CHIGuide

20 Great Chicago Restaurants For Thanksgiving Dinner

Where to go when you want nothing to do with your oven.
20 Great Chicago Restaurants For Thanksgiving Dinner image

photo credit: Maple And Ash

Don’t spend your Thanksgiving morning frantically Googling “can you cook a turkey in the microwave” while listening to Aunt Kathy grumble about how she should have been hosting this year. Just head to one of the many great Chicago restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving Day. Buffets serving turkey and all the traditional trimmings to please your pickiest visiting relatives? A steakhouse where you can level up boxed mashed potatoes to bone marrow potato purée? Our guide has you covered. Now you can spend your free time Googling “how to win a political argument” instead.

THE SPOTS

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Italian

Fulton Market

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Swap out the stretchy pants for something not made of lycra at this mid-century era Italian steakhouse. There are excellent steaks like an olive-fed wagyu New York strip that will make you wonder whether that cow had its own personal masseuse, as well as little 4 oz. plates of pasta to pair with your steak if potatoes just aren’t cutting it. On Thanksgiving, Fioretta will offer special prime rib and turkey entrees, plus their a la carte dinner menu. 

The meal: Regular menu with a la carte Thanksgiving specials


Marina’s is a casual neighborhood spot that has its PhD in Poultry (see: their pollo al ajillo). So, we’re pretty sure the roasted turkey with arroz con gandules will be the highlight of their three-course Puerto Rican Thanksgiving meal. Find some people in your life who want their Turkey Day to involve croquettes, tembleque, lots of rum cocktails, and zero drama. 

The meal: Three-course prix fixe, $70 per person


Big Jones is dedicated to what it calls “heritage cooking,” so a lot of their food is made with old-timey recipes that have ingredients like sorghum molasses and house-ground sassafras. The best part about their Southern Thanksgiving spread is that you can eat a deep-fried turkey without worrying Uncle Bob will burn the house down. It’s a versatile spot that can accommodate groups of all sizes, and you can either dress up or be more casual. Most importantly, you can ask for seconds.

The meal: Prix fixe with family-style sides, $64 to $67 to $70 per person depending on seating


When a restaurant has a tasting menu option called “I Don’t Give A F*ck,” it’s probably a way more fun place to be than our aunt’s house in Naperville. Maple and Ash is a steakhouse in the Gold Coast, and it’s over-the-top in the best way, with chandeliers, candelabras, and huge velvet booths. During the holiday, they’re serving a family-style meal with things like black truffle roast turkey breast and chestnut stuffing, both of which you should give a f*ck about.

The meal: Family-style, starting at $75


This (one-time) sister restaurant of Maple and Ash is in Bucktown, and just like your sibling who moved to Portland after college, Etta is trendy but a little more laid-back. The space is airy and very family-friendly (you’ll see high chairs, and no “f*cks” on the menu here). The food is excellent, and on Thanksgiving, they’re having turkey with sides (like a fennel sausage stuffing) and a caramelized apple sundae for dessert.

The meal: Four-course prix fixe, $85 per person, $25 for kids 12 and under


RPM Steak might usually be filled with fauxlebrities, colleagues in various stages of forced socialization, and groups from the suburbs who want a “real night out” in the city. But this upscale spot always delivers on service and food. Besides turkey on the Thanksgiving prix fixe menu, count on seeing fish and steak options, along with expensive upgrades. Go ahead and add truffles to the parmesan risotto, as long as you can put it on your corporate card. Making your company pay for your Thanksgiving dinner is probably not something you should do, but if you’re here, there’s a chance your boss is making you work over the holiday weekend anyway. 

The meal: Four-course prix fixe, $115 per person


Because the RPM restaurants are co-dependent and can’t do anything without each other, RPM Italian is also doing Thanksgiving, with turkey, mashed potatoes, vegetables, and pasta like butternut squash tortelli. And since this is the Italian restaurant equivalent of RPM Steak, everything we just said about that place applies here, too. Well, except for the food. And the price. And the location. OK, it’s different, but it definitely will have the same Spotify playlist. Maybe.

The meal: Three-course prix fixe, $98 per person


Unlike most of your family get-togethers, The Smith will offend the fewest people possible. The wide-ranging menu is essentially designed for visiting relatives who don’t always agree on everything. The holiday dinner includes three different turkey options (braised, roasted, and a pot pie), so even the most chronically malcontented in your gene pool should be able to find something on the menu. Assuming everyone is still talking to each other by the end of the weekend, you might as well also come here for Sunday brunch.

The meal: Three-course prix fixe, $78 per person


This steakhouse does a huge buffet (with the usual turkey and turkey-adjacent suspects), and its Loop location means Aunt Karen will be grateful for beating out the rest of the tourists trying to get as close as possible to the Black Friday sales on State Street, even if she’s not grateful for anything else.

The meal: Buffet, $95 per person, $35 for kids 7-12, complimentary for kids 6 and under


If you're interested in having a solo meal that doesn’t involve cousin Dan’s rant about ChatGPT controlling humans, make a reservation at Cindy’s. Besides a special a la carte Thanksgiving menu with seasonal options, they’re offering a $45 “Thanksgiving Plate For One.” It comes with cider-brined roasted turkey breast and sides like brioche stuffing, cranberry relish, and truffle gravy. With zero dishes, zero arguments, and zero leftovers to dole out, you can focus all of your energy on enjoying one of Chicago’s best views.

The meal: Thanksgiving-specific a la carte menu, plus a $45 “Thanksgiving Plate For One”


You can come here for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, or just some delicious crab with a pile of hashbrowns ordered a la carte. It’s a free country, as that annoying kid from homeroom loved to tell you in fifth grade.

The meal: Prix fixe, $69.95 per person, $34.95 for kids 5-12, complimentary for kids under 5


Another place to come for crab. Sure, they have some Thanksgiving specials like turkey and stuffing. But you should really be focusing your attention on the regular menu: crab legs, salmon, crab cakes, and a full-on raw bar. It’s what Shaw’s does best—resist the temptation to sneak at least a dozen oysters home in your purse. 

The meal: Regular menu with a la carte Thanksgiving specials


The main design elements of the Cherry Circle Room (in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel) are dark wood, overstuffed leather chairs, and a huge fireplace—so it reminds us of a fancy turn-of-the-century hunting lodge. The restaurant is small and located on the second floor, so you won’t even notice you’re eating turkey, green bean casserole, and buttermilk mashed potatoes (or the vegetarian option) in a hotel. What you will notice is the strong urge to adopt an English Setter, or at least play a rousing game of Duck Hunt.

The meal: Three-course prix fixe, $120 per person ($100 vegetarian option available), $50 for kids 12 and under


We’re aware that they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in France. But if they did, we imagine it would look a lot like the holiday dinner happening at Bistronomic, a French restaurant in the Gold Coast. It’s a three-course prix fixe meal with turkey breast and chestnut stuffing, a terrine, and short ribs. This place is nice but still casual, making it easy to pretend you’re in a quaint French village. And that your mom won’t be dragging you out of bed at 3am tomorrow to stand in line for a flatscreen TV.

The meal: Three-course prix fixe, $85 per person


Gene & Georgetti is Chicago’s oldest steakhouse—it’s been around since 1941. So if you have someone in town who likes to take architectural tours or talk about whether Hoffa is buried in a construction site, take them here for Thanksgiving. The prix fixe menu will have things like roast turkey and broiled salmon as well as sides like mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and pumpkin cake.

The meal: Three-course prix fixe, $105 per person


The Peninsula has a four-course buffet that’s completely over-the-top, very expensive, and pretty awesome if you’re ready to go all out. You can expect a string quartet and elaborate holiday decorations revolving around a theme (like “apple orchard”), as well as an absurd variety of food stations manned by people good at politely ignoring how much you’ve piled on a single plate. You’ll find everything from Peking duck, a seafood station with caviar, and a turkey carving station, to an entire room of desserts that looks like Willy Wonka catered your Thanksgiving brunch. Plus a magician for the kids, for good measure. 

The meal: Four-course brunch buffet, $325 per person, $95 for kids 5-12


Ok hear us out: Frontier is closed for dine-in on Thanksgiving. That said, they are available to host your Friendsgiving dinner all November long. The family-style menu includes smoked turkey, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato pie, and basically anything else that you love about actual Thanksgiving.

The meal: Family-style, $39 per person (six person minimum)


photo credit: Hsing Chen

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Rather than spending the holiday hanging out in your parents’ wood-paneled basement among angrily overturned tables and scattered Monopoly pieces, consider a classier alternative in a 19th-century River North townhouse. The Spanish steakhouse is offering a Basque take on the holiday—it's sort of a curated version of their regular menu (turbot, txuleton steaks, and bone marrow potato purée make an appearance), plus some Thanksgiving exclusives like heritage turkey, roasted chestnut stuffing, and steamed persimmon cake.

The meal: Four-course prix fixe, $145 per person


Here’s another great steakhouse if you want to have Thanksgiving dinner in something that approximates a windowless parlor of some old money mansion. Bavette’s will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 12-8pm, but they haven’t actually posted any details on the menu. Assuming there aren’t any specials, go with the fried chicken, chocolate cream pie, and load up on complimentary bread (yes, we know none of those things are steak). We’ve never had a bad meal here, so we have faith it’s worth keeping on your radar no matter the menu.

The meal: Bavette’s is open on Thanksgiving Day, and that’s all we know so far


Bar Goa is a clubby cocktail bar/restaurant in River North from the folks behind Rooh (which also happens to be open for lunch on Thanksgiving). And while both spots are great, head to Bar Goa between 11am-3pm if you're in the mood for a non-traditional holiday lunch with spicy food, fun cocktails, and a subwoofer. They're serving their regular menu—Indian dishes with Portuguese influences—including tasty bites like butter chicken croquettes, fried chicken xacuti wings, and a delicious Goan chicken curry.

The meal: Regular menu

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