Bars and restaurants in Chicago are closed for dine-in service, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit in a corner and eat beans out of a can until you forget what plates look like. You can still order takeout and delivery - and help support a lot of businesses while you do it. If you need some ideas, here are a bunch of places that are perfect for everything from a Big Night In to When You Want Something Vegetarian or Vegan. Scroll down for all the spots (organized by situation), and stay tuned for updates.
When you Want To Have A Big Night In
Etta has been offering family-style meals for carryout and delivery. Offerings change daily, and they allow pre-ordering.
Nothing says “I do what I want” like getting an entire over-the-top, upscale steakhouse meal delivered to your house. This is also a good opportunity to wear a suit while eating at your Ikea coffee table.
OK, we stand corrected. Eating an over-the-top steak and seafood meal also says, “I do what I want,” Don’t forget to include a piece of Joe’s famous key lime pie.
Club Lucky is an old-school spot known for its martinis and great Italian food. And not only can you get their fantastic pastas (like the handmade cavatelli) sent straight to your door, but they’re also delivering “quarantinis” so you can make their signature cocktail at home. Basically, you can pretend that your James Bond for the night, only not at all.
RPM has always done a great job with delivery. Everything is carefully packaged, and the food available on the delivery menu travels really well. But if you want to go all out, order the family-meal. It comes with housemade bucatini, truffle garlic bread, salad, and chocolate budino.
That’s right. We’ve come to a point in our society when Alinea is offering to-go. The menu changes regularly, but you can expect family-style meals like Beef Wellington with mashed potatoes. So no, it’s not an edible balloon, but you probably weren’t going to Alinea anytime soon, anyway.
Before ordering Aba, take a moment to measure your coffee table. Then order as many spreads, hummuses, and mezze dishes that you think can reasonably fit on it. Don’t forget to request extra pita.
Siena Tavern’s entire menu is available for delivery (get the truffle gnocchi). Or you can order one of their family-style meals where you choose your entree and pasta (get the truffle gnocchi). More importantly, don’t forget to ask them to select a bottle of wine to go with your dinner.
This steakhouse in the Gold Coast is determined to make sure we can all still have fancy-ass meals despite being on lockdown. They have steaks, fire-roasted seafood, truffle-filled sides, and expensive bottles of wine available.
When you Want Something affordable
Qing Xian Yuan specializes in handmade, broth-filled dumplings that start at around $10, and you can get in orders of 12 or 18. Choose between steamed, boiled, or fried, with fillings like pork and pickled cabbage, shrimp and leak, or egg and pepper. And if you’d rather cook them yourself, you can buy them pre-made and decide how you’d like them prepared.
Before we were all under house arrest, we could generally judge the difficulty of a day based on how many containers of Spice Room were in front of us. We still like ordering from here to comfort us, and thankfully, their Indian food is reasonably priced. Get the malai kofta, tikka masala, and both the garlic and kashmiri naan - which they’ll thoughtfully put in separate wrappers, so you don’t have garlic leaking into everything.
Athenian Room has delicious, incredibly affordable Greek food. Almost everything on their menu is under $13, including the kalamata chicken - one of the best roast chicken dishes in Chicago.
Sure, you can easily make a sandwich yourself. But recreating the sandwiches from Tempesta Market would involve a lot of work, and specialty ingredients cost a lot of money. You’re better off just ordering directly from this West Town sandwich shop. Get The Dante (which has an entire deli counter’s worth of house-cured meat and a spicy ’nduja aioli) or the Beet Streets (thinly-shaved beets and apples with homemade almond butter).
Irazu’s Costa Rican food is both extremely affordable and incredibly good. Most things on the long menu range from $5-$12, and we’re pretty sure eating gallo pinto and sweet plantains will help you feel like your on a tropical vacation instead of sitting in your living room.
Spoiler alert: “The Momo World” specializes in momos. They have a wide variety of these Nepali dumplings, including the classic chicken or vegetable, jhol (served in a spicy soup), and options like tandoori, which are steamed then fried. It’s all delicious, and each order is under $10. So, you better get all of them.
Arranging an entire pig roast might be fun, but it’s not always practical to play Lord Of The Flies in your apartment. So we suggest calling Carnitas Uruapan instead. Here you can get either belly, shoulder, or rib meat, and it’s all priced by weight. Even better, your order will come with some fantastic handmade tortillas.
Birrieria Zaragoza makes ordering very easy because they only focus on one thing: goat. The meat is tender and juicy, and has just the right amount of funkiness that’s nicely balanced out by their delicious salsa. Plus, the handmade tortillas are a great goat delivery system.
You should order Hing Kee for one reason: the handmade xiao long bao. Get the pork or pork with crab, and make sure to throw in a scallion pancake, too. Since everything is so reasonably priced, you might as well.
Not only is everything at 5 Rabanitos really good, but it’s also all pretty affordable, ranging from $3-$18 per dish. There’s no such thing as a bad order here, but a good starting point is some guacamole, the green tamale, some tacos, and maybe a torta.
Our favorite thing to focus on at this Chinese restaurant is the dim sum. And while the dim sum menu at D Cuisine is pretty short, what they do have is consistently delicious. You’ll find excellent pork buns, smooth and creamy steamed egg buns, shrimp dumplings, and sesame balls that are crispy on the outside and perfectly chewy inside.
Tank Noodle in Little Vietnam has friendly service and very tasty Vietnamese food. There’s an extensive menu, but the combination pho with sliced beef is the best thing here. Get a bowl of that along with some spring rolls.
Honey Butter Fried Chicken makes fried chicken topped with honey butter, and you should order extra butter. Your order will come with little corn muffins, which benefit from extra honey butter as well. Feel free to get a small salad, too - although honey butter’s effect on salad is still unknown.
Everything on this Szechuan menu - from the excellent shrimp dry hot pot to the fatty beef to the chili wontons - has the perfect amount of mouth-numbing spice. Plus, their take on chongqing chicken, which includes french fries, is currently edging out Athenian Room for the most delicious chicken and fries in the city.
Strings is one of our favorite ramen spots, and under normal circumstances doesn’t do delivery or takeout. But nothing’s “normal” anymore, so now you can get the delicious ramen delivered to you. There are four different types of broth (shoyu, miso, shio, and tonkotsu) with fantastic hand-pulled noodles, and a bowl is around $15.
Restaurants With Groceries
This little restaurant and wine shop has quite a few things you can order besides prepared food. Like tinned fish, various snacks, cheese and cheese accessories (a.k.a. crackers), and of course, wine.
You can order prepared food like pasta or pastries from Eataly. Or, you can have groceries and alcohol delivered right to your door. Better yet, do both.
Every day Middle Brow offers something new to stock your pantry with - you might find cultured butter, turmeric jam, or eggs. Whatever they have, make sure you also order some of their housemade bread and beer (which is always available) to go with it.
This Pilsen market has fresh produce, dairy, meat, and specialty items. There’s also a deli counter with prepared food. Available for pickup and delivery.
Imagine if the store section of Cracker Barrel was filled with things you’d actually want to buy, and zero people on a road trip from Iowa. That’s the type of specialty items (like pancake mix, pickled vegetables, and housemade condiments) you’ll find at River Valley along with a lot of fresh produce. And right now, you don’t have to be on your way to the Wisconsin Dells to shop here.
This health food market and restaurant is delivering grocery boxes. Offerings vary, but you can expect to find fruit and vegetables (like shallots, blueberries, and spinach), along with sourdough bread.
This little coffee shop and cafe in Beverly is offering both delivery and takeout. And they have you covered if you want a latte, and some donuts to go with it.
Cafe Jumping Bean in Pilsen is offering carryout. Make sure to pick up one of their fantastic pastries while you’re there.
Not only can you get coffee drinks and sandwiches from Cafe Mustache, but you can get beer delivered, too.
All locations of Dark Matter are offering curbside pickup and takeout.
Dropshot in Streeterville has coffee available for takeout, along with snacks like empanadas.
Finom in Irving Park has a long menu of specialty coffee drinks (like Turkish delight, or an espresso tres leches made with marzipan), along with a few Hungarian small plates. And everything is available for either takeout or curbside pickup.
Gaslight makes great espresso drinks, and they’re open for carryout. So, go to Gaslight for an espresso drink.
Heritage has coffee and Do-Rite donuts available for takeout and delivery. No bicycles, though.
Metric Coffee in West Town has some really delicious coffee blends. And luckily, they’re open for carryout - so pick up a cappuccino and get some whole beans for home.
This Bucktown coffee shop has a long menu of drinks (like matcha and pistachio cold brew, or Turkish coffee) that you can get to-go. They also have a great selection of baked goods like scones and cookies.
All three locations of this coffee shop (Bronzeville, Hyde Park, and Rosenwald) are available for takeout and curbside pickup.
when you want a big, family-style meal
No matter what you’re in the mood for, Amaru probably has an option for you. This Latin American restaurant is offering five different family-style meals. They range from $30-$50, have a lot of variety, and will feed up to four people. You’ll find dinners like pork shoulder, roasted potatoes, beet salad, and lentils. Or salmon, brussels sprouts, rice, lentils, and vigoron (cabbage salad with chicharrones). Plus, they even have a vegan option available.
Along with wine, cheese, and cheese accessories, All Together Now has been doing family-style meals. The menu changes daily, but they post the week’s schedule ahead of time so you can plan. Available for carryout and delivery.
Etta’s five-course, family-style meals are available Mon-Wed, and are also available for pre-order. The menus change, but you can expect a salad, pasta or pizza, entree, vegetable, and dessert. As a bonus, you’ll receive a gift card matching whatever amount you spend.
There are two family suppers at Funkenhausen - a $25 option for two, or a $40 one that feeds four. You get either a half or whole smoked chicken, some sides, and soft pretzels.
For $39, S.K.Y. is offering a four-course menu for two people. It includes cornbread madeleines, truffle croquettes, and your choice of salad, entree, and side.
Pacific Standard Time is doing four-course meals for $40. And in keeping with the pattern of “fours,” they’re meant to feed four people. The options vary, but a typical dinner will have an appetizer like burrata, entrees like braised short rib, vegetable sides, and dessert.
One of our favorite restaurants in the city is offering a $50 family-style meal for two. The menu changes daily, but expect dishes like bing bread, kimchi-guk, steamed rice, and a dessert of the day.
For $40, you can get a preselected family meal from Siena Tavern that feeds up to four people. There are two versions to choose from - your choice of antipasta, pizza, and pasta, or antipasti, salad, and entree. Thankfully, you can supplement your dinner with dishes from the rest of the menu, too.
Wherewithall was one of our favorite new spots of 2019, so we’re glad they’re now offering carryout and delivery. They are doing a $50 or $100 family meal for two to four, and a family-style brunch on the weekends for the same price.
When you Want Something Vegetarian
“Meat Free Since ’83” is the motto at the Chicago Diner, so if you guessed that this place is vegetarian, you’d be correct. There’s a long menu with a lot of diner-style vegan options, like a reuben sandwich made with seitan, lentil mushroom meatloaf, and desserts like a carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting.
Not only is the Mexican food at Healthy Substance vegan, but it’s objectively great. Everything from the shredded cashew cheese to the spicy al pastor, chorizo, and steak is made in house, and none of it feels overprocessed. Order the chilaquiles, tacos, burritos, or basically anything that sounds good.
Handlebar’s menu is filled with vegan American comfort food, like a buffalo seitan wrap with ranch dressing, mac and cheese, and a Chicago-style tofu dish that’s inspired by our city’s obsession with hot dogs. Because right now, vegans need comforting too.
Ground Control’s vegetarian menu is eclectic. There are appetizers like fried green tomatoes, plus banh mi sandwiches made with tofu and a torta ahogada with seitan. If you can’t decide what you’re in the mood for, this is a good place to start.
DIY meal kits
Dimo’s in Wrigleyville is known for their pizza by the slice that makes particularly good drunk food - like mac and cheese pizza, or buffalo chicken, or s’mores. For better or worse, they’re selling their most popular flavors in kit form (yes, including the mac and cheese). As a bonus, they’re live-streaming a pizza-making class at 6:30pm every night.
The Wrigleyville Happy Camper location is selling DIY pepperoni pizza kits that include, dough, marinara, cheese, garlic olive oil, and pepperoni. Also important? It includes a bottle of red or white house wine.
Middle Brow Bungalow has a few different pizza kits - pepperoni, margherita, mushroom, and sausage and olive. They all come with fresh mozzarella, sauce, toppings, and a ball of dough - which makes a fantastic crust. Instructions come with the kit, but if you get in the weeds, they also have a tutorial saved as a highlight on Instagram.
Passerotto is only offering DIY kits for delivery and takeout. They’ll set you up with ingredients to make dishes like their kalbi for two, or their ddukbokki with lamb ragu, and everything is designed to be made in about 10 minutes. And if you want more projects, they’re also selling things like kimchi and homemade XO sauce kits.
This is another pizza spot that’s selling kits for you to build (and cook) your own pizzas. It includes dough, flour (for stretching), tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil.
This Bridgeport pizza spot is offering DIY pizza kits for carryout and delivery.
Are cookies a meal? They are now. And Summer House is selling raw cookie dough so you can make their fantastic cookies yourself. And since the pastry case is one of the best things about this restaurant, that’s great news.
Eating Pequod’s at home (preferably on the couch) is encouraged because it makes your transition to the inevitable deep-dish-induced nap very easy. This is pan-style pizza, and what sets it apart is its “caramelized” crust, a.k.a. the burnt edges of crispy cheese surrounding the pie. Also good to know - they’re offering wine and beer for pickup and delivery, too.
If you want deep dish that’s not the pan-style variety, order Lou Malnati’s. It’s the best version of classic Chicago-style pizza, meaning its sauce is on the top with the cheese and toppings underneath. And right now, all of their locations are offering no-contact delivery.
During these uncertain times, you can still count on having Bob’s Pilsen-style pizza for pickup and/or delivery. It’s certainly not a real style but has a wonderfully chewy, thin crust with a bubbled puffy edge.
This European wine bar has started making thick, rectangular Sicilian pan-style pizzas. Just call the restaurant for delivery or pickup.
We generally avoid getting traditional Neapolitan pizzas delivered - they usually don’t travel very well. But, it’s a new world now, and we’re making an exception for Forno Rosso. And if we want to eat Neapolitan pies without leaving the house, this place delivers.
The pizzas at Robert’s have an airy, crispy crust that holds up well to toppings. And this place has a variety to choose from - like fennel with pepperoni and honey, and sausage with caramelized onions. And during the shutdown, they’re having people submit topping ideas via Instagram and making the winner the special of the day. Which is just fun.
Paulie Gee’s’ entire menu is available for pickup and no-contact delivery. And if you’ve ever had their fantastic Neapolitan and/or Detroit-style pizzas, you already know this is great news. Just make sure not to tell anyone from New York that you like this place. Their pizza egos are big enough already.
When You just want dessert
Any treats you wanted as a kid - from Oreo dirt cups to edible cookie dough to banana pudding with Nilla wafers- are available for delivery from Sweet Mandy B’s. And while the nostalgic desserts are great, this place also has an excellent selection of cookies, pies, and cakes.
Sure, Molly’s has desserts besides cupcakes, but don’t concern yourself with those. What you want to order from this bakery are the specialty cupcakes. You’ll find choices filled with cake batter, cookies and creme, and ganache. There’s nothing subtle happening here, but when you’ve been in your apartment for 10 days, sometimes you just want to eat a cupcake filled with Nutella.
If you do want a dessert with a bit more nuance than a Kit Kat, order a pie from Spinning J. The menu changes daily, with options like key lime hibiscus, coconut cashew, and purple sweet potato.
Baker Miller takes its baked goods very seriously - they mill their own grain for God’s sake. This same thoughtfulness goes into their pastries, cookies, and pies. Just call ahead to see what they have available. No matter what it will be good.
Pretty Cool Ice Cream makes fancy popsicles with incredibly rich ice cream. They have fantastic flavor combinations like coffee pretzel toffee, peanut butter potato chip, and caramel horchata. Everything has a great balance of sweet and salty, and you should probably order extra - just see how much room you have left in your freezer first.