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:

*Click on the restaurant name for more information and directions 

  1. 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!


Siena Tavern's lobster roll

Lobster Roll


Siena Tavern's bomboloniBomboloni


2.  Beatrix –  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 and dessert counter, as well as a bar.



Beatrix Aloft Hotel

Chili and chocolate glazed salmon


3.  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!



GT Fish & Oyster hot plates

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

GT Fish & Oyster desserts

Loved this strawberry and green tea sorbet dessert!


4.  Bottlefork –  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!



Bottlefork's deviled eggs

Dreamy, creamy deviled eggs


Bottlefork in River North

Sliced lamb loin at Bottlefork


5.  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.



Dolce Italian's Caprese salad

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

Dolce Italian's seafood risotto

This was an incredibly light seafood risotto.


6.  Ramen-san – 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.



Lunch menu at Ramen-san

$15 Express Lunch at Ramen-san


7.  Farmhouse – 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!



Farmhouse in River North

Super fresh chicken soup and veggies

Farmhouse in Chicago

Comforting chicken salad sandwich at Farmhouse


8.  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 Roast in River North

Shrimp and crab toast with guacamole at River Roast

River Roast's menu

Turnips au gratin at River Roast


9.  The Kitchen – The place is the latest addition to River North.  Situated just 1 block north of the Chicago River, it may be one of the 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. 


The Kitchen's salads

Curried chicken salad with golden raisins and toasted nuts.

The Kitchen's desserts

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

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!

  • THAT lobster roll!!! And THAT Chocolate Nemesis. Thanks for all these great suggestions Melissa, I will never go hungry in River North neighborhood!

    • I hope you get to try some of them, Allie. Thanks for stopping by again. Have a great weekend!