If you have lived in the midwest for some time now, you probably have become accustomed to one of our most beloved pastimes: dining out. Because it is one of the few activities we have to keep us entertained during the colder months, chances are we aren’t always that hungry for a full meal (or have the funds to continuously eat out). Thankfully, there are tons of restaurants that are perfect for a light bite in Chicago. Since some of these spots are participating in Chicago Restaurant Week, make sure you go check their special menu out before Sunday, February 5th!
114 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
The first stop on the list is Trivoli Tavern. Trivoli is a Chicago cult favorite and for good reason. The culmination of a timeless ambiance and unbeatable happy hour specials makes this the ideal spot for a light bite and perhaps a teeny martini if you have a taste for something a bit stronger. They offer tasty sharing plates like pigs in a blanket, oysters, and sliders of your choice.
1462 E 53rd St., Chicago, Il 60615
Another Chicago gem with exceptional small bites. Virtue is the perfect spot to satisfy your comfort food fix. While you can never have enough comfort food, there is no denying the generous helpings usually leave you in a food coma. Lucky for you, Virtue gives you the best of both worlds. Enjoy a catfish slider or two and a few buffalo mac and cheese croquettes while catching up at the bar with a friend. Light fares and great company make for a wonderful Chicago evening.
200 N Green Street Chicago, IL 60607
Chicago rooftops are by far one of the best places to grab a bite with a friend, get to know a new colleague, enjoy a romantic date, spend quality time with the whole family, or escape for some much-needed alone time. Cabra offers both delectable small plates and gorgeous Chicago views from atop the Hoxton.
Their Peruvian small plates breathe even more life into an already lovely ambiance. You cannot go wrong with the shrimp or duck ceviche. It’s light, flavorful, and refreshing for the palette. For my vegetarians, the avocado dip or grilled shishitos are the perfect light bite.
1000 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
While Swift & Sons is a sleek and sophisticated steakhouse, this doesn’t disqualify them as one of the best places for a light bite. Their seafood is fresh with a coastal-grade quality that makes for the ideal small plate to share with friends or family. The Swift & Sons cold platter is a seafood lover’s dream and offers a balanced variety of light seafood options. The platter includes a chilled shrimp cocktail, king Crab, oysters, and salmon tartare.
3920 Lawerence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
High-quality, affordable sushi, what else is there to want out of a restaurant? Why it may seem like a peculiar choice, but no restaurant compares to being named the best Chicago restaurant for light bites. They have a wide selection of sashimi and nigiri rolls to keep your selection light, affordable, well-versed, and delicious. I can think of no better girl’s night in or wine night with a partner than with a platter of sushi from Lawrence Fish Market.
837 Fulton Street, Chicago, IL
The Publican is known for doing oysters the right way (some would say it’s one of the best ways in the city). Oysters are the ideal light bite. They are small but still can be prepared with a depth of flavor that still satisfies. If seafood isn’t your cup of tea, they also have wonderful small plates like bread and charcuterie plates.
302 N. Green Street Floor 3, Chicago IL, 60607
I think we can all agree that a great chip and dip is a classic light bite that always hits the spot. The elevated version of this dish to me with smooth, creamy hummus and warm pita bread. This small plate is the cherry on top of any occasion out with loved ones. It is the type of light bite that is meant to be shared over an engaging conversation.
Aba offers several hummus dishes with an immense depth of flavor that delivers in each bite. If you want something even lighter, the whipped feta is airy, complimented by the saltiness of the crushed pistachios, and balanced with the citrus from the lemon zest.
311 N. Sangamon St., Chicago, IL 60607
If you’re looking for variety in your light bite experience, head to Fulton Market Kitchen for a handful of options that will not disappoint. I would highly recommend bringing a friend or two a sampling a little bit of everything. These small plates pack a sophisticated punch into every bite, yet are not overly filling.
3143 W. Logan Blvd., Chicago, IL 60647
What do you get when you combine an elegant ambiance, hand-crafted cocktails, good company and light bar bites? The answer is always Billy Sunday. If the light bite you seek is a tasty snack to accompany a drink or five, then look no further. They offer an assortment of charcuterie plates, curried nuts, marinated olives, pickled vegetables, and puppy chow.
74 W Illinois St, Chicago, IL 60654
On the days you’re not feeling a heavy meal, some hummus spread, mezze, and spiced bread might hit the spot. Ema is definitely one of the best places for a light bite in Chicago — and a relaxing time! Go through the main restaurant and make yourself a lunch box from Rotisserie Ema, or explore their regular menu.
Featured Image: The Publican