20 Best Restaurants in St. Charles, IL

This article was written by local contributor Mike Smith & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in St. Charles, IL
Nejdet Duzen / shutterstock.com

Living in the heart of St. Charles, Illinois, I find myself nestled amidst a culinary wonderland waiting to be explored.

This charming city is tucked in the Fox River Valley, just an hour west of Chicago, and it's the gastronomical hub of the area, serving up an eclectic mix of flavors to its 33,000 or so residents.

From the historic districts, brimming with character, to the picturesque riverside that frames our city, each neighborhood boasts its unique palette of tantalizing delights.

The restaurant scene here is as diverse as its landscape - offering rustic farm-to-table experiences, international delicacies, gourmet fine dining, and cozy cafés.

What's fascinating is that several of these establishments have storied pasts, converted from century-old factories or traditional family homes.

These little tidbits add an extra sprinkle of intrigue to your dining experience.

Here are the best restaurants in St. Charles, Illinois:

St. Charles Place Steak House

Cheesecake at St. Charles Place Steak House

The other night, I had the pleasure of visiting St. Charles Place Steak House for dinner, and it didn't disappoint.

The moment I walked in, the low-lit, woodsy supper club atmosphere transported me to a different era.

With its traditional American fare and global wine list, I knew I was in for a treat.

I decided to go with the filet mignon, cooked to perfection and served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes.

The steak was tender, juicy, and seasoned just right, while the garlic mashed potatoes were creamy and full of flavor.

My dining partner chose the prime rib, which was also cooked to perfection and accompanied by a tasty au jus sauce.

I topped off my meal with a creamy cheesecake.

The highlight of the evening was the live music that added a touch of elegance to our dining experience.

It was the perfect balance of entertainment without being intrusive, allowing us to enjoy our conversation and truly savor our meal.

Chef Abdul Mediterranean

Kebabs at Chef Abdul Mediterranean

I decided to try out Chef Abdul Mediterranean after hearing positive feedback from my friends.

The atmosphere was cozy and unpretentious, perfect for a laid-back meal with family or friends.

Being a fan of Middle Eastern cuisine, I was excited to see a diverse menu offering a range of scrumptious homestyle dishes.

I started with the creamy and flavorful hummus, served with warm and fluffy pita bread.

For my main course, I went with the grilled lamb kebab, which was marinated to perfection and cooked just right.

The accompanying rice pilaf and refreshing salad balanced the dish nicely.

To complete the meal, I tried their baklava, which was delightfully sweet and flaky, with the right amount of syrup and a generous layer of crushed pistachios.

La Zaza Trattoria

Salad at La Zaza Trattoria

La Zaza Trattoria, I must say, gave me quite the experience.

This Italian steakhouse offers a menu filled with delicious pasta dishes, chops, seafood, and pizza, all served in a relaxed and stylish setting.

Upon entering the restaurant, I was immediately impressed by the warm and inviting atmosphere.

I started my meal with a delicious Caprese salad, which was made of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, and drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

The flavors were so vibrant; it was like a taste of summer in every bite.

For my main course, I opted for the linguine with clams, and it was absolutely divine.

The linguine was cooked to perfection, and the clams were tender and flavorful.

The dish was served in a savory white wine sauce that really brought everything together.

I couldn't resist trying a slice of their Margherita pizza as well, and it did not disappoint.

The thin crust was crispy, and the toppings were fresh and delicious.

Another highlight of the night was the extensive wine list available at La Zaza Trattoria.

I was able to find a delightful red wine that paired perfectly with my meal.

To finish off the evening, I indulged in their tiramisu for dessert.

Mio Modo

Pasta at Mio Modo

Mio Modo is a sophisticated Italian restaurant that recently opened up in our town.

I've been hearing so many good things about this place, and I must say, it definitely lived up to my expectations.

The moment I walked in, I was captivated by the romantic ambiance, which perfectly complemented the elegant interior of the restaurant.

Their menu is an extensive selection of authentic Italian dishes, ranging from pasta and pizza to seafood and meat-based specialties.

I started with their delicious Bruschetta, which was a flavorful combination of tomatoes, garlic, and basil on a piece of perfectly crispy bread.

For my main course, I opted for the Linguine al Frutti di Mare - a delightful mix of clams, shrimp, and mussels in a rich marinara sauce.

The freshness of the seafood and the pasta cooked to perfection made this dish a memorable experience.


Pad thai at MalyThai

MalyThai is a simply appointed Thai restaurant that offers a menu of familiar dishes alongside a full bar, making it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a meal.

The atmosphere was warm, inviting, and the perfect balance between casual and elegant.

I started my meal with a refreshing Thai iced tea that was just the right amount of sweet and a serving of their mouthwatering chicken satay with a flavorful peanut sauce.

For my main course, I decided to try the popular Pad Thai with shrimp.

The dish was extremely flavorful, with a perfect balance of sweet and savory notes.

The shrimp was cooked to perfection, and the portion size was more than satisfying.

I also had a chance to taste their green curry, which had a nice level of spice and was filled with tender vegetables and chicken.

Both dishes were clearly made with fresh ingredients, which I always appreciate.

As someone who enjoys a good cocktail, I couldn't resist trying one of MalyThai's signature drinks.

I opted for their Thai Basil Mojito, which was a unique and refreshing twist on the classic cocktail.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the flavors blended together, and it was the perfect accompaniment to my meal.

Poke Bros.

Poke bowl at Poke Bros.

Whenever I visit Poke Bros. St. Charles location, I am always amazed by the friendly and knowledgeable staff, who are more than happy to help me customize my bowl.

The variety of options available is impressive, and you can truly create a unique poké bowl tailored to your taste buds.

I especially love how they have a variety of protein options, including Ahi tuna, spicy tuna, salmon, shrimp, and even tofu for my vegetarian friends.

The freshness of the ingredients is outstanding, and I can genuinely taste the difference compared to other poké restaurants.

The toppings are abundant, and I always love adding some avocado, edamame, and crispy onions for that extra crunch.

One thing that sets Poke Bros. apart from other poké places is their signature sauces.

My personal favorite is the sweet and savory Ponzu sauce, but they have a great selection to choose from, like spicy mayo and wasabi aioli.

Their portions are generous, and I always leave feeling full and satisfied.

Syrup - St Charles

Chicken sandwich at Syrup - St Charles

Syrup - St Charles has a laid-back atmosphere, coupled with the industrial surroundings, which made for a unique dining ambiance that I thoroughly enjoyed.

As soon as I arrived, I was pleased to see a wide selection on their menu.

There were pancakes, burgers, and other brunch fare that looked absolutely mouthwatering.

After much contemplation, I decided on their pancakes, and to my delight, they were fluffy and full of flavor.

The toppings added an extra layer of sweetness that made the dish even more scrumptious.

While I was primarily enticed by their pancakes, I was also drawn to try one of their burgers.

I must say, it was just as amazing!

The burger was juicy and cooked to perfection, and the toppings complemented the flavors incredibly well.

I was impressed by how well-executed the dish was, especially since the establishment is known more for its brunch offerings.

Just Kabobs

Beef and shrimp kabobs at Just Kabobs

One of my all-time favorite places to eat in St. Charles is Just Kabobs.

This modest counter-serve Greek café specializes in kabobs, but they also serve amazing barbecue rotisserie chicken, gyros, and spinach pie.

The variety of kebabs includes beef, chicken, pork, and shrimp, and they are all cooked to perfection.

The food is tasty, fresh, and served hot.

In addition to their mouth-watering kebabs, they also have great side items like rice pilaf, roasted potatoes, Greek salad, pitas, and more.

One of my go-to side dishes is their spicy feta, which never fails to impress.

I love that Just Kabobs offers a nice, basic dining area where I can enjoy my meal or take it to go.

Whenever I dine in, the experience is even better because I get to enjoy my food fresh off the grill while it's still hot and delicious.

I've had just about everything on the menu, and I can't seem to pick a favorite because each dish is just so good.

Tacos Del Valle

Tacos at Tacos Del Valle

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Tacos Del Valle, and let me tell you, it was a fantastic experience.

I decided to try their popular verde/green/mild enchiladas, with one each of beef, steak, pork, and chicken.

Each enchilada was delicious, but the chicken and beef ones stood out to me.

The chicken was so well-seasoned and moist.

The plate also came with rice, beans, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream.

I appreciated the generous portion of sour cream they provided, which was definitely more than what I've received at other places.

They also offered hot and mild sauces for added flavor, and I must say, the red sauce was not only spicy but also packed with flavor.

The outdoor seating area was a nice touch, allowing customers to enjoy their meals in a cozy space.

Smitty's On the Corner

Sandwich at Smitty's On the Corner

Smitty's On the Corner is a real deli gem, offering a wide range of gourmet deli sandwiches, soups, and even ice cream.

The moment I walked in, I was greeted with charming decor showcasing local Saint Charles history and signed menus from stars who have performed at the nearby Arcada Theater.

The service was friendly and quick, and I loved how they made the fresh sandwiches right in front of the customers.

I decided to go with the tuna fish salad on a croissant, and it turned out to be a fantastic choice.

The tuna salad had little chunks of apples in it, making it crunchy and unique.

The sandwich also came with a dill pickle on the side, which added some extra zest to the meal.

As I was leaving, another customer recommended the jalapeño pickles they sell, so I decided to grab a jar to take home.

Vintage 53

Charcuterie at Vintage 53

Vintage 53 has an extensive menu that allowed me to select items for a customized charcuterie board.

When I visited there, I opted for a combination of aged cheddar, dill havarti, blue cheese, Gruyère, salami, capicola, and prosciutto.

They also offer a variety of accompaniments, such as crackers, bread, bacon jam, pickles, and olives.

The bacon jam was the best I've ever had, and the presentation of the board was simply stunning.

While enjoying my charcuterie, I couldn't resist indulging in a glass of white wine from their impressive collection.

What truly sets Vintage 53 apart is not only its commitment to quality but also its inclusive atmosphere.

They're LGBTQ-friendly and offer catering services for private events.

Pomodoro E Mozzarella

Pizza at Pomodoro E Mozzarella

When I decided to dine at Pomodoro E Mozzarella for the first time, I was blown away by the warm-hearted people who own and operate this family-owned Italian gem.

As soon as you walk in, the aroma hits you, and you know you're in for a treat.

One of the most amazing dishes I've tried at this cozy restaurant is their Salsiccia Artisanal-Style pizza.

Made with the freshest ingredients and recipes straight from Italy, the pizza was absolutely delightful.

The tomato sauce was the perfect mix of tang and sweet, and the crust was thin yet flavorful.

I was also impressed with the generous amount of cheese and sausage used, resulting in a heavenly slice of pizza.

During my visit, I also decided to try a chicken parmigiana sandwich, which was as delicious as the pizza.

The bread used for the sandwich was baked fresh and reminded me of the chicken parm sandwiches I used to have back on the East Coast in Long Island, NY.

The service at Pomodoro E Mozzarella was outstanding.

Club Arcada Speakeasy & Restaurant

Gnocchi at Club Arcada Speakeasy & Restaurant

One of my favorite spots in town is the Club Arcada Speakeasy & Restaurant.

When you enter this place, you're immediately immersed in an old Hollywood vibe with a touch of the roaring '20s.

Before you head upstairs, be sure to get the secret password from the elevator, as you'll need it to get in.

Once you're upstairs, you'll find various vintage-themed rooms to sit and enjoy a cocktail in.

The Charlie Chaplin-themed room is especially unique, featuring one of his original hats.

Kava Diem

Coffee and dessert at Kava Diem

One of my favorite spots in the neighborhood is Kava Diem, a cozy and welcoming coffee shop with an extensive menu of delicious and healthy foods.

I love starting my mornings there with a scrumptious Cardamon Cold Brew, which is a bit pricey but always worth the treat.

When I have more time, I enjoy exploring their vegan-friendly menu, which offers a variety of non-dairy substitutes and tasty dishes like their Blueberry Açaí Bowl.

On a recent visit, I ordered a Maple Vanilla Latte made with espresso, steamed milk, and homemade maple vanilla syrup.

They offer non-dairy milk like coconut and oat, which gives it a unique flavor and texture.

The syrup made the drink full of maple flavor and added a nice thickness to it.

The Blueberry Açaí Bowl, priced at $11.50 for a small portion, is packed with acai, avocados, blueberries, non-dairy chocolate chips, coconut cream, coconut flakes, and granola on top.

Alexanders Cafe

French connection at Alexanders Cafe

As a fan of breakfast spots, I recently had the pleasure of dining at Alexanders Cafe, and I must say, it was a fantastic experience.

The contemporary space and fireplace added to the cozy atmosphere.

The extensive menu offers unique and modern delicious breakfast and lunch entrees, as well as comfort foods.

One of my favorite dishes was the French Connection.

It consisted of two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausage links, hash browns, and French toast.

I decided to upgrade the French toast to their lemon berry toast, and it was a game-changer.

The slightly sweet, slightly tart lemon custard and fresh blueberries elevated the dish, making syrup optional.

Sushi Diva Japanese Restaurant

Rolls at Sushi Diva Japanese Restaurant

Last week, I finally decided to try out the Sushi Diva Japanese Restaurant that opened in the Saint Charles area.

My friends have been raving about it, so I thought it was time I gave it a shot.

As soon as I entered the restaurant, I found it to be quite cozy, with every table occupied - a clear sign of its popularity.

They had soups, salads, appetizers, and entrees on their menu, but I was there for sushi.

The sushi was made fresh right in the main dining area, and I must say, it truly lived up to the hype.

I decided to try the Foxy Diva roll, which had the perfect blend of fish and jalapeños, making the roll absolutely divine.

My partner ordered the Las Vegas roll, which they said was good, but the sauce and fish eggs on top were a bit overpowering - something to keep in mind for next time.

The restaurant itself was clean, and the music playlist added to the overall ambiance.

The seafood in all the dishes was extremely fresh, which made the sushi taste even better.

Riverside Pizza & Pub

Thin crust pizza at Riverside Pizza & Pub

I had an amazing experience at Riverside Pizza & Pub in St. Charles recently.

I went with a group of 8 co-workers on a Tuesday night, and the restaurant accommodated our party perfectly.

We started with some delicious appetizers - the wings, onion rings, and mozzarella sticks were all super crisp and tasty.

The main event, of course, was the pizza.

Their deep-dish pizza didn't disappoint, and it was truly a delight.

I must say, Riverside serves the best gluten-free pizza crust I've tried.

The Riverside Pot Roast Nachos are also a must-try!

We were also impressed with the other dishes we ordered.

Pho 95

Beef pho at Pho 95

I had a sudden craving for some Vietnamese food, and I decided to give Pho 95 a try.

The restaurant offers a simple setting for Vietnamese soups, buns, banh mi, noodle dishes, and other classics, and they even have a to-go option.

I decided to order the Pho 95 Special, and let me tell you, it was amazing!

The broth was tasty and had a good body to it, not like other cheap pho soups I've had before.

The meats were delicious, although I'd recommend asking for the rare meat on the side if you prefer it less cooked.

I also tried their fried eggrolls, and they were fantastic!

I'm usually not an eggroll person, but I couldn't get enough of these.

I've been back to Pho 95 several times since that first visit, and the food has always been consistently above average.

Another dish I tried recently was one of their noodle bowls, which was also excellent.

The service at Pho 95 is always good, and the restaurant is kept clean and tidy.

It might not be the most romantic spot for a date, but I appreciate that it's not pretentious, and the menu offers a good range of options.

This has definitely become my go-to spot for pho in town.

The Graceful Ordinary

Halibut at The Graceful Ordinary

The Graceful Ordinary is a perfect blend of a traditional tavern and a modern upscale dining destination.

The moment I walked in, I was greeted with warm smiles and a cozy atmosphere that instantly made me feel at home.

The open hearth where they prepare their dishes was an impressive sight and added a unique touch to the overall ambiance.

As for the menu, they call it "refined rustic," and I couldn't agree more.

It felt like a fresh twist on the familiar comfort foods that I've always loved.

I went for one of their wood-fired flatbreads, and it was nothing short of delicious. The combination of flavors and textures was truly impeccable.

Los Burritos Mexicanos

Tacos at Los Burritos Mexicanos

One of my favorite places to grab some authentic Mexican food in the area is Los Burritos Mexicanos.

The moment you walk into this old-school eatery, you can't help but feel at home.

Their traditional Mexican comfort food never disappoints.

I particularly enjoy their carne asada, which is cooked to perfection and full of flavor.

The portions are generous, and the prices are very reasonable.

I also love their tacos al pastor, which is absolutely mouthwatering.

I've also heard great things about their tortas and quesadillas, but I'm yet to try them.

It's also a great place for a quick lunch or dinner, as the service is efficient without sacrificing quality.

One thing that sets Los Burritos Mexicanos apart from other restaurants is their delicious homemade salsas.

There are different types (mild to spicy) that cater to various tastes, and they all pair perfectly with the dishes.

Final Thoughts

I am lucky to have such a diverse and mouth-watering array of restaurants right in my hometown of St. Charles, IL.

From authentic Mediterranean dishes at Chef Abdul Mediterranean to wood-fired pizzas at Gia Mia, there's always something for every palate.

Next time you're in town, I highly recommend giving these amazing establishments a try, and I'm sure you'll find yourself coming back for more.

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