The 10 Best Local Restaurants in Joliet, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois © Doug Kerr
Joliet, Illinois © Doug Kerr
Photo of Anahit Behrooz
9 February 2017

Fom classic American steakhouses to quirky twists on European cuisine, Joliet has a restaurant to suit every taste. We recommend 10 of the city’s best restaurants.

Aisha's Southern Cuisine

Restaurant, American, $$$
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Aisha's Southern Cuisine, Black Road
Aisha's Southern Cuisine, Black Road | © Pixabay

Specializing in traditional Southern soul food, Aisha’s Southern Cuisine focuses on classic favorites such as fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and pot roast. The homemade quality of the dishes provides instant satisfaction and a slice of Southern nostalgia, making Aisha’s the perfect spot for no-frills, old-fashioned comfort food.

Al's Steakhouse

Restaurant, Steakhouse, American, Gluten-free, $$$
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One of the oldest high-end restaurants in Joliet, Al’s Steakhouse was established in 1964. Once a famed nightclub, with various bands playing to guests late into the night, the restaurant’s focus has shifted over the years to serving high-quality, memorable dishes in a luxurious, upscale environment. Plush red leather corner seats, crisp white tablecloths and warm ambient lighting add to the chic, inviting atmosphere, while antique gates from a Joliet landmark – the Joliet Citizens Brewery – affixed to the wall, pay homage to Al’s Steakhouse’s local heritage. The food is as enjoyable as the surroundings – char-grilled, Grecian-style steaks with double baked potatoes are a specialty, while the seafood is delivered fresh every day.

Barolo Ristorante

Restaurant, Italian, European, Mediterranean, $$$
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Specializing in Italian cuisine, Barolo promises an authentic Mediterranean experience to all its guests, from the old-fashioned, European atmosphere, to the emphasis on slow-dining and culinary appreciation. Chef Gaetano Turi is an Italian native and received his formal training at Rome’s prestigious Italian Culinary School. He now directs his passion for Italian cooking into creating unique, imaginative twists on classic Italian dishes, such as the Rotollo, a contemporary cousin of lasagna, featuring spinach, ricotta and pasta rolled together and baked in rich Alfredo and Roma sauces. The dessert menu is equally impressive and includes the signature chocolate cheeseburger, served with pineapple fries and strawberry ketchup.

Chicken-N-Spice

Diner, Restaurant, Fast Food, American
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Chicken-N-Spice is a refreshing take on fried chicken and a far cry from typical fast food fare. All their dishes are freshly made on the premises, including spicy rice, homemade, hot buttermilk biscuits, a rotating list of delicious soups-of-the-day and their famous chicken chunks – boneless, succulent breast meat cut and seasoned on the day. The restaurant also offers a range of indulgent breakfast items, from French toast sticks to soft yet crisp waffles served with strawberries and syrup. Chicken-N-Spice is a must-visit for any diner on the hunt for deeply satisfying yet high-quality comfort food.

Hot Pan Noodles and Dumplings

Restaurant, Chinese, Asian, $$$
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An excellent option for casual eating and delicious food, Hot Pan Noodles and Dumplings promises fresh, hot, authentic Chinese cuisine in a fun environment. All noodles and dumplings are made entirely from scratch, with even the meat being ground at the restaurant, giving each dish a rich, intense flavor. Specialties include their pan fried dumplings, named ‘pot stickers’, and their varied selection of craft beers to complement their spicy, aromatic meals. Retro video games are installed in the restaurant for guests to entertain themselves while they wait for their food, or even as an exciting diversion in-between bites.

Hot Pan does it the best in JTOWN. #joliet #foodporn

A photo posted by Alex Foreman (@kaltes_bier) on

Merichka's

Restaurant, American, European, French, Steakhouse, Soup, $$$
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Established and family-run since 1933, Merichka’s is a staple of the Joliet dining scene. Its menu and atmosphere remaining largely unchanged in this time, Merichka’s is the perfect restaurant for a taste of American-cum-East-European dining. Known for their famed poorboys, a sandwich consisting of tender cubes of steak covered in garlic butter and served in a French baguette, the restaurant also offers a range of burgers, steaks, soups and sandwiches, as well as East-European inspired dishes. Inside, the décor is homey and old-fashioned, with red checked tablecloths and wood panelling.

Old-Fashioned Pancake House

Diner, Restaurant, American, $$$
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A cosy, friendly diner, the Old-Fashioned Pancake House is a one-stop venue for all your dining needs. Although they specialise in breakfasts, offering an enormous variety of eggs, skillets and fluffy pancakes soaked in syrup and served with fruit, their lunch and dinner options are as equally varied and impressive. From seafood to Italian, Asian to Greek, all types of palates and cuisines are catered for, with high quality and freshness maintained in all of the dishes. Portion sizes are incredibly generous and for those who still have some room left, the restaurant features a tempting dessert counter, with a number of homemade cakes and pies on display.

Syl's Restaurant and Lounge

Restaurant, American, Steakhouse, Seafood, $$$
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Saltlik Ribeye Steak
Saltlik Ribeye Steak | ©Elsie Hui/Flickr

Bringing an abundance of old-school class and elegance to the Joliet dining scene, Syl’s Restaurant and Lounge has been a Joliet institution since 1946. Stepping inside, guests are met with an oriental-style carpet and sconces and elegant drapery fill the room with charm. Diners can either eat at tables covered with pressed white tablecloths, or at the chic wraparound bar. The dishes are equally elegant, while still remaining generously portioned and full of satisfying flavours – steaks and chops are carefully aged and barbequed or broiled to perfection and can be served alongside fresh scallops or lobster tails as a luxurious treat.

Tin Roof

Restaurant, North American, American, Fusion, $$$
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Baked egg vindaloo from Tin Roof in Joliet, IL | © Tin Roof
Tin Roof has established itself as an unmissable spot for any foodie. The restaurant offers creative, unique twists on American cuisine, with their most popular dishes including mahi tacos served with mango pico, queso fresco, cilantro and a blackened chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, grilled onion and roasted tomato sandwich. Bacon is also a running theme in the Tin Roof and features in many dishes, from deep fried bacon to a caramelised bacon ice cream. All produce is fresh and seasonal – even their craft cocktails are created with fresh ingredients and homemade bitters and syrups, making the Tin Roof a truly unique dining experience.

Truth

Restaurant, American, Contemporary, $$$
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Designed as a friendly, familiar neighborhood restaurant, Truth‘s emphasis is entirely on the local. The kitchen only uses fresh, organic local produce, creating strong ties with the local community, and photos of the restaurant’s ‘regulars’ are featured on the back of the bar. The menu serves contemporary American cuisine and is changed twice a year, with regular chef-created specials available, making each visit a different experience. An extensive wine list and special Martinis of the Month encourage diners to relax and take their time over ordering and eating their meals. The décor is elegant yet understated, making Truth the perfect spot for both an evening out and a casual bite to eat with friends.

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