When you think of the great casinos in the U.S., what states come to mind? Nevada, home to the world-famous Las Vegas strip is obviously number one. New Jersey’s Atlantic City probably makes that state rank second in most people’s minds. After that, there are several states that most likely make the cut. Places like Florida, Connecticut, and Mississippi all probably rank pretty high on your list as well. One state you may not think of right away is Illinois. You should though!
The state currently has more than a dozen casinos with more on the way. They are spread out all over the Prairie State. These casinos offer world-class gambling and entertainment as well as beautiful hotels. There is plenty to do in most of the towns and cities they are located in as well This includes some of the best restaurants the state has to offer. Here are some of the best restaurants near Illinois casinos.
Located about an hour southwest of Chicago, there are two great casinos located in Joliet, IL. The city is home to both Harrah’s Joliet Hotel and Casino and Hollywood Casino Joliet. Both of these casinos offer a wide range of slots and table games as well as lovely hotel accommodations. While they both have great restaurants on-site, such as The Reserve at Harrah’s and Final Cut Steakhouse at the Hollywood, to get the best the town has to offer, you want to head over to Al’s Steakhouse.
Al’s has been a fixture in Joliet since the early 1960s. What started out as a popular nightclub way back when has now evolved into one of the best high-end eateries in Joliet. They offer great food with their specialty being their chargrilled steaks. The ambiance is classic steakhouse and stepping into Al’s is like stepping into a local history book. The seats are classic, luxurious red leather that complements the white tablecloths perfectly.
You even get a chance to see real history on the walls at Al’s as they display the original gates from Joliet Citizens Brewery. This “near-beer” and soft drink brewery operated in the town from 1933 to 1948. You will not get a better meal or a more classic ambiance in all of Joliet than at Al’s Steakhouse.
Des Plaines, IL
There are a lot of great day trips you can take from Chicago. Online Casino Gems has a list of the 5 best, in fact. If you are looking for the closest casino to the county’s 3rd largest city, look no further than Rivers Casino Des Plaines in Des Plaines, IL. The casino is technically not in Chicago proper but it is located just outside of Chicago’s O’Hare airport. It is so close that you can easily take a relatively cheap taxi ride or even hop on a local Chicago bus to get there.
Des Plaines, although landlocked, is well-known for having some of the best seafood restaurants in the Chicagoland area. It may sound a bit confusing but the best of these restaurants is the Boston Fish Market. The restaurant is not located in Boston but it is a real wholesale fish market as well as being a top restaurant. The cuisine includes some of the freshest seafood in the area made into fantastic Greek and Mediterranean dishes. The crowd is varied and eclectic but the dining is always consistently top-notch. That is the reason it is so well-reviewed by local authorities such as the Chicago Tribune. It is not only a great restaurant but also a truly unique experience.
Rock Island, IL
On the far western side of the state, about 2 miles from the Iowa border, you will find Jumer’s Casino and Hotel in Rock Island, IL. The town right across the bridge from Davenport, IA and gets its name from its proximity to Rock Island, the largest island in the Mississippi. This is a small town that has a great casino and some very interesting restaurants.
The most interesting restaurant in Rock Island is Igor’s Bistro. Opened in 2017, this restaurant offers great pub-style fare including Illinois staples like the Italian beef sandwich. While the food is very good, that is not the main reason you go to Igor’s. This restaurant is Halloween themed and is decorated for the holiday year-round. If you love a good fright and wish every day was October 31, then you will love Igor’s Bistro. It is worth the trip to leave the cozy confines of Jumer’s and take the 10-minute drive over.
Right around the center of the state, about two and a half hours outside of Chicago, you will find the Par-a-Dice Hotel Casino in East Peoria, IL. As you may be able to tell from the pun-y name, this casino is a load of fun. The casino says it pairs “Las Vegas excitement with the finest central Illinois hospitality” to create its entertaining atmosphere. They offer a steakhouse called Boyd’s and a few casual dining restaurants as well onsite. For the best eating experience in town though, you want to head to Chef Troy Ummel’s Connected.
Chef Ummel has had an incredible culinary career that has taken him from the Culinary Institute of America to some of the best kitchens in the country. He has cooked everywhere from the 5-star fine dining restaurant Christini’s in Orlando, FL to Jim Henson and Associates in Los Angeles. In 2009, the chef took his talents to Peoria, IL where he opened his award-winning restaurant, Connected. The place has a killer wine list to go along with its high-end Italian fare. This place is on par with anything you will find in Chicago or even New York City when it comes to classic Italian.
Illinois has casinos that are spread all over the state. One of the best parts about this is that you can find great dining near any of these places. When at an Illinois casino, gamble, take in a show, eat at the casino buffet or restaurant, but also make sure to check out some of these amazing, nearby options as well.