12 Unique Restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs: Extraordinary Places to Eat Outside the City

by Jen
Unique Restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

In this guide, we’re shining a light on the most unique restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs. From hidden gems serving up world-class flavors to quirky spots that offer an experience unlike any other, we’ve got you covered. Prepare to meet the suburban restaurants that stand out from the crowd.

Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza and jazz, but there’s a whole world of unique dining experiences waiting just outside the city limits. The suburbs of Chicago are home to hidden gems that offer flavors from around the globe, perfect for foodies looking to explore new tastes.

From cozy cafes tucked away in historic buildings to bustling marketplaces filled with exotic delights, there’s something for everyone. These spots aren’t just about great food; they’re about creating memories in places you wouldn’t expect to find just a short drive from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Whether you’re craving authentic Japanese cuisine, dreaming of Mediterranean feasts, or in the mood for the freshest seafood, the Chicago suburbs are ready to surprise and delight your taste buds. So, buckle up and get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that promises to be anything but ordinary.

The best part? You don’t have to be a gourmet to enjoy these flavors; they’re accessible to everyone, making every bite a discovery of its own.

The top restaurants to visit in the Chicago Suburbs right now

Unique Restaurants in Chicago’s suburbs: 12 Incredible Chicago Suburbs Eateries

From hidden gems to culinary wonders, these spots offer flavors and experiences that surprise and delight. Let’s step into the world of exceptional dining that awaits just outside the city.

1. Atwater’s

Right in Geneva, there’s a spot called Atwater’s that’s pretty much a hidden treasure. Picture this: you’re sitting by the Fox River, munching on some of the freshest food you’ve ever tasted. It’s like a mini-vacation with every visit. The place has this cozy vibe, making you feel right at home while offering views that are anything but ordinary.

It’s one of those scenic places in Chicago’s Suburbs to eat where you can chill on the patio and feel like you’re in a whole new world. They’re all about keeping things fresh and exciting, serving up dishes that change with the seasons. Whether it’s steaks that are cut right there in the kitchen or seafood that’s just been caught, you know you’re getting the good stuff.

And then there’s the Sunday Brunch – it’s a game-changer. Imagine kicking back, enjoying the peaceful view of the river, and diving into a plate that’s just bursting with flavors. Chef Kevin Gillespie and his crew make sure of that, bringing in fresh ingredients and whipping up desserts that’ll make you want to skip right to the sweet stuff.

Atwater is one of the unique restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs.
Atwater’s offers a hidden gem experience, with fresh food by the Fox River.

2. Maize + Mash

In Glen Ellyn, Maize + Mash stands out as a cozy haven for food and whiskey enthusiasts alike. The ambiance blends rustic charm with modern flair, creating a welcoming space for all who enter. Here, whiskey isn’t only a drink choice; it’s part of the experience, celebrated in both the decor and the diverse menu offerings.

As one of the unique restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs, Maize + Mash delights diners with inventive dishes. Imagine diving into bone marrow paired with red onion marmalade or enjoying the crunch of cauliflower tots. The Southern Chicken sandwich, a blend of light crunch and savory flavors, promises satisfaction with every bite.

The drink selection is a dream for whiskey lovers, featuring everything from moonshine to sophisticated cocktails. With a lively atmosphere that keeps the doors open late into the night, especially on weekends, it’s the go-to spot for memorable evenings. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty meal or a unique drink, Maize + Mash delivers with flair and flavor.

Maize + Mash offers a cozy haven for food and whiskey enthusiasts.
Maize + Mash offers a cozy haven for food and whiskey enthusiasts.

3. RH Rooftop Restaurant

Tucked away in Oak Brook mall, RH Rooftop is the spot to hit for a cool meal up in the air. It’s easy to get to, right on the 3rd floor, so you can zoom up by elevator or take the stairs if you’re feeling it. The place has this awesome look and feel, making it perfect for hanging out over brunch or dinner.

The menu might not be huge, but it packs a punch with tasty stuff like shrimp cocktail, lobster roll, and those can’t-miss truffle fries. Not big on booze? Their ginger beer is a solid pick, just heads up—no free refills here. Yeah, it’s a bit on the pricey side, but it’s all about the vibe and keeping things classy.

RH Rooftop is easily one of the coolest restaurants in Chicago’s Suburbs. It’s all about good times, great food, and no hassle with parking. Thinking of checking it out? Make sure to book ahead. You can make a day of it—shop around, catch a movie, and then kick back at RH Rooftop for some top-notch eats.

RH Rooftop offers a cool dining experience on the 3rd floor, ideal for brunch or dinner with its stylish ambiance.
RH Rooftop offers a cool dining experience on the 3rd floor, ideal for brunch or dinner with its stylish ambiance.

4. Mitsuwa Marketplace

Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights is a must-visit for anyone craving authentic Japanese eats. This spot has evolved a lot, now offering a mix of sweet and savory treats that’ll transport you straight to Japan. From snacks on sticks to a full-on food hall vibe, it’s got everything to make your foodie heart sing.

This place is one of the unique places to eat in the Chicago Suburbs. It’s not just about grocery shopping; it’s an experience. With 13 restaurant stalls to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice. Whether it’s the matcha crepes at B-Bee Crepe & Boba or the luxurious mille crepe cakes at Lady M, there’s something for every palate.

What makes Mitsuwa stand out is its dedication to authenticity and quality. You can grab a quick sushi bento or indulge in a full meal of dolsot bibimbap. And for those with a sweet tooth, the Japanese confections at J.sweets are a dream. It’s a slice of Japan right here in the suburbs, making it a perfect spot for a culinary adventure without the flight.

Mitsuwa Marketplace offers authentic Japanese eats, from sweet to savory treats.
Mitsuwa Marketplace offers authentic Japanese eats, from sweet to savory treats.

5. Boston Fish Market

Seafood dreams come true in Des Plaine’s Boston Fish Market. This place isn’t in Massachusetts like you might guess, but right here in a Chicago suburb. They’re all about fresh fish, caught in Lake Michigan or flown in from the Atlantic. The vibe? Think big, loud, outdoor seafood bash that feels just right after a long break from social scenes.

It’s one of the fun places to eat in Chicago’s Suburbs. The portions here are huge, served family-style, so bring your crew. Even a group of five barely made a dent in their Zuppa di Pesce, a seafood extravaganza. From Salmon Florentine to Halibut Vesuvio, every dish is a hit, packed with flavor and freshness.

Ordering here is unique. You pick your seafood at the counter, pay there, and then chill at your table with a number waiting for the feast. The service is friendly, and tipping well gets you extra smiles. Don’t expect your meal in courses; it’s all about the flow of what’s ready first. And if you can’t finish? No worries. Take it home and maybe whip up a chowder with the leftovers.

Boston Fish Market brings seafood dreams to life in a Chicago suburb.
Boston Fish Market brings seafood dreams to life in a Chicago suburb.

6. Freddy’s Pizza

Freddy’s Pizza in Cicero is a local legend for Italian food lovers. It’s like stepping into your Italian grandma’s kitchen, where every dish tells a story of tradition and flavor. This place is more than a pizza spot; it’s a full-on Italian grocery with aisles packed with everything you need to whip up an Italian feast at home.

It’s among the best places to eat in Chicago Suburbs. Freddy’s serves up huge portions, so come hungry. The menu changes daily, but you can always expect fresh, homemade dishes like spicy Italian sausage, chicken Parm, and their famous sheet pizzas. Plus, their homemade gelato and Italian ice are perfect for those hot summer days.

The vibe at Freddy’s is casual and friendly. You order at the counter, grab a number, and get ready for a feast. It’s a great spot for families or a group of friends looking for authentic, homemade Italian eats. And don’t forget to take some groceries home to keep the flavor going.

Freddy's Pizza is one of the unique restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs.
Freddy’s Pizza is a local legend that serves traditional dishes and doubles as an Italian grocery store.

7. Citrine Cafe

With its Mediterranean-inspired menu, Citrine Cafe lights up Oak Park. It’s a place where the love for veggies shines bright, and dishes like Korean Fried Cauliflower stand out for their perfect crunch. The cafe’s vibe is all about bringing different culinary worlds together, making every meal a discovery.

This spot is a hit for both vegetarians and meat lovers. The spiced lamb sausage, with its kick of harissa and cool cucumber-mint raita, showcases Citrine’s knack for cross-cultural flavors. And for pasta fans, the gnocchi with Bolognese is a hearty choice that might just fill you up on its own.

Citrine Cafe ranks high among the best food in the Chicago Suburbs. The Eggplant Gateau is a showstopper, layering eggplant with tomato sauce and cheeses in a way that’s both elegant and mouthwatering. It’s a recipe passed down from the chef’s Sicilian grandma, proving that some dishes are timeless. Whether you’re in for the main course or just a rich slice of flourless chocolate cake, Citrine makes every bite count.

Citrine Cafe ranks high among the best food in the Chicago Suburbs.
Citrine Cafe ranks high among the best food in the Chicago Suburbs.

8. Al Bawadi Grill

Making waves with its authentic Middle Eastern flavors is Al Bawadi Grill in Niles. From the moment it opened, it’s been packed with diners eager to try their traditional dishes. Owned by Kal Ismail and his partner, this spot brings the culinary traditions of Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria right to the Chicago suburbs. The recipes? They’re straight from Ismail’s mother, making each dish a tribute to her legacy.

This place is a standout among the best restaurants in the suburbs of Chicago. Whether you’re craving meat, seafood, or vegetarian dishes, Al Bawadi has something for everyone. Favorites include the mixed grill of beef, lamb, and chicken kabobs, and the seafood grill with salmon, basa, and shrimp. Everything’s cooked over a mesquite wood-fire grill, adding that perfect smoky flavor.

The restaurant’s decor, inspired by Middle Eastern art and architecture, transports you to another world. And with all meat dishes being 100% halal, it’s a place where everyone can dine comfortably. From the falafel and hummus to the knafeh for dessert, every bite is a journey to the Middle East.

Al Bawadi Grill serves authentic Middle Eastern flavors.
Al Bawadi Grill serves authentic Middle Eastern flavors.

9. Bien Trucha

Bien Trucha in Geneva is one of those hidden gem restaurants in Chicago suburbs that you’ll want to visit again and again. It’s a cozy spot with a modern vibe, where the music and decor transport you straight to a trendy cantina in Mexico. The place is always buzzing, a testament to its popularity and the quality of its food and drinks.

The margaritas here are a must-try, striking the perfect balance between tequila blanco and citrus, without being too sweet. The beer list is carefully chosen, complementing the vibrant Mexican dishes. Speaking of food, Bien Trucha’s salsas set the bar high. The habanero salsa, in particular, is a fiery delight, showcasing the restaurant’s commitment to authentic flavors.

The menu is a treasure trove of Mexican favorites, with a modern twist. From the seafood-packed cazuelita de camarón to the crispy beer-battered pescado taco, every dish is a hit.

But the real star? Their fish taco, which has been called the best by many, including critics. It’s the kind of place that makes suburban dining exciting, offering a slice of the city’s culinary scene without the commute.

Bien Trucha offers a cozy spot with a modern vibe reminiscent of a trendy cantina in Mexico.
Bien Trucha offers a cozy spot with a modern vibe reminiscent of a trendy cantina in Mexico.

10. Autre Monde

Spicing up Berwyn with its Mediterranean flair is Autre Monde, thanks to a team with roots in the famed Spiaggia. They’re all about the freshest ingredients, some of which come straight from their own farm. Imagine biting into dishes that taste like they’re straight from the Mediterranean coast, but you’re right here in the suburbs.

Their wine expert makes sure your glass complements the vibrant dishes on your table. And it’s not just about the food and wine; their cocktails are a hit, crafted with the same care and creativity as their meals.

It’s a favorite among the Chicago Suburbs’ best restaurants for its bold and fresh Mediterranean dishes. Let’s talk about what’s on the plate: mushroom pintxos are little bites of heaven, skewered and drizzled with sherry jus. The heirloom beets salad is a colorful mix of red and golden beets, nestled with microgreens and dollops of whipped goat cheese, creating a creamy contrast that melts in your mouth.

Ending on a sweet note, the Pot de Crème is a chocolate lover’s dream. This French chocolate custard is topped with whipped cream and toasted hazelnuts, making for a decadent finish to an unforgettable meal.

Autre Monde brings Mediterranean flair to deliver dishes reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast.
Autre Monde brings Mediterranean flair to deliver dishes reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast.

11. Kurumaya

Hidden in Elk Grove Village, Kurumaya is a treasure trove for authentic Japanese cuisine lovers. It’s a cozy spot where simplicity and authenticity reign supreme. The place is a hit among locals and those in the know, serving up dishes you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the suburbs.

The menu is a journey through traditional Japanese cooking, offering everything from simmered daikon to grilled smelts with roe intact. Each dish is a testament to the meticulous care and passion poured into the food. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel like you’re dining in Japan, with flavors and techniques straight from a Japanese kitchen.

Kurumaya is one of those unique restaurants in the Chicago’s suburbs for dinner where the food truly speaks for itself. Highlights include forofuki, tender daikon simmered in dashi until it melts in your mouth, and atsuage, fried tofu stuffed with savory miso and topped with scallions and bonito flakes.

And for those adventurous in taste, the shiokara, fermented squid, is a bold choice that rewards the daring diner with its intense flavor.

Kurumaya offers authentic Japanese cuisine in a cozy spot beloved by locals.
Kurumaya offers authentic Japanese cuisine in a cozy spot beloved by locals. | Image Source: https://kurumaya-japanese-restaurant.business.site/

12. Fry the Coop

Fry the Coop has made a name for itself with its Nashville hot chicken, taking over a spot once home to the Michelin-starred Mexique. Starting in Oak Lawn and Elmhurst, this mini-chain is all about bringing the heat. They double fry their chicken in beef fat for that extra flavor kick. And for those not into meat, there’s a secret veggie sandwich if you ask.

The founder, Joe Fontana, was inspired by Nashville’s Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. But it was a chicken sandwich in California that really got him hooked on the Nashville hot style. Now, Fry the Coop’s chicken sandwiches come in five levels of heat, offering something for everyone from the heat-shy to the fire-lovers.

Fry the Coop is among the unique Chicago suburban restaurants for dinner, especially if you’re craving something spicy. They’re planning to shake things up in West Town with a dive bar vibe and a full bar featuring local beers. It’s a big leap from a Michelin star to a dive, but Fry the Coop is ready to make its mark with a simple promise: great fried chicken in a laid-back setting.

Fry the Coop is one of the unique restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs.
Fry the Coop serves up Nashville hot chicken in a former Michelin-starred restaurant spot. | Image Source: https://www.frythecoop.com/

Frequently Asked Questions About the Unique Places to Eat in Chicago’s Suburbs

Check out our FAQ section for all your questions about eating out, using our Chicago Suburbs restaurant guide as your go-to resource.

What food can you not miss in Chicago?

When you’re in Chicago, you’ve got to try the deep-dish pizza. It’s not just any pizza; it’s a thick, hearty pie filled with cheese, sauce, and toppings all layered in a buttery crust. Another must-try is the Chicago-style hot dog, loaded with mustard, onions, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt, but never ketchup. These dishes are the heart of Chicago’s food scene, making it a culinary delight for those who stay in Chicago.

Where can I find cheap eats in the Chicago suburbs?

For cheap eats in the suburbs of Chicago, look no further than local diners, taco stands, and pizza joints. Places like Fry the Coop offer delicious and affordable Nashville hot chicken sandwiches. Many suburbs have hidden gems where you can enjoy a hearty meal without breaking the bank. Food trucks and local markets are also great spots to explore for budget-friendly, diverse food options. Don’t forget to check out local bakeries for sweet deals on pastries and bread.

What are some fine dining options in Chicago Suburbs?

Fine dining in the Chicago metropolitan area isn’t hard to find. Suburbs like Oak Brook, Naperville, and Evanston house restaurants that offer gourmet experiences with diverse cuisines. From Mediterranean flavors at Autre Monde in Berwyn to innovative Japanese dishes at Kurumaya in Elk Grove Village, the suburbs offer a range of upscale dining options. Many of these restaurants in Chicago feature seasonal menus, wine pairings, and elegant atmospheres perfect for special occasions.

What are some themed restaurants in Chicago Suburbs?

Themed restaurants in Chicago’s suburbs offer unique dining experiences that transport you to another place or time. From medieval times to sports themes, there’s a variety of fun environments to enjoy a meal in. For example, Medieval Times in Schaumburg provides a dinner and show with knights and horses. These themed spots are perfect for celebrations or just a fun night out in Chicago, offering both entertainment and themed menus to match their distinctive atmospheres.

A medieval-themed dinner theater with knights, jousting, and feasting in Schaumburg, Illinois.
A medieval-themed dinner theater with knights, jousting, and feasting in Schaumburg, Illinois.

Where can I find fun restaurants in Chicago Suburbs?

For fun restaurants in Chicago’s Suburbs, you’re in for a treat with places that offer more than just a meal. Look for spots with arcade games, live music, or interactive dining experiences. Restaurants like Fry the Coop bring the heat with their hot chicken in a lively setting. Whether you’re looking for a place with a quirky theme or just a vibrant atmosphere, the suburbs have plenty of options to make your dining experience memorable.

What makes dining in the Chicago Suburbs unique?

Dining in the Chicago Suburbs is unique because of its diverse culinary landscape, featuring hidden gems that add to the richness of options. You can find everything from authentic international cuisines to classic American comfort food. The suburbs offer a mix of casual dining, fine dining, and unique themed restaurants, making it easy to find something for every taste and occasion. Plus, many suburban restaurants focus on farm-to-table dining, using fresh, local ingredients to create delicious dishes. This variety and commitment to quality make the suburbs a great dining destination.

How do you find the best family-friendly restaurants in Chicago Suburbs?

Finding the best family-friendly restaurants in the Chicago suburbs is easy with a little research. Look for places with kids’ menus, comfortable seating, and a welcoming atmosphere for all ages. Many family-oriented restaurants also offer activities or coloring books to keep children entertained. Suburbs like Naperville, Schaumburg, and Skokie are known for their family-friendly dining options, ranging from pizza places to diners and international cuisine. These suburbs, nestled near beautiful spots in Chicago, can cater to the pickiest eaters.

What are the best spots for outdoor dining in Chicago Suburbs?

Look for spots along the Fox River or those with views of scenic landscapes and city skylines. Restaurants like Autre Monde in Berwyn and Fry the Coop offer not just great food but also an enjoyable outdoor dining experience. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual meal or a more upscale dining experience, the suburbs offer a variety of options to enjoy fresh air and great food, making it worth the journey for those who fly from Chicago.

Final Thoughts On Unique Chicago Suburban Restaurants

We hope you enjoyed exploring the flavors and experiences highlighted in our Chicago Suburbs restaurant guide. From the heat of Nashville hot chicken at Fry the Coop to the Mediterranean delights of Autre Monde, there’s a world of culinary adventures waiting just outside the city, all with a touch of Midwest charm. Whether you’re hunting for cheap eats, fine dining, or fun themed spots, the suburbs have something special for everyone, making it an enticing option for those seeking fun US vacation spots.

Remember, this guide is just the start. The Chicago Suburbs are brimming with hidden gems and new tastes to discover. So next time you’re thinking about where to eat, consider taking a little trip outside the city. With Chicago being recognized as one of the top places to live and visit in Illinois, you might just find your new favorite spot!

The top restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the unique restaurants in the Chicago Suburbs? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment