it also has a huge patio.
Parlor Pizza is getting closer to becoming a full-blown club now that it has a new River North location (which has the same menu as the one in Wicker Park, with pizza, bar snacks, and plenty of beer).
This is a new counter-service Filipino restaurant in Albany Park serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll find dishes like buko pandan, lumpia, and breakfast bowls with tocino.
Gigi’s is a casual new spot in Bucktown that has a short menu of sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads.
The Swill Inn is a new two-story bar and restaurant in River West. The menu is long, eclectic, and full of good drinking snacks like poutine and a Cool Ranch Dorito walking taco.
No Bones Beach Club is a vegan tiki bar with locations in Portland and Seattle, and they just opened a new one in Wicker Park. The menu has dishes like a beet poke bowl, buffalo cauliflower, and a “crab cake” sandwich made of parsnips.
There’s a brand new large, two-floor steakhouse in Lincoln Park. In addition to steaks and seafood, Bobby’s serves housemade pastas and appetizers like octopus carpaccio.
Onward is an upscale restaurant that just opened near the Loyola campus in Rogers Park. It serves Parents-Weekend-friendly food like duck breast, roasted chicken, and salmon.
This is a new Japanese fine-dining restaurant in the West Loop (in the space where Grace used to be). Your only option here is a 13-course, $205 tasting menu.
The Darling is a kind-of-quirky new bar in the West Loop. The entrance is behind a flower shop, and the space is designed to feel like an old mansion. You can hang out on big leather chairs, drink cocktails, and order small and large format dishes (like sweetbreads or a seafood platter). They have a variety of live performances, too.
Virtue is a fancy-ish new restaurant in Hyde Park that’s focused on soul food, with dishes like biscuits, gizzards, and blackened catfish.
Rick Bayless is doing things in River North again - this time with Bar Sotano, his new spot in the basement of Frontera Grill (which you enter through the alley in the back). There’s a long list of mezcal and and tequila, and the food menu ranges from ceviche to paella and a burger with jalapeno crema and tomato jam.
We checked out Bar Sotano and added it to our Hit List
This is a new cafe and breakfast spot on the South Side. The menu has comfort food like biscuits and gravy, peach French toast, and shrimp and grits.
The original Avli is up in Winnetka, but this is a more casual location in Lincoln Park. The long menu has Greek dishes like saganaki, moussaka, rotisserie meats, and plenty of spreads and salads.
La Mehikana is a new Mexican restaurant in Pilsen. The menu focuses primarily on tacos, and also includes appetizers like octopus and ceviches, along with a few entrees.
This is an all-day French restaurant that just opened in the Loop, from the same owners as Cochon Volant. The menu has dishes like escargots, steak frites, and a $150 seafood tower.
Bibliophile is a new gastropub/bookstore combination in Hyde Park. It focuses on boozy desserts (for example, an Old Fashioned-flavored cheesecake and a red wine chocolate cake), but has savory dishes, too.
This is the new Wicker Park location of a Korean fried chicken chain (it’s the second one in Chicago - the first is in Chinatown). Along with fried chicken, it has things like bibimbap and bao.