This windy city has something to offer to everyone. It’s the forefront of fine-dining, the arts, entertainment, and loyal sports fans in the mid-west. We’re talking of course about Chicago, Illinois. Because there’s so many things to do, places to see, and food to eat, we took it upon ourselves to highlight the incredible fine-dining scene Chicago has orchestrated.
Chicago is constantly evolving. From its rich history and roots in art, sports, and food alike, this city has a way of pushing the envelope while remaining true to its nature. Like many big cities, Chicago is home to dozens of ethnic backgrounds including Greek, Italian, Puerto Rican, Chinese, and Vietnamese. It has attracted innovative thinkers and designers from the architects who designed the many skyscrapers it has, to performing artists like dancers, singers, and comedians in its massive theatre scene. There’s one thing that is certain about the city – whatever niche people are drawn to, it’s an all-or-nothing attitude with irrevocable dignity.
So when it came to exploring Chicago’s haute-cuisine, it wasn’t easy to choose our absolute favorites. But after our experience, we’ve composed our list of restaurants that gastronomy junkies absolutely must delve into in the grand city of Chicago.
It’s not a long shot to call this restaurant the best in the country. Aside from being awarded 3-Michelin Stars for over five years, it has been recognized on a global scale as one of the best in the world. Chef Grant Achatz believes his creativity comes to him when he is working his hardest. From there, he creates seasonal menus between 18 and 22 courses that are theatrical and alluring to the senses.
Cuisine: Molecular Gastronomy
Location: 1723 North Halsted 60614
Chef Curtis Duffy’s restaurant takes elegance to new heights. The soft and neutral dining room allows a contrast for the spectacular and visual meal that lies ahead. Diners have the option between two 8-12 course menus: Flora or Fauna. Flora focuses on vegetarian cuisine while Fauna emphasizes on seafood and other protein. Each dish is beautifully crafted with simple ingredients of the highest quality.
Cuisine: Contemporary American
Location: 652 W Randolph St. 60661
Even veteran diners still have plenty of flavors to expose their palate to. At Sixteen, it is the goal of Chef Thomas Lents to have guests experience a multitude of tastes in just one sitting. Located on the 16th floor of the Trump Hotel, the dining room has towering ceilings and colossal glass windows that give guests the experience of dining amongst many of Chicago’s gorgeous buildings.
Cuisine: French-inspired American
Location: 401 N. Wabash Ave. 60611
Layering flavors. Subtlety. Contemporary techniques. When blended with the essence of traditional cooking, you will find how Chef Ryan McCaskey harmonizes the old with the new. Like many chefs, McCaskey’s goal is to create a unique culinary memory for each guest, accompanied by excellent service and hopsitality. Here, cultural diversity is celebrated in the ingredients and styles that are accumulated from all over the world.
Cuisine: Contemporary American with traditional roots
Location: 1639 S Wabash Ave. 60616
Standard flavor combinations, simple techniques, and an affinity towards seasonal produce and ingredients. Chef Lee Wolen creates dishes that are so stunning, it’s hard to believe how uncomplicated his approach to creating a menu is. Boka has been a foodie favorite for about a decade, but needed an element of change. Since Chef Wolen walked into the Boka kitchen in 2014, it’s evolved to a new standard.
Cuisine: Contemporary American
Location: 1729 North Halsted Street 60614
Chef Phillip Foss is a bit of a shock-artist when it comes to his fine-dining approach. Not to the extreme of inducing fear or disturbance, but his experimental style is guaranteed to give diners an experience that is unlike any other. There is plenty of opportunity for chef-guest interaction that is engaging, humorous, and insightful about how this BYO restaurant came together. If you’ve ever had the urge to literally lick your plate clean, that type of behavior isn’t frowned upon here – it’s encouraged!
Cuisine: Experimental BYO
Location: 2419 W 14th St. 60608
Several years ago, Chef Iliana Regan had one the most successful supper clubs in Chicago. After growing popularity, she decided to open her first restaurant, Elizabeth, named after her late sister. Success was immediate. Her experience growing up on a farm influenced her approach to the creation of colorful dishes that tell a story and are served in whimsical atmosphere – artisanal fine dining if you will. Her style is simple and playful, but stands out in Chicago for its focus on local and seasonal fish, meat, and foraged fruits and vegetables.
Cuisine: “New Gatherer” with locally foraged ingredients
Location: 4835 N. Western, Unit D, 60625
When art and food come together, that’s where you’ll find chefs like Anthony Martin. Originally an art student, this chef discovered a way to combine his passion for food and the arts when he pursued his culinary career. At Tru, Martin’s creations complement the collection of contemporary works of art displayed throughout the restaurant. One standout dish is their signature Coral Caviar – ten carefully selected caviars by Martin and his team.
Cuisine: Progressive French
Location: 676 N. St. Clair Street 60611