The Chicago Riverwalk, an iconic stretch along the Chicago River, has steadily transformed into a bustling hub for dining, culture, and entertainment. If you’re on the lookout for some incredible food with a view to match, the Riverwalk has you covered. From upscale dining to casual eateries, here are 25 Chicago Riverwalk restaurants that you simply cannot miss.
1. City Winery
Highlight: Wine on the water!
A cherished gem along Chicago’s Riverwalk, City Winery blends the elegance of wine culture with the laid-back ambience of a riverside location. Known for its vast wine offerings, guests can indulge in tasteful wine pairings accompanied by Mediterranean-inspired dishes. The combination of sipping quality wines while soaking in the serene river views makes City Winery a must-visit for both wine enthusiasts and those looking for a memorable dining experience in the heart of the city.
2. The Northman Beer & Cider Garden
Highlight: Unique cider varieties.
Nestled on the Chicago Riverwalk, The Northman stands as a unique testament to the world of ciders and beers. This venue champions an exceptional variety of ciders, making it a haven for cider aficionados and newcomers alike. Its relaxed, waterfront atmosphere perfectly complements the diverse drink menu, inviting guests to explore unique cider varieties while basking in the riverside ambiance. Beyond ciders, its selection of craft beers and savory bites further elevates the experience, making The Northman a distinctive and cherished spot in Chicago’s culinary landscape.
3. O’Briens Riverwalk Cafe
Highlight: Classic American fare.
A beloved staple along the Chicago Riverwalk, O’Briens Riverwalk Cafe radiates a welcoming charm with its blend of classic American fare and inviting atmosphere. Serving the community for over a decade, this cafe offers everything from mouth-watering burgers to fresh salads, all set against the picturesque backdrop of the river. Its family-friendly vibe and consistently delicious offerings have made it a go-to spot for both locals and visitors alike, looking to enjoy a laid-back meal with scenic river views.
4. Island Party Hut
Highlight: Tropical vibes in the city.
An escape to the tropics in the heart of Chicago, Island Party Hut transports its guests to a sun-soaked beach paradise right on the Riverwalk. Embodying the spirit of island relaxation, this vibrant spot offers refreshing tiki drinks, live music, and a menu infused with island-inspired flavors. Whether you’re lounging with a piña colada in hand or grooving to island tunes, Island Party Hut promises a mini-vacation experience, making it a favorite for those seeking a lively, tropical ambiance amidst the urban landscape.
5. Beat Kitchen on the Riverwalk
Highlight: Varied music and eclectic menu.
A harmonious blend of music and gastronomy, Beat Kitchen on the Riverwalk brings a distinct vibrancy to Chicago’s waterfront dining scene. An offshoot of its original Roscoe Village location, this venue marries an eclectic food menu with an array of live music performances. From its diverse range of dishes to the sound of melodies echoing over the water, Beat Kitchen offers both food and music enthusiasts a memorable experience. It stands as a testament to Chicago’s rich cultural tapestry, making it a must-visit spot for those seeking a blend of culinary delights and riverside entertainment.
6. The Kitchen American Bistro
Highlight: Farm-to-table concept.
Situated gracefully along the Chicago Riverwalk, The Kitchen American Bistro champions a farm-to-table dining approach that resonates with both culinary enthusiasts and eco-conscious diners. Emphasizing fresh, seasonal, and sustainable produce, this bistro delivers dishes that are as delightful to the palate as they are responsible in sourcing. The riverside setting further enhances the dining experience, allowing guests to savor meticulously crafted American dishes while enjoying tranquil views of the water. A harmonious balance of culinary craftsmanship and ethical dining, The Kitchen American Bistro stands as a testament to modern, conscious cuisine.
7. River Roast
Highlight: Roast meats with a view.
A culinary jewel on the Chicago Riverwalk, River Roast offers a dining experience that delights all senses. As the name suggests, the restaurant is renowned for its expertly prepared roasts, whether it be succulent meats or flavorful vegetables. Set against the majestic backdrop of the river, diners can indulge in these hearty dishes while soaking in panoramic views. Beyond the food, River Roast’s ambiance exudes warmth and sophistication, making it an ideal spot for gatherings, celebrations, or simply a memorable meal in the heart of the city. Its blend of culinary excellence and stunning locale ensures that every visit is an unforgettable one.
8. Sweet Home Gelato
Highlight: Decadent Italian desserts.
A delightful slice of Italy on the Chicago Riverwalk, Sweet Home Gelato tantalizes the taste buds with its authentic Italian gelato offerings. Crafted with passion and precision, every scoop promises a burst of rich flavors and creamy texture. Beyond gelato, the venue also showcases a range of Italian pastries and aromatic espressos, transporting patrons to the quaint streets of Italy. Its prime riverside location combined with the allure of decadent desserts creates a haven for those seeking a sweet retreat. Whether it’s the heat of summer or a simple craving for dessert, Sweet Home Gelato stands as a must-visit for anyone in search of genuine Italian indulgence.
9. Tiny Tapp & Café
Highlight: Small plates, big flavors.
Embracing the charm of Chicago’s Riverwalk, Tiny Tapp & Café is a cozy sanctuary for those seeking a fusion of delectable bites and serene views. Renowned for its tapas-style menu, the café invites guests to sample and share a diverse range of dishes, making the dining experience both communal and explorative. The laid-back atmosphere is heightened by the calming presence of the river, creating a perfect setting for intimate conversations, group gatherings, or simply unwinding after a long day. With its curated selection of drinks and culinary delights, Tiny Tapp & Café offers a memorable slice of Chicago’s vibrant dining scene.
10. Chicago Brewhouse
Highlight: Craft beer galore.
An ode to the city’s rich brewing legacy, Chicago Brewhouse stands proudly on the Riverwalk as a beacon for beer aficionados. Celebrating the diverse tapestry of Chicago’s craft beer scene, this establishment boasts an impressive array of locally crafted brews, each telling a story of the city’s brewing traditions and innovations. But it’s not just about the beer. The venue’s riverside location offers patrons a picturesque setting to sip and savor, while the food menu, featuring classic American fare with a twist, complements the beer selection perfectly. Whether you’re a local beer enthusiast or a curious visitor, Chicago Brewhouse promises a genuine taste of Chicago’s spirited beer culture.
11. BLVD Steakhouse
Highlight: Upscale dining with 1950s glam.
Elegance, glamour, and culinary mastery converge at BLVD Steakhouse, a luminary on the Chicago Riverwalk dining scene. Drawing inspiration from the Golden Age of Hollywood in the 1950s, the restaurant exudes sophistication, offering patrons a luxurious dining experience reminiscent of classic American steakhouses. At its heart, BLVD is about prime cuts of meat, expertly prepared and presented with flair. But beyond the steak, the seafood offerings and curated wine list accentuate the dining experience, ensuring a meal that caters to the most discerning of palates. A visit to BLVD Steakhouse is not just a meal; it’s a journey back in time, set against the modern backdrop of Chicago’s scenic river views.
12. Lifeway Kefir Shop
Highlight: Probiotic-packed treats.
Adding a refreshing twist to the Chicago Riverwalk’s culinary offerings, Lifeway Kefir Shop is a health enthusiast’s dream come true. Dedicated to the age-old fermented drink, kefir, this shop boasts an array of probiotic-packed treats, from smoothies and frozen kefir to other cultured delights. Each product not only tantalizes the taste buds with its unique tang but also offers a host of health benefits, making it a guilt-free indulgence. The riverside location adds to the allure, allowing patrons to savor their nutritious treats while soaking in the tranquility of the water. For those in search of a wholesome, delicious, and health-forward treat, Lifeway Kefir Shop is a must-visit.
13. Eli’s Cheesecake Dockside
Highlight: Legendary cheesecakes.
Indulgence meets scenic beauty at Eli’s Cheesecake Dockside on the Chicago Riverwalk. An extension of the city’s legendary Eli’s Cheesecake brand, this dockside haven tempts visitors with its iconic, rich, and creamy cheesecakes. Each slice is a testament to decades of perfected recipes and passionate craftsmanship. Beyond cheesecakes, the menu boasts an array of baked goods and desserts, each echoing the brand’s commitment to quality. The riverside ambiance further elevates the experience, allowing patrons to dive into decadence while being cradled by the gentle sounds of the river. For those with a sweet tooth and a love for Chicago traditions, Eli’s Cheesecake Dockside is an unmissable treat.
14. Tiny Tavern
Highlight: Cocktails and bites in a cozy setting.
A cozy enclave on the bustling Chicago Riverwalk, Tiny Tavern offers an intimate escape with its handcrafted cocktails and gourmet bites. Taking inspiration from the speakeasies of yesteryears, this spot combines the allure of vintage charm with modern mixology and culinary artistry. Patrons can find themselves lost in rich conversations over expertly crafted drinks, or they can indulge in a selection of small plates designed to tantalize the palate. While it may be “tiny” in name, the experiences and flavors offered are boundless, making Tiny Tavern a cherished spot for those seeking a refined yet relaxed ambiance in the heart of the city.
15. Pizzeria Portofino
Highlight: Sun-soaked Italian Riviera vibes.
Transporting the breezy charm of the Italian Riviera to the heart of Chicago’s Riverwalk, Pizzeria Portofino is a sunlit revelation for pizza enthusiasts. This pizzeria boasts hand-stretched pizzas baked to perfection, evoking the warmth and authenticity of coastal Italian towns. Beyond pizzas, the menu dives deep into the Mediterranean, offering an array of pastas, seafood, and coastal wines. The riverside setting amplifies the dining experience, allowing guests to bask in the sun or enjoy sunset hues while relishing their Italian feast. With its perfect blend of culinary craft and idyllic ambiance, Pizzeria Portofino stands as a radiant gem in Chicago’s dining scene.
16. Gibsons Italia
Highlight: Multi-level steak and pasta extravaganza.
Elevating the Riverwalk’s dining landscape, Gibsons Italia stands tall as a three-level culinary masterpiece, seamlessly fusing modern design with gastronomic excellence. Drawing from Italian traditions, this establishment offers an exquisite array of dishes, ranging from prime steaks to fresh pastas, all crafted with precision and passion. The experience is heightened by a curated wine list, featuring selections that harmoniously complement the rich flavors on the plate. Beyond the food and drink, Gibsons Italia’s architecture provides stunning panoramic views of the Chicago River, adding a visual feast to the already sumptuous offerings. For those seeking luxury, elegance, and a taste of Italy in Chicago, Gibsons Italia promises an unmatched dining journey.
17. Lizzie J Café
Highlight: Classic breakfast and brunch.
Nestled comfortably on the Chicago Riverwalk, Lizzie J Café is the embodiment of comfort and casual elegance. Serving up classic American fare with a contemporary twist, this café offers a delightful menu, sure to cater to varied tastes. Whether you’re craving a hearty breakfast, a light salad, or just a coffee to rejuvenate your senses, Lizzie J Café has got you covered. The outdoor seating area, with its serene view of the river, adds to the overall ambiance, making it a favored spot for both locals and tourists. A blend of heartwarming food and the calming ripple of the river, Lizzie J Café is where memories are made over meals.
18. Frost Gelato
Highlight: Artisanal gelato and sorbets.
A delightful oasis of authentic Italian flavors on the Chicago Riverwalk, Frost Gelato serves up creamy, artisanal gelato that transports taste buds straight to the streets of Italy. Using traditional techniques and high-quality ingredients, every scoop boasts rich, velvety textures and pure flavors, satisfying the most discerning dessert aficionados. From classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate to more adventurous ones like tiramisu and pistachio, there’s a flavor for every palate. The riverside location adds a touch of serenity, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a refreshing treat. Whether it’s a hot summer day or a crisp evening, Frost Gelato promises a delectable escape with every spoonful.
19. Café Bonhomme
Highlight: Euro-inspired café chic.
Infusing European elegance with Chicago’s vibrant energy, Café Bonhomme seamlessly integrates a chic café ambiance with a curated menu that delights the senses. Tucked away near the Chicago Riverwalk, this establishment offers a sophisticated yet approachable setting where classic meets contemporary. From artisan coffees and pastries in the morning to sumptuous Mediterranean-inspired dishes later in the day, there’s something for every moment and mood. Its intimate atmosphere, accentuated by ambient lighting and tasteful decor, makes it an ideal haven for quiet conversations, business meetings, or simply indulging oneself. At Café Bonhomme, the essence of old-world charm is celebrated with modern flair, ensuring every visit is a memorable one.
20. Artang Steakhouse
Highlight: Argentinean grill delights.
A culinary beacon along the Chicago Riverwalk, Artang Steakhouse delivers a masterclass in steakhouse traditions with a contemporary edge. Celebrating the finest cuts of meat, sourced and aged to perfection, the restaurant promises a symphony of flavors with every bite. Beyond its prime steaks, Artang offers a diverse menu of appetizers, sides, and wines, each curated to elevate the dining experience. The venue’s chic, modern decor, juxtaposed with rustic elements, creates an ambiance of relaxed luxury. With sweeping views of the river, top-tier service, and unmatched culinary offerings, Artang Steakhouse stands as a must-visit for meat enthusiasts and those seeking a refined dining experience in the heart of Chicago.
21. Seoul Taco
Highlight: Korean-Mexican fusion.
Marrying the vibrant flavors of Korean cuisine with the heartiness of Mexican street fare, Seoul Taco is a flavorful fusion sensation on the Chicago Riverwalk. What started as a food truck in Missouri has evolved into a beloved destination for those craving a unique culinary experience. From its signature bulgogi tacos to the spicy and tangy kimchi slaw, every dish promises a mouthful of bold, harmonized flavors. The ambiance of Seoul Taco, with its colorful murals and modern decor, exudes a casual and energetic vibe, reflecting the brand’s dynamic and innovative approach to food. For those in search of a refreshing twist to their usual dining routine, Seoul Taco delivers a delightful and unforgettable explosion of tastes.
22. Sable Kitchen & Bar
Highlight: Gourmet bites and cocktails.
Located just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Chicago Riverwalk, Sable Kitchen & Bar is a haven for cocktail enthusiasts and gourmet lovers alike. Esteemed for its progressive approach to mixology, the bar boasts an expansive and inventive cocktail menu, where each drink is artfully crafted and presented. But it’s not just about the cocktails; Sable’s culinary offerings are equally commendable. With a menu that emphasizes fresh, seasonal ingredients, diners are treated to a symphony of flavors, ranging from delicate small plates to hearty mains. The sleek, contemporary decor, complemented by ambient lighting, creates a sophisticated yet inviting ambiance. Whether it’s an intimate evening for two, a business meeting, or a night out with friends, Sable Kitchen & Bar promises a chic and memorable experience.
23. The Purple Pig
Highlight: Mediterranean shared plates.
Situated near Chicago’s bustling Riverwalk, The Purple Pig stands as a testament to the joys of communal dining and the wonders of Mediterranean-inspired flavors. Celebrated for its “cheese, swine & wine” mantra, the establishment welcomes patrons to a culinary world where sharing isn’t just encouraged but celebrated. With an array of small plates featuring robust flavors from regions like Spain, Greece, and Italy, diners can explore a tapestry of tastes, textures, and culinary techniques. Beyond the food, The Purple Pig’s ambiance is rustic and cozy, making it feel like a gastronomic nook tucked away in a Mediterranean village. With accolades under its belt and consistent praise from locals and visitors alike, The Purple Pig is more than just a dining spot—it’s a culinary experience.
24. Boat Shack
Highlight: Seafood and beer buckets.
Basking in the serene ambiance of the Chicago Riverwalk, Boat Shack offers a nautical-themed escape right in the heart of the city. With its wooden interiors, marine décor, and ropes dangling from the ceiling, the establishment transports patrons to a seaside haven. The menu echoes this theme, boasting fresh seafood dishes, from crispy fish and chips to succulent lobster rolls, each prepared with a touch of culinary finesse. Complementing the food is a selection of refreshing beverages, including tropical cocktails that evoke memories of sun, sand, and waves. Whether you’re looking to unwind after a hectic day or seeking a unique dining experience by the river, Boat Shack promises a voyage of flavors and fun.
25. Lucky Dorr Patio & Tap
Highlight: Specialty brews and local collaborations.
Adjacent to iconic Wrigley Field and not far from the Chicago River, Lucky Dorr Patio & Tap is a tribute to Chicago’s rich brewing legacy and the city’s love for baseball. Named after the renowned ballpark architect and Wrigley Field’s original groundskeeper, Lucky Dorr offers a curated selection of local craft beers, many of which are exclusive collaborations with neighboring breweries. The patio provides a cozy setting, perfect for sipping on unique brews while soaking in the ambiance of the historic ballpark surroundings. Complementing the beer is a menu of ballpark-inspired snacks, elevating traditional game-day flavors. For both baseball aficionados and craft beer enthusiasts, Lucky Dorr Patio & Tap is a delightful intersection of history, flavor, and local spirit.
Whether you’re a food enthusiast, a casual diner, or simply someone looking to take in the mesmerizing views along the Chicago River, the Riverwalk’s diverse range of restaurants ensures there’s something for everyone. So, next time you’re in the Windy City, be sure to take a gastronomic journey along this iconic stretch!