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Breaking Down Your Top 10 Restaurants In Chicago

It's restaurant week in Chicago which is a big deal to locals but understandably insignificant to outsiders. I talked extensively about this years ago and it always bears repeating 

Restaurant week is an aggressive social experiment where people who normally can't afford expensive meals go out and blow months worth of disposable income consuming said expensive meals because they're marginally discounted. It's packaged in a way to maximize FOMO should you be neglectful and not participate. Your instagram is about to explode. You've never seen so many peers simultaneously enjoy preplanned 5-course meals. 


As I said, Restaurant Week blows but that's not because of the restaurant. In fact we have a lot of good ones so I took the liberty to follow up on the question and categorize responses. Based on your feedback here's the top 10 restaurants in Chicago with my exceptionally witty and pointed commentary. 

#10 - RPM Steak Fancy as all fucking hell. Modern. Sleek. You better be good looking if you decide to sit in the big dining hall. Otherwise join me in the dimly lit, 360 degree bar with full dining service. I recommend the $185 5oz wagyu whatever the fuck they call it steak. Centrally located and a big time cocktail list. RPM Steak would be a lot better if it didn't have to compete on name basis with RPM Italian. But even so it's just a much better trendy experience than a bunch of the newer steakhouses. Almost like you don't belong but same time you can dress RPM Steak down and nobody gives a fuck. Just bring the credit card and don't second guess yourself.

#9 Athena - Classic west loop Chicago restaurant in the heart of Greektown. Or however the locals describe it now that west loop has exploded. Anyways this place ain't going anywhere. Reasonably priced and staffed to the fucking gills with people. Chaos reigns supreme here where they blowtorch the cheese right in front of you in one of Chicago's best appetizers. Take a date here and act like you've been there before. It will drastically outperform the trendy stuff on this list. 

#8 Gale Street Inn - Honestly make it #1 and you won't see my bat an eyelash. I love GSI and can't recommend the trip to Jefferson Park enough. George & the staff provide the single best service atmosphere in the city. A textbook family atmosphere that makes you feel like you're dining with family. The menu is so unique and distinguished = ribs, jambalaya, potato skins, french onion, etc. They only play the classics at Gale Street and it's a beautiful, romantic experience. 

#7 JP Graziano - Not even a restaurant but the sandwiches are soooooo good that you have no choice but to include. Like people legitimately and sincerely put JP's #1 in the entire city of all the places you can eat. That's incredible and a pure testament to what Jim's created at 901 W. Randolph. Obviously there's some monster hitters on this list, but maybe nobody does their craft as well as JP makes sandwiches. The late night window is a complete gamechanger and it's also worth mentioning you can get the peppers and the flavors delivered to your own door right here at

#6 Gibsons - Location alone this is my favorite on the list. The Viagra Triangle hits perfectly on a Friday/Saturday night. There's just so much class mixed with the vibes and prestige of a world class neighborhood. Then mix in the history and tradition of this corner steakhouse and you're looking at a dynamite combination. Dress to the nines but still very casual and relaxed. You can eat outside or upstairs by the fireplace. Food is so good it's not even worth trying to distinguish because it's in the tier-1 category. All the big boys play here. Just a complete Chicago institution top to bottom. 

#5 Gene & Georgetti - Another classic steakhouse with an emphasis on the word CLASSIC.  The wait staff is on average 77 years old with 50 of those working the G&G dinner specials. You won't find a notepad in the joint. And it's definitely a joint. The kinda place that hasn't changed since the doors originally opened. Tucked away under the merchandise mart L street tracks, you won't find a more old school place on the list. Now we talk food and obviously the steaks & chops gotta be premium to last this long in Chicago. The sides are gigantic. The clientele offers vintage people watching. One time I went on a Saturday and the couple seated next to me was also next to me the following weekend at Gale Street Inn. They were in their 70's. It was one of the most validating experiences of my life. Go to Gene & Georgetti if you haven't. Must Try kinda place.

#4 Chicago Cut - I'd rather go to Gene & Georgetti or Gibson's, but Chicago Cut is way nicer and better if that makes sense. Engineered to be a mouth watering experience. Prices are pretty outrageous but you get what you pay for. Service is top notch. The ambiance is out of this world. You're sitting on the river eating a smorgasbord of perfectly prepared courses of varying inspirations. It can get a little stuffy but this is our #1 stuffy steakhouse for business guys to do business stuff. Even so it's utterly delicious. 

#3 Quartino - Not the best food on this list by any stretch of imagination but that doesn't matter. You go for the vibes. You go for a table of 10 with your friends from college. It's affordable and you get to drink and share so much wine you almost think it's a scam. The portions are gigantic and you're out here sharing up a storm, rubbing elbows with the table next to you. Stories are told loud. Laughs are louder. It's a very intimate yet explosive atmosphere. Maybe it works for a table of 2 but I've never gone with a group of less than 6. That's what I think when you say Quartino. Quite possibly the best place to get a big group together in the whole town. I still find it overvalued at the 3 spot but I didn't make the list. You guys did. 

#2 Tango Sur - This is such a good place I debated even putting it on the list. They don't take reservations and good thing or else you'd never eat here. The most affordable and reasonable steakhouse in America, some call it. These Argentinians know their meat about as well as anyone. The empanadas. The close and tight tables and candle light atmosphere. BYOB with a cheap wine store next door. It is, unquestionably, my #1 date spot in Chicago. Place fucking kills on date night. Then you get to walk up and down Southport and maybe go to a movie. Maybe go to Lange's Lounge (premium dive bar) or some Dairy Queen. It's all dangerous and she's going to love you more for introducing her to Tango Sur. That's a guarantee. 

#1 Bavette's - Everybody sucks this place's dick so I went the other week to see for myself. And on that front I've been sucking Bavette's dick ever since I left. Steak was prepared perfectly (48 ounce porterhouse) and the service was categorically unique. You front load the order then they bring it out as they see fit. The booze flows like the ancient rivers of Babylon and the food will change the way you look at other restaurants. Obviously very expensive and practically impossible to get a normal reservation (5pm or 9pm) but well worth whatever sacrifice you need to make. A true #1 on a list filled with #1's and I say that without hesitation. I'm not rich enough to make this a regular spot but a boy can dream. Until then it's Special Occassion City population me & Mrs. Carl at Bavette's whenever the time calls. Hopefully that's some day soon again. 


There's your top 10 by You for You.

What did I miss? Comment respectfully below.