6 Must-Book Restaurants in Chicago Right Now

At Grill on 21, a restaurant that opened doors in July, American steakhouse favorites get modern overhauls. | Credit: Grill on 21

It’s never a bad time to introduce a fresh crop of restaurants to your tried-and-tested repertoire. Here are a dozen new contenders across the Windy City—places you’ll tell all your friends about, whether it’s a farm-to-table favorite returning after a two-year hiatus or a chic gem in a brand-new hotel.

Eden (Avondale/Irving Park)

The patio at Eden. | Credit: Dave Abrahamsen

Eden opened in West Town at the height of the farm-to-table movement in 2017, complete with an on-site garden to provide it with the freshest product for its minimalist creations. Sadly, it was one of many restaurants that fell victim to the pandemic’s early months, closing in August 2020. But fortunately, it made a comeback this June—and relocated to Avondale. You’ll find all its distinguishing features—an airy dining room, lush patio with garden views, and a sleek bar with specialty cocktails—plus a brand-new cafe menu with coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and a killer ancient grain bowl. For now, Eden is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and bar bites. Dinner service resumes in September.

Marisol at the MCA (Gold Coast/Streeterville)

It’s only fitting that this New American spot, conceptualized by James Beard Award-nominee Jason Hammel (also of Lula Cafe in Logan Square), is named for a famous sculptor—it’s set on the ground floor of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, afterall. Marisol reopened in May after a long two-year closure, bringing back favorites such as sunflower hummus while introducing newer hyper seasonal items like an asparagus panzanella salad with trout roe and creme fraiche, and fava bean pesto-topped casarecce pasta.

Grill on 21 (The Loop)

Cushy velvet interiors at Grill on 21. | Credit: Grill on 21

The classic American grill gets a refresh at Grill on 21, which channels the forgotten private clubs that once dotted Chicago’s downtown. The swanky spot is located on the 21st floor of the LaSalle Chicago hotel, which opened its doors in July. Here, you can have your steak—45-day dry-aged New York strip, filet mignon, and tomahawk ribeye—and hearth-fired cauliflower, too. With blue velvet chairs and burgundy booths, plus a spacious marble bar, the space drips with old-school sophistication seldom seen in contemporary restaurants.

Parachute (Avondale)

Some restaurants just get better with time. Chefs Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim channeled this belief by closing their award-winning Korean restaurant, Parachute, reopening it almost a year later in May 2022 after revamping the interiors—adding a new sound system and wheelchair ramp—and service philosophy. The menu was treated to a more dramatic change, featuring dishes that reflect a deeper commitment to Korean cooking techniques and ingredients; there’s an array of banchan, or Korean side dishes such as kimchi and seasoned spinach, made fresh daily and an ever-changing of raw seafood. Guests can now pair these dishes with soju or makgeolli, or unfiltered Korean rice wine.

Tabú (West Loop)

Steak tartare tostaditas at Tabú | Credit: Tabú

The latest addition to Fulton Market, a pan Latin-inspired spot from the Atomic Hospitality Group (the team behind Recess and Untitled Supper Club) enhances Chicago’s cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Tabú lets diners travel from the American south to Mexico and back with shrimp po’boy tacos, Mexican pizza, and rattlesnake burgers, named for the mole-like barbecue sauce and habañero aioli that comes on top. In addition to a globe-trotting food menu, the flashy restaurant, complete with colorful murals, a custom rope installation, and lush floral accents, boasts one of the city’s largest mezcal collections.

Truth Be Told (Hyde Park/Woodlawn)

There are fewer places better equipped to satisfy your soul than a British pub. Tapping into the essential elements that politely suggest you “go ahead and stay a while,” Truth Be Told is the latest addition to the south campus of the University of Chicago. Dine on an all-day menu of comfort food such as crab gratin, lamb shepherd’s pie, and fish and chips served alongside a Half & Half (a cask ale and stout combo) or a Pimm’s cocktail. So grab a pint and cozy up by the fireplace or gather with friends in one of the roomier velvet booths. Exposed wooden beams and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Midway Plaisance Park make this tavern a cozy addition to Hyde Park.

Tried them all? Check out other options here.

Sarah Freeman is a food and drink writer by day and the host of one of Chicago’s most popular pop-up markets by night.