Chicago has one of the best dining scenes in the country, with some extremely talented chefs doing really creative and innovative things. It’s also a city of exquisite views with a world-class skyline set along a gorgeous blue lakefront. So what could be better than combining that incredible food with those great views? Here are our picks of the restaurants with the best views in Chicago.
1. Signature Room at the 95th
There’s just no way to put a list like this together without including The Signature Room, a classic Chicago restaurant with a view. The Signature Room is located on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building and features well-prepared cocktails, modern American fare, and panoramic views over the lake, skyline, and the city. You definitely pay a premium for the sky-high view here, but oh my what a view it is.
By law, no building in Chicago can be built on the lake side of Lake Shore Drive. However, one developer found a loophole and built Lake Point Tower, one of the tallest residential buildings in the world. Up at the top, on the 70th floor, Cite’ serves up excellent French-inspired American haute cuisine. With no other buildings near it, the views from Cite’ back toward the city skyline are unmatched by any other restaurant in the city.
Modern commodities trading was born at the Chicago Stock Exchange, and the city is still the most important in the world in that game. Those traders have a gourmand’s taste in dining and the bank accounts to pay for it — and they can find that world-class food without even leaving the building where they work. Everest, a Michelin-starred restaurant on the 40th floor of the Exchange building, has been serving refined French cuisine alongside a stunning view for over 30 years. While a private elevator takes guests up, Everest is open to the public so anyone can dine there.
4. Riva Restaurant
Navy Pier sure is touristy, but its location jutting out nearly a mile into the lake gives it some stunning vistas back across the water toward the skyline. Of the many places to eat at Navy Pier, none is better than Riva, a fine-dining restaurant with a seafood-driven menu. The food is superb, and the views are million-dollar. If you are at Navy Pier and looking for fantastic food with a view to match, definitely go to Riva.
5. North Pond
There’s really only one word needed to describe North Pond, and that word is “lovely.” Set in a building originally erected as a warming shelter for ice skaters over 100 years ago, North Pond is located at the edge of a pond right in the middle of Lincoln Park — the actual park, although it’s in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, as well. While the restaurant is set in nature, the views of the city over the pond give you the best of both worlds. There really are no nicer views in Chicago that come with a tranquil atmosphere like this, and the Michelin-starred cuisine is some of the city’s best.
6. River Roast Social House
Right along the river in downtown Chicago, River Roast Social House has one of the most inviting patios in the city, with stunning views up and down the river. The food concept is just what you’d expect from the name, with meat, fish, and veggies all roasted to perfection then carved right at your table. River Roast also has an inventive cocktail program and a great selection of local and Midwestern craft beer. If seeing the Blues is on your Chicago itinerary but you’re not much of a night owl, check out the Brews & Blues Brunch with live music from some of the city’s best musicians. You can even get to River Roast by taking the Chicago River Water Taxi!
7. Terzo Piano
Terzo Piano is a fabulous restaurant located at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing, and it has some incredible views and exceptional cuisine. A seasonal menu driven by local produce features wonderful Mediterranean-inspired food. The wine list has some of the best American wines available along with some old-world classics. All of this is enjoyed from a sleek, modern setting inside the Art Institute, looking down at Millennium Park and up at the skyline over Michigan Avenue.
8. Caffe Oliva
A lot of the restaurants on this list tend to lean toward the fancier end of things, as is often the case with restaurants with super views. If you want to find an unbeatable view but with a totally laid-back vibe, check out Caffe Oliva located at Ohio Street Beach. As you eat and drink at Caffe Oliva, toes dug into the sand and staring out at the blue of the lake, you could almost picture yourself transported away to a beach in the Mediterranean. Then you turn around and see the Chicago skyline towering above you, and you’are taken back to reality. Fortunately, it’s a reality of great food and drinks with a fantastic view. This is Chicago’s most downtown beach, and it’s a tiny one that even locals sometimes forget about. It’s definitely worth checking out when the weather is right.
9. The J Parker
On the rooftop of Lincoln Park’s beautiful boutique Lincoln Hotel, The J Parker has some truly incredible views of the skyline and Lake Michigan, and some great comfort food to go along with it. Anyone looking for a city vista but not wanting to eat haute cuisine should head to The J Parker for great upscale takes on bar-food classics. If a well-made cocktail, delicious burger, and perfect view are what you’re after, this is the place to be.
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