Terri's Picks: Best River North Eats

Posted by Terri McAuley on Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 at 6:31pm

Best River North Restaurants

Terri's Picks will be a recurring feature on WeKnowChicagoRealEstate.com that showcases the very best in Chicago—from restaurants to bars to venues.

Read about most delicious restaurants around Chicago's River North: (jump to your favorite style)


Brett’s Kitchen

This is one of my Saturday AM favorites! Brett’s Kitchen has become a mainstay in River North over the years. With homemade soups, fresh sandwiches, salads, breakfast items and baked goods, this restaurant has it all.


Yolk is a great option for breakfast in the area. While the menu features a number of both sweet and savory breakfast classics, there are more modern options such as red velvet French toast, avocado toast and the Santé Fe frittata.


The Franklin Room

The Franklin Room opened in December 2014 and is known for its “tavern fare” and its massive spirits menu. The service at The Franklin Room is exceptional and the meals are delectable.

Pacific Standard Time

Relatively new to River North, opening in 2018, this California inspired eatery offers an ever-changing menu. With the highest attention to detail and fresh local ingredients this restaurant is highly rated by visitors. I have yet to visit, but it is high on my list!



I love this restaurant and it is a favorite in River North. Prosecco is an excellent option for classic pasta and seafood alike. Opened in 2008, since that time the owner closed the restaurant for a few months and reopened with a fresh modern update to the dining rooms. The 35’ quartz bar offers plenty of space for a pre-dinner cocktail, and delicious dishes from all the regions of Italy.

At Prosecco there is truly an option for people looking for an “Italy fix”. It seems to be a little known fact that Prosecco has a really great private dining space that would be great for any medium to large party event. Attention to detail is very apparent.

Victory Italian

This upscale eatery opened in the summer of 2018 and quickly established itself as a staple of the River North Neighborhood. With signature dishes including “Mama’s Meatballs” and brick chicken this restaurant has a reputation for excellent meals made with fresh local ingredients. This is my second favorite in River North!

RPM Italian

The expansive menu at RPM Italian created by Chef Partner Doug Psaltis has a variety of fresh-made pastas, prime steaks, seafood, hot and cold antipasti and so much more. This sophisticated restaurant opened in January 2012 and is a personal favorite, and I often enjoy dinner and a glass of wine with friends here.

Coco Pazzo

Coco Pazzo opened in 1992 and has been a popular choice in River North since its inception. With a menu that focuses on the seasonal cuisine in the Tuscany region of Italy, this rustic restaurant is an excellent choice whether you’re in the mood for pasta or a pizza.

Torchio Pasta Bar

Torchio opened in the summer of 2019 and quickly became a popular option for neighborhood dining. Enjoy cocktails at the handmade hammered copper bar, and meals at one of the 51 seats, or on the outdoor patio in warmer months. I have had the opportunity to enjoy their fresh and tasty food a number of times this Fall already.

Erie Café

This charming restaurant first opened in 1994 and is known for its delicious steaks and pastas. While the ambience in the restaurant is warm and inviting, the outdoor patio is the best space. Enjoying your meal on their raised patio overlooking the boats on the Chicago River make this restaurant a must.


GT Fish and Oyster

A great option for seafood lovers is GT Fish and Oyster. Opening in the spring and 2011, GT Fish and Oyster is a favorite among River North locals and has a variety of seafood options varying from the classics to non-traditional options. For the more adventurous eaters, there is even an oyster-shucking class!

Hampton Social

Seasonal dishes at this Hamptons chic restaurant are inspired and fresh. This flag-ship location of Hampton Social opened in August 2015 and diners quickly fell in love with the modern take on east coast dining.



This upscale Mexican restaurant is known for its flavorful Latin dishes. Critics have given this restaurant 4.5 stars out of 5. I have yet to visit, but it is definitely on my list!


Topolobampo opened in 1989 and is an upscale Mexican eatery by Chef Rick Bayless. Serving three chef’s tasting menus, the five course “Seasonal” and “Classic” options or a “Perfect 7” seven course menu. The Michelin starred and James Beard award winning restaurant never disappoints.

Frontera Grill

Frontera Grill opened in 1987 and is the flagship restaurant for reknowned Chef Rick Bayless, and is a more relaxed atmosphere than Topolobampo that is adorned with Mexican folk art decor. The mole dinners are exceptionally well done and the guacamole is fantastic.


Mercadito is a top notch restaurant for Mexican cuisine and cocktails. Offering tasty meals, and a lengthy cocktail menu, Mercadito is a must-visit!



Marchesa opened in 2017 and is a popular option for French cuisine in Chicago. The atmosphere of this three-story restaurant is lovely and the extensive menu includes popular dishes including: Moules-Frites (mussels) and duck breast.



A neighborhood favorite that has been open since 2009. This south-Asian eatery offers a multitude of favorite dishes heightened to new levels with fresh ingredients and a modern new take on classic dishes.

Roka Akor

Roka Akor opened in 2011 and is a Japanese steakhouse, seafood and sushi restaurant. I’ve yet to visit this restaurant, but with reviews that are 4.7 out of 5 stars, I can’t wait to get there!


Lou Malnati’s

Known best for their deep-dish pizza, Lou Malnati’s has a variety of Italian favorites and thin crust pizza. The River North location was established in 1986 and has been a staple in the area.

Drive Thru


This Chicago classic is a chain restaurant, but deserves a mention. Portillo’s is known for their Italian beef and sausage sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and their chocolate cake.

Moving to Chicago and want to learn more about the city? Contact Terri McAuley for expert advice!

By:  Terri McAuley

Chicago Condos for Sale

Cell: 312-330-3211

“Chicago’s Luxury Condo Specialist”

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