The unofficial start to summer is bringing Chicagoans several standout restaurant options, including a few from well-established industry players. Barry Sorkin of Smoque BBQ fame is trying his hand at a casual steakhouse, while the former Tavern on Rush space has morphed into The Bellevue, slinging upscale American food on an expansive patio. In Chinatown, you can belt out a tune while loosening your belt at a new karaoke bar-meets-eatery, or head to the top of the St. Regis Chicago for a luxe Japanese-focused meal with views of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Lastly, don’t miss out on Soho House’s newest restaurant concept from famed chef Jonathan Zaragoza. Allow us to introduce you to five of the best restaurant openings in Chicago right now.
You’re here because: You’re karaoke obsessed and also appreciate a craft cocktail.
You’re dining on: Asian-inspired pub fare and interesting drinks in a lavish setting. Twelve private karaoke rooms, each with a unique decor theme, set the stage for hours of singing entertainment available in 11 different languages. Pair your favorite tunes with bites like Buffalo chicken bao or moo shu pancake nachos with duck. Champagne, bottle service and large-format cocktails, including the Pokerface Paloma with a lavender twist, keep the party going all night long.
2002 S. Wentworth Ave., Floor 2 (map)
Chicago’s Best Chefs on Where to Eat Wagyu BeefThe marbled red meat has taken the city by storm
You’re here because: You’re entertaining out-of-town guests or want a pre-dinner drink and appetizers.
You’re dining on: Upscale American fare in the old Tavern on Rush space. The expansive, two-level restaurant features green and camel tones and plenty of open-air vibes. Start with a seafood tower or tuna crudo, then move on to larger plates like the fire-roasted lobster tail or marinated skirt steak with pineapple pico de gallo. Not in the mood for a full meal? Enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail (like the Belle Spritz with passionfruit and lime) on the 100-seat patio overlooking Rush Street.
1031 N. Rush St. (map)
You’re here because: Barry Sorkin’s Smoque BBQ is one of your faves, so you have to try his casual take on a steakhouse.
You’re dining on: Smoked and seared steaks, seafood and plenty of steakhouse sides with unique touches like rosemary potato gratin, bourbon chipotle carrots and creamed shishito spinach. Here, steaks get the low-and-slow smoke treatment before getting a garlic butter bath in a screaming hot cast iron pan. Other interesting menu callouts include a lobster bisque with cheddar scallion biscuits, brie fondue and a cauliflower steak with chipotle butter. Keep an eye out for the sizable cocktail menu, including Martinis, classic concoctions and curated options like the Smoqued Pineapple with mezcal, chile and lime.
3310 N. Elston Ave. (map)
You’re here because: You want an over-the-top dining experience at the top of the new St. Regis Chicago.
You’re dining on: Modern Japanese fare from the Lettuce Entertain You crew in stunning digs. There are plenty of dishes to share, from A5 Wagyu tartare and king crab crispy rice to duck yakisoba and a crispy whole snapper with ginger miso. Your classic maki and sashimi get kicked up a notch here, too; try the salmon avocado with yuzu kosho, lemon, cilantro and chive. Japanese-inspired cocktails like the Lady Luck with matcha-infused gin, sake and wine round out the menu.
401 E. Wacker Dr. (map)
You’re here because: You’re a fan of Jonathan Zaragoza’s family restaurant, Birria Zaragoza.
You’re dining on: Family-style Mexican inside Soho House. The latest restaurant to open in the second-floor space is open to the public and Soho House members alike. Zaragoza’s menu features dishes like octopus al pastor tostadas, a charcoal-grilled snapper and herb salad, and crispy pork belly in mole verde. Cocktails also highlight Mexican influences, like the mole Old Fashioned.
113-125 N. Green St. (map)
Join America's Fastest Growing Spirits Newsletter THE SPILL. Unlock all the reviews, recipes and revelry — and get 15% off award-winning La Tierra de Acre Mezcal.