North Branch – Goose Island
Photo source: Instagram @azulmariscoschicago
Upscale Azul has put Goose Island on the map for more than the neighborhood’s namesake beer. Come for the Latin-inspired seafood (mariscos). And stay for the cocktails. Dock and dine on their outdoor patio overlooking the river. Or take in the downtown skyline from Azul’s sprawling roof deck.
The menu at Azul features a good mix of small plates with grilled octopus and lobster empanadas, plus shared mariscada seafood platters. Entrees include chipotle lobster mac & cheese and surf & turf. The beverage list includes a mouthwatering selection of margaritas and sangrias.
Dock for free at one of Azul’s slips. Call ahead or go online for reservations and takeout orders.
1177 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
North Branch – Rockwell on the River
Photo source: Instagram @souldandsmoke
Soul & Smoke is the newest addition to the vibrant Rockwell on the River marine complex. Bring the family and your appetite for generous portions of BBQ and comfort food. And enjoy dockside dining on the patio with an expansive view of the river and evening entertainment.
All meats are smoked fresh daily – so supplies are limited. Standouts include rib tips, prime brisket, and ‘nduja sausage. Pulled pork sliders are a favorite for the boat. Sides range from extra-creamy mac & cheese to garlic mashed potatoes. Wash it all down with Smoke & Soul’s proprietary cocktails or local craft brews, including German-style offerings from neighboring Metropolitan Brewing.
Unless you’re picking up takeout, book your dock space through Rockwell on the River. Dogs, kayaks and canoes are welcome, too.
3057 N Rockwell St. Chicago, IL 60618
Photo source: Instagram @lawrencessrhimp
Whether you’re on the water before dawn or after the fireworks end, head up the South Branch to Chicago’s most beloved shrimp house: Lawrence’s on Canal. Open 24/7, this casual spot has welcomed anglers and boaters from all walks – at all hours – for over 60 years.
Refuel with a variety of entrees, including baskets of oysters, calamari, fish, chicken, and their signature shrimp. Load up on Lawrence’s homestyle sides and desserts. And restock your cooler from a great selection of cold beverages.
Dock at Lawrence’s pier for free. Kayaks and canoes are welcome, too. And don’t forget to grab a selfie with their 20-foot tall crustacean.
2120 S Canal Street, Chicago, IL 60616
Main Branch – Streeterville/Ogden Slip
Photo source: @robertspizzaco
Sheltered from downtown bustle along Odgen Slip, Robert’s Pizza is literally a slice of heaven. Boat up for signature artisanal pizza and drinks – lunch or dinner. Their riverside patio is an urban sanctuary. And it’s the perfect viewing spot for Navy Pier’s fireworks shows.
Robert’s brick oven favorites include the grilled sausage, prosciutto & arugula, and caramelized onion pizzas. Plus they offer a good variety of small plates and pasta dishes. And an extensive wine and beer list.
Call ahead to reserve a place to tie up your boat. Dogs are welcome, too.
465 N McClurg Court, Chicago, IL 60611
Photo source: smithandwollensky.com
For a classic steakhouse experience on the Chicago River, it’s hard to top Smith & Wollensky. Located at the base of the iconic Marina City complex, the upscale two-story eatery offers exceptional meals and service, accompanied by stunning views of the river and the skyline.
The menu features a mix of classic steaks, chops, and seafood, like the USDA prime dry-aged ribeye and the Maine lobster tail. Portions are generous – notably the five-layer chocolate cake. And Smith & Wollensky’s wine list is equally impressive.
Call ahead to reserve a table on the riverside patio. You can also reserve a dock space through JBYS Face Dock.
318 N State Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Main Branch – Clark Street Bridge
Photo source: Instagram @pizzeria.portofino
Tie up, grab a spot on the Porto Patio, order a drink, and watch the world float past. Like its namesake fishing village along the Italian Riviera, Pizzeria Portofino delivers a laid-back vibe with delicious food.
Hand-stretched pizzas are popular, including the margherita and the black truffle mushroom pie. Portofino’s also serves antipasti and charcoal-grilled seafood. Top it off with a spritz, specialty cocktail, and one of their coastal wines.
Portofino’s dock is shared with neighboring RPM Seafood, so call ahead or reserve a slip here.
317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Photo source: Instagram @rpmseafood
Take the boat for a fine dining experience at RPM Seafood. Open for lunch and dinner, this multi-level riverside eatery delivers award-winning cuisine with dramatic, panoramic views. It’s a memorable destination for date night and special occasions.
RPM’s menu features a mix of seafood standards, plus oysters from both coasts. Dive deeper for specials like king crab panzanella and globally inspired entrees like charcoal-grilled black bass. Plus, the expansive wine list offers over 500 bottles.
RPM’s dock slips are shared with neighboring Pizzeria Portofino, so call ahead or reserve a spot here.
317 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Photo source: Instagram @citywineryriverwalk
City Winery offers the perfect jumping off point for a boat-and-dine adventure along Chicago’s 1.25 mile (2 km) Riverwalk. It’s the intersection of award-winning wine, people watching, and live entertainment.
Wines are crafted nearby at City Winery’s urban winery. And accompanying small plates – ranging from truffle fries to duck tacos – are expertly paired with suggested wines. Plus, a wide selection of cocktails and beers are available.
Reserve a boat slip through Downtown Docks.
11 W. Riverwalk South, Chicago, IL 60601