River North is a super fun, artsy neighborhood of Chicago. There’s all kinds of things to do in this area like walking around and shopping, enjoying the art galleries, and especially eating and drinking. You’ve got all kinds of options when you get hungry on this side of town from casual dining to fun and hip spots. Next time you’re craving something tasty to eat in River North, check out this list to find out some of our favorites.
1. The Dearborn
145 North Dearborn Street IL 60602
The spot is fairly new, but it is in the perfect neighborhood offering delicious American classics in a very cool spot. Their menu features a lineup of fresh seafood and variations of the same. If you want a classic taste of America, you can always enjoy the burgers and steak that will remind you why you will travel across the country for this taste. As for drinks, enjoy the beer on tap that has different flavors to choose from. There is an in-house cocktail specialist who will cater to all your needs. The place is child-friendly thanks to their well-arranged kiddies’ menu so you can make it parents night our or bring the fam to enjoy a meal.
110 W. Illinois Chicago, IL 60654
This spot is serving up some amazing Asian fusion fare in a very hip environment. If you want food from the Philippines to Thailand and even China, you can get it all under one roof at Sunda. The food is made using the original recipes from the countries of origin and ensures the ingredients used are as fresh and authentic as possible. You will experience sushi as if you are tasting it for the first time. From the flavorful chow and lo meins to the pad Thai, there are so many classic options to choose from here. We loved their lemongrass beef lollipops, a dish consisting of sliced New York steak that is wrapped in the citrusy lemongrass and served with a ginger, orange and soy glaze. They also have speciality cocktails for a perfect finish to a great entree.
449 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Mexican food comes in plenty at Xoco. The name Xoco might translate to ”little sister” in Spanish, but there is nothing little about the flavor, variety and amount of food they serve up in this restaurant. Specializing in Latin dishes, the restaurant delivers Mexican, Cuban and even Dominican food. The tortillas are tasty, and they’ve got dipping sauces as hot as you can handle. The sides are great here, case in point the salsa that packs a punch with their pickled jalapeños and tomatillo and the savory guacamole. Ricky Bayless has poured his heart and soul into this restaurant, which explains why the line never ends at this restaurant. The churros are the perfect blend of sweet and crunchy making it the best way to end your meal.
118 W Grand Ave, Chicago, Il 60654
Tanta is a chic restaurant in the area serving up some fresh and delicious Peruvian dishes. If you have ever been to Peru and had the Lomo Saltado, this restaurant will serve you exactly the same thing you would expect from the country. If it’s your first time visiting, they offer nigiri pobre, which is wagyu beef that is served with a quail egg topping as an appetizer, and follow this up with the Lomo Saltado, a stir fry that features very tender beef and some fries. Wrap up the experience with a drink of your choice. You can go for the cocktail menu that features authentic Peruvian drinks like the El chignon margarita or go for the no alcoholic drinks like the Chicha Morada. They have enough seating to ensure you can entertain some family or friends and the interiors liven the mood even before you start eating.
353 W. Hubbard St Chicago, IL 60654
The Hampton Social is a beach-themed restaurant so when you want to escape the Chicago cold for a bit, this is the place to go. You will immediately be impressed by the aesthetics which makes this one of the most attractive River North restaurants. After ensuring they impress you with the aesthetics, they then serve up food that makes you feel the part. Their American style food delivers on the classics like sandwiches and burgers. The fires are some of the best, and the portions are great. There is also a variation of drinks that are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The food is served fast, so you can be assured you will not be left hanging for a while. Because of the great food and the ambience, you’ll be able to get some Instagram-worthy photos.
401 N Franklin St Chicago, IL 60654
The Doughnut Vault produces handcrafted doughnuts that test a variety of ingredients and flavors to deliver the most intense and intricate tastes you might have ever had in a doughnut. Their classic buttermilk and pistachio, gingerbread stack, and yeast chestnut doughnuts are a must-try if you are visiting this place for the first time. You can also go for the cookies and cream if you have a sweet tooth. Be sure to stop in and grab something at your new favorite doughnut shop!
7. Ciccio Mio
226 W Kinzie Ave Chicago, IL, 60654
Let’s just say if you have ever dreamed of being in a movie set kind of restaurant, this is the place you should try. The brainchild of Brendan Sodikoff, this restaurant is not just pretty, it has delicious and unique food as well. The food here consists of a blend of Italian and American favorites. The stuffed artichoke is something that will remind you of an elegant version of your grandma’s. We highly recommend the orecchiette Pugliese, which is pasta with spicy sausage, butter rapini and a generous amount of parmesan. The filet mignon is also a great option here. The food is served in generous portions, so you might be too stuffed for dessert. However if you can save some room, try the hazelnut tiramisu cream pi.
519 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Beatrix is the kind of place you go to when you’re not entirely sure what you’re in the mood for. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you can enjoy any meal of the day with them. This is your classic, modern- American eatery so everyone should be able to find something to enjoy. Come for breakfast and try anything from breakfast sandwiches and tacos to pancakes and steak and eggs. They also have some amazing coffee which would be a perfect start to the day. Or come by for dinner and enjoy their whipped feta appetizer and the short rib for dinner with a glass of wine to top it all off.
9. River Roast
315 N. LaSalle Street Chicago, IL
A seat overlooking the riverside as you enjoy fresh seafood entrees and cool mimosas, what more could anyone possibly ask for? River Roast is an urbane restaurant that promises a great view and even better food. If you are in the mood for a picnic by the riverside with friends, they have a cheese board, a charcuterie and a burrata board that will serve all your brunch needs. The roast in the name is not by mistake; you can get a selection of roasts from fish to bird and beef. We loved the pork tenderloin that consisted of slow-roasted pork that is very juicy, served with pea shoots and chimichurri. This restaurant is in the perfect location and will offer you a night out well spent.
10. Meli Cafe
500 S Dearborn St, Chicago, IL 60605
With locations in both River North and Printer’s Row, Meli Cafe is a great option when looking for a spot to grab breakfast. They’ve got a little bit of everything from benedicts and crepes to waffles, biscuits, and breakfast bowls. Start off with a delicious iced latte or spice it up with a mimosa or add some liquor to a smoothie. Some of our favorites here were the chicken and waffles and the breakfast tacos. Stop by Meli when in need of a tasty breakfast pick me up!
15 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654
Fremont is an absolute vibe for a weekend brunch in River North, perfect for birthday celebrations or having no excuse at all other than wanting bottomless mimosas and a good time. They’ve got a buffet filled with everything you can possibly imagine from the basics like omelet and waffle stations to crab legs, oysters and gorgeous desserts. You can opt for the brunch package which includes the all you can eat brunch buffet and mimosas for 2 hours. On the warmer days, you can sit upstairs with the open roof and enjoy the beautiful weather while jamming’ out with the DJ. We’ll warn you, it is pricey here but for bottomless everything and a super fun vibe, it’s hard to beat!
441 N Clark St #1, Chicago, IL 60654
This River North gem is going to be your new go to spot for tapas. May it be Friday night or Sunday morning, this is a place you’re gonna want to add to your list. Obviously tapas are so fun because you get to try a ton of different items off the menu. The options are endless, you can try one thing from the veggie, seafood, beef and chicken and pork sections, or if you’re more of a seafood person, try all of those! The Handmade Beef Empanadas have the most flaky outside and tender inside, making this a must try. The Ibérico Ham Croquetas are also a wonderful option and the aioli on the side makes it 10x better. You truly can’t go wrong with a single thing on the menu at this cozy River North restaurant.
For more recommendations on where to eat and drink in the city, check out our Chicago page, here!
Editors Note: This article was originally published on April 28, 2021 and last updated on April 18, 2023. Please refer to restaurant websites and social media pages for the most up-to-date information.