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Best Restaurants Near Chicago's Magnificent Mile

This street has way more than just shopping!


Chicago's magnificent mile viewed through a window

Chicago’s iconic shopping street is a great place to check out when visiting the Windy City. Even if you’re not the shopping type, the street itself is gorgeous with classic Chicago architecture. So whether you’ve been shopping and are now ready to drop, or if you find yourself on the Mag Mile because of its stunning buildings and proximity to the Riverwalk, here are the best places to grab a bite.


Quick Bites and Local Chains


Shake Shack


Shake Shack is definitely a chain, but if you don’t hail from a city that houses them, eating at one can be quite an experience. Their specialties are burgers and, of course, shakes. Plus, said burgers are more customizable than you’re used to at a counter-serve restaurant. And while their burgers are definitely the headliners, my personal favorite item on the menu is the Chicken Shack chicken sandwich! It’s the perfect juicy chicken with just enough crispy breading to feel indulgent, but not so much that it feels heavy and burnt. And the shakes are to die for, with a list of standard flavors mixed with seasonal specialties. It’s a smidgeon pricier than your average fast food, but the fresh-made quality you’re getting is worth it.


chicken, mashed potatoes, and lemonade from Nando's Peri Peri

Nando’s Peri Peri


Nando's is another chain that calls Chicago home, but doesn’t have locations in a ton of other cities. Their specialty is chicken with a spicy South African flair. You can choose your cut of chicken, your heat level (from plain-ish to Extra hot), and up to two sides. Sides range from salads to garlic bread, so there’s an option for everyone. My favorites are the Portuguese rice and the red skin mashed potatoes. As a word to the wise, the heat levels are not for the faint of heart. I do pretty well with spice and my sauce preference at Nando’s is medium. And while friends of mine who’ve spent time in London say that Chicago’s locations can’t hold a candle to a good British cheeky Nandos, (top, let’s smash it), it’s still a great place to get a hearty and flavorful meal for a reasonable price just steps off the Mag Mile. Especially if you haven’t been to London yet and don’t know what you’re missing, like ya gurl.


a honey latte from Goddess and the Baker

Goddess and the Baker


Goddess has several locations around downtown Chicago, including one right off the Mile. This is the best place on this list for coffee and breakfast, and they also boast a killer lunch menu! This queer-friendly bakery and cafe has literally everything you could ask for, with a focus on fresh ingredients and delicious flavors. They also have an extraordinarily well stocked pastry case and a huge coffee menu. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, so go early. But their menu is unmissable, and don’t forget to order a slice of rainbow cake.




Sit Down Specialties

a burger and fries and a beer from Crushed by Giants Brewing

Crushed by Giants Brewing


If you’re looking for a great local craft brewery, it doesn’t get any more local than Crushed by Giants. They’re a downtown microbrewery with an impressive array of brews that you can ONLY get at their River North location. Their drafts rotate seasonally, and their food menu is full of upscale pub classics. Like the CBG burger, which has tiny bacon pieces that get mixed in with the ground beef before the patties are pressed and cooked. Their draft list is usually pretty IPA-heavy, but they always have choices that even a hop wimp like me will love. And you can’t beat their location, on the second floor a building just steps off the Mag Mile with big windows that look out over the city streets.


Eataly


Eataly Chicago is a foodie’s and Italophile's paradise. Half restaurant, half Italian grocery, you could (and should, honestly) spend hours just browsing the rows and rows of Italian goodies. It’s the only place I buy olive oil anymore, and the best place to get authentic limoncello.


But I digress. You’re here for the restaurants.


If you’re on the Mag Mile over lunch, you can get sandwiches and pastas and coffees and desserts from the counters on the first floor. There’s nothing better than wandering from counter to counter and assembling a proper little smorgasbord and enjoying it at one of the many cafe tables. Or if you’re looking for a more elegant experience, try one of the second floor restaurants with their seasonal menus full of authentic Italian specialties. The chance of the table next to you being full of Italian speakers is high, so you know the food is legit. The sit down restaurants in particular don’t make for a cheap meal, but you won’t find a more authentic Italian dinner this side of the pond.


Steak Frites and a Build your own Manhattan from Luxbar

Luxbar


Luxbar is a little more of a walk from the center of the Magnificent Mile, but it’s one of my favorites in the whole of River North. And there are two reasons why. 1) Build your own manhattans, and 2) steak frites that have ruined me for steak frites anywhere else.


Up first, the manhattans. Listed on the menu as “Build Your Own Manhattan”, if you order one at your table your waiter will give you a little menu where you can check off your choice of spirits, vermouth, and bitters. But if you’re visiting solo or in a small enough group, I recommend placing this order at the bar. If you have one of the good bartenders (which is most of them) instead of giving you the little menu, they’ll ask you what flavors you’re feeling that day and craft you a one of a kind Manhattan perfectly suited to your tastes. And the steak frites. Y’all, I’ve eaten steak frites in Paris. The steak frites at Luxbar are better. It’s a delicious meal, it’s plenty to fill you up, and at the time of writing they cost less than twenty bucks. Cheap enough to justify a second Manhattan.



Take Your Pick of Amazing Magnificent Mile Restaurants!


There's a restaurant for every meal and every mood on the Magnificent Mile!


Need more great Chicago eats? Check out this list of a local's favorites!


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Love and Shenanigans,


Andi



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