Happy weekend, everyone! I am so excited to finally tackle this post, because this part of the city is really special to me now. Adam moved to North Center a year before we moved in together, and we fell in love with the North Center/Ravenswood/Lincoln Square part of the city.
We even bought a home up here and frequently talk about how we never want to move! There are so many wonderful things I could say about these neighborhoods, but let’s start with the best Lincoln Square restaurants!
The Best Lincoln Square Restaurants
Best Pizza – Spacca Napoli
If you’ve been following me a while, you know that Spacca Napoli is not only one of my favorite Lincoln Square restaurants, but it’s also one of my favorite restaurants in the entire city. Even though it’s a pizza spot, you won’t find any deep dish on the menu.
Instead, it’s all authentic wood fired pizza and simple Italian appetizers and salads. Obviously that’s right up my alley, so as soon as Adam moved up north (before we moved in together!), I told him we had to go. That has turned into full blown love – there was one stretch of summer when we went almost every weekend!
We’ve taken tons of our friends there, and honestly, we’ve never had a bad experience. Even my brother who doesn’t give his seal of approval to Italian restaurants easily, loved it. Make sure to grab a free cannoli on the way out if you go over the weekend. They’re almost as good as the pizza!
Best Date Night – The Warbler
The Warbler has become our go-to date night spot. If you like to order a few things and share, you’ll love it – but you also don’t have to share.
Whether it’s just you and your partner at the bar, or you have a big group of girlfriends, it’s fun to try a few veggies (the carrots are our favorite), flatbreads, maybe a pasta, maybe a salad… you can’t go wrong, it’s all good. And their cocktails are super inventive! Our favorite drink is the Purple Martin, which has rye whiskey, allspice dram, lemon-basil, fresh orange, lime juice, and beet juice. Sounds weird, but it’s delicious.
Runner Up Date Night – Gather
The Warbler and Gather are like the power couple of Lincoln Square restaurants. They’re owned by the same people and you can’t go wrong with either. In fact, I read on Infatuation that if Gather was in River North, it would be impossible to get into – and I completely agree.
This critically acclaimed restaurant is cozy and inviting, with a seasonal menu by executive chef, Ken Carter (who used to work for Charlie Trotter). Admittedly, we usually try to get into The Warbler first, but you can’t go wrong with this sister-restaurant of theirs next door.
Best Brewery – Spiteful Brewing
Spiteful is by far our favorite brewery in the area. It’s on a cute quiet street, everyone who works there is the nicest, and they have tons of seating both inside and outside. I’m not even a big beer fan and I can always find one I like. Get the radler during the summer months – it’s so refreshing!
We love to bring games or play cards over a few drinks with friends, but they also have trivia nights a few times a month, too!
Best Patio – Bistro Campagne
Bistro Campagne has incredible french food, but the patio is what makes it really special. You walk through the charming interior of the restaurant and end up in a little secret garden. The twinkle lights and blooming trees will make you forget that you’re even in the city! And don’t skip the escargot. Trust me.
Best Bagels – R&A Sourdough
As a former New Yorker, I can be kind of a bagel snob – and R&A Sourdough bagels are DELICIOUS. As the name would suggest, they have sourdough bagels, along with some other fun goodies. The best is when you get them warm – perfectly chewy and nostalgic. I love having them in the neighborhood so much!!
Best Brunch/Bakery – Geraldine’s Cafe
We love brunch, but there aren’t a ton of brunch places in this part of the city. Luckily, we discovered that Geraldine’s (the cafe attached to Jerry’s Sandwiches) not only has incredible coffee and baked goods, but they also have a full breakfast menu with breakfast sandwiches, omelets and more! Also, if you like bananas, they have a banana tahini muffin that will blow your mind.
Sushi – Miku Sushi
I wouldn’t say Miku has my favorite sushi in the city, but it’s pretty darn good. Especially when you order from their half price menu between 4-6pm. HALF PRICE! Such a great deal! Even if you go after 6, their prices are really reasonable though.
Soft Serve – Vaca’s Creamery
Vaca’s Creamery just opened their second location right in Lincoln Square and after just one visit, I know we will be going all summer. Their vegan soft serve is creamy and light – and the homemade strawberry sauce was the star for me. Yummmm!
Tacos – Rojo Gusano
We came across Rojo Gusano completely by chance one summer night. I remember being so excited that they had vegetable tacos, that I got all three. Charred butternut squash tacos with roasted kale, braised cauliflower tacos with mole, and mushroom tacos with roasted garlic. I was so happy!
Seafood – Glenn’s Diner
If you’ve ever seen a wall of cereal boxes on Instagram, that’s Glenn’s Diner. Besides having over 25 cereals (that you can order with chilled milk and fresh fruit!), they also have an extensive seafood menu. In fact, they have over 16 fresh fish options written daily on their big blackboard in the restaurant.
From Pacific Swordfish to Alaskan King Crab Legs to scallops to sea bass, they have it all. A great place to get a piece of fish in a super casual setting… and then you can get ice cream at Margie’s Candies across the street after dinner 😉
Best Korean BBQ – Cho Sun Ok
Okay, we haven’t actually been to Cho Sun Ok, but it’s on every list of must-try Lincoln Square restaurants. Pretty much every time I pass it around dinner time, there are groups of people outside waiting for their table… and I hear it’s 100% worth the wait. We haven’t gone yet because I’m a pain to share Korean BBQ with (I don’t eat red meat!), but it sounds like the perfect spot for a double date!
Did I miss any of your favorite Lincoln Square restaurants?!
We are always looking for new places to try, so please leave a comment if I did! We’ll add it to our list!
PS. You might also like Best Date Night Restaurants in Chicago.