Best steakhouses in Chicago
Chicago is a steak-lover's town. Here are the best Chicago restaurants for a steak—not to mention a classic wedge salad and a perfectly chilled martini.
Chicago has long outgrown its reputation as a meat-and-potatoes town, but there's no denying it: This is a city that loves its steak. Here are our favorite steakhouses, from the icons of the genre (Morton's, Gibsons, Gene & Georgetti) to less-orthodox newcomers (David Burke's, Mastro's, Bavette's).
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Bavette's Brendan Sodikoff's vaguely French steakhouse is a departure—or perhaps an evolution—for the restaurateur. While his other spots (Gilt Bar, Au Cheval) have their charms, the appeal of this spot—decked out with jazz-era decor and music—is practically universal. Diners need not be huge steak fans to get a good meal; in fact, as good as the steak frites is, both the fried and roasted chicken are even better. Elegant cocktails begin meals here; fabulous pies (lemon meringue, chocolate cream) end them. 218 W Kinzie St (312-624-8154). Dinner. Average main course: $20.
Chicago Chop House This century-old brownstone is a quintessential Chicago steakhouse in every sense of the word. Businessmen with fat expense wallets head upstairs for white-tablecloth service, pricey wines and 48- or 64-ounce porterhouses fit for a king. We prefer the subterranean piano bar, where every inch of wall is covered with vintage photos of Capone and crew and the high wooden tables are packed with storytellers and uncompromising carnivores. 60 W Ontario St (312-787-7100). Dinner. Average main course: $50.
David Burke’s Primehouse David Burke’s name is on the door of this modern steak house, but make no mistake—chef Rick Gresh is the one in the kitchen. Under the duo’s jurisdiction, warm popovers stand in for bread, filets are unstoppably tender and rich, and brunch gets served in bento boxes with themes like “griddled” (pancakes and French toast) and “hangover” (burgers, fries and sunglasses). It’s not your mama’s steakhouse, but don’t worry—your parents will want you to take them here again and again. 616 N Rush St (312-660-6000). Breakfast, brunch (Sat, Sun), lunch (Mon–Fri), dinner. Average main course: $45.
Gene & Georgetti If it gets any more old-school than this circa-1941 steakhouse, we haven’t seen it. Filling every inch of the wood-lined dining room are Naugahyde bar stools, chairs and banquettes as blood-red as the steaks (both well-aged, we might add). Servers range from formal to gruff, but they mean well and they deliver the goods: textbook veal Vesuvio, a “garbage” salad fit for four, calf’s liver sauteed with onions and bacon, perfectly seared chops and garlicky shrimp DeJonghe that the veteran staff swears the joint invented. Believe ’em—these are the Chicago old-boys you don’t want to piss off. 500 N Franklin St (312-527-3718). Lunch, dinner (closed Sun). Average main course: $38.
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse The $50 porterhouse here is impeccably seasoned and boasts warm layers of sumptuous fat running through the full-flavored meat. The only problem is that for $50, the thing is kind of small. But this price-size discrepancy is rare at Gibsons: sweet-lobster cocktail easily satiates two, the juicy prime rib comes in a hefty portion typically reserved for the Flintstones, and desserts are so enormous that servers cut them in two, wrapping half in a take-away bag, no questions asked. 1028 N Rush St (312-266-8999). Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $55.
Mastro’s Steakhouse Vodka martini: $18. Three crab cakes: $29. Twenty-ounce New York Strip: $49. Before you shake your head and huff off to the Rock and Roll McDonald’s, hear us out on one thing: If you’ve got these kind of funds at your disposal—and in the elbows-to-Balenciaga-draped-elbows bar on weekends, it’s easy to leave with the distinct impression that many, many people do—Mastro’s is the place to blow them. The martini is shaken with dry ice so that it bubbles like a cauldron when poured tableside. Steaks come out perfectly medium-rare on the hottest plates you’ve ever accidentally touched, and the signature side of lobster mashed potatoes—listed for “market price”—is comically indulgent. Just remember: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. 520 N Dearborn St (312-521-5100). Dinner. Average main course: $43.
Michael Jordan's Steak House Happily, Michael Jordan’s the restaurant does not rest on the laurels of Michael Jordan the person. In fact, the prospect of such an accusation might be what inspires the restaurant to go above the call of steakhouse duty with its non-steak entrées (such as sweet pork loin served over a spicy chili). The usual suspects—crab cakes, Delmonico steaks—generally fall flat here. But the garlic bread with blue-cheese fondue, lobster cocktail with garlic and soy, and the goat-cheese cheesecake are all (wait for it) slam dunks. Hotel InterContinental, 525 N Michigan Ave (312-321-8823). Lunch, dinner. Average main course: $35.
Morton’s the Steakhouse The way food is touted here—by wheeling over a cart of uncooked meats, including a live lobster—can be a little off-putting (not everybody wants to witness their dinner being wheeled off to its death). But there are reasons Morton’s is so famous: the classic Chicago steakhouse interior, tailor-made for sealing the deal (business or pleasure); crab cakes with hardly any filler; generous lobster cocktails; and barely seasoned steaks that stand out for their flavor (rib eye), their tenderness (filet mignon) or both (porterhouse). 65 E Wacker Pl (312-201-0410). Lunch (Mon–Fri), dinner. Average main course: $45.