The Publican

4.7
5992 reviews
icon/ic_price_rangeCreated with Sketch.
$30 and under
icon/ic_cuisineCreated with Sketch.
American
From the team behind Blackbird and avec comes this homage to beer, pork, and fish. Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Dennis Bernard have developed a network of purveyors to supply the restaurant with hand-selected, sustainably-harvested fish and seafood as well as sustainably-raised heirloom pork to anchor a rustic menu of simple, eclectic fare. The extensive international beer list, developed by partners Eduard Seitan and Terry Alexander and now Beer Director Adam Vavrick, features 100 or so ales, lagers, stouts and ciders by the bottle, 12 of those available on tap. Like Blackbird and avec, The Publican is a design partnership from the James Beard Award-winning team of Thomas Schlesser and partner Donnie Madia.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.6

The Publican is a Medieval styled mecca of all things beer, pork, and oysters. If that's not appealing, you can't sit with us.

Ratings 8.5-9.0:Now we’re in the range of absolutely excellent restaurants that you might go to more than once a year/lifetime. These restaurants tend to define a city, and make up the places that you absolutely cannot miss if you want to have any credibility as a restaurant-informed person in a major metropolis.
What 5992 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.6
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
91% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
1 review
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delivered on the promise.

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L
Chicago
1 review
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 3

Very cute place- but very loud. Not great for conversation. The food was AMAZING though...

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i
Chicago
15 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always delicious. Had brunch here for first time and everything we ordered was enjoyed thoroughly.

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B
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic service and amazing food, as usual. There’s no reason not to have The Publican in your regular rotation.

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OT
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Took 35 minutes to get our first item -- bread! Entire meal took 2:15. You must place your entire order first and they will "pace it" out for you. Felt like I was being held hostage. Loud, loud LOUD as well.

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G
Houston
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was delicious, and the communal vibe is great. My only complaint was the noise level- could definitely use a few soundproofing pads.

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D
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Glad we re-visited a favorite. Sometimes with a large group it is hard to hear but on a Saturday at 6 pm for a party of 2 it was perfect. Our sever was very knowledgeable and gave great advice on our choices and number of items to order. Forgot how much I truly love all of their food!

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OT
Des Moines
6 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went out with friends to celebrate birthdays. Our server Jess was so amazing and made the dinner relaxing & fun. Get the oysters! Delicious!

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B
Nashville
10 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 4

Mostly average food with a few decent courses. Surprising given the cost.

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KD
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Katie provided oustanding service! Great beer selection.

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DF
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great place! I always love coming here. The food is incredible.

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PB
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Publican is a mainstay in the ever-evolving Chicago food scene. On this particular visit, I brought my small team of 9 (I own a wine bar in Wisconsin) to enjoy and observe great food and admirable service! We definitely got that and so MUCH MORE! Leslie and her team provided us with a memorable and delicious dinner! It's no wonder they've been around 10 years (ancient for a Chicago restaurant). Their food and service are impeccable!

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OT
Philadelphia
2 reviews
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very good, Kelly our server was excellent.

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OT
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Outstanding staff and exceptional food.

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N
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 2

The seating was very arbitrary. We were the first ones there and we were seated by the doors (it was cold that day so every time the doors opened there was a chill entering). I followed attentively where everyone else was seated and I was curious why we weren’t seated where they were. Definitely seemed based off of race (yes, I was a person of color). We were seated at at a communal area while there were plenty of other two area seating available. I’ve honestly never experienced that in my time living in Chicago, and I will certainly not return.

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A
Atlanta
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were celebrating a special birthday with family flying into Chicago from all over. We loved the atmosphere and the food was very special. Thank you for helping us make this important event so memorable.

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OT
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on March 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Excellent food, beverages and service! It's a little loud for older people, but the food made it worthwhile!

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MB
Portland
3 reviews
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

In town for work, I had one night for a nice dinner out and was lucky enough to get a res at The Publican. I was nervous that I wouldn't get the full restaurant experience as a solo diner, since their dishes are made for sharing, until I saw that they have a tasting menu! On arrival, I was pleased that I had a real table (not relegated to the bar as a solo diner) and I asked the waiter if the tasting menu could accommodate my dietary restrictions. The manager came over to clarify, checked with the kitchen, and offered me a "pared down" tasting menu. $50 got me seven courses and they were not small - even just one of the mains probably would have been enough for me. I ate until I was absolutely stuffed and still took home enough for a nice meal the next night. Favorites included the hamachi crudo, brussels sprouts in a cashew dressing, and of course the famous porchetta. The manager came back to check in several times, and my server was also attentive without being overbearing. The atmosphere was great for a solo diner - lots of action around me and I didn't feel out of place. I also never felt rushed despite taking up a whole 4-person table on a busy Friday night.

All in all, the service was lovely, the food was delicious, and it felt like an amazing value.

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EL
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 3

We had few people with severe allergies and they brought out dishes specifically with allerhens few times even after sending it back.

Our reservation was 615 but got there 20 mins early. They didn’t seat us even though the restaurant was empty

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Everything was outstanding!

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 2

Service was good
Food was poor particularly the rib dinner, too much fat, very little eatable meat, plus over priced,

The steak was ok, but warm, not hot.

Food tasted like it was reheated with vegetables thrown over them

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C
1 review
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 1

I had to ask for the music to be turned down. I was there to enjoy time with friends and I’d like to hear them. Waiter was kind of rude telling me they sell out most nights. Strangely it wasn’t that crowded. The seats are uncomfortable, and had my guest in a boxed table prior to my arrival. The food was good, small portions of entrees. Maybe I’ll try again if I’m in that mood.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Un restaurant un peu à l’écart du centre ville mais très accessible. La carte change quasi tous les jours. Le service est agréable et détendu. On y mange des produits de qualité dont toutes les provenances sont précisées. Une bonne adresse. Réservation obligatoire comme souvent à Chicago...

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OT
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went with the chef's choice, 6 courses plus dessert. Simply of, every single dish. This place is the best!

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MO
Toronto
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We knew of the Publican by the chef's reputation for solid scratch cooking but were absolutely thrilled with the whole experience of great tunes, solid, informed service, a refined wine list with strength in aromatic whites, and incredible food. The food was all boldly seasoned and cooked with skilled hands right from bread and butter through generous meats and complex vegetables to a perfect sorbet to finish. My only disappointment was that we flew back to Toronto the next day and the Publican airport resto was at the other terminal so we couldn't try it. This will be the first place we eat at on our next visit to Chicago.

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ES
Chicago
4 reviews
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Got the Chef's Tasting menu and couldn't have been happier with the quality of the food and service. With 9 total dishes we couldn't even finish the last couple, but it wasn't for lack of trying! Our server also did a great job recommending beer pairings for each "course" and was generally present throughout the meal to make sure everything was going well. Would highly recommend to anyone celebrating a special occasion!

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NP
Seattle
1 review
Dined on March 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Sunday night not as busy. Over all food was amazing. I would pass on dessert here however.

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R
Chicago
1 review
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 2food 3service 5ambience 3

Got seated 15 min after reservation time. Drinks took 25 min. Messed up our order. Server was amazing

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CL
Chicago
11 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Wish I could give zero stars. I would not recommend people not coming here anymore - sadly. I visited this place when it is first opened and had a much better impression. However, now the food is just so so, and service is almost non-existing, besides of the nice bus boy. To start with the food, the chocolate strudel was dry and not very fresh, when the other food is ok, but nothing qualifies them as a good brunch any more. The avocado toast is literally tasteless. Even with a small portion, two of us each just had a bite. Now the service... Both hosts are rude to say the least. We literally almost sat on top of our neighbors, when there are some seats open. So I totally do not understand the rationale on the seating side. They are keeping the other open seats for VIPs?! To the restaurant, this is not the first time we sit in a communal restaurant. However, this is worse than your worst nightmare. You try to squeeze in more people, basically you are on top of your neighbors. Even the bus boy had hard time to add water to the other side without spilling water on the table constantly. Once they just spilled the water over my phone. If you want your customers to have a reasonable experience dining there, put a little bit more space, otherwise you might not have customers anymore. Our server literally showed up twice: once for order, the other time to get check for us under our request. You have to yell at your party to hear anything. Never again. No wonder this place is going downhill. This is how a good restaurant goes down.

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OT
Chicago
17 reviews
Dined on March 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely incredible experience! Great service, great recommendations for food, everything was delicious! 5 stars

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DA
Los Angeles
6 reviews
Dined on February 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

If you haven't been for awhile, go now. Still one of Chicago's most delicious restaurants. Quality. Original.

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PM
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Fantastic place for oysters, astonishing meat plates and extensive beer selection

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OT
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on February 26, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

Waiting 35 minutes at our table for minuscule, bland $4 each dumplings for Dim Sum Night at Publican is not my idea of a good time.

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SS
Chicago
2 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Our visit was marred by some of the worst music possible as background music. It was truly awful, being loud, discordant and not at all conducive to conversation and mellow times. Was it for the staff? Maybe.
The food was excellent, our recommended wines were okay.

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OT
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service. Pricing is high, even for the area.

Dinner for two, a couple of drinks was over $260.

Steep.

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NH
Chicago
28 reviews
Dined on February 24, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

We had a good experience though I did not have as much choice as had hoped as am on a gf diet right now. My food was very tasty as was the Sumac Aperol cocktail. My husband was a tad disappointed with the Johnny Cakes, which he said were dry.

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JM
Chicago
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

great food & service, as usual! Needed last minute res for 4 walking distance and Publican had table ready on time. Knowledgable servers and excellent food. Never disappoints

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M
Des Moines
1 review
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent service the food was excellent. Our group did the chef tasting menu. It was a great way to taste a variety of foods. The oysters were prepared to perfection

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j
Chicago
85 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 2ambience 1

lively restaurant; appreciated getting a 'quieter table,' being able to linger for a long time over the meal. The water/coffee wait staff was very pleasant and attentive. The waitress had an unpleasant attitude - clearly unhappy either with us or to be there. Why??
Bacon side dish was eagerly anticipated but was $8 of fat -- so disappointing!!! Good coffee, good orange cranberry roll, good omelette.
Would appreciate hearing back from management on the experience and other recommendations.

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C
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on February 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

went for Saturday brunch! can't go wrong with anything on the menu!

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