Theo’s Steaks & Seafood showcases fresh fish flown in daily and premium meats aged for up to 20 days that are hand-cut on the premises. The menu’s newly plucked fruits of the sea include a New Zealand orange roughy topped with lemon butter and crabmeat ($16.95), and a medley of shrimp and scallops tossed with fettuccine and drizzled in the kitchen’s creamy homemade alfredo sauce ($18.95). An 18-ounce bone-in rib eye piggybacks tender texture on top of rich flavor and sports both a signature marbling and a rakishly tilted fedora ($26.95). Among the eatery’s Pavlovian-pooch-shaming proteins, a pair of thick, center-cut pork chops arrives bearing hickory sauce and oozing succulence ($16.95). Customers can dine inside among cushioned chairs and colorful wall murals, or on the restaurant's outdoor patio during warmer months. All entrees come with complimentary fresh-baked bread and cheese spread, and a rhyming dictionary to assist diners with the composition of paeans to the chef.
N'awlins Crab House charms taste buds with southern snacks and seafood steeped in Cajun and creole culinary traditions. Diners can investigate three menus as they search for edible pearls in oysters on the half shell ($15.95/dozen). Crawfish creole sates veggie cravings with tomatoes, celery, and colorful peppers ($15.95), and marinated sirloin medallions ($15.99) reward carnivores by supplementing USDA Choice beef with a half-dozen prepared-to-order shrimp. Guests may customize the Captain's platter ($23.95) by pairing snow-crab legs and a broiled lobster tail with poached, sautéed, or charbroiled prawns. Growing po boy sandwiches devour catfish, blackened mahi-mahi, and other seafood staples ($8.95–$13.95), emerging from the kitchen with crunchy batter exoskeletons and the power to lure mermaids into timeshare seminars.
By the early 1920s, nearly every major metropolis in the United States and abroad had an aquarium. By 1930, Chicago stood tall among their ranks, thanks to civic leader John G. Shedd’s drive to build the first permanent inland saltwater collection in the country. Shedd’s contribution of $3 million paid for nearly a million gallons of seawater, which were transported by rail from Florida’s coast before filling exhibits large enough to accommodate sea mammals as well as fish.
Today, Shedd’s dream continues to thrive with the aquarium’s scores of undersea creatures—from sharks and dolphins to vibrant sea cucumbers—showcased in educational, eye-catching exhibits. The permanent collection spirits visitors from the Great Lakes to the Amazon River to the waters of the Arctic Circle. The resident critters often share their turf with temporary guests such as sea jellies and stingrays, who fill dramatic special exhibits.
The most exciting animal encounters, however, may come via the year-round aquatic show. Trainers show off the talents of sea lions, dolphins, and even beluga whales. They have some four-legged company, too: a trio of rescue dogs often perform alongside their finned adoptive family, demonstrating how learning through positive reinforcement transcends boundaries between species.
The chefs at Luby's Pub & Steakhouse coat sweet jumbo shrimp in house-made coconut batter, bake orange roughy in herb butter, and char-grill juicy burgers with onions for dinners, banquets, and custom catering. In the dining area, veal parmesan nestled on plates of angel-hair pasta shares tables with slow-roasted portions of prime rib au jus and farm-raised blackened catfish. Diners may also opt to sip cocktails on the outdoor patio during the summer months, when the sun is extra fiery.
Born of a desire to provide healthy, upscale alternatives to traditional fast food, Flavor 180 centers its quick-service cuisine on seafood, chicken and turkey. Divided into two factions, the menu offsets its Nice section of turkey dogs and grilled fish with a Naughty branch laden with catfish nuggets and jerk-chicken tacos. Track lighting spills over vivid red walls in the eatery’s interior, where the glow of a wall-mounted flat-screen TV glints off glasses of wine and beer and the bodies of off-duty RoboCops.
Since it opened in a tiny dock space in 1950, Lawrence’s Fisheries has been plying the Chicago community with fresh seafood, including the best fried shrimp in the city, according to Chicago Magazine. The legacy started with founder Lawrence Schweig, whose commercial fishing operation on Lake Michigan reeled in fresh fish. Two generations later, the staff still uses family recipes and a signature breading process to churn out specialties such as fried large shrimp, frog legs, and bone-in catfish. Customers can get their fried fixings–as well as sandwiches and decadent desserts–24 hours a day. The counter spot retains its homey feel with picnic table seating and by serving its breaded bundles in white paper bags.