17 Great Chicago Restaurants For Thanksgiving Dinner
Where to go if you’re not cooking this year (or you’re delayed at O’Hare).
Chicago has lots of great restaurants that serve Thanksgiving dinner (with varying degrees of traditionalism), and our guide has you covered for a number of different scenarios—particularly the main one, i.e. forcing your family to eat in public so they can’t get into screaming fights about religion, politics, or whether or not you spoiled the latest Netflix show by mentioning a tiny detail from episode 8.
Note: We’ll be updating this list often as more restaurants release their Thanksgiving specials, so check back.
Indienne in River North is serving a $115 tasting menu for Thanksgiving. And this Indian restaurant in River North definitely falls into the fine dining category. Its large dining room is full of white tablecloths and staff bustling around in crisp jackets, and the menu’s dishes are plated artistically. Details of the dishes are still being decided, but you can expect things like eclair canapes filled with goat cheese and chutney and malai tikka formed into a terrine and sauced tableside. So whatever is on the plate, you're definitely going to have a fancy holiday dinner.
The meal: Multi-course tasting menu, $115
Maple & Ash
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 truffle roast turkey breast and turkey roulade, plus a la carte options. Which you should give a fck about.
The meal: Family-style, $70
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This is the sister restaurant to Maple and Ash, and it’s 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 (no price listed)
RPM in River North can be a scene, but it always delivers on food and service, making it a safe bet if you want a somewhat upscale experience. Count on seeing some expensive prix fixe upgrade options - and go ahead and add truffles and caviar to the coal-roasted crab, parmesan risotto, halibut, and turkey breast, as long as you can put it on your corporate card. Charging Thanksgiving to your corporate card 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, $105 prix fixe
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: Four-course $98 prix fixe
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 sassafrass. The best part about their Southern Thanksgiving spread is that you can eat a deep-fried turkey without worrying that Uncle Bob will burn the house down. They also have horseradish beer cheese, acorn and corn tamales, and old-school buttermilk rolls. It’s a versatile spot: they can accommodate groups of all sizes, and you can either dress up or be more casual. And you can ask for seconds—so don’t be shy.
The meal: Five-course, $90 prix fixe
Unlike most of your family get-togethers, The Smith will offend the fewest people possible. That’s what this River North restaurant’s wide-ranging menu is designed for, making it an excellent choice for taking out visiting relatives who don’t always agree on everything. The holiday dinner includes three different turkey options (braised, roasted, and a pot pie), and 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 $75
Prime & Provisions
There are plenty of people who travel into the city for Thanksgiving, and you might be going to dinner with some of them. If that’s the case, Prime & Provisions is a good option. This steakhouse does a huge buffet (with the usual turkey and turkey-adjacent suspects), and its Loop location means it’s full of tourists trying to get as close as possible to Black Friday sales, and business-type people working through the holidays.
The meal: Buffet, $85 for adults, $35 for children (7-12), complimentary for children 6 and under
photo credit: Christina Slaton
Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
You can come here for a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, or just for 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 for adults, $34.95 for children (5-12), complimentary for children under 5
Shaw's Crab House
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, and you can fit a lot of oysters in your purse.
The meal: Regular menu with a la carte Thanksgiving specials
Cherry Circle Room
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. They clearly think you can never have enough turkey because they offer it two ways—roast turkey breast and leg—along with dishes like shrimp cocktail and mashed potatoes. The restaurant is small and located on the second floor, so you won’t even notice you’re eating 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 for $120 or vegetarian for $100 (optional wine, or cocktail pairing, for $60)
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 chesnut stuffing, a foie gras 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 you’re not getting up at 3am tomorrow to stand in line for a flatscreen TV.
The meal: Three-course prix fixe, $80
Chicago Cut Steakhouse
Chicago Cut is a good bet for catching a celebrity athlete, or an expensive business deal going down. Mainly because this steakhouse is at the bottom of an office building, and full of successful-looking people in power suits who may or may not have an Alderman on the payroll. But the food (especially the bone-in prime rib) is excellent, and the space has an impressive view of the Chicago River. It’s also a great place for an upscale holiday dinner. Their Thanksgiving menu has maple-glazed turkey with apricot cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, sides, and pumpkin or apple pie.
The meal: Four-course prix fixe, $125 for adults, $50 for children 12 and under
Gene & Georgetti
Gene & Georgetti is Chicago’s oldest steakhouse—it’s been around since 1944. 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. Their prix fixe menu will have things like roast turkey, broiled salmon, and sides like rosemary potatoes, green beans, and pecan pie.
The meal: Four-course prix fixe, $95
The Lobby at The Peninsula
If Willy Wonka catered your Thanksgiving brunch, it would look exactly like this. The Peninsula has a four-course brunch with buffet items that’s completely over-the-top, very expensive, and pretty f*cking awesome if you’re ready to go all out. You can expect elaborate holiday decorations revolving around a theme - like “apple orchard” or “The Mayflower”—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 whole room dedicated to different desserts.
The meal: Four-course meal with brunch items, $277
Lure in the Gold Coast will be open on Thanksgiving, and is serving dinner priced at $95 per person. It includes a choice of appetizer, choice of entree like, roasted turkey with all the good stuff (like stuffing, delicata squash, gravy, cranberry sauce, etc.), and either pumpkin pie or pecan pie for dessert.
The meal: Three-course prix fixe $95
Ok hear us out: Frontier is closed on Thanksgiving. That said, they are available for you to have a Friendsgiving all November long. The family-style meal includes smoked turkey, cornbread stuffing, sweet potato pie, mac and cheese, and basically anything else that you love about actual Thanksgiving.
The meal: Family-style, $39 (minimum six people)