Chicago has always been a meat town. As a matter of fact, by our count, there are exactly 734 steakhouses in River North alone. Steak everywhere. It’s on the walls. And while this is a great thing for the carnivore in us all, it can also be a little overwhelming when you aren’t exactly sure where to go.
Rather than leave your big night out up to chance, we’ve got you covered on which steakhouses to visit. Our favorites are a mix of new school and old school, but all places we like to hang for a big ol’ slab of meat plus the sides. If you’re going to drop big money for a big night on the town, make sure it’s worth it.
In no particular order, here’s our current 10 favorite Chicago steakhouses.
RPM Steak exudes power, glamour, and sex appeal. It’s a trendy steakhouse built on some old-school roots. Speaking of sex appeal, this would be the place to wear your extra tight tuxedo t-shirt.
Great steaks alone are good, but great steaks with a side of stone crab are even better. That’s the kind of surf and turf you need in your life, and that’s the kind of surf and turf Joe’s will provide. The original might be in Miami, but Joe’s Chicago has been around long enough that it’s a Chicago classic too.
There is nothing Brendan Sodikoff can’t do. As if having some of the best spots in town for burgers, ramen, barbecue, and even salads at lunch isn’t enough, Bavette’s is equally top notch. It puts a new meaning of cool in the old steakhouse concept, which makes Bavette’s an excellent steakhouse to have dinner in a dark setting with a date or couple of friends.
Chicago Cut is probably your best bet at catching an expensive business deal going down, or a celebrity. Oprah, Jay Cutler, Patrick Kane, Charles Barkley, and even President Obama have made visits. But it’s also a great place for a general celebratory meal. You might not be a fancy business person, but you’re a celebrity in your own right (at least you are to all 112 of your Instagram followers), so strut right in (after making a reservation) and order a bone-in prime rib.
Gibsons is the most iconic steakhouse of the bunch, and it’s great for experiencing all of the things people love about Chicago steakhouses - great steaks, side, and familial service all in a trendy Viagra Triangle scene. But it’s not just big shot Gold Coasters and guys playing homage to the League here. The crowd’s a mixed bag of regulars, tourists, and locals celebrating birthdays or other special occasions with Gibsons’ massive desserts, and that’s no accident.
Boeufhaus isn’t a traditional steakhouse. In fact, the term “steakhouse” doesn’t even adequately describe Boeufhaus. It’s more like a small, hip, underground, meat-centric club, and a giant steak will just so happen to be the highlight of your meal. Boeufhaus throws a huge curveball in an otherwise similar steakhouse world, and that’s part of what makes it great.
The West Loop and Fulton Market had everything but a steakhouse until Swift & Sons came along and filled that void. And it combines everything we like about the neighborhood with everything we like about a traditional steakhouse. That means great food, service, and action, all in a revamped warehouse space that once served more blue-collar needs.
Prime & Provisions can’t be easily stereotyped. It’s not as corporate as Chicago Cut, not as see and be seen as RPM, nor does it have the tradition of Gibsons. And weirdly, that in and of itself is a good niche for Prime & Provisions to have. It’s colorful personality makes it a good choice for a number of occasions when you need a comfortable steakhouse in the Loop. Along with the usual options, there’s also an excellent fried chicken and a giant piece of thick-cut bacon topped with black pepper, maple syrup, and dark chocolate that makes for a good starter or side.
There are so many steakhouses in the Gold Coast, and most have them have been there for a while. So Maple & Ash said f*ck it, let’s open another one. Can’t blame them though, because they did a good job. Maple & Ash maintains the glamour, portion size, and quality of an old school steakhouse, but also has the luxury, freshness, and soundtrack of someplace new. It’s a great combination.
If the previous nine steakhouses don’t suit your needs, then there’s no reason why another expensive place like Mastro’s, Fleming’s, or Morton’s will be of any help. Those three spots are all good, as are some others we haven’t named, but they are more of the same. Tango Sur, however, is a wildcard. It’s a BYOB Argentinian steakhouse in Lakeview and it’s much more affordable, casual, and fun than any other steakhouse in town. This is a place you come with your friends and your own wine without having to worry about the bill. The steaks are good, but the environment is even better, and that’s why Tango Sur makes this list.