The Publican

4.7
5906 reviews
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$30 and under
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American
From the team behind Blackbird and avec comes this homage to beer, pork, and fish. Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Dennis Bernard have developed a network of purveyors to supply the restaurant with hand-selected, sustainably-harvested fish and seafood as well as sustainably-raised heirloom pork to anchor a rustic menu of simple, eclectic fare. The extensive international beer list, developed by partners Eduard Seitan and Terry Alexander and now Beer Director Adam Vavrick, features 100 or so ales, lagers, stouts and ciders by the bottle, 12 of those available on tap. Like Blackbird and avec, The Publican is a design partnership from the James Beard Award-winning team of Thomas Schlesser and partner Donnie Madia.
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What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.6

The Publican is a Medieval styled mecca of all things beer, pork, and oysters. If that's not appealing, you can't sit with us.

Ratings 8.5-9.0:Now we’re in the range of absolutely excellent restaurants that you might go to more than once a year/lifetime. These restaurants tend to define a city, and make up the places that you absolutely cannot miss if you want to have any credibility as a restaurant-informed person in a major metropolis.
What 5906 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.4
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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MO
Chicago
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Dinner at the Publican is spot on, but brunch is lacking in the service department. I think they aren’t used to timing main courses, as dinner is mostly shared plates. There were 5 of us dining and 2 were served and we waited 10 minutes before the rest of us received our food.

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CG
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Get the bacon

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IP
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

This was one of the worst dining experiences I have had in quite a while. We visited on a Sunday morning around 10:15, it was not especially busy when we arrived. Our waitress talked to us two times during our entire meal- first to take our order and then, after we had eaten most of our meal to ask if we needed anything. When we ordered initially I mentioned that I intended to order a beer but was still deciding- no follow up visit so I could order a beer. The waitress visited the table next to us to take their order, did not glance at us. The waitress followed up with that same table when they received our food, she literally kept her back to us during this visit and did not turn around to check on us. I had to flag down a server to get ketchup for my son, to order more eggs for my son. The only bright spot was the server named Alex who did assist us and was extremely helpful. I sincerely hope that the Publican staff carried out my instructions to make sure he received the tip we left instead of our waitress.

The food was passable, but not overly impressive. I would have given the food a 3/5 rating. My "country ribs" consisted of 4 thin pieces of pork, One of which was too fatty to eat, plus some other components that were just ok. My wife enjoyed her avocado scramble. As noted before my 3.5 year old enjoyed his plain scrambled eggs. The beer list looks impressive, but alas I can't speak to whether it lives up to the expectations.

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OT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch menu was innovative and our food was great. Pork belly was perfectly prepared and delicious. Johnnycake with perfectly scrambled eggs was very good. Service was attentive. Only less than stellar service was valet guy began to point us to car down the street so we could get ourselves but then thought better of it and got car. Was snowy day.

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OT
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Visitors from out of town

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OT
Kansas City
21 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service. Got Chef’s plate - lots of food, but a good way to go for first visit, plus they will box up any of the extras. Get to experience a wide variety of food.

Staff is great. They explain all the dishes when they bring them out which is fun to hear. Very different beer list. A large number of European beers, plus some very well selected domestic crafts.

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MR
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Easily a top 5 meal I’ve ever had. The attention to detail with the food was immaculate, the service was flawless, etc. Could not recommend more strongly.

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BB
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Food is very good to excellent. Depending on the dish. Unique menu/presentation, without being eccentric. Hams and oysters are top notch.
The service is as good as it gets! Superior!

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SM
Chicago
1 review
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A Home Run every time we go, and we live in northern Michigan.
From the welcoming Greeting to the fond farewell our visits have been delightful.
Enjoyed the happy hour prior to dinner...what fun! Fabulous oysters and martinis!
Cheers!

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R
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

Food was excellent. We did the tasting menu and everything was amazing. Food came out at a good pace. Service was good. Water guy was eager to refill our cups for almost every drink we took. Noise level was insanely high. I couldn’t even hear the waitress or food runners. Great overall though. Definitely go back again sometime.

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DG
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My girlfriend and I went to the Publican to celebrate my birthday and had a wonderful time. Our server, Gio, took great care of us and made the night really special. The chef's tasting menu was incredible.

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g
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I brought my niece, who was a college student visiting from UW-Eau Claire for dinner. We ordered the bread plate (couldn't pass it up), two vegetables: Celery dish and brussel sprouts (they were both amazing) and then two fish entrees: shrimp tagliatelle and salmon. Unfortunately, the shrimp dish had jalapeno peppers which meant I couldn't eat it but my niece liked it! Interestingly, I had asked the server if the shrimp dish was spicy and she said no....later we found out that the jalapenos were a surprise to all the servers! I guess the chef just decided to add them! The salmon dish looked appetizing but upon inspection, we found it terribly undercooked---pretty raw. The wait staff was very helpful and took it back for further cooking! We were very pleased with the service and would definitely return!!

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DS
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I've been to brunch at the Publican three times now, and this was the most disappointing. Nothing was wrong with the food, but I was looking forward to trying two of the entrees listed on OpenTable, and then found out neither of them were available yesterday. I love that the Publican rotates their menu to keep things fresh, but in this case it was a bummer, given that I chose to dine here because I was craving something specific. I'll still be back!

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PB
Charleston
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Saturday brunch at the Publican was most excellent! The Corned Beef Hash with Brussel Sprouts was delicious!

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NC
Chicago
20 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Fantastic food- just delicious. The waitress was very blunt which was...refreshing?? Great brunch date with the boys

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JH
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always enjoy an evening at the Publican. Great locally sourced ingredients, friendly service. Be back soon.

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OT
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Met family for brunch. Food was delish. Such a cool place. Love it!

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MN
Chicago
9 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful experience. Wait staff was attentive and patient with one member of our party joining late.
Food was presented well and came hot to the table.

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M
Chicago
10 reviews
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always good. Love the Sunday brunch.

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OT
Denver
1 review
Dined on January 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was amazing and so plentiful. Fun and lively!

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great! Food was fantastic and came out quickly. Server was informed and informative. Second time there, really fun.

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BU
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on January 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Overall great experience with one of a kind entres. We enjoy this restaurant because it is unique in ambiance and cuisine.

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AH
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Came for New Year's brunch. It was delicious. I had the prime rib. Asked for my eggs prepared over medium. Best over medium eggs had at a restaurant. 😋 My friend had the corn beef hash. She asked for eggs poached hard. They didnt come out correctly the first time. Remakes didnt come out until she was finished with her meal. 😐

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OT
Las Vegas
3 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Stellar experience. From the moment I walked in the door everyone was welcoming and friendly. Took time to explain the menu and make recommendations. Water was always full and smiles were readily offered. One of the dishes was a little spicy for me- I didn’t say anything but was asked when they cleared the plate. It was removed from the bill without any comment from me. Highly recommend!!

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MP
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 1food 2service 2ambience 5

We were super disappointed in our experience. We asked for the Chefs tasting but mentioned that one of the 4 of us did not eat seafood, and if they could go lighter on the seafood, that would be great. Unfortunately, 3 of the 6 courses we received were fish...and on top of that, we felt extremely rushed despite the restaurant being fairly empty...and were shoved into a packed table, also despite the restaurant being fairly empty. It was very expensive for the poor service we received.

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JM
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Really like this place...especially enjoy it on weekends for breakfast/brunch.

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KW
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A hidden gem. Definitely be back on our next trip to Chicago !!

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OT
Dallas
2 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Ended up here as a happy accident, after the other place I wanted to go had a 2 hr wait. The boys and I sat down at a cozy little booth with cute privacy doors on it (which I loved), for a family style dinner. We ordered the chef’s choice 6 oysters, fries with fried egg on top, beef tongue, red snapper, sirloin, and the apple creme brûlée, and I had an old fashioned and a hot buttered rum to drink. Holy crap. The beef tongue was life changing. Like after dessert I tried to order another portion for us to share, but sadly the kitchen was closed. It was the best thing I’ve eaten in a long time. The snapper was great, moist and flaky with good seasoning (and the chorizo with cannelloni beans on the fish were delicious. The oysters were fresh, sweet and briny with a nice bite. The sirloin was a beautiful medium rare. Good, but not as good as the beef tongue. The fries were fries. The flavor of the creme brûlée was unexpected and interesting. The drinks were well balanced. I will absolutely be back here next time I’m in town, even if only for the beef tongue. The taste is like angels dancing on my tastebuds. Don’t miss out on this place.

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R
Chicago
39 reviews
Dined on December 30, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Very loud! If you ask in advance for a private table, they should be able to accommodate you.

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k
Omaha
8 reviews
Dined on December 29, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely amazing- we had to switch our reservation due to a flight delay and it was honestly the best! Great table, great service- AMAZING FOOD. Get the Old Fashioned and you can’t go wrong with anything else!

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JV
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Awesome food. Met great people at our table. Would definitely return!

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NY
New York Area
53 reviews
Dined on December 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the most enjoyable meals we have had in a long time. The service and food were truly excellent.

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JK
Los Angeles
20 reviews
Dined on December 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Amazing food for both brunch and dinner! If you're a fan of high quality comfort food and beer this place is a must. I will return every time I'm in Chicago.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

It was great! A bit loud but otherwise excellent. Best Brussels sprouts ever.

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SW
New England
7 reviews
Dined on December 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

E
Xcellent food, wonderful locally sourced food and good service. Lighting is a little dim.

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AB
Chicago
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Great food, service was fine if a bit too West Loop hipster attitude.

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S
Tampa
7 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Not to say this lightly, but we all thought it was WONDERFUL! We will definitely be back. My sister and her family was in town and I had heard this was a terrific place; we loved it!

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food was fantastic! Might have been because of the holidays, but it was noticeable not crowded and quiet. Would highly recommend, even if it were louder and more crowded!

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VF
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food to share. Great service and fun atmosphere. Attention to detail in everything served. Can’t wait to go back!

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OT
Los Angeles
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great time!

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