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The Lettuce Guide to Chicago’s River North Neighborhood

Discovering this Chicago neighborhood's best

Whether you’re in the mood for a casual grab-and-go lunch, a refined omakase experience, or a speakeasy cocktail experience that transports you to a tropical paradise, Lettuce offers a vibrant collection of restaurants in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood. From perfectly cooked prime steaks at some of the Windy City’s most iconic eateries to the delicate art of sushi, here’s your guide to River North’s dining scene.

For Breakfast: Beatrix

French Toast at BeatrixMake this neighborhood coffeehouse and restaurant your go-to for healthy meets delicious weekday breakfast and weekend brunch, with enough variety to satisfy both the health-conscious and those looking for comfort food with a twist such as their Oven Baked Brioche French Toast or A Wonderful Egg White OmeletWhatever you order, pair it with a Fresh-Squeezed Juice or a specialty latte and other barista-crafted coffee drinks made with Beatrix Coffee Roasters.
Make a reservation at Beatrix – River North

For A Casual Family Meal: Big Bowl

From stir-fry to noodles and curries, there’s something for everyone at Big Bowl, which serves up the bold flavors of classic Chinese and Thai dishes.
Make a reservation at Big Bowl – Chicago

For Live Music and Late Night Fun: Bub City

Live Music at Bub City River NorthDive into the heart of Americana with Bub City’s robust selection of BBQ, whiskey, and live country music every Thursday – Saturday.  Don’t miss the brisket, arguably among the city’s best. For midweek fun, check out Wednesday Night Live Band Karaoke.
Make a reservation at Bub City

For Creative Small Plates: Ema

Spread of dishes at EmaEma brings a touch of the Mediterranean and laid-back California vibes to Chicago, with a mezze menu that’s light, fresh, and bursting with flavor. Its inviting, sunny ambiance is the perfect backdrop for a midday break or weekend brunch, featuring everything from creamy spreads to grilled kebabs and beyond.
Make a reservation at Ema 

For Boozy Brunch: Hub 51

Brunch at Hub 51This bustling spot caters to all cravings, with everything from the New & Improved Breakfast Burrito to “Not Breakfast” items like the Famous Pulled Chicken Nachos, perfect for a group brunch. Plus, make it boozy and add on bottomless mimosas or bellinis to any dine-in brunch entrée for an additional $35 per person, plus tax.
Make a reservation at Hub 51

View more brunch spots.

For Negroni Lovers: il Porcellino

Negronis at il Porcellinoil Porcellino offers a selection of four unique Negronis, including a standout monthly feature exploring the cocktail’s storied past. Swing by the bar for Happy Hour and enjoy $8 Featured Negronis, $6 bites like Fried Cheese Ravioli and more (plus tax, gratuity not included). It’s the go-to spot for your Negroni fix with a side of rustic Italian flair.
Make a reservation at il Porcellino

Check out more happy hour options.

For Happy Hour: Lil’ Ba-Ba-Reeba!

An assortment of tapas and sangria at Lil Ba-Ba-Reeba!On Mondays, we order $20 sangria pitchers! The rest of the week, enjoy $5 glasses of sangria, $1 bite-sized pintxos and more during happy hour alongside Lil’ Ba-Ba-Reeba!’s tapas menu. Prices do not include tax or gratuity.
Make a reservation at Lil’ Ba-Ba-Reeba!

For Splurge-Worthy Steak & Seafood: Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak  & Stone Crab

Stone Crab Claws at Joe'sRenowned for its signature stone crab claws and selection of both wet and dry-aged beef, signature steaks, and a variety of seasonal seafood, Joe’s embodies classic dining. The experience is enhanced by an award-winning wine list, signature cocktails, and a classic ambiance, marked by dark mahogany, leather booths, and exceptional service.
Make a reservation for Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab

For A Family-Style Feast: Osteria Via Stato

Spaghetti at Osteria Via StatoOsteria Via Stato captures the essence of Italian dining with its seasonal dishes, pastas and Roman pizzas, all served in a warm, family-style setting. They have The Famous Italian Dinner Party menu with antipasti for the table, your choice of entree and dessert available for $45 per person, plus tax (gratuity not included). It’s a go-to for cozy, Italian comfort.
Make a reservation at Osteria Via Stato

For Riviera Vibes: Pizzeria Portofino

Lunch at Pizzeria PortofinoPizzeria Portofino’s sun-drenched, all-weather patio and Mediterranean decor will take you from Chicago’s riverfront to the Italian Riviera. Featuring a selection of hand-stretched pizzas, charcoal grilled seafood, spritzes and more, it’s the perfect backdrop for a leisurely lunch.
Make a reservation at Pizzeria Portofino

For Your Ultimate Noodle Fix: Ramen-san

Tonkotsu Ramen Bowl with traditional broth, chashu, molten eggRamen-san serves this classic Japanese dish with a side of hip-hop. The broth options are rich and flavorful, the noodles perfectly chewy, and the atmosphere electrifying. It’s a modern take on the traditional ramen shop.
Make a reservation at Ramen-san

For Grab-and-Go: Rotisserie Ēma

Salads from Rotisserie EmaOn weekdays, customize your dream to-go lunch with mix-and-match mezze favorites from the salad bar, hummus bar and hot bar including succulent Rotisserie Chicken.

Find more lunch spots near you.

For Chic Italian Nights: RPM Italian

Two people enjoying wine and appetizers at RPM ItalianWhether you’re out with friends or planning a romantic date night, RPM Italian sets the scene with its sleek vibe and modern Italian dishes. 

Make a reservation at RPM Italian

For Wine Pairing Perfection: RPM Seafood

Tokaji Aszú at RPM SeafoodOverlooking the Chicago River, RPM Seafood offers a breathtaking dining experience. Take it up a notch by booking the Sommelier Experience and enjoy a guided tasting of a perfectly paired wine and food menu crafted just for you.
Make a reservation at RPM Seafood

Book the Sommelier Experience at RPM Seafood

For Exclusive Wagyu Cuts: RPM Steak

Wagyu steak at RPM SteakRPM Steak elevates the steakhouse experience with its unique focus on Wagyu beef, showcasing exclusive cuts like Sendai Wagyu and Namiki Wagyu, available for the first time in the U.S. Their dedication to quality extends to sourcing the best beef worldwide, including visits to Japan for the finest Wagyu, emphasizing their commitment to providing an unparalleled dining experience.
Make a reservation at RPM Steak

For Oysters Anytime: Shaw’s Crab House

people sharing food at Shaw'sBetween its lively Oyster Bar and the elegant Main Dining Room, Shaw’s is full of nostalgic charm, with a retro-chic vibe that makes it a timeless favorite among locals and visitors alike. From oysters to sushi, the menu is a celebration of the ocean’s bounty.
Make a reservation at Shaw’s Crab House

For Fresh Vibes + Fresher Fish: Sushi-san

Sake-san bottle with sushi ant sushi sanCome for the sushi, stay for the beats! It’s always a party at Sushi-san, which serves up 90’s hip-hop and exceptional quality fish sourced directly from Japan. Enjoy hand-rolled maki, fresh nigiri and sashimi, alongside blast chilled Asahi, an extensive Japanese whisky selection, and sake.
Make a reservation at Sushi-san

For Dinner as an Art Form: The Omakase Room at Sushi-san

Otoro tartare and caviar at The Omakase RoomFor those seeking an intimate dining experience, The Omakase Room offers an exclusive journey through the art of Japanese omakase. Here, the chef guides you through an 18-course menu showcasing the finest ingredients and seasonal catches flown in from Japan. It’s a celebration of craftsmanship and flavor, nestled within a serene and modern space that encourages interaction and breaks down the traditional omakase dining formality.
Make a reservation at The Omakase Room at Sushi-san

For Group Drinks: Three Dots and a Dash

Zombie cocktail at Three Dots and a DashDive into a speakeasy-style tropical escape at Three Dots and A Dash, complete with a secret entrance and an underground setting. This award-winning bar serves classic and original tropical cocktails in elaborate mugs with unique garnishes. The drinks menu includes large-format options like the Zombie and Conch Out making it a destination for group drinks.
Make a reservation at Three Dots and a Dash

For Rare Rums: The Bamboo Room

The Bamboo Room BAnana DaquiriTucked inside Three Dots and a Dash, The Bamboo Room offers an exclusive rum experience under the guidance of Beverage Director Kevin Beary. This 16-seat bar is renowned for its innovative approach to rum cocktails, blending rare ingredients with modern techniques. It features interactive rum tastings and a menu highlighted by creations like the unique Banana Daiquiri, making it a standout destination for cocktail enthusiasts in Chicago’s River North.
Make a reservation at The Bamboo Room

For A Classic Dinner: Wildfire

Couples Dinner at WildfireWildfire offers a nostalgic journey with its 1940s supper club vibe, featuring steaks, chops, and seafood alongside a comprehensive wine selection. It’s perfect for those craving a classic American dining experience.
Make a reservation at Wildfire

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