Streeterville can sometimes be the forgotten neighborhood downtown, especially with the emergence of River North and the West Loop as hot spots for restaurant life. Unless you live or work in Streeterville, you might think of it like we do - that neighborhood between Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier devoid of public transportation and full of hotels, wandering tourists, and hospitals. But there are still plenty of reasons to find your way over here, and you can always get great food. Here's where to eat in Streeterville.
Oh you fancy, huh? Well you better be if you’re going to hit Les Nomades for dinner. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful Brownstone just steps east of Michigan Avenue, and that high-class vibe is very present throughout a meal. It’s a prix fixe only menu that starts at $125, so you know they mean business.
In case you’re wondering, no, Emilio’s is unfortunately not named after Emilio Estevez. But Emilio’s is our favorite Spanish tapas restaurant, and its excellent patio is overlooked. Come sit outside in the summer, and make sure to get bacon wrapped dates, lamb meatballs, and some pan con tomate for the table.
Looking for Armenian food? You might not know it, but the answer is yes. All of the kebabs at Sayat Nova are good if you want to play it safe, but make sure to order an appetizer of raw kibbee. It's basically an Armenian/Middle Eastern version of steak tartar, full of distinct spices. Great stuff.
By our count there are about a billion old-school Italian spots in this city, and Volare is the one holding it down in Streeterville. If you're looking to sit down for a meal away from the chain restaurants, this is the spot. We like to keep it simple with appetizers and any of the pastas.
IG is where it's at, and we don't mean the stream of pictures you obsess over on your "smartphone." Instead, we're talking about Indian Garden, which has gone by the IG nickname since before Instagram was around. Everybody knows Devon St. is where most of the good Indian restaurants are in town, but getting up to Devon St. isn't always practical. Indian Garden is easy to get to if you find yourself downtown, and the daily lunch buffet is so practical you'll almost wish there was less food. Almost.
Tru is known for its extensive caviar menu, and that’s kind of Tru in a nutshell. Jackets are required for guys, and “evening attire” is requested for the ladies - whatever that means. The prix fixe menu starts at $125, but that’s without wine or caviar. It’s a luxurious kind of place, but if you're a Russian oligarch or just happen to be financially irresponsible like us, why not?
If we had to pick one sushi restaurant to eat at every day in Chicago, it's Mirai . Don't dismiss this place because it's located at the bottom of a Hilton on Mies van der Rohe Way. Mirai serves excellent sushi, both basic sashimi and nigiri and creative rolls. It's not cheap, because good sushi never is, but it's also not fancy and overpriced. Prices at Mirai are no different than most of the other sushi restaurants around but the food is infinitely better.
Ramen Misoya doesn't offer an interesting experience, nor is it some cool and hip ramen restaurant. As far as aesthetics, it's a no frills, kind of plain, basic ramen spot. But sometimes that’s all you need. It’s perfect for an easy weekday meal or Sunday night dinner, and the ramen is consistently good.
We've come to really like Beatrix in River North as a versatile spot. It serves so many needs ranging from business meals, date night, or even breakfast and brunch. And the newer Streeterville location is pretty much the exact same. It doesn't have the same pizzaz as River North, but you can still find the same great coffee bar, salads, and healthy-ish entrees. There's also a to-go area that specifically caters to business people, both those in a suit and tie or scrubs.
Billy Goat might not truly be in Streeterville, but it's in no man's land on Lower Wacker, so we might as well include it here. We always feel like we're looking for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle's whenever we go to Billy Goat, which is probably because Lower Wacker has a permanent, dark, wet, and creepy. But it's part of the allure to this historical spot. Always get a double cheezeborger, and, if you can swing it, a light or dark Billy Goat beer. If beer isn't in the cards, then no pepsi. Coke.
The Streeterville Do-Rite location is obviously the best one, simply for the fact it serves fried chicken sandwiches. It's a tiny place mostly meant for carry-out, but who doesn't want to carry out donuts and fried chicken sandwiches? You name us a better one-two punch and we'll get you a unicorn.
We're slowly getting over the fact GreenRiver is inside one of the Northwestern Medical buildings. A little strange, sure, but once you're up there, particularly on the outdoor terrace, it's easy to forget. The cocktails are particularly good, and while dinner is a little fancier and pricier than we would like, the scene as a whole works.
With so many steakhouses in town it's hard to stick out, but don't sleep on Rural Society, the Argentina Steakhouse in the Loews Hotel. You want to eat anything from their traditional parilla style grill, both meat and veggies. If you're familiar with Tango Sur, think of Rural Society as a more upscale version.
Are we a little bias because we've been eating at West Egg Cafe for 20 years? Maybe, but that doesn't mean it won't satisfy your day-time needs. West Egg isn't the best, or the fanciest, or even the cleanest restaurant-diner hybrid in town. But if you want a large portion of any basic breakfast on the cheap in Streeterville, West Egg Cafe is the best place for you.
Just like Vanessa Williams we're going to save the best for last. If you've never been to Ron of Japan, it's basically a Benihana, but we'll take the ROJ any day of the week and twice on Sunday's. Sit at a communal table, watch the chef flip shrimp tails into his hat, and cover all of your food in "egg salsa," which is the most unhealthy yet delicious egg yolk and butter mix. Don't wear anything that nice because your clothes will smell like the food for at least a week.