The Best Restaurants in Chicago

by Natasha Wolff | September 16, 2014 7:37 am

1723 North Halsted Street [1]
Founded by Chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas in 2005, Alinea features a seasonal tasting menu that offers between 18 and 22 courses. Be sure to make a reservation for this Michelin three-star restaurant—the tables fill up quickly!

Ampersand at Kinmont
419 West Superior Street[2]
Tucked away in the back of Kinmont, emerging and established chefs (Mike Sheerin, Mindy Segal) take turns setting up camp, pop-up style, to share new flavors and ideas.

Au Cheval
800 West Randall Street[3]
A sophisticated take on the traditional diner, Chicagoans and visitors alike rave about Au Cheval’s supreme burgers. Be sure to try it with an egg on top.

Bavette's Bar and Boeuf

Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf

Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf
218 West Kinzie Street[4]
Everything Brendan Sodikoff touches turns to gold. His new venture: this European-inspired steakhouse offering prime, dry-aged bone-in ribeye, beef tongue, pommes frites and plenty of vin rouge to wash it all down.

Belly Q
1400 West Randolph Street[5]
Asian barbeque hotspot Belly Q is just one more reason to love chef Bill Kim. Servers wear long brown leather aprons while presenting dishes like tea-smoked duck on steamed buns and soba noodles with basil and eggplant at his latest venture with Michael Jordan.

Big Star
1531 North Damen Avenue[6]
One of Chicago’s finest purveyors of unique whiskeys, Paul Kahan’s Big Star offers some of the best late-night tacos in the city. Tip: The restaurant is cash only, so be sure to bring some spending money.

841 West Randolph Street[7]
West Loop’s g.e.b. (Graham Elliot Bistro) is a stripped-down version of the chef’s signature playful cooking, in which the straightforward dishes focus on no more than three ingredients, like linguini with clam and fennel, steak and potatoes with béarnaise, trout with spaetzle and sorrel.

652 West Randolph Street[8]
An endlessly creative pastry chef and advocate for small, local farms, Curtis Duffy is living up to the hype. He’s composed an artful menu around herbs and edible flowers, with dishes like roasted pumpkin with lemon balm, grilled Wagyu beef with mashua leaf, and kampachi with Thai basil.

GT Fish & Oyster

GT Fish & Oyster

GT Fish & Oyster
531 North Wells Street[9]
One of Chicago’s award-winning seafood restaurants. Try the clam chowder with Neuske’s bacon and house-made oyster crackers at this Boka Restaurant Group hotspot.



419 West Superior Street[10]
Jared Van Camp’s fish restaurant is known for sustainable seafood from start to finish. Think PEI mussels, Skuna Bay salmon tartare and Alaska king crab legs.

959 North Western Avenue[11]
Forget the Colonel. Here, it’s all about fried-chicken sandwiches made with local birds, house-made buns, house-made pickles and, well, house-made everything. When the sandwiches run out, they close up shop.

Little Goat

Little Goat

Little Goat
820 West Randolph Street[12]
Little Goat’s name is deceptive: Top Chef alum Stephanie Izard’s concept grew from a small diner to include a private event space, bar and coffee shop, with bread baked on site daily.

Nico Osteria
1015 North Rush Street [13]
Located in the Thompson Hotel, Nico Osteria’s traditional Italian seafood restaurant is a not-to-be-missed treat on the Gold Coast. We recommend the Lobster Spaghetti for a decadent treat.

837 West Fulton Market[14]
This communal dining restaurant from Donnie Madia features a pork-centric menu and a lively atmosphere. Its ever-evolving beer selection features more than 100 ales, lagers, stouts and ciders.

980 North Michigan Avenue, Second Floor[15]
For fine Italian dining, look no further than this Magnificent Mile restaurant from chef Tony Montuano. The four-star venue has been serving traditional upscale cuisine for over three decades.



2039 West North Avenue[16]
The Sheerin brothers are responsible for some of the city’s top boites. With Trenchermen, they join forces to create a boozy, boisterous, farm-food-focused, curio-filled space.

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