Top 10 Chicago Riverside Restaurants – Pub to Posh

chicago river with tour boats

The most fitting way to enjoy summer is to spend as much time as possible outside. These riverside restaurants make it easy to enjoy a variety of cuisine and a multitude of beverages. Whether you are on your lunch break, scouring for happy hour specials, have a hot date or just a beer with buddies– there is a spot for you on the Chicago River.

Chicago Riverside Restaurants :

Bridgehouse Tavern

321 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 644-0283

As far as riverside restaurants in Chicago goes, Bridgehouse Tavern has one of the most prime locations. Small plates to full entrees and cocktails fill up the menu, making this a great location for brunch with friends, dinner with someone special or even after work drinks.

Chicago Cut Steakhouse

300 N Lasalle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 329-1800

Riverside steak and lobster dinner– not much is more satisfying than that. Chicago Cut Steakhouse offers seating on a patio right along the river or inside, which has large windows providing an equally amazing view. They have a casual dress code with white linen service.

Riverside Restauraunts seating at Chicago Cut Steakhouse

Chicago Cut Steakhouse / Eric Brightfield / Flickr CC

Japonais by Morimoto

600 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 822-9600

We would recommend Japonais if you are seeking out some of the most fresh sushi in Chicago. Being that it’s a riverside restaurant just puts it that much higher on our list. You don’t have to enjoy sushi to enjoy Japonais– their Asian fusion cuisine goes far beyond rolls.

The Kitchen

316 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 836-1300

The Kitchen is an all around restaurant in the sense of taste and offerings. Focusing on supporting local– they source as much as possible from the surrounding Chicago area. The aim is to create a comfortable setting where people can truly relax and unite. From seafood to steaks– with creative dishes in between, everyone will feel at home here.

Lizzie McNeill’s Irish Pub

400 N McClurg Ct, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 467-1992

Sometimes nothing is more fitting than an Irish Pub– which is why Lizzie McNeill’s is a welcome sight on the riverside. Their food menu has all of the Irish / American grub that you’d crave while at a pub. Of course, the bar is in no short of supply of any liquor either. Lizzie McNeill’s Irish Pub delivers a welcome, familiar feel to the river.

River Roast

One of the Chicago Riverside Restaurants, River Roast

Courtesy of River Roast Chicago

315 N Lasalle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 822-0100

River Roast is one of those riverside restaurants that makes your tastebuds forget that they are in the heart of Chicago, even though your eyes are indulging in the great view. They cook up food like your Grandmama would prepare for you in the kitchen– but maybe even better (gasp, I know).


30 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 559-1515

Rivers has a prime location in the Loop. With that being said, this is a perfect happy hour stop for people that frequent the area. The food menu is full of variety, the drink list is expansive, the view is phenomenal and the atmosphere is relaxed. Just what you need after a long day of work.

Riverwalk Cafe & Bar

401 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 229-8806

Riverwalk Cafe & Bar sets itself apart from the majority of Chicago riverside restaurants on this list– their prices are very reasonable, while the flavor is not lacking. In true cafe form they serve up lunch deli-style favorites that are relatively simple but so satisfying.
For simplicity at its finest– grab a sandwich, an espresso and take in the riverside.

Smith & Wollensky / Wollensky’s Grill

318 North State Street, Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 670-9900
S&W Website / W.G. Website

Smith & Wollensky is a very well rounded steakhouse that has found itself on the Chicago River. To assure the best flavor, they dry-age and butcher on site. If you aren’t looking for a full on steakhouse experience, the Grill in the lower portion offers a more relaxed atmosphere and equally great food at lower prices. Their wine list is very impressive as well.

Smith & Wollensky Riverside Restaurants in Chicago

Smith & Wollensky / L P / Flickr CC

South Branch Tavern & Grille

100 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 546-6177

South Branch Tavern Grille serves up essentially everything that you would crave while enjoying drinks along the river. Think of bar food taken to the next level– sandwiches, fish tacos, appetizers and a lengthy craft beer list with unique cocktails to compliment. Their dinner service offers more sophisticated dishes, but with affordability in mind. Lunch, dinner or appetizers and drinks, South Branch Tavern Grille nails it.

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Ross Perkins

Ross Perkins is the Executive Editor & a connoisseur of all things enjoyable– at least in his mind. He is an avid traveler in the name of inspiring sights, music, food & cars. He is a published photographer & writer that is looking for any reason to get out and explore his surroundings.

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