The Best Restaurants In Avondale

Our guide to the best restaurants in Avondale.
The Best Restaurants In Avondale image

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Avondale has record stores dedicated to metal music, small businesses that sell framed insects, and antique shops where you can drink a Manhattan and get a mug shaped like Obi-Wan Kenobi’s face. There’s no shortage of personality here, and that goes for its restaurants, too. If you’re looking for one of the best breakfast sandwiches in the city with a side of TV-famous chocolate cake, incredible Ukrainian food under some neon lights, or just a midnight steak, this vaguely boat-shaped neighborhood can help.


photo credit: Kim Kovacik



$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDining SoloEating At The BarWalk-InsDate NightLate Night Eats
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Though its name might sound aggressive, this New American restaurant is very welcoming. Bartenders playfully present a Miller High Life like it’s a vintage red, or encourage a double date hanging out at a candle-lit banquette to stay as long as they want—which could be a long time, since they're open until 2am. And the food is why you’ll want to stay forever. The menu changes daily, which is both exciting and bittersweet since those incredible spicy hokkaido scallops in a funky XO sauce may never appear again. Warlord plays hard to get, which makes us want them even more. Just know that they don't take reservations.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik



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This spot with trippy lamps and sparkling zakusky carts full of appetizers is one of Chicago’s best Ukrainian restaurants. Servers hype up lokshyna as if the garlicky egg noodles layered with farmer’s cheese will make you start referencing events as “Before Anelya” and “After Anelya.” But whether you're catching up with friends, or just want some trout roe tarts that taste like a whole lox bagel in one bite, the playful space and unique takes on classics make eating at Anelya a blast.

Good luck walking away from counter-service shop Tribecca’s with less than six sandwiches per person. Their flavorful Cubano is made with mojo pork, ham, chipotle aioli, and mustard butter on pressed ciabatta. And the horseshoe—an open-faced sandwich on Pullman bread topped with two beef patties, cheese sauce, and fries—will completely erase any hangover. Each of the nine sandwiches made here is filling enough to qualify as a three-course meal on its own.

Soul & Smoke has a familiar story: a catering business got a food truck and then opened a brick-and-mortar business. The brisket and ribs at this spot located at Rockwell on the River are incredible, and so are the sides like creamy mac and cheese, cornbread muffins, and spicy baked beans. Throw in a refreshing beer on their patio, and you get everything you want out of a summertime cookout without actually cooking.

Thattu has had a few iterations, from stall to pop-up, to (now) a casual sit-down restaurant serving Keralan comfort food. And comfort is exactly what you’ll feel throughout your time at this South Indian spot. The bright space exudes warmth—from the friendly greetings at the entrance to the last sip of frothy kaapi served in the same steel cups common in Indian homes. The menu is short, but that just means you can order everything and share with friends or a date, like the crispy masala-dusted chaatertots with a side of beet ketchup, and thick and fragrant curries with a fluffy, coconutty appam.

This bakery and cafe buzzes all day with people picking up pastries, coffee, and sandwiches—for a good reason. Loaf Lounge's sausage breakfast sandwich is one of the best we’ve had, with a garlicky patty, a fried egg, mayo, cheese, and a housemade English muffin that will remind you of the pillow you wish you didn’t have to leave this morning. Grab some baked goods like a seasonal danish or their fantastic chocolate cake (which was featured on The Bear), a totally valid breakfast option.

La Nonna is a BYOB Argentine-Italian restaurant that’s what we like to call a SCRPRTCWAFF—a Super Cute Reasonably Priced Restaurant To Catch Up With A Few Friends. And thanks to its fairly hidden location (surrounded by homes and across from a school) at least one table is always available. Its wooden dining room is open all day, so grab a morning coffee and empanadas with some third-tier friends, or split your favorite bottle of wine and chicken milanesa with a prospective, first-tier “more than a friend.”

The incredible empanadas at this mini Mexican chain are chunky (each one is tennis ball-sized), flaky, and there are over 20 filling options. Grab one for the road or make a meal out of a few while sitting on a colorful retro barstool. Some of our favorite pastry pockets are the chicken mole full of tender meat covered in a sweet and smoky mole, and the birria loaded with juicy goat and cheese. Prefer tortillas over pastry dough? Their tacos and burritos are equally tasty, too.

This gluten-free, Southern restaurant serves the kind of dishes that make us look forward to—or at least not hate—Chicago’s 30-degree days. Chesa's menu has short rib and grits, seafood gumbo with a gentle heat, and buttery wagyu sliders on buns that we wouldn’t know were gluten-free if it wasn’t our job to know these things. The space is bright and casual, with a few TVs over the bar and a hip-hop playlist that makes head-bobbing groups of friends remember just how catchy 2000’s Nelly is.

Mother's Ruin is great for meeting up for drinks when you don't want to commit to a full dinner but still want the option to grab some food. This casual cocktail bar has tasty snacks like pimento cheese with fried saltines, a very good smash burger, and deep-fried red velvet Oreos. The food is way better than it needs to be, the cocktails are all $13, and the space is busy without feeling chaotic. Plus, the kitchen is open until at least 2am 365 days a year.

This tiny food stand inside Joong Boo market is an excellent place for kimbap or a full-blown Korean meal with banchan and bowls of spicy soondubu. During prime mealtimes, the few tables and counter seats can be packed with families snacking on chewy ddukbokee or solo diners diving into a bowl of beefy galbitang, so plan any grocery shopping (and eating) for the morning or afternoon. And the dumpling stand outside the market also has some giant mandoo to-go.

For any occasion involving the sentence, “Let’s get Polish food,” this iconic spot is our go-to. Staropolska has enough dark wood to raise concern about deforestation, but nonetheless creates the kind of environment that’ll make you wish it was snowing outside. The long menu is perfect for sharing, which makes it a popular place for families, friendly catch-ups, and the occasional graduation party. Start with the $39 “Polish Platter,” which comes with sausage, pierogies, potato pancakes, plums rolled in bacon, paprika chicken, and our favorite stuffed cabbage in Chicago.

Ludlow Liquors has the look and scene of your average dive, but the food (courtesy of the folks from SuperHai) and drinks are much better than average. While sitting in one of their old naugahyde booths, you can snack on crispy fries tossed with the perfect amount of spicy togarashi and MSG while sipping on a refreshing yuzu-flavored soju cocktail. The well-seasoned burgers are great too (and only $10 on Tuesdays), and they have creative ones with kimchi or wasabi blue cheese. Ludlow Liquors also has regular, local pop-ups usually on Mondays (check their Instagram page for updates), and there's a spacious dog-friendly patio in the back.

Wolfhound seems like a typical Chicago bar with TVs and ever-flowing beer, but it’s actually a bonafide Irish pub. Couples in the back split a full Irish breakfast (available all day) of tender bangers and rashers, while a solo reader at the bar can sip an expertly double-poured pint of Guinness. There’s usually a strong crowd of regulars any day of the week, but expect even more people sharing meaty black pudding pizza when there’s a rugby match on, or during their live music Tuesdays when fiddlers and pipers take over the front fireplace.

For a more classic Chicago Irish pub experience head to Chief O’Neill’s. This decades-old neighborhood staple has old wooden church pews, historical photos, and enough Guinness memorabilia to rival an official brewery. There’s even a regal painting of the chief himself hanging above their fireplace—our favorite spot in the restaurant to eat fish and chips or a savory shepherd’s pie with fluffy mashed potatoes. And on Sundays, they also have a massive brunch buffet for just $32 plus live music from 5-8pm, because drinking and eating corned beef while listening to Irish folk music is classic Chicago, too.

This neighborhood staple has been pairing two of life's greatest things for over a decade: fried chicken and honey butter. So when a perfectly round ball of their signature butter shows up at your table with an order of crispy drumsticks, just follow what’s written on the wall: “put the butter on the bird.” The result is a fantastic mix of sweet and savory, and dipping sauces like honey buffalo or zesty jalapeño mayo are worth including. And if eating chicken while basking in the sun sounds like a fun activity, join the usual crowd of families or newly-inducted Avondaleans (patent pending) on the patio in the warmer months.

Level 20 centaurs all the way from Chondalwood and mere humans from just across Belmont gather to hang out, eat, and drink at DMen Tap, a Dungeons & Dragons-themed bar. Their long drink menu is full of beer, cocktails, and even mead, and the European dishes like charred döner kebab wrapped in yufka or tangy currywurst are all solid. For gamers who could care less about 12-sided dice, the back room also has pinball machines and N64.

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