If you tried to keep track of every brand new restaurant in Chicago, you might go a little bit crazy. So just read this list instead. These are the new restaurant openings that seem like they have the most potential - although keep in mind, for the ones we haven’t tried, we make no promises. Go forth and be a pioneer.
We’ll be regularly updating this post. Once we’ve checked out a spot, we’ll add a note if it makes it onto our Hit List.
Kostali is a new Mediterranean restaurant in River North from the same people as Brindille. It’s on the fifth floor of the Gwen Hotel, and serves dishes like spiced lamb hummus, baby chicken tagine and basque cake.
A second location of Kinton just opened in Wicker Park (the first is in the West Loop), and serves five styles of broth, along with shared plates like marinated octopus and karaage fried chicken.
Boqueria is a tapas restaurant originally from New York, and now there’s a new Chicago location in Fulton Market. It’s open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
This is a new takeout spot in the back of a Logan Square corner store, serving things like falafel and shawarma.
Porto is a new restaurant and wine bar in West Town from the same people behind Beatnik. Porto serves Galician, Portuguese, and Spanish seafood, including dishes made with imported conservas - canned, preserved fish from the region.
Since Chicago has a vendetta against food trucks, we have a lot of food halls instead. And Time Out Market is a massive new one in Fulton Market with 18 spots. It includes new locations of places like Duck Inn and Lost Larson, along with spin-offs of spots like Fat Rice. There are also three bars, including a rooftop spot and a tiki bar from the same people behind Lost Lake.
They already have a stall at Wells St. Market food all, and Fry The Coop just opened a new stand-alone hot chicken restaurant in West Town. Their chicken comes in six heat levels, from “country” (no spice) all the way to “lil’ insanity,” which sounds like it came from a mid-2000s rap name generator. They offer tenders and sandwiches, including one with a glazed donut as a bun.
This is a new speakeasy hidden behind Moreno’s Liquors in Little Village that’s focused on tequila and mezcal. In addition to liquor flights, they also serve beer and cocktails like “Last Words,” which takes a prohibition-era drink and replaces the gin with tequila.
If you’re looking for a new style of pizza to argue about with your friends, you can add “pinsa” to the list. It’s a type of Roman flatbread-style pizza made with a lighter, fermented dough. and it’s what you’ll find at L’Aventino Forno Romano in Streeterville.
This is a new natural wine bar in Logan Square from the people behind Scofflaw. Outside Voices also has a few bar snacks like charcuterie and cheese, mussels and sardines.
J.T.’s Genuine Sandwich Shop is a new counter-service spot in Irving Park specializing in Midwestern regional sandwiches, like Iowan loose meat and Detroit coney dogs (which only qualifies depending on your definition of “sandwich”). They also have soups, salads, and snacks like Frito pies and fried pickles.
The only things you could get at the original Moody Tongue brewery (besides beer) were oysters and chocolate cake, but their new tasting room in the South Loop has more than that. There are two options for eating here: “The Dining Room,” a 12-course tasting menu for $155, and “The Bar,” which has an a la carte menu with things like smoked beet tartare and fried chicken with black truffle cavatelli.
Gaijin is a new restaurant in the West Loop specializing in okonomiyaki - savory, Japanese pancakes. It has a small and casual dining room with flat-top grills on each table and a first-come-first-serve chef’s counter.
We checked out Gaijin and put it on our Hit List.
This is a new two-floor Greek restaurant in River North from the same people behind Avli Taverna in Lincoln Park. Expect dishes like chicken shish kabobs and lobster pasta with ouzo-tomato sauce.
With a name following in the footsteps of words like brunch and Brexit, Phodega is a new Wicker Park spot serving pho in a corner store. So in addition to pho and rice dishes, you can also get things like snacks, car air fresheners, and paper towels.
Serving a short menu focused mainly on dumplings and noodles, Lao Peng You is a new Chinese restaurant in Ukranian Village. They also do some small plates like tofu pudding, sliced beef shank, and cucumber salad.
Ella’s is a new counter-service BBQ spot in Lincoln Park with platters of smoked brisket, pulled pork, rib tips, and more. This place also has breakfast seven days a week, with less BBQ-y things like avocado toast and pancakes.
Recently reopened in River North, Hubbard Inn now has a first-floor restaurant, a second-floor cocktail bar, and a bottle-service club called Masq on the third floor. You can spend your entire night here, or, just come to eat a $100 ribeye.
This is a New York-based mini-chain and just opened its first Chicago shop in Rogers Park. In addition to bubble tea, they have food like ramen and sushi burritos.
A new Italian spot in River North from the people behind Bavette’s, Ciccio Mio has pasta, seafood, and dishes like chicken marsala and Italian wedding soup.
We checked out Ciccio Mio and put it on our Hit List.
Claudia is a new 10-course tasting menu spot in the West Loop. It’s $185, but also BYOB - so if you want to pair your lobster with Three Buck Chuck, you can.
After closing last year, this Indian restaurant reopened in the West Loop. Jaipur serves both lunch and dinner, and has a variety of curry and tandoori dishes on its menu.
QXY is one of our favorite places in Chinatown for dumplings, and they just opened a casual spot in the Loop with a much shorter menu. More importantly, they’ve introduced a new mascot who looks like a mix between a dumpling and a character from that TV show your niece is obsessed with.
This is a new breakfast and lunch spot in North Center serving things like French toast, tacos, and chilaquiles on the menu.
Little Victories is a new spot in Wicker Park from the same people behind the great Logan Square bar Spilt Milk, and it also serves classic cocktails and bar snacks.
While Tostini focuses primarily on “tost” (Turkish paninis), this new halal restaurant in Rogers Park also serves soup and gelato, and Turkish breakfast on the weekends.
Gadabout is a new restaurant in Andersonville with a wide-ranging menu of things like beef heart skewers with lingonberry mustard, beef tongue lettuce wraps, and buffalo skate wings. The dining room is decorated with furniture from The Brown Elephant next door, because nothing goes better with small plates than vintage bookshelves.
We checked out Gadabout and put it on our Hit List.
Along with a menu of bar snacks like deviled eggs and bacon-wrapped dates, this new cocktail bar in Albany Park has live DJs and monthly art shows.
This is the first U.S. location of a popular Chinese seafood chain that specializes in whole grilled fish. You can choose fish like tilapia and sea bass grilled with seasonings like fermented soybeans and spicy green peppercorns.
Port & Park is a new American restaurant that just opened in the former SIP space, on the corner of Southport and Irving Park in Lakeview. Along with dinner, this place also serves weekend brunch.
This is a Mexican bakery from the same team as Tzuco, and it’s right next door. You can get pastries like pan dulce and garibaldis - pound cake muffins with apricot jam glaze and sprinkles.
A new upscale restaurant on the 18th floor of a high rise in Streeterville, WoodWind serves takes on American food like a foie gras “Big Mac” on a steamed bao bun or a chicken “wing” made from dehydrated chicken mousse.
We checked out Woodwind and put it on our Hit List.
Centre Street Kitchen is a new American spot in Lincoln Park that really wants people to be nice to each other - the menu instructs diners to “go around the table telling each person something you appreciate about them.” After doing that, you can order dishes like roasted cauliflower, farro salad, and the smoked chicken for two.
Cracked is a new Wicker Park breakfast spot that’s open till 11pm. You’ll find things like biscuits and gravy, yogurt parfaits, and chilaquiles, along with a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches.
Stockton is a clubby two-story restaurant that just opened in the Gold Coast. There’s a wide-ranging food menu with a seafood tower, truffled burrata, an assortment of sushi, and steak. The dimly-lit space has velvet booths, and live bands and DJs (who are also alive).
This is a new Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant in Logan Square that’s taken over the former Twain space. You’ll find a selection of small plates like patatas bravas, halloumi, and mussels with lamb sausage, along with larger plates like branzino and steak.
This is a brand new soul food restaurant that just opened in East Garfield Park. The menu has dishes like fried chicken, collard greens, cornbread, and catfish.
Roots Handmade Pizza is opening its third location, this one in Old Town. Roots specializes in Quad Cities–style pizza, which has a thin malted crust and is sliced into long strips. This newest location is on the first floor of the Second City building.
This is a new restaurant in North Center serving European soups and salads, along with entrees like shawarma, sausages, and burgers.
Namaste Chicago is a new Nepali and Indian restaurant in Logan Square. The menu has plenty of meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes, and it’s BYOB with no corkage fee.
A new spot in Pilsen with an all-you-can-eat hot pot menu, open until 11:30pm every night.
Necessary & Sufficient is a new grab-and-go coffee shop in Logan Square. They have specialty drinks like a matcha latte and homemade botanical sodas, as well as a kids menu with a mini beetroot latte and drinking chocolate. There are also pastries, donuts, and empanadas on the menu.
A new Caribbean restaurant in Tri-Taylor with jerk versions of everything: jerk tacos, jerk fries, jerk nachos, jerk stir fry, and more. This place also has a comedy open mic in their lounge every Tuesday.
Mo:Mo Factory is a new restaurant serving momos and other Nepalese street food in East Lakeview.
This is a new restaurant in Pilsen serving Mexican food, including duck carnitas tacos. They’ll be doing brunch, and staying open late on the weekend (until 2am Friday and 3am Saturday).
This new Mexican restaurant in Lincoln Park has Sonoran staples made with open-flame mesquite cooking and flour tortillas rather than corn tortillas. The menu features “cheese crisps” (also known as Sonoran quesadillas), along with classics like tacos and enchiladas.
A new cafe in the Loop specializing in Japanese-style souffle pancakes, which come in flavors like matcha and taro. They open at 11am and serve their pancakes all day.
This is a new restaurant in the West Loop serving Chinese street food. The menu has rice and noodle bowls, wings, salads, and gua bao - steamed Fujian hand buns with fillings like pork belly, mapo tofu, and lemongrass chicken.
Taco E is a new takeout and delivery spot in Bridgeport from the people behind Nana serving tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, as well as desserts from Nana. They’re planning to offer dine-in seating in 2020.
Roebuck is the newest brew pub from the people behind Dryhop Brewers in East Lakeview. In addition to their house beer and specialty cocktails, they serve Neapolitan-style pizzas like the Bank Raaber (crumbled meatballs, charred broccoli rabe, and lemon zest).
The new Reggies spin-off on 63rd Street Beach opened on Labor Day and will be serving food and drinks until Halloween, weather permitting. There won’t be any live music until they reopen next year.
Bárbaro is a new Humboldt Park taqueria with tacos, tortas, and gorditas, along with signature cocktails like a mezcal piña colada, a rum old fashioned, and a raicilla martini.
This is a new bar and restaurant on the rooftop above Second City in Old Town. The food menu has kabobs, large plates, snacks like “ganja goo balls” made with CBD oil, and sandwiches like a meatball burrata grinder. You can also play Spikeball, mini golf, and beer pong here.
Soul Crab is a new soul seafood restaurant from a YouTube-famous chef who has two restaurants in Atlanta. The menu has everything from crab and collard green egg rolls to lobster tails with jerk butter.