Where you’ll find the best poke bowls in Chicago

Photo: Sunda

Illinois and Hawaii may have little in common when you are comparing state to state, but it took the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs little time to adopt a staple Hawaiian cuisine – the poke bowl.

The often customizable meals contain a base of rice or salad usually topped with raw tuna, raw salmon or another fish, alongside everything from seaweed to pineapple, edamame to tobiko. To find the best in town, follow us to these five spots.

Aloha Poke

With a handful of locations across the city and in Evanston, this restaurant group really wanted to make this Hawaiian treat a thing in Chicago. They plan to keep the expansion going, but that doesn’t mean they sacrifice freshness.

Their customizable bowls come in three sizes depending on your hunger level, and are topped with marinated or naked raw salmon, raw tuna or tofu. From there, choose one of their house bowls like the signature ALOHA with pineapple, cucumber, scallion, jalapeno, Maui onion, and sesame vinaigrette, or create your own from a list of a dozen toppings and a handful of sauces. Expect a line at prime times, but it moves fast.


Looking to indulge in poke while staying at home watching Netflix? The geniuses at Lettuce Entertain You have the perfect solution for those who dwell in the Lincoln Park area.

This delivery-only concept uses premium raw fish (made in the same kitchen as their sushi restaurant Naoki) and has a bunch of interesting toppings like watermelon radishes, pickled mushrooms and a seasonal Nichols Farms heirloom tomato salad. You can get yellowtail, ahi tuna, salmon or gingered beets on everything from rice to quinoa and salad to tabbouleh.


Everything about this Wicker Park spot – which means Thank You in Hawaiian – pays homage to modern Hawaiian cuisine, so it’s no surprise poke takes center stage on their menu.

With five different selections to choose from, you can try a more traditional bowl with a seasonal selection of fish, to a completely vegetarian option made with edamame, red pepper, cucumber, pickled eggplant, mushrooms and broccolini (and topped with a charred scallion vinaigrette). When the weather is nice, sip a few Polynesian drinks alongside your bowl on their stellar rooftop.

Summer House Santa Monica

To feel like you are enjoying your poke in always perfect weather, head to this Lincoln Park spot where it’s always a beautiful day (at least inside).

Summer House recently added a weekday lunch poke menu full of great choices like the salmon poke bowl with ora king salmon, avocado, orange, edamame, cucumber, sweet soy, aioli, and daikon radish sprouts. These poke bowls are served over sushi rice with ginger and sesame, or over a kale and Napa cabbage salad dressed with a carrot sesame ginger dressing.


If you like your poke bowls full of fish, this is the place to go. Although the featured poke bowls run a bit pricier than your average poke joint, they are filled to the brim with a variety of fish.

Take the “Sumo” – full of escolar, salmon, Hamachi and spicy tuna, and rounded out with edamame, watercress, spinach, avocado, chili soy and spicy mayo. You can also customize your own bowl.

Written by Samantha Lande
Samantha is a freelance writer who explores the city and beyond for delicious restaurants, fun events and interesting people to tell stories about. She lives in the North suburbs with her husband and two children.