Summer's Must Dos. Sign up for the season's best travel ideas from in-the-know experts. Sign up for the season's best travel ideas. Sign Me Up Want to know where to find the best restaurants in Chicago now? At these nine new spots, risk-taking chefs are following their passions no matter how outlandish (think: a real chocolate factory, a bar that serves bottled cocktails, and a high-end eatery that changes chefs every single month). By Heidi Mitchell l Photo courtesy of Galdones Photography January 30, 2017.
The end of the year may be rapidly approaching, but Chicago's dining and nightlife scene is just heating up. From the pinnacle of holiday cheer in the form of a bar to a counter-service joint that slings tater tot wraps, we've got the scoop on a several new eateries worth braving the dipping temperatures for.
Keep scrolling for a comprehensive list of the best overall restaurants in Chicago, too. Lincoln Park Inspired Greek fare with a generous serving of neighborhood charm Don't let its neighborhood-y setting and cozy interior fool you -- the Greek eats at this newly minted spot near DePaul demand to be taken seriously. Saganaki with peppered figs and honey, pork souvlaki, Kataifi prawns wrapped in shredded filo, and beef youvetsi comprise the dinner menu, and the caramel baklava ice cream might just be one of the most creative and satisfying desserts of the year.
Wicker Park Your one-stop-shop for late-night tater tot wraps Michigan's own tot-centric concept hits Chicago with its first out-of-state outpost, and comes complete with over two dozen unique tater tot wraps that range from the Hawaiian Reed (chicken tenders, ham, mozzarella, pineapple, and ranch) to the Luchador (grilled steak, mozzarella, onions, jalapenos, and Sriracha).
Designed with the nighttime crowd in mind, the space is open until 4am on the weekends (2am weekdays) for when those munchies hit, and reopens in the morning with a lineup of hangover-curing wraps like the Wake & Bac'n packed with scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar, Sriracha, and -- you guessed it-- tots.
Wrigleyville A light-strewn holiday pop-up from the people behind Electric Forest Festival Chicago's no stranger to elaborate pop-ups (hello, Riot Feast and Saved by the Max), but few can compete with this entirely extra indoor/outdoor Christmas bar. Explore the many Instagram-worthy interactive areas, like Santa's workshop and Rudolph's lounge, and embrace the festive spirit with large format rum-based Jingle Juice, Sugar Plum Fairy Wings lacquered in hoisin plum BBQ sauce and dusted with edible gold, a giant pretzel served with maple cinnabutter, chipotle cheddar fondue, and cranberry mustard, and more.
As if all of that weren't reason enough to visit, a portion of the whimsical pop-up's proceeds benefits and . West Loop Women-led Japanese fine dining in the ex-Grace space A year after Michelin-starred Grace abruptly closed, 952 W. Randolph is resurrected, this time as a contemporary Japanese resto helmed by chef Mari Katsumura, whose resume includes Blackbird, Acadia, and Entente. Katsumura's 13-course tasting menu (which, like Grace, includes a vegetarian option), promises an artful exploration of Japanese techniques and flavors through bites like sashimi, chawanmushi, and more.
West Loop A sultry speakeasy by way of a flower shop Part-Thursday-through-Saturday-social-club ("The Ballroom), part-restaurant ("The Library"), this two-pronged concept promises cocktails and food every bit as lavish as its English manor-inspired leather and red velvet-adorned digs. Team The Secret Garden (Ketel Botanicals vodka, lime juice, St. George raspberry liqueur, grapefruit soda, and an edible hibiscus flower) with crispy sweet breads and shareable beef short rib accompanied by pickled cranberries and bone marrow butter, and round things out with coconut creme brulee composed of foie gras mousse, parsnips, and huckleberries.
River North A subterranean mezcal oasis from Rick Bayless Celebrity chef Rick Bayless steps into the bar rings with his latest venture, which is situated directly beneath his acclaimed restaurant Frontera and is accessible through an alley a la other speakeasy-style bars in the 'hood (like ).
The cocktail menu spans four categories inspired by a Mexican market that range from spicy to fruity to botanical to a tacos al pastor-inspired number made with roasted pineapple, lime, cilantro and mezcal infused with the flavors of homemade chorizo. Soak it up with roasted bone marrow and cooked-to-order Mexican paella. Loop A modern steakhouse within a chic Mag Mile hotel Pedigreed chef Dan Weiland (Avec, Blackbird, Forbidden Root) takes the reins at this fresh take on a steakhouse inside the newly minted Hotel Julian.
Given its hotel context, the concept will be open all day, and promises coconut milk French toast, char-grilled Hanger steak and eggs, and avocado toast laden with coffee cured salmon, pickled veggies, and arugula for the breakfast crowd and beef Wellington by the space, a 12-oz bone-in ribeye, and roasted carrots tossed with harissa, candied pistachios, and Greek yogurt for those stopping in later.
Wash it all down with a playful cocktail, like the Cocoa Pebble infused Saturday Morning Cartoons or the cider-based In(Cider) Trading.
Ravenswood A Cuban-Filipino gem by the Montrose Brown Line stop If you've ever simultaneously craved a Cubano sandwich and pancit luglug (respect for your well-traveled palate), this unique new mashup concept is here to curb your hunger.
Its Cubano features slow-roasted Nueskes smoked deli ham that's been marinated in house mojo sauce for 24 hours, while its take on luglug is packed with scallops, uni, chicharrones, an egg yolk, and aromatic saffron.
Once you're done exploring the savory options, end your meal with a halo-halo sundae (ube ice cream, flan, young coconut, red bean, and corn). Roscoe Village Home of a sumptuous foie gras tart With a name that literally translates to "south" in French, it's no wonder that here, you'll travel to the south of France by way of house-made charcuterie, rabbit leg a la Provencal, sardine escabeche, and haricot vert tossed with lemon, thyme, and brown butter at this bi-level spot.
Its facade is washed in cheerful hues of yellow and teal that practically implore you to step inside; it's charming interior, with its wine bottle-lined exposed brick walls and two bars, ensure a welcoming atmosphere to match.
Lincoln Park A cult-favorite food truck lands a brick-and-mortar shop If you're familiar with Chicago's illustrious food truck culture, you're probably also acquainted with -- if not a die-hard fan of -- the Fat Shallot, a beloved gourmet sandwich shop on wheels.
The brand's expansion began with a kiosk at Revival Food Hall, and is gaining steam with its first standalone restaurant. Devour classics like the truffle BLT, Muenster grilled cheese, and spicy sesame fries, as well as a small selection of starters like chilaquile nachos. Logan Square Committed to locally sourced ingredients since the '90s This OG Logan Square favorite was embracing the farm-to-table philosophy long before it was cool, and has remained one of the North Side’s most in-demand weekend brunch destinations since opening in 1999.
The menu is subject to change depending on the seasonal availability of certain ingredients, but "The Royale" breakfast sandwich, which is currently made with turkey leg confit, Gruyere cheese, braised bacon, parsley salad, and a sunny-side egg on sourdough, is a sure bet.
River North A hearth-centered haven with California looks One Off Hospitality (Publican, Blackbird), former Nico Osteria chef Erling Wu-Bower, and partner Joshua Tolden have teamed up to open this hotly anticipated spot. The sleek, Midcentury modern digs emanate West Coast cool, while an ever-changing, ingredient-driven menu keeps things fresh and seasonal. Try the in-season ramp and ham pizza, dungeness crab chitarra, wood roasted baby carrots with onion-tahini puree, zhoug, almond, and dill, and more.
West Loop If you've never had duck heart, try it here Former Bohemian House chef Jimmy Papadopoulos is back in the restaurant game and has teamed up with Boka Restaurant Group to resurrect the long-vacant Embeya space. While BoHo showcased Papadopoulos' penchant for Eastern European flavors and cooking techniques, the menu here proves his versatility: a savory oyster custard flirts with Osetra caviar, creme fraiche, lemon dressed apple, and dill in the inventive oyster pie, dry-aged duck is glazed with raspberry vinegar and teamed with duck heart en crepinette, and venison tartare balances earthy grilled mushrooms with pumpernickel and lime.
In addition, the restaurant also offers a six-course tasting menu for those who want to take the guesswork out of their meal. Lincoln Park You might actually end up eating the crust first While classic deep dish is undeniably "Chicago," it’s worth noting that some of the best pies in the city don't necessarily conform to expectations.
Case in point: the dreamy pan pizza with signature caramelized cheese crust at this Clybourn Ave mainstay, which scored a place on our for good reason. Lincoln Park Equal parts romance and practical culinary magic Romantic enough for a date night and inventive enough to surprise even the most jaded of palates, this time-tested favorite promises a great atmosphere (including a breathtaking “living wall” punctuated with anthropomorphized animal paintings) and even greater food.
Crafted by visionary Lee Wolen, the Michelin-starred menu is an exercise in mixing complementary flavors and textures; no dish better exemplifies this than Wolen’s heirloom carrots, which come to life with pistachio crumbles, bulgur, and smoked goat cheese.
And by all means, save room for one of pastry chef Meg Galus’ equally whimsical desserts. Humboldt Park Gimmick-free yet highly Instagrammable breakfast hash With its hippie spirit and namesake hash lineup, this whimsical diner is one of West Town’s coolest hidden gems. Pull up a seat at one of the mosaic-topped tables and revel in the porcine magic that is the bacon fat hash with pork shoulder, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts laden with rich mustard cream sauce.
Irving Park The dry-rubbed smoked meats King of the North This Texas-style barbecue joint has been slingin’ its signature brisket and ribs for the better part of a decade, and remains steadfast as the North Side’s top dog for smoked meats. It’s BYOB, so arrive hungry and with a frosty six-pack of your favorite local brew in tow to fend off the inevitable meat sweats.
River North The only donuts in town worth fighting lines and crowds Brendan Sodikoff's award-winning donut shop sets the bar unattainably high with its supremely dense, moist old-fashioned-style donuts. The crave-worthy dough rings come in flavors like toasted almond, classic buttermilk glazed, and lemon-poppy seed, and in limited production daily, which means, once they sell out, they're gone 'til the next morning.
Pro tip: If you're lucky, you can also score them at some of Sodikoff's other concepts, including , , and . River North The best place to not take a vegan Tinder date All-swine-everything is the name of the game at this Mag Mile staple from Jimmy Bannos Jr. Pig out on pork-fried almonds spiked with rosemary and garlic, milk-braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes, and plentiful cured meats, and if you're the adventurous sort, don't miss the "JLT" made with pork jowl, tomato, frisee, and a duck egg fried sunny-side up.
West Loop Alinea's approachable little sister with a penchant for fried chicken New from Grant Achatz and his team behind three-Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning , this decidedly-more-casual concept balances world-class eats with a sleek, streamlined aesthetic and lively energy. Music plays through the speakers at a slightly-above-normal volume, constant commotion flows through the open kitchen outfitted with a roaring hearth, and vibrant dishes like scallop crudo with mustard, charred daikon, and passion fruit and soy-dusted Yukon fries flecked with bonito flake, splashed with rice vinegar, and paired with tofu mayo prove that "casual" doesn't mean "sacrificed creativity." Calumet Heights Seafood worth a little South Side road trip Make the trek to the South Side for all the smoked seafood you can handle at this legendary fish shack.
The small but mighty institution has been in the biz for over half a century, and is one of very few Illinois smokehouses still in operation. Stop in to score smoked black cod, catfish, sturgeon, and more by the pound. Logan Square The restaurant's name is also your go-to order You can (and should!) come to this Asian fusion mainstay for dishes other than just the eponymous arroz gordo ("Fat Rice"), but first-timers shouldn't leave without at least a taste of the shareable Macanese entree.
The massive dish is served in a cast iron bowl, and features a base layer of jasmine rice laced with sofrito, chorizo, and salted duck that's topped with everything from curried chicken thighs and linguica sausage to prawns and tea eggs.
Logan Square Go for the burger, stay for the late-night pub fare This British gastropub makes a mean fish & chips, but it's the Slagel Farm beef burger that keeps people coming back for more.
The boasts a monstrous patty blended with locally sourced ground brisket, short rib, and chuck, a pile of subtly sweet caramelized onions, and a house-made potato bap, and is best washed down with a selection or two from the exhaustive beer list. South Loop South Loop's gift to Chicago's fine dining culture With two hard-earned Michelin stars in tow, this contemporary American spot helmed by Chef Ryan McCaskey effortlessly toes the line been upscale and approachable cuisine.
Guests may choose between five- and 10-course seasonally driven tasting menus or an a la carte bar menu flush with elevated bites like fried Jidori chicken, a Maine lobster roll, and a burger loaded with bacon jam and taleggio mornay. Near North Side The steaks are big, and the desserts require mountain climbing gear With nearly three decades under its belt, this old-school steak giant is a Chicago bucket list must for locals, tourists, and everyone in between.
In addition to a bevy of steaks certified under the restaurant's house USDA Angus Beef program, the Viagra Triangle destination is also known for mammoth desserts, like macadamia turtle pie and carrot cake, that will handily leave a family of four in its wake of sugar coma-inducing destruction. Pro tip: Gibsons is also a favorite among celebs and high rollers; if you're lucky, you just might rub elbows with someone famous.
West Loop Pasta is the name of the game Spearheaded by alum chef Sarah Grueneberg and outfitted with a pastificio, it's hardly a stretch to assume that this noodle-centric concept would focus on classic Italian preparations. While the menu isn't without hand-rolled gnocchetti sardi with fresh-grated tomato, oven-dried cherry tomatoes, basil, and ricotta, there's so much more to it than that.
Surprising highlights including skate wing schnitzel with caper salsa verde, grilled summer squash, local greens, cherry tomatoes, and parsley new potatoes, wok fried strangozze with head-on gulf shrimp, tomato, garlic, and hot pepper oil, and prosciutto butter toast.
West Loop A twofer with a kickass burger downstairs and a fanciful tasting menu upstairs Husband-and-wife team John Shields and Karen Urie Shields have successfully bridged the gap between casual bar fare and cheffy tasting menu with their separate-but-synergistic duo. The Loyalist leans casual and approachable, with a burger that handily upstages the neighborhood's long-reigning champ, bar seating and cozy booths, and a sophisticated lemongrass sundae topped with molasses and blueberries, while Smyth leans upscale with a seasonally driven tasting menu packed with locally sourced ingredients.
River North A new school steakhouse with amazing non-steak offerings Boka Restaurant Group's fresh take on the steakhouse experience is exactly what Chicago has been waiting for: hulking cuts replaced with a shareable selection of prime beef, game meat, and more, a moody atmosphere inspired by a cabin-in-the-woods fairytale, and a variety of small plates and desserts, like mortadella arancini, veal cheek with lemon grits, escarole, and miso, and coffee and stout donuts with creme anglaise and brown sugar streusel, that share the stage with the meat.
West Town Exceptional sushi best enjoyed omakase-style Reopening after a fire temporarily shuttered its doors, Arami is back and newly remodeled.
What this cozy, no-frills Japanese concept lacks in ambiance and aesthetic it makes up for with elegantly composed dishes and simple yet sophisticated maki and nigiri. The one-bite toro tartare is a harmonious blend of minced fatty bluefin tuna, Asian pear, chive, caviar, and house soy sauce, Hotate-Su featuring Hokkaido scallops balanced with Hawaiian hot pepper water, coconut-lime sauce, hearts of palm, Thai basil, and passionfruit,, and sushi offerings range from maguro spicy sake maki with jalapeño, cilantro, avocado, ikura, fried shallots, and yuzu to yellowtail with mushroom and aromatic truffle oil.
West Loop A clandestine Michelin-starred spot devoid of pretension Inconspicuously tucked away on an alley-like road, this 28-seat literal hidden gem has remained one of Chicago's best-kept secrets since it opened this past spring.
That is, until Michelin spilled the beans by awarding it not one, but two coveted stars. Chefs/partners Noah Sandoval and Genie Kwon prove that teamwork does, in fact, make the dream work through an ever-evolving tasting menu comprised of explosively flavorful bites, like Beausoleil oyster with Iberico consomme and finger lime, capellini with Burgundy truffle, rye berry, and yeast, and lemon tea sorbet with hibiscus, Asian pear, and bitter greens.
Logan Square The hearty, traditional cuisine of Northern Italy in one spot This acclaimed spot in Logan Square has matured into Chicago's preeminent destination for both Northern Italian eats and an outstanding selection of Italian wines.
Menu standouts include Chef Cameron Grant's handmade plin tossed with la tur, parmesan, thyme, and butter, tajarin with Northern meat ragu and grana padano, panna cotta. University Village Geek-out-worthy molecular gastronomy for the adventurous This progressive fine-dining destination flies a bit under the radar given its location in Douglas Park, but it should be on every self-respecting food enthusiast's bucket list, if for no other reason than the always-on-menu "French fries and ice cream." One of over a dozen courses, the nostalgic dish evokes the sweet-meets-savory magic of fries dunked in a Wendy's Frosty, featuring potato-leek soup topped with liquid nitrogen-chilled vanilla ice cream.
An expansive open kitchen and pretension-free atmosphere punctuated with graffiti-style art complete the unique experience. Lakeview Beautifully plated dishes that taste even better than they look Tucked away in the former Ani space, this charming spot offers artfully plated fare and a no-frills, minimalistic atmosphere.
Explore Executive Chef Brian Fisher's inventive approach to cooking by way of an extraordinarily photogenic wedge salad topped with Benton's bacon, cambozola, tomato, and house Green Goddess, truffle-froward Carolina Gold with duck egg, pea tendrils, and Parmigiano Reggiano, and Slagel Farms shortrib with bulgogi and one marrow butterscotch.
Complete your meal with an intricate dessert of milk chocolate, raspberry, roses, and hazelnut. Logan Square Some of the best cheffy yet authentic Mexican food around The chef-driven Mexican fare at Diana Davila's vibrant concept is as thoughtfully crafted as it is satisfying. You can score a heaping basket of chips and salsa, but the other offerings are anything but basic. Team an aromatic elderflower margarita with a caldo de res made with short rib and bone marrow, or smoked beer-can chicken tacos with xoconostle, and don’t miss out on the mouthwatering tres leches.
Wicker Park Vegetable-forward dishes so good, you won't need to think about meat This veggie-centric spot highlights a "root to leaf" approach, with inventive dishes a crudite platter that changes on the daily and comes packed with raw and pickled veggies, cultured butter, tomato jam, and more, roasted carrot dumplings with lemongrass aioli, and zucchini and gold bar squash with monkey bread, as well as some non-veggie items like sockeye salmon and pork belly bao for those looking for a protein fix.
There are also garden-to-glass cocktails including a carrot margarita made with Piedra Azul Reposado and booze-free "cottontails" like a cranberry ginger fizz. West Town Minimalist design with fancy AF eats With a mere 20 seats and a sleek, modern aesthetic, this fine-dining hideaway promises an intimate meal with creative flavor pairings.
The $125 tasting menu changes often, but always includes hyper-local ingredients grown in the restaurant's hydroponic garden. Courses range from king crab with saffron, satsuma, and steelhead roe to foie gras with passion fruit and sauternes, black sesame, and a canele.
best new date restaurants in chicago magazine - These Are the Best Date Restaurants in New York
Shopping, dodging giddy teenagers walking in unison and people watching aren't the only activities on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, the mile-long stretch of Michigan Avenue between Oak Street and the Chicago River. Every few steps along the mile offers locals and visitors a tasting tour of flavors from gastronomic masterpieces to neighborhood tavern style dining.
Steaks and seafood? Michael Jordan's, and won't disappoint. ontinues to entertain diners with s nout-to-tail cookery with Italian and Greek inspiration and Beacon Tavern couldn't be more comfortably upscale. Whether you're in Mensa or slipped by on C's, The Albert is a smart choice. If it's great weather, you'll be treated to gorgeous skyline and lake views day or night with your meal at or NoMI Kitchen.
For an elegant dining experience, head to RL where the smell of the rich leather furniture will transport you to your favorite fashion magazine (except you're the model). It's not all about smoking the credit card, either, when you pop into casual a tavern with as many dizzying specials as craft beers.
Torali is on the lobby level, 12 floors up, in the Ritz Carlton. It's white and mirrored, not dim and stuffy as one might imagine an Italian and steak place might be in a venerable hotel like the Ritz. Sous Chef Soo Ahn's new take on crudo, a yellowfin tartare with olives, or simple, cold oysters are a great light start.
Torali sous vides its octopus and then chars it resulting in a tender, tasty mouthful. Executive Chef, Baasim Zafar, hits all the steakhouse notes with hand cut, Prime and dry aged steaks finished with house salt and extra virgin olive oil, and a choice of Lardo Pesto, Torali Steak Sauce or Black Truffle-Garlic Butter. Pasta is made in house and a sure bet is the Seafood Paccheri featuring nubs of lobster and shrimp in seafood broth flecked with soffritto and bottarga (salted, cured fish roe) all atop fresh rigatoni.
NoMI Kitchen is the kitchen one might imagine you hang out in while in heaven. The contemporary Midwest cuisine has classic French influences, plus a deep wine list and stunning views.
Dine at NoMi Kitchen, the NoMi Lounge or the NoMi Garden, an outdoor rooftop terrace open roughly May through October. A new sushi bar, which overlooks Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan from within NoMI Lounge, offers an omakase experience and sommelier Jillian Riley can provide accompanying pairings. Stop in for wine and cocktails in a relaxed atmosphere in the lounge and a date on the outdoor terrace dining by candlelight can't be beat.
Sweeping views place you in the heart of the Gold Coast along Michigan Avenue and Water Tower Square. Owned by fashion's Ralph Lauren, and adjacent to the world's largest Polo store, this contemporary American restaurant has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, rich leather furniture and mahogany paneling defining the country club decor.
You're likely to dine next to the likes of Bunny, Bitsy, Chip and Digby nibbling escargot, roasted beet salad, a USDA Prime steak or RL classics like organic farmhouse roast chicken, Dover sole or calve's liver sautéed with bacon and onions. Sip seasonal cocktails like Ralph's Spring Punch and Mint Julep Smash while deciding where you'll summer and if it'll be RL's famed Avocado Crab Salad and asparagus soup crossing your lips.
If there's room, toss the ever=present diet to the wind and have the RL brownie, served with vanilla ice cream. Celebrities occasionally make an appearance and when the weather is nice, opt for a spot on the outdoor patio.
This popular and compact restaurant is the work of Jimmy Bannos Jr., Jimmy Bannos Jr., a fourth-generation restaurant guy who was raised in Chicago's Heaven on Seven. First timers rave about housemade charcuterie, roasted bone marrow with herb salad, fried pig's ear with crispy kale and fried egg and an extensive wine list.
Locals return for the milk braised pork shoulder with mashed potatoes While the smears, fried items, cured meats and cheeses and entrees are the big draws, it's worth saving room for desserts, like peanut butter and marshmallow fluff cake. The global wine list offers 50 wines under $50 and you can get many in 5oz and 8oz pours, or by the half bottle.
At street level set in the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, Michael Jordan's Steak House does about as alright as number 23 did on the court (insert superlatives here). Executive Chef Craig Couper adds just enough flourish to steakhouse favorites to make them distinctly delicious. For starters, treat yourself to the Nueske's Double Smoked Bacon with Burton's Maple Syrup or incredible garlic bread featuring Wisconsin Roth Kase blue cheese fondue.
Seafood and chops rock but this is a steakhouse after all so go for M. J's Delmonico, USDA Prime, Dry-Aged 45 Days, served with ginger-balsamic jus. Join the legions who have Instagrammed the 23-Layer Chocolate Cake and then you might consider booking a room to rest the digestive system. Step away from the frenetic shopping, mouth agog window gazing, crabby cabbies and general urban cacophony on the Mag Mile and tuck into a cushy booth at Beacon Tavern.
Just off Michigan Ave. on the Wrigley Building walkway, it's a casually-upscale refuge with modern interpretations of tavern classics reminding us that civilization can still be comforting. Launch lunch or dinner with briny oysters or a wonderful rendition of shrimp toast consisting of red shrimp atop brioche that lolls in truffle butter with the crunchy fried heads on the side. Cheddar Bay biscuits are baked to order but save belly space for excellent entrees like rabbit stew, fish 'n' chips, a half-pound green chile cheeseburger, Scottish salmon, roast chicken or bouillabaisse for two.
When you realize that The Albert is part of EMC2 Hotel, expect an "aha" mental flash about whom its name refers. The restaurant feels spacious, the decor is dare we say "smart," and waitstaff is genuinely helpful and cheery. Executive Chef Brandon Brumback offers a compact contemporary American menu of seasonal, globally inspired dishes good for lunch or dinner and anytime on the outdoor patio perfect for people watching and a lightweight or full bodied cocktail.
It's certainly spendy but everything is perfectly executed from a starter like Spanish octopus, Shishito peppers, harissa and pistachio (that includes every trendy ingredient) to Fjord Sea Trout with golden beets and crème fraîche. The bar menu includes snacks and a great Slagel Farms cheeseburger and fries. Check in just for coffee and choices from Pastry Chef, Vanarin Kuch, who outdoes himself with floating s'mores, citrus ricotta mousse and pistachio cake.
Sometimes you neither want nor need a plate of everything au courant - Brussels sprouts topped with pork belly, a fried egg, uni and cauliflower dust. When you envision a juicy, charred burger, steamy, creamy mac 'n' cheese, meaty wings, a hefty garbage salad or smoky barbecue and you're on the Mag Mile, stroll over to Jake Melnick's Corner Tap.
The Today Show dubbed Jake's "the best chicken wing spot in the US" but we don't need any New Yorkers to tell us these are outstanding: jumbo flyers with any of 10 sauces. There's a burger, wing, beer and mac of the month plus brunch all day every day if the mitochondria ache for eggs or hair of the dog. Jake's serves plant-based "Impossible" sliders, too, and he's always having holiday based specials (Lent, National PB & J Day, Oktoberfest, etc.) Beer taps change daily.
Chicago claims some of the top steak houses in the country, but honestly, Wisconsin beats us in prime rib, something its supper clubs traditionally serve every Saturday night. There's one place that measures up and outdoes our neighbors to the north - Lawry's The Prime Rib, open in 1974 and housed in the 1890's McCormick Mansion. Family-owned for four generations, Lawry's was the first single entrée restaurant in the country when it opened in Beverly Hills in 1939.
Salad served before the main course started at Lawry's and you should have the Original Spinning Bowl Salad spun tableside on a bed of ice, then served on a chilled plate with a chilled salad fork. Ditto the Roasted Prime Ribs of Beef slow roasted on a bed of rock salt.and hand-carved and served tableside from carts by Master Carvers who train for six months before entering the Royal Order of Carvers.
How does Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano continue to crank out the most ethereal pasta, sophisticated antipasti and jaw dropping second courses after all these years? He cooks from the head and the heart and is smart to hire simpatico creative chefs like Season 15 winner of Top Chef, Joe Flamm, a south sider making Chicago proud. Ideal for date night, Spiaggia offers Mag Mile and Lake Michigan views coupled with simple but expertly created dishes featuring seasonal produce and delicate, handmade pastas.
Service is impeccable and desserts irresistible. Cafe Spiaggia, on the same floor, is a sweet European cafe with calming colors and an equally inviting menu. Wonderful shared plates include Emilia Romagna on a Plate (puffed fried gnocco, Prosciutto, fonduta and balsamico); or try fried peppers, fennel and smelt. Outstanding hand made pasta like lumache with lamb Bolognese and Parmigiano Reggiano make you a pasta amnesiac for all other noodles.
The 50 Best Restaurants Chicago’s essential destinations, from haute tasting menus to inventive street food By Jeff Ruby and Carrie Schedler Photos by Jeff Marini, Jason Little, Nick Murway, Anna Knott, Clint Blowers and Martha Williams • • • • • • Sort the list with the buttons below. Click the photos to read more about each restaurant.
Of Evanston Restaurants, the Best Restaurant in Chicago is Chef's Station and its Romantic!