8 Great Restaurants Near the Art Institute of Chicago

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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

Address: 135 W. Madison

Why we like it:
The Roanoke is an upscale tavern worth visiting. The decor has high-end finishes and is dimly lit. The mood is calm from the moment you enter. Great food and service. Breakfast is served on Saturdays and Sunday only and they open at 8 AM.

Specialties: Tavern Breakfast, Steak and Eggs, Roanoke French Toast

Price: $$

plate of french toast
Roanoke French Toast – Credit: Denyce M.
plate of food
Crab Cake
glass of sangria

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.

Goddess and the Baker

Address: 33 S Wabash Ave

Why we like it:
Delicious foods with healthy choices are available. Service is quick and it’s a great option for those with a full itinerary who need a fast bite. The decor is Instagram-worthy.

Specialties: Bourbon Praline Latte, Raspberry-Pistachio Cruffin, Macrons

Price: $$

coffee and pastries in a flat lay
Coffee and Pastries – Credit: Robbie P.

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.

Pittsfield Cafe

Address: 135 W. Madison

Why we like it:
The cafe has a quaint charm. Prices are reasonable for those on a budget. The menu is pretty expansive and vegetarian-friendly.

Breakfast: Open at 7 AM

Specialties: French toast, pancakes, eggs benedicts.

Price: $$

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

Cindy’s Roof Top

Address: 12 S. Michigan

Why we like it:
This is a very popular Chicago restaurant known for its great views of the Bean, Lake Michigan, and Grant Park. Stop at the bar for mimosas and head to the balcony for the sights.

Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays until 2 PM

Specialties: Korean Friend Chicken Sandwich, Crab Cake Sandwich

Price: $$

salmon on bagel
Salmon on Bagel – Credit: JZ

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.

Russian Tea Time

Address: 77 E Adams St

Why we like it:
The variety of teas is outstanding. The restaurant is a gem.

Brunch: Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM to 1 PM

Specialties: Beef Stroganoff, Premium Teas, Honey Cake

Price: $$$

tea cup and tea pot

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 Pizza

Address: 61 E Madison St

Why we like it:
Do you like a tasty thin-crust pizza? Then you will love Pizano’s Pizza. The pizza is outstanding. Pizano’s is also Oprah’s favorite.

The food is delivered piping hot and in generous portions. Outdoor seating is available during summer to enjoy city sights and sounds from the sidewalk.

Specialties: Calamari with marinara, gluten-free crust available.

Price: $$

deep dish pizza on a plate at Pizano's Chicago
Credit: Sable S.

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.

Chef’s kiss!

Hanabusa Cafe

Address: 29 E Madison

Why we like it:
Light and fluffy Japanese souffle pancakes with incredible toppings. We enjoyed the ambiance and variety of classic, herbal, and fruit teas.

Brunch: Open at 11 AM

Specialties: Japanese pancakes, Asian tea

Price: $$

Japanese pancakes covered with match sauce
Matcha Pancakes

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.

Exchequer Restaurant & Pub

Address: 226 S. Wabash

Why we like it:
Enjoy classic American foods like an award-winning Chicago-style deep dish pizza, baby back ribs, steaks, chops, fresh seafood, and a variety of super salads and sandwiches.

Specialties: Pizza, Burgers

Price: $$

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.

Enjoying More of Chicago

However, for a nice Chicago neighborhood dining experience, we recommend these restaurants.  

front of the art institute of chicago

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.

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