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Jan 11, 2007 08:13 PM

Best Steak in Chicago?

I'll be in Chicago on business in March and I'm looking for a really good steakhouse. What is the best steak in Chicago?

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  1. There are lots of good ones. The one I like best is Gibson's:

    1028 North Rush Street,
    (corner of Bellevue and Rush)
    Chicago, IL 60611
    (312) 266-8999

    I think the steaks there are great, and I like the way they come out with a big platter to show you the cuts to help you order. It's also a big, boisterous, "see and be seen" type place. Other folks will put in a good word for Morton's, Gene and Georgetti, Saloon, Carson's, Joe's, Pete Miller's, Wildfire, Keefer's, etc. It's not hard to find a good steak here; all of these places are very, very good, and you can't go wrong with any of them!

    Some of these have other locations in addition to downtown. Your location may help you determine a good choice. Will you be downtown while you are here, or in some other part of the city or suburbs?

    One other thing that may affect your choice. All of these places have great steaks, and all of them offer at least a few other, non-steak dishes. However, if you will be dining with others who are not steak lovers, some of them are much more than merely steakhouses. In particular, Carson's is also known for great barbecue ribs, Joe's for its stone crab, and Wildfire for a more balanced menu.

    27 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      I enjoyed Gibsons.

      G&G was pathetic, yes it has an old-time staff but the steak i had was awful.

      Morton's has gone downhill since I ate my first in chicago in 1979. I have eaton in others outside chicago and will never return there, but have sworn to myself that i would give the chi-town location one last try. They have a new CEO and we'll see if he can polish the medal.

      1. re: nsxtasy

        In order to assist others (particularly out-of-town visitors) who may view this topic as a guide to Chicago steakhouses, here are links to websites for all of the places mentioned in this topic. On their websites, you can find location information, menus, hours, etc. I've indicated which ones are in the city, and which in the suburbs, by "C" or "S" after their names:

        Gibson's (C,S) -
        Morton's (C,S) -
        Gene and Georgetti (C) -
        Saloon (C) -
        Carson's (C,S) -
        Joe's (C) -
        Pete Miller's (S) -
        Wildfire (C,S) -
        Keefer's (C) -
        Capital Grille (C) -
        Smith and Wollensky (C) -
        Chicago Chop House (C) -
        David Burke's Primehouse (C) -
        Tramonto's Steak and Seafood (S) -

        1. re: nsxtasy

          The Capital Grille should be noted above as (C,S) since they have a location in Lombard.

          In the interests of completeness, additional suggestions from another food board include:

          Ruth's Chris (C,S) -
          Sullivan's (C,S) -
          The Palm (C,S) -
          Mike Ditka's (C) -
          Don Roth's Blackhawk (S) -
          Erie Cafe (C) -
          Harry Caray's (C) -

          1. re: nsxtasy

            There's one other place I should have added - the Black Ram Steakhouse in Des Plaines, near O'Hare. I've been there numerous times, and it has always been outstanding - not just great steaks, but also everything else on their menu, including the freshest seafood and exceptional desserts, excellent service, nice people, nice atmosphere (not too noisy), etc. It's one of those "hidden gems" that doesn't get a lot of press, but does a great job.

            Black Ram (S) -

            1. re: nsxtasy

              One more to add to the list, with two locations in the north suburbs (I've been there, and it's very good):

              Stoney River (S) -

              1. re: nsxtasy

                Going to the one in Wheeling tomorrow night. Not prime, but gets good reviews.

                1. re: Chicago Wine Geek

                  Stoney River doesn't have a location in Wheeling. Are you going to the one in Deer Park (just south of Lake Zurich), or the new one in Deerfield?

                  I've been there several times and had good meals there. If someone's *really* into steaks (and picky about which one is best), there are other places I'd recommend over SR (Black Ram, Pete Miller's, Gibson's, etc) but it's still decent. You'll enjoy it!

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    It was very good, not great. And yes, it was Deerfield. I look forward to trying Peter Millers next time we have the parents babysit. Never heard of Black Ram, I'll have to Google that one. And did. Not exactly close to Wheeling. Menu looked ok at best.

                2. re: nsxtasy

                  One more to add to the list is a national chain with a location here in Lincolnshire:

                  Fleming's (S) -

                3. re: nsxtasy

                  The website link I posted above for David Burke's Primehouse is more geared towards an overview of Mr. Burke's various associations. There is far more information about the Chicago restaurant itself, including all its various menus in pdf format as well as some nice photos of the restaurant, on the website of its corporate partner/parent at

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    David Burke's Primehouse seems to move its website around. Now, its website with the must current and detailed information for the restaurant is on the website for the James Hotel, in which it is located. Click here:

                    Oh, and the Black Ram has closed.

              2. re: nsxtasy

                I've always enjoyed The chicago chop House, Morton's and Gene & Georgetti's, altho I must admit it's been a while since I've been to any of them.

                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Thanks very much for the listing. I'm an out of town visitor and really appreciate it.

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    You left The Palm off of the list. They have the best New York Strip in Chicago and the best crab cakes. I have been to Gibson's three times over the years and never had a good quality steak. It is great for people-watching, but three strikes and you are out - I do not care if high-profile people are seen dining there. There are better places in town. Morton's is excellent, as well. Morton's and The Palm are in a class of their own and everyone else is a pretender. They are not new or trendy or perhaps not exciting to some, but are we talking about the food or the athmosphere? Capital Grille provides ambiance along with mediocre food preparation. It is the "upscale arm" of the Longhorn Steak chain of reastaurants. They have an outstanding wine list but the steaks never measure up to the old-school restaurants that I mentioned. Smith & Wollensky has no business being in Chicago. They have added nothing to the steak landscape here worth noting. It is just more of the same for a town that already has plenty of meat and potatoes expertize.

                  2. re: nsxtasy

                    I've eaten at Morton's on State and Morton's in Gold Coast and found the Morton's on State distinctly better all across the board.

                    1. re: pugsley

                      Morton's Gold Coast (The Original) is at 1050 North State Street.
                      Morton's Downtown is at 65 East Wacker Place.
                      Their web site doesn't show a Morton's on State that is not the Gold Coast restaurant. What are you talking about?

                      1. re: Eldon Kreider

                        Oops I meant to differentiate between Morton's Gold Coast and Morton's Downtown. I stayed at the Hotel Monaco one night which is next to Morton's Downtown and close to State Street.

                        1. re: pugsley

                          And of the two locations, the one you found distinctly better is...?

                    2. re: nsxtasy

                      My friends and I were in Chicago for one night, and at the recommendation of our concierge for a steakhouse within walking distance we went into Steak Out in Lincoln Park.

                      The steak was fine, although nothing to write home about, and the martinis were strong. We had a nice evening catching up and eating.

                      Our waiter though was perfunctory, and dismissive of our all-girls table. When we asked to have out check split, long before the final bill came, we were ignored. Then when he brought the bill and we asked again to have the bill split he said that we were too late and he couldn't do that. This was irritating enough, but when we split it ourselves, organized it all, paid him, and left, he then chased us down the street because he thought we had short changed him. When I explained the math to him and he still was unwilling to acknowledge that he was being fully compensated, with an appropriately small tip, I returned to the restaurant, and allowed him to run the amount he thought correct, and took back my tip.

                      Didn't appreciate the scene or the chauvinist attitude of the server. Watch out for that place, ladies!

                      1. re: ladyloo

                        Aw, crap. Whine and complain and I get the name of the place wrong - Select Cut Steak House.

                        Select Cut Steak House
                        2808 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657

                        1. re: ladyloo

                          Sorry, but a table of women asking for separate, itemized bills =====>substandard tip. I will never blame a server for refusing to take time away from his other tables to break down a bill for people who are so cheap that they're worried about possibly picking up a couple dollars of someone else's ( a friend's I assume) tab...when the odds are greatly stacked that he's going to get fracked on the tip anyway.

                          Maybe your group was the 1 in 10 such tables that would have left an appropriate tip, but I doubt it. Save the separate check b.s. for the suburban mall Cheesecake Factory.

                          BTW, I live a few blocks from Select Cut. While it doesn't equal the best steakhouses in the Gold Coast, it's a very good neighborhood steak place that I thoroughly enjoy once in awhile.

                          1. re: Sam Harmon

                            So my crappy tip was why I got chased down the street and yelled at? Wow. That's some special customer service there.

                        2. re: nsxtasy

                          Since posting the above, I've been to David Burke's numerous times, as well as Gibson's once or twice, and I've been more impressed by Burke's. Both serve excellent steaks that have been cooked precisely as specified by my dining companions and myself. Both offer good service. But the steaks at Burke's have been at least as tender and flavorful. I've also been more impressed with how knowledgeable the servers are at Burke's. And I find the atmosphere at Burke's far more comfortable and enjoyable; it seems like a relaxed, trendy place, which is reinforced by the contemporary decor, whereas Gibson's always seems like a bustling, crowded, noisy men's club to me. So when I have the choice and I'm looking for a good steak, I prefer Burke's.

                          One other option I choose when my group has one or more non-meat-eaters is Hugo's, the seafood restaurant. Hugo's downtown location is next door to, and owned by, Gibson's, and they share the same kitchen. So it offer's the options of Gibson's steaks, more seafood options than Gibson's, and while the atmosphere is fairly busy there, it's nowhere near as frenetic as Gibson's. In the suburbs, a good choice for great steaks as well as options for non-meat-eaters is Pete Miller's, with locations in Evanston and Wheeling; it is part of the same restaurant group as Davis Street Fishmarket, whose seafood recipes often migrate to the steakhouses.

                          1. re: nsxtasy

                            Wat steak restaurant compares to Peter Luger's or Ben Bensons in NYC

                            1. re: coachrbc

                              If you mean, what steak restaurant represents a virtual consensus as Chicago's best, there isn't one above all others. There are a lot of steakhouses with at least some fans, and all of those have at least a few detractors as well.

                              1. re: nsxtasy

                                your pick what compares to these non chain nationally reknowned steak houses

                              2. re: coachrbc

                                I think it's a mistake to go to a new city and try to find a restaurant that is most like the one you like in another city that you know better. Try one here that has a lot of fans; see what you think. If you don't love it, try another one next time.

                                You may find this article from Chicago Magazine useful in choosing.


                            2. You can't go wrong with Gibsons. Great steak, great atmosphere, great location. The Chicago Chop House serves fantastic steak as well but lacks in appetizers and atmosphere. There are many other great steak places.

                              Gene & Georgetti's has been around for 65 years. The staff has been there for 20-30 years as well...this place has great character. It's a Chicago Institution.

                              Sure Mortons's has great steak and great service but it lacks in personality...far too corporate and sterile for my taste.

                              The Saloon and Keefers get positive reviews as well. Keefer's has a georgeous space.

                              For a decent steak that won't break the bank in a lodge-like setting, try Wildfire.

                              Pete Millers in Evanston has outstanding steak. Nice atmosphere as well. Evanston is the first suburb along the lake north of the city. Definitely worth a day trip here.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: amoncada

                                I second the Pete Millers recomendation. The steaks are great and the lobster bisque is outstanding

                                1. re: Lobstah

                                  For those who prefer Pete Miller's, note that in addition to its original location in Evanston, they also have a location in Wheeling, about eight miles north of O'Hare.

                              2. It's definitely not a steakhouse atmosphere, if that's what you're seeking, but last week I had one of the best steaks I've had in a long time at Chez Joel, the little French place on Taylor St. Unlike most steakhouse steaks, it was sensibly sized (10 oz sirloin, the menu said), perfectly cooked, every bite tender and flavorful.

                                I've actually heard people say they thought Gibson's was overrated. How do people feel about the beef at Capitol

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: Steve Sanders

                                  Gibson's has been just fine every time I've been there. I've also known a lot of other people who have gone to Gibson's, and I've never heard anyone say it's overrated. Sure, some people have commented that it's noisy and bustling, but that's the kind of place it is.

                                  Have you been there? If so, have you been disappointed in any way?

                                  1. re: nsxtasy

                                    Well, I'd say it's overrated, and I've been there. The meat is competently cooked and of decent quality. It's prime, but it's wet aged, and the flavor suffers for it.

                                    Sides/desserts/apps are all average.

                                    I think Smith and Wollensky and David Burke's Primehouse are both quite a bit better, if only because they do a lot of in-house dry aging.

                                    I've always gotten the feeling that Gibson's is popular more for the atmosphere (which is great, if not old-world Chicago clubby) than the food.

                                    1. re: gleam

                                      Then I guess we'll just agree to disagree. As I noted, most folks who go to Gibson's are very happy with their steaks. They wouldn't be the most well-known steakhouse in Chicago if that were not the case.

                                      1. re: nsxtasy

                                        Popularity and quality are not remotely linked. The most well-known hamburger in the country is the Big Mac (or some other McDonald's burger), but is it good? Not even close.

                                        There are so many unjustifiably popular restaurants that it should be readily apparent how flawed your comparison is. Look at, say, the Soupbox, Twin Anchors, or the Berghoff (the restaurant, not the bar, in its last 5-10 years before it closed). Really poor or mediocre restaurants that are nonetheless obscenely popular. So being well known and being popular are among the worst ways to judge the quality of a restaurant.

                                        I didn't say the steaks weren't good at Gibson's, I merely said that I think the place is overrated. So now you've heard someone say it's overrated. I certainly don't think they serve the best steak in Chicago.

                                      2. re: gleam

                                        I took out of country visitors to Smith &....around the holidays specifically for the view of the river and the lights and because the food was supposed to be decent. How disappointing. Luckily we were seated downstairs where it was quieter, but the blinds were down (though open) making the view far less visible and the food (steaks, lobster, soups, etc) were all just barely lukewarm. Yes, we could have sent it back, but then you wait forever and it's overcooked, so......won't return.

                                        1. re: mousse

                                          I second your opinion, S&W was one of the worst meals of my life. The steak was 'black & blue' not the medium I ordered. Additionally there was a large table nearby that was dropping f-bombs every 30 seconds or so...once I realized that the staff didn't intend to do anything about it, I asked them myself to tone down the language and was then mocked for the rest of the night. My request for another table was greeted with quizzical stares.

                                          I contacted the management a few days later...they promised to look into the situation and get back to me. Naturally I never heard from them again.

                                          Awful in every way.

                                  2. Just thought I'd add my 2 cents. Gibson's is very good -- I've been there (and Hugo's) numerous times, and don't feel that it's overrated. However, Gibson's definitely is a "see and be seen" type of place, that's as much about the "scene" as the food. One thing I've never liked about Gibson's is the fact that they make you wait 45 min. or so, even with a reservation. I recall reading that this actually is their policy, in order to make diners "anticipate" the great dining experience (I always felt it was to get people to spend more $$ in the crowded bar).

                                    As others already have indicated, there are many choices -- and, IMO, you really can't go wrong at any of them. One of the best steaks that I've had recently was the kona-crusted dry-aged sirloin at Capital Grille. I personally have come to prefer dry-aged beef, and, as someone noted Gibson's (and a lot of Chicago places) wet age their beef.

                                    1. I can see why people feel that Gibson's/Hugo's are overrated. They serve very good's more about the, "Chicago Experience", and the bustling atmosphere here though. It's in my nature to seek out the best tasting and best quality food but when it comes to a steakhouse, I look for that big shoulders bustling atmosphere. Morton's or the Chop House likely serve a better steak but I prefer Gibsons or Hugos for the atmosphere.