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Shortlisted: 8 Wilmette Restaurants That Locals Love!

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Facing Lake Michigan is the charming suburban village of Wilmette, with its streets lined with quaint brick buildings and luscious green trees. While it may be a compact little village, there’s no shortage of good restaurants in Wilmette, especially in the village center which is packed with restaurants and cafes.

And if you happen to be here and are looking for some great tasting food, we’ve got your back!

Here’s our list of what we believe are the best Wilmette restaurants, offering various cuisines and impressive service.

Dine at one of these places and find out for yourself why Wilmette residents love these eateries. Bon Appetit! 

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Our Top Eight Wilmette Restaurants For Food, Views & Fun

1. Sophia Steak 

If you’re planning on a dinner date, we can’t recommend Sophia Steak enough for just that! Located in downtown Wilmette, this place manages to strike a balance between an upscale fancy steakhouse and a homey neighborhood eatery.

It’s always bustling with locals, even on weeknights. Mostly due to their spot-on steaks and amazing salads, but also for the elegant ambiance.

Dimmed out and adorned with tasteful decor, their dining room is the perfect place for a romantic dinner, and the brightly lit up bar only adds to the aesthetics here. Top that with the soulful live music they offer, and you’ll understand why Sophia Steak is one of the most popular restaurants in Wilmette.

As for the food, the staff here always ensure it’s cooked according to your preference with attention to detail. The result? A beautiful-looking plate of food that could easily give a posh Chicago steakhouse a run for its money.

Their menu mainly revolves around steaks cooked to perfection – we recommend the peppercorn-crusted Sophia Steak in particular. Although the Spicy Lobster Bucatini and other seafood entrees are equally enticing and delicious. Whilst on Sundays, they offer an unbeatable Fried Chicken, served with one of their sides (tip: get the steak fries!). And although this place might seem like it’s only fit for date nights, it’s actually pretty family-friendly with a nice little kid’s menu.

Drop by any day from 4.30 pm onwards to witness their top-class and courteous service, and don’t forget to get their seasonal cocktails to accompany your meal.

And in case you’re craving some good steak but don’t want an elaborate dining scene, just get it from the curbside pickup – you won’t be disappointed. 

Address: 1146 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette, IL

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2. Torino 

Ramen and Omakase meals in a quaint village like Wilmette? Well Torino makes that possible with their exceptionally good ramen bowls and professional and skillful staff. All of which makes this easily one of the best Wilmette restaurants around.

Located near the village center, this place captures the true essence of restaurants in Japan with their warm hospitality and authentic Japanese food. Sit inside their dim, sleek, and modern dining room that has traditional Japanese wall art and an inviting atmosphere, or outside on the simple patio under large umbrellas. And if you’re in for an Omakase experience, you’ll be seated at their elaborate bar for some of the best sushi presented by talented chefs. 

The menu has pretty much all of the Japanese favorites and other Asian delicacies, but the rich ramen bowls steal the show and always manage to wow guests.

Their signature Torino is an authentically delicious bowl of ramen served with some of the most flavorsome and moist pork chashu you can get your hands on! They’ve also got some amazing vegan ramen, and you have the option to substitute any bowl with vegan kale noodles or gluten-free shitake noodles.

Other notable savories include the very fluffy and soft Bao and rice bowls such as the spicy Karaage Don (Japanese fried chicken), which are always steaming hot and bursting with intense flavor. And let’s not forget their amazing sushi – get it from the a la carte menu or let the chef take control of your meal when you request the very affordable Omakase experience. 

Torino is open every day from 11.30 am (4 pm on Sundays). Do note, though, that the place gets super busy on most days, so you might want to make a reservation.

Address: 1162 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette, IL

3. Convito Cafe and Market

Located on a small strip mall near Lake Michigan is Convito Cafe – truly a hidden gem of the neighborhood.

Offering Italian and French delicacies, this quaint place has a small grocery store and deli attached to it, where you can buy to-go goodies, including salads, soups, sandwiches, wines, and fresh ingredients to whip up a meal at home.

Meanwhile, the cafe itself serves up homestyle, fresh, and made-to-order dishes in a laid-back atmosphere. You’ll love dining at this bright little place, where one of the walls is artfully painted, while the rest have beautiful paintings hanging on them. But in our opinion, their patio, albeit small, offers the best dining experience as some tables have a limited, albeit still lovely, view of the lake. 

The menu here is huge, and with so many enticing options, you might have a hard time deciding on a pick! Lunch offers everything from salmon rice pilaf to the Croque Monsieur sandwich, while the expertly-made pasta, such as the Pappardelle Bolognese, has a cult following among locals.

If you’re in for an early dinner (since they close just before 8) there are additional savories such as rotisserie chicken and grilled steak frites to please your palate. 

Plus, they have a separate menu with lots of options for those allergic to gluten, and we think it’s this thoughtfulness and attention to detail that makes this place one of the most sought restaurants in Wilmette.

On top of that, brunch here includes everything from steak and eggs to delicious salads, along with bellinis and mimosas to take it all up a notch.

So drop by any day from 10.30 am onwards (11 am on Sundays), or simply grab some goods from their store for a lakeside picnic – either way, you’ll be glad you chose Convito for your meal! Convito is a worthy add to our list, and is easily one of the best Wilmette restaurants for those who need to go gluten free too.

Address: 1515 Sheridan Rd #5, Wilmette, IL

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4. Ridgeview Grill

Need comfort food in a warm and inviting ambiance? Head towards Ridgeview Grill – a cozy restaurant located near the Wilmette Historical Museum.

This family-run place has been feeding the neighborhood classic comfort food since 1961, winning generations of loyal customers who keep coming back for more.

You’ll likely love the warm ambiance here, with polished wood tables, charming chandeliers, and elegant decor. It’s a spacious, family-friendly space, while the small bar offers low-key seating in front of a big TV screen for those who are dining solo. They also have a handful of tables shaded by umbrellas on their tiny patio. 

As for the menu, it has all-time favorites that can remind you of home – think meat loaves and carrot cake served in an unpretentious manner.

They also do made-to-order juicy burgers and sandwiches for lunch, while hearty portions of pesto farfalle, grilled salmon, and such are served for dinner. Oh and, the breakfast and brunch menu here is super impressive – try stuff like the Tuscan steak skillet, lox benedict, or bread pudding French toast, and you’re sure to leave with a satisfied and full belly! 

Don’t forget to get their dreamy bread pudding for a post-meal treat – it’s a fan favorite! Open every day from 8 am onwards, Ridgeview Grill is that place where you can feel right at home while munching on some fresh, homestyle-cooked food. No wonder it’s one of the favorite Wilmette restaurants of many in the village.

Address: 827 Ridge Rd, Wilmette, IL

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5. Valley Lodge Tavern

There are a few things you can count on when you dine at Valley Lodge Tavern: the room will be comfortable and homey, sport fans will be cheering at the bar as they watch a game, and you’ll be surprised at how good their burgers are!

Serving gastro pub food and hearty entrees since way back in 1969, this place is a locals favorite in Wilmette, with a sleek and modern dining room, charming lights, and artful decor that adorns the walls. For those who wish to go al fresco, there are tables and umbrellas outside where you can sip on one of their cocktails and make the most out of the pleasant Illinois weather.

The food here is served simply but always in generous portions, and with affordable price tags which is a big bonus. From the appetizers, we recommend the delicious Saganaki – a fried slice of Greek cheese – that you probably won’t find anywhere else around here.

Their burgers are also downright delicious, served on a brioche bun with crispy fries, while the wraps are a delight on their own, especially the crispy shrimp wrap which is stuffed with avocado and sriracha aioli. Entrees like the cajun linguini and Athenian-style whitefish are also crowd pleasers, all of which are enhanced by an eclectic wine and dessert cocktail list.

So whether you want to catch the game with your pals or simply want a comfortable dinner with the family in a nice ambiance, you can drop by Valley Lodge Tavern for a meal that never disappoints! They’re open every day from noon onwards for lunch and dinner both. 

Address: 1141 Central Ave, Wilmette, IL

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6. Napolita

If there’s one place you can count on for authentic Neapolitan pizza, it’s Napolita. With ingredients flown in from Italy and techniques true to Vera Pizza Napoletana, this place manages to capture the true essence of Neapolitan pizzas.

Not just that, but sitting inside their rustic dining room that has brick walls and quaint decor makes you feel like you’re dining in a charming restaurant in Italy. They also have a cozy wine bar, and the shaded outdoor seating – which is dog friendly and overlooks the downtown streets – offers the perfect setting for a glass of wine or two. 

We bet you’ll be salivating just by looking at their menu – there’s everything from paninis and pasta to Italian salads, and of course, a staggering array of Neapolitan pizza flavors. And these aren’t your average pizzas either; creative takes on the classics, such as the Ricotta which is topped with date and pistachios offer a deliciously unique experience, while safer picks like the Marinara and Margherita have all the familiar ingredients everyone loves.

Along with all the pizza you can handle, they also have a humongous four pages long wine list, with new Italian wines on offer regularly.

For the meat-averse crowd, there are plenty of vegetarian options, and you can also order gluten-free crusts (which by the way, taste amazing here!).

Open every day from noon onwards (11 am on Fridays and Saturdays), Napolita is easily one of the best Wilmette restaurants for pizzas and exploring wine options. 

Address: 1126 Central Ave, Wilmette, IL

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7. Fuel 

Serving fresh, farm-to-table food, Fuel is a locavore restaurant where you can ensure you’re getting organic and delicious food. This hidden gem is located near the Metra station, and while it looks very unassuming from the outside, there’s a very different vibe inside.

The interior is sleek, minimalist, and modern, with a white and gray theme going on with the decor and furnishings, while their tiny little patio has a handful of seats to accommodate those who’d like to soak in the sun.

The menus here are short and sweet, as almost everything is housemade or sourced from the best places around. Indulge in decadent sandwiches like the Lobster club, stuffed with fresh lobster, bacon, spinach, and avocado, or the Cuban sandwich that has homemade pickles and truffle dijonnaise.

Dinner here is fancy, with elegant plates like pumpkin ravioli and roasted duck and confit leg, along with the option of the vegetarian quinoa parmesan cauliflower cake, served with veggies and a roasted red pepper sauce. 

Oh and, Fuel also has a mean breakfast menu, with stuff like the fancy Eggs Benedict consisting of toasted brioche round, smoked ham, 2 poached eggs, hollandaise.

Open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8 am onwards and serving dinner from Thursday through Saturday, Fuel is a must-visit for those who want great tasting food without compromising on freshness and quality! 

Address: 1222 Washington Ct, Wilmette, IL

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8. Depot Nuevo

When in doubt, some tasty Mexican fixings are a surefire way to satisfy the food enthusiast in you, and there’s no place better than Depot Nuevo for that.

Located in downtown Wilmette, this cheery and bright place serves everything from tacos to hearty plates of Mexican steaks, along with some of the finest tequila (they’ve got about a hundred variations – no kidding!) and margaritas.

The food is further enhanced by their unbeatable setting – a spacious, wrap-around porch perfect for sipping some refreshing cocktails on summer nights. While for winter, they’ve got heaters so you don’t have to miss out on the wonderful outside ambiance! Their interior is also inviting, with brightly colored walls, an elaborate bar, and a family-friendly atmosphere.

As for the menu, it’s admittedly shorter than most Mexican restaurants, but everything they offer is always warm, delicious, fresh, and in enormous portions.

We recommend their big, mouth-watering tacos, where they let you mix and match up to three types so you can taste a bit of everything (the shrimp tacos are outstanding and especially popular). Don’t miss out on the Carne Asada either – a chaotically tasty plate of grilled skirt steak topped with roasted onions, jalapenos, pico de gallo, and fresh guac. 

Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to get something from their impressive drink menu. Tip: try the tequila, even if you’re not a tequila person – we bet this place can change your mind about it!

So go ahead and visit them any day between Monday through Saturday from 4.30 pm onwards for some of the best Mexican dinners you can have in the area.

Address: 1139 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette, IL

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The Best Wilmette Restaurants: Our Final Thoughts 

Sometimes the most quaint little places can surprise you with their exciting food scene, and that’s exactly the case with this village.

Dine at one of these eight best restaurants in Wilmette, and you’ll be surprised by the top-class food and service they have to offer!

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