The 14 Best Steakhouses In Chicago
photo credit: Bavette's
Chicago has always been a meat town. As a matter of fact, by our count, there are approximately 1,734 steakhouses in River North alone. And while you have plenty of excellent options for steak across the city, the sheer number of possibilities can also be a little overwhelming.
Rather than leave what almost always ends up being an expensive meal to chance, use this guide. Our favorites are a mix of classic and newer spots, and they all work when you want a big slab of meat plus the classic sides.
Bavette’s is our favorite steakhouse in the city, but no one has the time to hear all the reasons why—so here are three. First, whether you get a small filet or a massive porterhouse, your steak will be cooked to perfection and seasoned to amplify the pure beefiness of each cut. Second, the speakeasy-esque space and 1920s jazz soundtrack separate it from all the other glorified hangouts for business types with an interest in cow. Lastly, you can show up, not order a steak, and still have an incredible meal—particularly the fried chicken and beef stroganoff (yes, at a steakhouse). But you should definitely get a steak. And some buttery mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and truffle mac and cheese.
This Spanish spot is in a 19th-century River North townhouse, with an intimate dining room on the second floor. Asador Bastian's menu doesn’t have the standard cuts of beef, here there are six varieties served per pound, and a server who must have a PhD in Boeuf-ology will walk you through everything—like how long the Galincia was aged on the hoof, why, and its hopes and dreams before ending up on your plate. This place is elegantly low-key (but not at all stuffy) and very expensive—expect to spend at least $100 on the beef alone.
Nothing says “a night out in River North” like a steakhouse that’s owned by a former reality show star. That’s where RPM Steak comes in. And while celebrity star power doesn’t always equal good food, you don’t have to worry about that here. From the sides to a burger with citrusy yuzu kosho aioli to their standard steak cuts, the menu is full of hits. And if you’re armed with a company card and a desire for beef whose marbling looks like the flight patterns of every pigeon in Chicago, they also have menu sections dedicated to wagyu and kobe.
Boeufhaus is not a traditional, huge Chicago steakhouse. Think of it as more of a little, steak-centric tavern in West Town. It definitely feels like a neighborhood spot, with its dim lights and exposed brick—it’s the kind of place you’d visit with a small group of friends or a date, not with a client and your corporate card. That being said, a big, fat, delicious piece of meat is still going to be the highlight of your meal here.
Gibsons is the most iconic place of the bunch, and it’s perfect for experiencing all the things people love about Chicago steakhouses: great steaks, great sides, and attentive, friendly service. It feels a little dated, but in a charming way, and despite the fact that it’s in the Gold Coast, it isn’t fancy or stuffy. The crowd’s a mixed bag of regulars, tourists, and locals celebrating birthdays or anniversaries with (literally) six-pound desserts, so no matter your occasion, this is a good choice.
There are so many steakhouses in the Gold Coast, and most have been there for a while. So Maple & Ash said f*ck it, let’s open another one and put giant candelabras on the tables and cover our big booths in velvet. Can’t blame them, though, because they did a good job. Come here to celebrate any special occasion—like your friend’s lucrative divorce—over a 40oz dry-aged tomahawk steak.
This Italian steakhouse on the edge of Fulton Market is channeling mid-century-era glamour, complete with bartenders in waistcoats, servers in jackets, and tableside Caesar salads. But behind the style is substance. There are excellent steaks on the menu—like an olive-fed wagyu New York strip that will make you wonder whether that cow had its own personal masseuse. There are also tasty 4oz plates of housemade pasta if potatoes aren't special enough to accompany your $165 steak.
Great steaks alone are good, but great steaks with a side of stone crab are even better. Yes, the original Joe’s is in Miami, but Joe’s Chicago has been around long enough that it’s turned into a Chicago classic on its own. You’ll find all the steakhouse sides you’d expect (there’s a whole menu section devoted to potatoes, and plenty of creamed spinach), along with seasonal fish and shellfish. Just know that because Joe’s is in the part of River North that’s very close to Michigan Avenue, you’ll be eating with a lot of tourists carrying Garrett Popcorn bags.
Tango Sur is an Argentinian steakhouse in Lakeview that’s different from all the other spots on this list, because it’s much more affordable, casual, and upbeat (not to mention BYOB). This is a place you come with your friends and your own wine, and plan on staying for as long as possible. The steaks are fantastic, but the environment is even better—it’s dimly lit and full of enough candles that you might start thinking it’s a grill-your-own-meat operation (it’s not).
Come to this Argentinian steakhouse in the West Loop if you like to party. It’s more casual than a stuffy white-tableclothed spot and has plenty of room at the bar to loosen up and be a little loud. And if you’re sitting at the kitchen counter, you’ll get a view of the staff constantly feeding the live-fire grill like it’s hungry for burnt wood. Everything that grill touches is worth ordering, like oysters that channel the flavor of sour cream and onion chips, smoky morcilla with tangy salsa mostasa, and, of course, the delicious steaks. They’re all served with a zesty chimichurri, and our favorite one to share (though we’re calling dibs on the last bite) is the 32 oz bone-in ribeye.
Fulton Market used to be the center of Chicago’s meatpacking industry, so it’s fitting for a steakhouse like Swift & Sons to open there. The restaurant has multiple dining areas, making it appropriate for date nights or watching the game at the bar with a juicy Japanese wagyu strip loin to cushion the blow of another Bears loss. The warehouse space has been updated since its days as a Cold Storage facility, but Swift & Sons still has classic touches like drink and dessert carts. Take advantage of both.
When GT Prime first opened, it was more of a meat-centric small plates restaurant that served steak in sliced-tasting portions. We’re glad they changed their minds and decided to go full-steakhouse, serving their high-quality red meat in normal cuts. You’ll find fuzzy bar stools, paintings of butchers' tables on the walls, and giant leather booths that help show you this is a bonafide USDA River North restaurant. And if you do miss the sliced portions of steak, you can always order the “carnivore,” which has 8oz servings of filet, bison, wagyu, and NY strip for $300.
You’ll find this upscale steakhouse at 88 Marketplace, a very large shopping complex just west of Chinatown. Inspired by Korean BBQ, each table at Holu has a grill where the server (or you, if you like throwing caution to the wind and/or are a control freak) cooks your steak. And what we really appreciate about Holu is the incredible quality of the meat. Most of it is aged in-house (and displayed in a window visible from the bar), with everything from ribeye and zabuton to wagyu tongue and A5 Japanese Kobe. It’s ordered by the ounce, and we suggest the $78 meat paradise, which includes banchan-style sides like rice topped with nori and a quail egg. Come here with a friend who loves meat, or for a business dinner where you’re not concerned about your server/personal chef overhearing trade secrets.
Gene & Georgetti is the ideal mashup of a classic steakhouse and an old-school pasta joint. It's been around since 1941. Vintage movie posters, framed black and white photos, and old painted Italian landscapes decorate the walls. Servers dressed in bow ties, vests, and aprons zip around the sea of white tablecloths. And while its “local institution” status attracts a fair share of tourists, there’s an equally strong representation of regulars. If you enjoy feeling like a part of history, order a big steak (all of which have been aged for at least 21 days) and some eggplant parm, and let Frank Sinatra sing to you all night.