Looking for a hearty breakfast or relaxing lunch? Several great restaurants near the Art Institute of Chicago are perfect for refueling between adventures.
I have visited the museum several times and wandered around to soak up the famous paintings, sculptures, and vignettes.
When I’ve had my fill of the masterpieces inside and I’m looking for a bite to eat, these are a few of my picks in the area for delicious dining options.
Best Restaurants Near the Art Institute of Chicago
The Roanoke also serves brunch and I have dined here for dinner, too. The service is consistently attentive. I love the atmosphere — it’s casual, yet sophisticated.
Their specialties include macaroni & cheese which has a delicious made-from-scratch cheddar sauce. Another one of my favorite dishes is the roasted Brussels sprouts.
The Key lime pie and panna cotta are great dessert choices. They also have creative mixed drinks like the Old Fashioned that taste like Cracker Jacks.
The smoked salmon plate and bacon avocado omelet look and smell amazing! You can find healthy options like crunchy berry oatmeal or granola with milk.
I prefer to indulge myself with sweets at Goddess and the Baker. The red velvet cupcake is my favorite.
This cafe is easy to miss because it’s in the lobby of a historic commercial building.
Located just a block from Millennium Park, the cafe is a great place to fuel up before heading out for tours because they are open so early.
Lunch or Brunch
The Russian Tea Time is a lovely way to spend the afternoon and it is less than a 5-minute walk from the Art Institute of Chicago. Beyond teas, the menu extends to champagne and other bubbly varieties as well.
Return for dinner to experience more dishes that take you on a culinary journey of Russian cuisine.
Pizano’s is always buzzing and the food smells heavenly. It’s one of the best spots in the area for Chicago-style pizza.
Chicagoans love the savory sausage on this pizza! It boasts a tender, juicy interior encased in a delicate yet crisp outer casing that maintains its shape with every bite.
When I cut into my vegetarian pie, the toppings of earthy mushrooms, vibrant spinach leaves, aromatic basil, and creamy cheese blanket the surface without sliding off.
Hanabusa is not huge but the food packs a flavor punch. I loved the ambiance and cute decor. The pancakes were so filling I could barely finish them.
You may want to be camera-ready to capture the memory of this restaurant. Sometimes there is a line because the space is limited.
The Exchequer is one of the lunch spots for locals. They serve great comfort food.
The interior has an old Chicago ambiance. Rumor has it that the restaurant was a “speak-easy” patronized by Al Capone.
In addition to the pub fare, there is a good list of beers to choose from. Go for the burgers, stay for the friendly atmosphere.
I have visited Cindy’s for lunch and for corporate events. If you can, make reservations in advance or arrive at the opening to walk in.
Cindy’s draws a huge crowd and wait times can be long, but you won’t be disappointed.
The food is just as amazing. The open-air, clear glass ceiling and spacious interior will also catch your eye.
Enjoying More of Chicago
However, for a nice Chicago neighborhood dining experience, we recommend these restaurants.
You’ll find even more table service and quick service restaurants on Michigan Ave in the northern direction of the museum.
You can also have a nice dining experience at top restaurants on the Chicago Riverwalk.
As you go on a deeper exploration of Chicago you can explore by discovering the city’s landmarks with our guide to unlocking Chicago’s top attractions and city passes effortlessly.
And of course, you should prioritize safety with our insights into the art of navigating Chicago in our essential guide.
For architecture enthusiasts, delve into the city’s design masterpieces with our recommendations for immersive Chicago architecture tours.
Short on time? Get the most out of your visit with the ultimate Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off experience.
Final Thoughts on Restaurants Near Art Institute of Chicago
There are cafes and a dining room at the museum but the hours of operation may be limited (check ahead of time).
You can also find a few food trucks on Monroe St just east of Michigan Ave in the warmer seasons.
However, if you want to get out and explore Chicago‘s culinary scene, this post will help.
From casual Chicago staples like deep-dish pizza to upscale, white-tablecloth establishments, the restaurants around the Institute boast some of the best food in the city.
Grab a coffee and croissant at a cozy French cafe before heading into the museum, or refresh yourself after taking in the art with crave-worthy Japanese, BBQ, Italian, and fusion dishes just steps away.
With tasty food abounding outside its doors, the Art Institute of Chicago makes for a perfect day of culture and cuisine without having to travel far between exhibits and meals.