9 Best River North Restaurants

It seems impossible that even one more restaurant could open in Chicago’s trendy but crowded River North neighborhood.  There are so many places from which to choose and I believe I have eaten at most them.  However, I am here to tell you that some shine much brighter than others.  Here are the “9 Best River North Restaurants,” in no particular order:


Siena Tavern


This is easily one of the most consistently fabulous restaurants in Chicago. Chef Fabio Viviani and Executive Pastry Chef Amy Arnold are serving delicious food by a very helpful and capable staff.  Lunch, brunch, and dinner are all winners.  The lobster roll is my favorite in Chicago.  Don’t miss the spaghetti with lump crab meat and the grilled octopus appetizer. Love dessert?  The signature bomboloni (stuffed Italian doughnuts) and handmade gelato are must-dos!


River North Restaurants Siena Tavern's lobster roll

Lobster Roll


River North Restaurants Siena Tavern's bomboloni




Located inside the Aloft Hotel, this stylish spot is another yummy destination in River North.  I have been here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Always a treat.  Check out this gorgeous chili and chocolate glazed salmon!  It’s a best-seller.  If you love dessert, the Oh My! Caramel Pie is a showstopper.  There is a separate coffee/dessert counter, as well as a bar.



River North Restaurants Beatrix Aloft Hotel

Chili and chocolate glazed salmon

519 N. Clark Street (Two blocks west of the Grand ‘L’ stop on the Red Line)


GT Fish & Oyster 


Chef Giuseppe Tentori is the artist who is creating truly colorful fare at this seafood-centric, small plates spot.  Try some of the tropical sorbets for dessert!



River North Restaurants GT Fish & Oyster hot plates

This halibut dish from GT Fish & Oyster was a masterpiece!

River North Restaurants GT Fish & Oyster desserts

Loved this strawberry and green tea sorbet dessert!



{UPDATE:  Bottlefork closed in October 2017)

Chef Kevin Hickey (The Duck Inn) is one of my absolute favorite chefs in Chicago.  His food never disappoints.  His latest venture showcases his love of flavorful meat, seafood, and decadent brunch items.  I had the most memorable deviled eggs in my life here.  The sliced lamb loin was truly foodgasmic!



River North Restaurants Bottlefork's deviled eggs

Dreamy, creamy deviled eggs


River North Restaurants Bottlefork

Sliced lamb loin at Bottlefork


Dolce Italian 


This is one of the best hotel restaurants in Chicago.  It’s a place to see and be seen.  I recommend the Caprese salad and seafood risotto.



River North Restaurants Dolce Italian's Caprese salad

Beautiful Caprese salad with homemade mozzarella, sweet heirloom tomatoes, aged balsamic and basil

River North Restaurants Dolce Italian's seafood risotto

This was an incredibly light seafood risotto.




There are only a few really top notch ramen shops in Chicago.  This is one of them.  Slurp away as you listen to old-school hip-hop tunes!  An Express Lunch menu is available for $15.00.



River North Restaurants Lunch menu at Ramen-san

$15 Express Lunch at Ramen-san




If it’s comfort food you are craving, this split-level, farm-to-tavern spot has you covered…in beer battered cheese curds, homemade soups, and grass-fed burgers.  Wear your big-boy and big-girl pants!



River North Restaurants Farmhouse

Super fresh chicken soup and veggies

River North Restaurants Farmhouse in Chicago

Comforting chicken salad sandwich at Farmhouse


River Roast


Chef John Hogan is roasting whole chickens, beef, pork, fish and much more at this sprawling, picturesque restaurant on the Chicago River.  The roasted proteins are presented family-style and carved table-side.  Individual plates are available as well if you prefer. Don’t miss the very fun Brews and Blues Brunch with live bands on the weekends.  


River North Restaurants River Roast

Shrimp and crab toast with guacamole at River Roast

River North Restaurants River Roast's menu

Turnips au gratin at River Roast


The Kitchen 

The place is the latest addition to River North restaurants.  Situated just 1 block north of the Chicago River, it may be one of the sexiest spots in town.  I’ve been here for lunch and dinner. Both were terrific.  Make sure you order one of the decadent desserts.  Bonus!  On Mondays, 20% of the profits are donated to local schools to help build gardens for the students. 


River North Restaurants The Kitchen's salads

Curried chicken salad with golden raisins and toasted nuts.

River North Restaurants The Kitchen's desserts

This Chocolate Nemesis is part fudge and part mousse. So decadent!


Don’t stop here!  Check out my posts:  “Chicago Food:  Chicago Cut Steakhouse, Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Shokolad, Forbidden Root and “Chicago Dining Ideas – River North, The Loop, Ravenswood, and Evanston.”

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the CTA trains and buses to get to these “9 Best River North Restaurants.”  Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!