I admit that I am not a huge fan of the steakhouse. Many of them tend to be overpriced and stuffy or overpriced and too trendy. However, I do appreciate those steakhouses that have excellent food, service or a bit of history. Chicago grew its culinary reputation as a meat and potatoes town and it has several steakhouses from which to choose. Below are the 7 Essential Chicago Steakhouses you should visit. You will note that Morton’s and Gibson’s are not on my list because they are always too crowded and too noisy. Sorry, not sorry!
Chicago Cut Steakhouse
If you’re looking for a steakhouse with a view of the Chicago River, bridges, and the ‘L,’ check out Chicago Cut Steakhouse. This place is just the right amount of swanky without being loud and obnoxious. The room is lovely and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner. Chicago Cut is popular with
local sports stars and television celebrities such as the actors from Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., and Chicago Med. The seafood dishes here are on point!
300 N. LaSalle Dr. – Two blocks north of the Clark/Lake ‘L’ stop on the Orange, Green, Pink, Purple, Brown and Blue Lines or 1 block east of the Merchandise Mart ‘L’ stop on the Brown and Purple Lines.
Prime & Provisions
Another great option for steak near the Chicago River is this spot from the group behind the popular Italian restaurant, Siena Tavern. Prime & Provisions is located inside an office building on the border of The Loop and River North. In fact, it is on the south side of the river and one block from Chicago Cut Steakhouse. Whether you have a business meeting, a sexy date or a family celebration, this place should definitely be on your list. It is very festive without the obnoxiousness of Gibson’s or Morton’s.
222 N. LaSalle Dr. – One block north and one block west of the Clark/Lake ‘L’ stop on the Orange, Brown, Purple, Pink, Green and Blue Lines.
Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf
When you’re looking for a Chicago steakhouse with a French flare, try Bavette’s Bar & Boeuf near Merchandise Mart. Enjoy the seafood towers and filets while enjoying jazz tunes. Bavette’s is owned by the same Chicago restaurant group as the award-winning Au Cheval.
218 W. Kinzie St. – A half a block west of the Merchandise Mart ‘L’ stop on the Brown and Purple Lines.
Check out my post about the Outstanding New York Eats You Do Not Want to Miss.
Benny’s Chop House
Benny’s is one of the prettiest among this list of essential Chicago steakhouses. It’s located in River North just west of the Magnificant Mile, near Nordstroms. So, after you’ve gotten your shopping done, you can ogle your new swag while dining on delicious meat and fish with an excellent wine list. While the main dining room at Benny’s Chop House is beautiful and relaxing, I love to dine in the bar area because of the live music from Wednesday through Saturday evenings. During the holidays, Benny’s does a lovely job at decorating.
444 N. Wabash Ave. – One block south and one block east of the Grand ‘L’ stop on the Red Line.
Not all essential Chicago steakhouses are located in the River North neighborhood. For instance, Chicago Firehouse (a former firehouse from the turn of the century) is in the South Loop near Grant Park and McCormick Place Convention Center. It has been popular with United States Presidents, Chicago politicians, law enforcement, first responders and residents for 112 years! Lucky for me, it’s only one block from my apartment. Chicago Firehouse underwent renovations a year ago, after suffering a terrible fire (how ironic!). You can dine in the large bar area, rooms on the main floor and an outdoor patio. The second floor as rooms for private meals and catering, as well as another outdoor bar space. The lower level is being turned into a speakeasy. There’s a lot of history to soak up here, so check it out. They are open for weekend brunch as well as dinner.
1401 S. Michigan Ave. – One block east and two blocks south of the Roosevelt ‘L’ stop on the Orange, Green and Red Lines. Alternatively, take the #3 King Dr., #4 Cottage Grove or #12 Roosevelt buses here.
Gene & Georgetti
Gene & Georgetti is Chicago’s oldest steakhouse and it was opened in 1941 by an immigrant from Lucca, Italy. It’s located in the River North neighborhood. The doors at Gene & Georgetti have seen a steady stream of Chicago residents and celebrity clients like Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, and Vince Vaughn. This neighborhood stalwart continues to win awards and garner praise for its fine food and lovely service. That is no small feat after 70+ years of business. I’ve been coming here since the mid-90s.
500 N. Franklin St. – Take the Brown or Purple Lines to the Merchandise ‘L’ stop or the Red Line to the Chicago ‘L’ stop.
Swift & Sons
As you may know, Chicago has a rich history in the cattle trade and stockyards. The meatpacking district in the West Loop, known as “restaurant row,” is home to Swift & Sons. The sprawling steakhouse is named for a pioneer in the cattle industry and it seats over 200 people. The space is never too loud, the service is great and sides and desserts are a must! After you’ve experienced the steak and more at Swift & Sons, make sure you return for lunch or dinner at the adjoining seafood bar, Cold Storage.
1000 W. Fulton Market – One block north of the Morgan ‘L stop on the Green and Pink Lines.
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 “7 Essential Chicago Steakhouses You Should Visit.” Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!