The Publican

4.7
5932 reviews
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$30 and under
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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 5932 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
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

It was a bit load in the beginning. Brunch was yummy.

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

Didn’t offer coffee refills. Had to ask. Soft scrambled really too runny.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

To be fair, we did order several dishes and there was room for confusion, but our drinks and food orders were mixed up or forgotten a few times. Some of the dishes, mainly the vegetable courses seemed overpriced but everything tasted great.

We would definitely consider returning but would order less for best value.

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c
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Coffee refills!! It’s not that hard :)

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a
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

The atmosphere was like an upscale cool cafeteria with the long dark-wooded communal tables. The decor fit the setting and the theme of the restaurant. The oysters were amazing and fresh with flavorful sauces. Try the pork rinds, you won't be disappointed. Don't expect the ham to come out sliced. It came out thinly shaved comparable to the way prociutto is served, but delicious. The lamb was the best entree we had with the skate wing being a little over-buttered and the capers made it salty. Overall, this place was wonderful and I can't wait to go back to try more items.

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RM
New England
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The food was everything we'd hoped for...and more! The only hiccups occured at the beginning when we arrived - There was no record of my phone call increasing the number of guests from 3 to 4, which caused some pushback and attitude...and at the end, when the front desk team seemed to misplace one of our coats, which they did eventually find.

The level of service at the bar and at the table was exemplary!

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ZR
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The meals are all shareable, and only two of us went so we didn't get to try the breadth of food a larger group would, and we're not big pork or oyster eaters, which is pretty much their reason for being. But, even with all those caveats, our meal was wonderful. We had the chicken, the mussels, the halibut and the Brussels sprouts and dessert, and all was wonderful (well, I don't love Brussels Spouts, but they were still pretty good for Brussels sprouts). You don't need a group to go, but if I went again, I'd bring friends.

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JH
Chicago
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Staff was great, food was amazing, ambiance was great for an anniversary!

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JG
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch at the Publican was a great experience. The staff are very attentive and will quickly refill your coffee mug without having to wave or signal them. Will go back again.

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

We love Publican! Food is always great

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j
San Francisco
40 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food and service!!! Wish they were in San Francisco

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WA
Naples
9 reviews
Dined on February 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We were celebrating my brother in laws retirement. My sister & brother in law don’t dine in the same manner my husband and I do. This was a very special treat for them. We were lucky enough to have picked Restaurant Week and the chef specials were outstanding. My brother in law ordered the pork shank from the regular menu and it was superb. The cocktails were wonderful and the beer list was impressive. The best part for me was the fact that I could get Duxbury oysters in Chicago. They are my all time favorite and I’ve never had them anywhere but in the Boston, Baltimore area. What a treat. The only thing that wasn’t perfect, my brother in laws shank came out prior to the other 3 meals. We had to encourage him to eat while it was hot and don’t wait for ours. I expected better timing than that.

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MB
Dallas
8 reviews
Dined on January 30, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Food was decent but over rated

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OT
Cincinnati
6 reviews
Dined on January 29, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Food was progressive and tasty. Beverage menu was very European. The service put it over the top.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 3

Noise level rather slightly 'Disturbing' than 'Energetic'

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NP
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Had a wonderful meal with another couple. Waitress did a wonderful job helping us navigate the menu and amount of food. Enjoyed everything we ordered. The BBQ carrots and Spare Ribs were definitely the standouts. It was a little loud but didn't detract from the evening. Will definitely try to come back.

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d
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 3

Dined here during Restaurant Week 2019 and had the Prix Fixe dinners. By sharing all of the options we had 7 different items! The food is creative, flavorful, and visually well done. The room, with multiple options from ledge dining to small, semi-private "boxes, to communal long tables and high-tops. It a little weird getting used to another couple joining you at a 4-top, but it works. Our only comment is that seating at the 4-tops is a little ackward, high tall stools and limited knee space under the table. I frequently found myself needing a few more inches of clearance. The oddly configured wash basin in the restroom area works, but reminded me of attending Taste of Chicago or Lolla.

All in all, we will return for the items we did not experience, and for the great neighborhood that is the Fulton Market District / West Loop.

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LC
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on January 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is so delicious and they have an extensive drink list! Service was great and love the ambiance.

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NS
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was excellent, we tried the Porchetta, which was a healthy potion of sliced pork over Brussels sprouts and red cabbage. All the front of house staff procedures phenomenal service and it was clear they all work as a team. We had probably three different people check up with us, but it was unobtrusive and our server was patient with our questions about the menu while also giving some great suggestions.

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c
Miami
2 reviews
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

I visited Publican for brunch with my sister, the food was amazing!!! Good vibes!

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JL
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great service wonderful brunch. Coffee was great!!

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OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and service.

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m
1 review
Dined on January 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food is absolutely astounding. Our waiter, Gio, was clearly extremely adept as his job, and was charming and gracious throughout the whole night. We had a lovely meal, and recommend the pork rinds and pork belly SO HARD. Everything was perfect.

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JW
1 review
Dined on January 24, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Good food! Good atmosphere! Cocktails were great!!!

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MO
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

Dinner at the Publican is spot on, but brunch is lacking in the service department. I think they aren’t used to timing main courses, as dinner is mostly shared plates. There were 5 of us dining and 2 were served and we waited 10 minutes before the rest of us received our food.

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CG
Chicago
7 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Get the bacon

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IP
Milwaukee
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 1food 2service 1ambience 2

This was one of the worst dining experiences I have had in quite a while. We visited on a Sunday morning around 10:15, it was not especially busy when we arrived. Our waitress talked to us two times during our entire meal- first to take our order and then, after we had eaten most of our meal to ask if we needed anything. When we ordered initially I mentioned that I intended to order a beer but was still deciding- no follow up visit so I could order a beer. The waitress visited the table next to us to take their order, did not glance at us. The waitress followed up with that same table when they received our food, she literally kept her back to us during this visit and did not turn around to check on us. I had to flag down a server to get ketchup for my son, to order more eggs for my son. The only bright spot was the server named Alex who did assist us and was extremely helpful. I sincerely hope that the Publican staff carried out my instructions to make sure he received the tip we left instead of our waitress.

The food was passable, but not overly impressive. I would have given the food a 3/5 rating. My "country ribs" consisted of 4 thin pieces of pork, One of which was too fatty to eat, plus some other components that were just ok. My wife enjoyed her avocado scramble. As noted before my 3.5 year old enjoyed his plain scrambled eggs. The beer list looks impressive, but alas I can't speak to whether it lives up to the expectations.

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OT
Chicago
5 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch menu was innovative and our food was great. Pork belly was perfectly prepared and delicious. Johnnycake with perfectly scrambled eggs was very good. Service was attentive. Only less than stellar service was valet guy began to point us to car down the street so we could get ourselves but then thought better of it and got car. Was snowy day.

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OT
Phoenix
2 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Visitors from out of town

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OT
Kansas City
21 reviews
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Excellent food and service. Got Chef’s plate - lots of food, but a good way to go for first visit, plus they will box up any of the extras. Get to experience a wide variety of food.

Staff is great. They explain all the dishes when they bring them out which is fun to hear. Very different beer list. A large number of European beers, plus some very well selected domestic crafts.

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MR
1 review
Dined on January 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Easily a top 5 meal I’ve ever had. The attention to detail with the food was immaculate, the service was flawless, etc. Could not recommend more strongly.

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BB
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Food is very good to excellent. Depending on the dish. Unique menu/presentation, without being eccentric. Hams and oysters are top notch.
The service is as good as it gets! Superior!

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SM
Chicago
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A Home Run every time we go, and we live in northern Michigan.
From the welcoming Greeting to the fond farewell our visits have been delightful.
Enjoyed the happy hour prior to dinner...what fun! Fabulous oysters and martinis!
Cheers!

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R
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 3

Food was excellent. We did the tasting menu and everything was amazing. Food came out at a good pace. Service was good. Water guy was eager to refill our cups for almost every drink we took. Noise level was insanely high. I couldn’t even hear the waitress or food runners. Great overall though. Definitely go back again sometime.

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DG
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My girlfriend and I went to the Publican to celebrate my birthday and had a wonderful time. Our server, Gio, took great care of us and made the night really special. The chef's tasting menu was incredible.

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g
Chicago
3 reviews
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I brought my niece, who was a college student visiting from UW-Eau Claire for dinner. We ordered the bread plate (couldn't pass it up), two vegetables: Celery dish and brussel sprouts (they were both amazing) and then two fish entrees: shrimp tagliatelle and salmon. Unfortunately, the shrimp dish had jalapeno peppers which meant I couldn't eat it but my niece liked it! Interestingly, I had asked the server if the shrimp dish was spicy and she said no....later we found out that the jalapenos were a surprise to all the servers! I guess the chef just decided to add them! The salmon dish looked appetizing but upon inspection, we found it terribly undercooked---pretty raw. The wait staff was very helpful and took it back for further cooking! We were very pleased with the service and would definitely return!!

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DS
Chicago
19 reviews
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

I've been to brunch at the Publican three times now, and this was the most disappointing. Nothing was wrong with the food, but I was looking forward to trying two of the entrees listed on OpenTable, and then found out neither of them were available yesterday. I love that the Publican rotates their menu to keep things fresh, but in this case it was a bummer, given that I chose to dine here because I was craving something specific. I'll still be back!

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AL
1 review
Dined on January 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Great food! Service was a little slow but it was a Saturday night. I would recommend and will be back!

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PB
Charleston
1 review
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Saturday brunch at the Publican was most excellent! The Corned Beef Hash with Brussel Sprouts was delicious!

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NC
Chicago
20 reviews
Dined on January 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Fantastic food- just delicious. The waitress was very blunt which was...refreshing?? Great brunch date with the boys

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