The SOURCE: SCENE
Hubbard St., 312-222-1331; hubbardinn.com KATANA
From La-based Innovative Dining Group, this hit Sunset Strip restaurant has brought its signature combination of sushi and classic Japanese barbecue to River North in a sprawling, 13,000-square-foot space featuring a lounge, sushi bar, and 299-seat dining room. 339 N. Dearborn St.; innovativedining.com
The Rick Bayless empire continues to expand with this always-packed Baja-style addition to Restaurant Row. Sip a Leña Ice (mezcal, yellow Chartreuse, lime, cucumber, and serrano pepper) while peoplewatching over a tempting plate of ceviche, black cod “al pastor,” or a 32-ounce tomahawk steak. 900 W. Randolph St., 312-733-1975; rickbayless.com/lena-brava
One of Chicago’s hottest bars, this trilevel rooftop hangout at the Londonhouse hotel boasts a magnificent city view and scores with craft cocktails and creative American fare. INSIDER TIP: For a primo proposal location, book the Cupola, Londonhouse’s exquisitely intimate indoor/outdoor space at the tippy-top of the hotel. 85 E. Upper Wacker Dr., 21st—23rd Fls., 312-357-1200; londonhousechicago.com/rooftop
This glitzy River North destination for steaks and sushi brings a little bit of Hollywood to the Windy City’s carnivorous dining scene. The indulgent warm butter cake is one of the city’s top desserts.
INSIDER TIP: Catch nightly live music in the lounge from acts like the aptly named trio the Champagne Kings. 520 N. Dearborn St., 312-5215100; mastrosrestaurants.com
MORTON’S THE STEAKHOUSE
A Chicago original since 1978, Morton’s is still one of the city’s absolute best places for steak. INSIDER TIP: Catch the bar’s 5–8 PM weekday “Power Hour” for primo food and drink specials. 1050 N. State St., 312-266-4820; 65 E. Wacker Pl., 312-201-0410; mortons.com
OCEAN CUT CHICAGO
At this sophisticated yet approachable seafood destination from Chicago Cut partners David Flom and Matt Moore, guests can expect überfresh and flavorful fare like jungle-curry mussels and swordfish au poivre.
INSIDER TIP: Make tracks to the Shark Bar on Tuesdays during Happy Hour (4–7 PM), when the restaurant raffles off a pair of Jimmy Choos.
20 W. Kinzie St., 312-280-8882; oceancutchicago.com
The latest collaboration between nightlife maestros Rockit Ranch Productions and Michelin-starred chef Kevin Hickey, this Italian hangout opened in the spring to instant acclaim. Expect intriguing large-format and individual cocktails alike from awardwinning mixologist Brandon Phillips in an Italian arts- and cinema-inspired space. 311 W. Chicago Ave., 312-2340884; ottomezzobar.com
This newly renovated Loop seafood destination gets creative, with menu options ranging from daily-changing ceviche and salmon carpaccio with soy ginger vinaigrette to charred octopus, lobster BLTS, and pan-seared scallops with banana cauliflower purée. 180 N. Upper Wacker Dr., 312-629-1030; pearltavern.com
It’s all in the family at this lovely, intimate Raffaello Hotel restaurant, where Michelin-starred chef Mauro Mafrici crafts exquisite Italian fare— delicate beef carpaccio with cremini mushrooms, penne pasta with hen ragù and sage—in an elegant space designed by wife Kimberly Anguil Mafrici, an architect and interior designer. 201 E. Delaware Pl., 312280-0700; pelagorestaurant.com
One of the summer’s hottest openings, this new Fulton Market District destination from the awardwinning team of Emmanuel Nony and chef Andrew Zimmerman gives global street food the gourmet treatment. A livelier, more casual counterpoint to Sepia, its chic-butbuttoned-down sibling restaurant next door, Proxi features bites like tempura elotes and fried fish collars with Thai garlic-chili sauce. 565 W. Randolph St., 312-441-1920; proxichicago.com
From nightlife king Billy Dec and the squad at Rockit Ranch (Sunda, Bottlefork, Underground, Duck Inn), this was River North’s first sports barlounge-restaurant hybrid, and it’s still the best. The smartly crafted bar fare includes everything from gourmet burgers and salads to addictive, pizza roll-esque Rockit Pockits. 22 W. Hubbard St., 312-645-6000; rockitbarandgrill.com
SOUTHERN CUT BBQ
First steak, then seafood; now the team behind Chicago Cut and Ocean Cut has embraced barbecue with this new Streeterville restaurant—and with ’cue queen Lee Ann Whippen manning the kitchen, this one is making fans of Southern fare sit up and take notice. 198 E. Delaware Pl., 312-280-8887; southerncutbbq.com
Mastro’s founders Jeffrey and Michael Mastro have brought their
latest carnivorous concept to the heart of River North this summer. The 12,000-square-foot dining spot boasts sleek design, a lively patio, and creative fare like fried deviled eggs, superfood salads, a king crab avocado stack, and 28-day wet-aged prime NY strips, bone-in rib eyes, and filet mignons cut in-house by the restaurant’s master butcher.
615 N. Wabash St.; steak48.com/ steakhouse-chicago
3 ARTS CLUB CAFE
Hogsalt Hospitality founder Brendan Sodikoff says of this airy retreat at the center of RH’S fab Gold Coast gallery, “It’s a place where anyone can feel at home.” True—but it helps if you’re wearing designer duds to fit in with the über-chic crowd of lunching ladies. 1300 N. Dearborn St., 312-475-9116; 3artsclubcafe.com
III FORKS STEAKHOUSE
Tucked into the Lakeshore East complex north of millennium park, this sleek downtown destination scores with a primo rooftop lounge and an updated steakhouse menu that tempts with plates like lamb meatballs, seared scallops with bacon jam, prime double-cut pork chops, and an impressive selection of prime, dry-aged, and Wagyu beef. 180 N. Field Blvd., 312-938-4303; 3forks.com/chicago is “Spies, Traitors, and Saboteurs: Fear and Freedom in America,” which explores nine major events in US history when the nation was threatened from within its own borders. 1601 N. Clark St., 312-6424600; chicagohistory.org
DUSABLE MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY
Explore the history and culture of America’s black communities in diverse exhibits like “Freedom, Resistance, and the Journey Toward Equality” and “A Slow Walk to Greatness: The Harold Washington Story,” as well as works by notables such as Henry Ossawa Tanner and Archibald motley Jr. 740 E. 56th Pl., 773-947-0600; dusablemuseum.org
This natural history nerve center is beloved for its world-famous resident T. rex fossil SUE, as well as dynamic exhibitions and the new interactive Grainger Science Hub. On view through January 7, 2018, is “Specimens: Unlocking the Secrets of Life,” an examination of the importance of some of the museum’s more than 30 million specimens. 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., 312-9229410; fieldmuseum.org
This century-old nightclub was a favorite of the Al Capone set and still attracts jazzheads from around the world for performances by patricia Barber and the Alan Gresik Swing Shift Orchestra.
INSIDER TIP: The Uptown poetry Slam (Sundays, 7–10 pm) is a rollicking celebration of the spoken word, hosted with lacerating wit by slam poetry legend marc Kelly Smith. 4802 N. Broadway, 773-8785552; greenmilljazz.com
From hosting performances of world music and international dance to serving as home to local companies like Hubbard Street Dance and Chicago Opera Theater, this sleek, subterranean millennium park oasis has evolved into one of the city’s most compelling cultural venues. 203 E. Randolph St., 312-334-7777; harristheaterchicago.org
From expansive lawns and an extraordinary live music venue to a duo of crowd-pleasing public art installations in Anish Kapoor’s iconic Cloud Gate (“The Bean”) and Jaume plensa’s Crown Fountain, this 25-acre playground has become the epicenter of downtown Chicago.
INSIDER TIP: Stroll across Frank Gehry’s sinuous bridge toward the lake to discover the kid-tastic maggie Daley park, with climbing walls and slides aplenty. 201 E. Randolph St., 312-742-1168; millenniumpark.org
MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY
The largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere, this institution celebrates innovation with interactive exhibits that explore green energy, space travel, future tech, and more. INSIDER TIP: On a scale of 1 to 10, the baby chick hatchery scores an 11 for cuteness, eliciting “oohs” and “aahs” from all ages. 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., 773-684-1414; msichicago.org
Chicago’s number-one attraction, with more than 9 million visitors a year, celebrated its centennial in 2016 with an extensive redesign, including a new all-weather Ferris wheel that soars a towering 196 feet. 600 E. Grand Ave., 800-595-7437; navypier.com
Creative takes on global street food—like this roasted eggplant with tahini, pomegranate, and paratha—are making mroxi one of the city’s must-try new dining spots.