Joliet, Illinois is a charming town located just southwest of Chicago. It’s the third-largest city in Illinois and is known as the starting point of historical Route 66. Today, Joliet is home to many families who work in Chicago but want a quiet life outside the city.
While Joliet offers the typical selection of fast food restaurants found in many suburban towns, it’s also home to a wide range of fun and entertaining local dining options. Below are 12 of the best restaurants in Joliet, Illinois to enjoy a nice meal or a night out.
$ | (815) 774-0131 | WEBSITE
Illinois isn’t known for its barbecues, but that’s not the case in Joliet. Louisiana Barbeque brings down south flavors up north with a wide range of barbeque plates.
Choose from ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and much more. They also offer chicken wings, pizza, and even lasagna. Every play comes with two classic sides with choices like Cole slaw, potato salad, green beans, and mac and cheese.
Louisiana Barbeque has a modest location and interior, but don’t let that stop you from trying their food. They are one of the highest-rated restaurants in Joliet. In addition to dine-in service, they offer barbeque and sides by the pound to take home. You can also order pans of barbeque and sides for your next private event.
$$ | (815) 666-1244 | WEBSITE
Juliet’s Tavern is a popular family-owned bar and restaurant located in downtown Joliet. They offer a wide range of standard American food, from appetizers to sandwiches and salads to steaks and seafood.
Juliet’s offers a full bar in a fun environment, along with rooftop dining that overlooks downtown. Their chef has over 20 years of fine dining experience and often adds seasonal items to the menu. They also offer private dining space for your next banquet or event.
$$$ | (877) 346-4642 | WEBSITE
The Reserve is the fine dining option located in the Harrah’s Casino in downtown Joliet. It’s an elevated dining experience with high-end steaks, seafood, salads, desserts, and more. The filet mignon and blackened salmon are two of the most popular and highly-rated entrees.
From The Reserve, you can easily head into the casino for an evening of gambling. Or you can take a quick stroll downtown for evening entertainment or cocktails at a local bar. The Reserve is a higher-end restaurant, so plan accordingly for dress and budget. It’s open for dinner from Thursday through Sunday.
Joliet Route 66 Diner
$ | (815) 690-3505 | WEBSITE
The Joliet Route 66 Diner is a local institution. Named after the famous roadway that navigates through the Western United States, Route 66 Diner is a traditional historical diner downtown. It has charming vintage decor with tables and a counter for service.
The menu has traditional diner breakfast and lunch items such as eggs, bacon, hash browns, and a wide range of soups and salads. They’re open until 2 pm every day. Enjoy a cup of coffee and a home-cooked breakfast at Route 66 Diner.
The Blue Taco
$$ | (815) 514-1139 | WEBSITE
This unique restaurant in downtown Joliet fuses Mexican and Caribbean dining to create tasty jerk tacos. Choose from beef or chicken tacos with a wide range of toppings and styles. Sides include Baha beans, rice, and much more. For a unique and innovative dining experience in downtown Joliet, visit The Blue Taco today.
Cross Street Grill
$ | (815) 740-7800 | WEBSITE
Cross Street Grill is an affordable, casual dining option within Harrah’s Casino in downtown Joliet. They offer a limited menu of burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, and salads. They also have a Starbucks within their space for fast coffee and breakfast items.
Cross Street also has a grab-and-go counter with premade sandwiches and salads if you want something fresh in a hurry. If you’re looking for fresh, fast, and affordable, Cross Street is a good option.
Vela’s Restaurant and Lounge
$ | (815) 727-2281 | WEBSITE
Vela’s may look modest from the outside, but don’t let that fool you. Vela’s is the highest-rated Mexican restaurant in Joliet, and for good reason. They serve affordable, homemade, authentic Mexican dishes like tacos, burritos, tostadas, and more in a fun environment.
Vela’s has a full bar and a wide range of domestic and Mexican beers. They’re famous for their 60-ounce margaritas, which are a fun side to any Mexican dish. They have a pool table in the back if you want to hang out and have a few cervezas.
Like many towns, Joliet offers many Mexican options. However, Vela’s is easily the most unique in a fun atmosphere. Their food is tasty and affordable and the drinks are hard to beat. Check out Vela’s today for a fun and exciting Mexican meal.
MyGrain Brewing Company
$$ | (815) 345-3339 | WEBSITE
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This brewpub in downtown Joliet is a great place to try locally brewed beer along with traditional pub food. Their menu consists of classics like sandwiches, burgers, tacos, wings, and more.
MyGrain’s beer menu is limited to its in-house locally brewed beer, which is award-winning and highly rated. They also offer a full bar and house specialty cocktails for those who aren’t in the mood for beer.
Cut 158 Chophouse
$$$$ | (815) 630-4219 | WEBSITE
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Cut 158 Chophouse is the location to go in downtown Joliet if you are looking for a fine dining, elevated experience. Cut 158 offers high-end steaks, seafood, and salads alongside shareable sides. The drink menu consists of a wide range of beers, classic cocktails, and higher-end liquor.
Cut 158 has a strict dress code that they do enforce. Dress for an elevated dining experience. This is a great location for a date night or to celebrate a special occasion.
South End Famous Steak and Lemonade
$ | (815) 722-3088 | WEBSITE
This casual food joint is the perfect place to go if you want affordable steak, seafood, or chicken and you don’t want to wait. They offer a wide range of platters and dishes that you can eat on location or take to go.
They’re best known for their fried seafood platters and their chicken wings. Grab a cup of their famous lemonade or from their other non-alcoholic drink options like soda or juice.
Al’s Steakhouse Restaurant
$$$ | (815) 725-2388 | WEBSITE
Al’s Steakhouse and Restaurant is one of the oldest fine dining restaurants in Joliet. They offer steaks in a wide range of cuts from porterhouse to New York Strip to filets and much more. They also offer seafood, salads, and other protein dishes like chicken and pork. One of their most popular dishes is their filet and lobster combo.
Al’s is a higher-end establishment, so visitors should dress appropriately. They offer a full bar with high-end liquor, diverse beer selections, and custom cocktails. They also offer private dining space for your next banquet or event. Visit Al’s tonight for a special dinner in one of Joliet’s most historical locations.
Metro Grill and Bar
$$$ | (815) 577-8191 | WEBSITE
Metro Grill and Bar is one of Joliet’s most unique and innovative restaurants. With a full bar and an eclectic menu, it’s a great place for a large gathering or an intimate night out.
Their menu has traditional American dishes but is served with a Mediterranean twist. You’ll find salads, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, and more but served with traditional Mediterranean ingredients like goat cheese. They also have entree dishes like steaks and seafood that is harvested and sourced in an ethical, sustainable manner.
Metro has a full bar serving a wide range of domestic and imported beer, along with specialty cocktails and liquors. It’s a fun atmosphere and even for kids who are a little more adventurous with their palate. Check them out tonight for a fun and unique dinner.
$ | (779) 206-2133 | WEBSITE
For a truly unique dining experience at affordable prices, head just outside downtown to La Pupsera, an authentic El Salvadorean restaurant that features food from the owner’s home country, as well as Mexican favorites. El Salvadore is the home of the pupusa, a corn tortilla filled with savory ingredients like pork, beef, chicken, beans, and cheese.
At La Pupsera, you can choose from a wide range of ingredients and build your pupusa any way you like. Sides include rice, beans, and more. Best of all, you can enjoy your pupusa and side for just a few dollars. La Pupsera is one of the most affordable restaurants in Joliet. For a unique experience with fast service and low prices, check out La Pupsera.
Joliet, Illinois may be a suburb of Chicago, but it is its own city in its own right with a diverse, eclectic restaurant scene. Enjoy a night out at the casino and kick it off with a nice steak dinner.
Or head out for drinks and visit some of the local taverns and pubs around town. If you’re looking for something more casual, check out some of the fast dining options around town.
Hayden has been a digital director for years. He has five years of experience editing and writing about food, restaurant, and recipe review content. At Birch Restaurant, he’s in charge of scouting, showing up unannounced in different restaurants, and writing a thorough food guide!