Chicago is the most populous city in the state of Illinois and is famed for its stunning city skylines, superb sandy beaches, and the plethora of parks, museums, and public art within its borders. But that’s not all – Chicago is also known for its fine dining and boasts an abundance of world-class restaurants offering an eclectic range of fare.
If you’re planning a trip to the ‘windy city,’ then make sure that at least one of the five eateries below is on your list of places to visit. Each of these establishments offers a truly unique dining experience, so the biggest issue you might have is choosing the one to try out first…
This steakhouse is a long-standing favorite of Chicago residents and tourists alike, and its dry-aged bone-in ribeye is frequently cited as being the best in the city.
The ethos of Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf is to fuse fine dining with fun and to offer stylish eating to their patrons. The menu reflects this: choices of Hors D’Oeuvres include Tenderloin Steak Tartare, Sizzling Shrimp Scampi, and the famous range of Chilled Seafood Plateaux, while diners can choose from such Entrees as Bavette’s Spiced Fried Chicken, Double Cut Berkshire Pork Chop, or Ora King Salmon. But – for most – it’s the steak (or boeuf as it’s known here) that’s the uncontested star of the show. Whether you fancy the six-ounce Petite Duchess Cut Filet Mignon, served with tomatoes and watercress, or have an appetite for the twenty-ounce Dry-Aged Bone-In Ribeye, you’re in for a treat.
This restaurant continues to attract rave reviews for the quality of food and service as well as for its great atmosphere. The restaurant furniture has a distinctly vintage yet laid-back style, which, combined with the lighting and general mood of the establishment, hints at lingering meals enjoyed in the company of family and friends and excellent conversation over a few glasses of wine.
The Dining Room at Moody Tongue
A fine-dining space located inside a brewery may not be a traditional proposition, but here things are all about the unexpected. Multiple Michelin award winner Jared Wentworth has curated a menu that’s designed to bring food and beer together in perfect harmony. Culinary brewing is the overarching goal of this establishment, which comes down to sourcing the highest quality ingredients possible and knowing when, during the brewing process, they should be incorporated.
As well as expert beer pairings, you can also expect a changing menu that is committed to reflecting seasonal availability and a relaxed, low-key ambiance, enhanced by the historical nature of the building in which it nestles.
When it comes to the food itself, expect dishes like Veal Sweetbreads served with a cauliflower and almond puree, Alaskan Halibut with marbled potatoes and charred spring onions, and Squab, alongside French white asparagus, pine nut crumble, and liver mousse. The food is always extraordinary and always unexpected – which is just what you’d expect, really, from the world’s first two Michelin Star brewery.
Alinea boasts a formidable horde of awards: the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars in 2020 (only one of fourteen eateries in the whole of the US to have ever received this much sought-after accolade), has been named the Best Restaurant in the World by Elite Traveler, and the Best Restaurant in the US by Gourmet and Business Insider.
When reserving a table, guests can choose to eat in The Salon, The Gallery, or, for a really special experience, The Alinea Kitchen Table. A table in The Salon will set you back $295-365 per person, and your party will enjoy an innovative and sublimely delicious multi-course tasting menu. The three salons are located on the second floor of the restaurant and, it should be noted, are only accessible via stairs.
The Galley is located on the first floor and offers a unique multi-sensory menu that fuses fine dining with experimental cuisine and techniques. There are only two ‘showings’ a night, and a seat at a table here will cost you $395-465 per person. For the ultimate experience, consider reserving a seat at The Alinea Kitchen Table for an intimate, immersive, and cutting-edge gourmet treat. This completely private table is only for parties of up to six people, who will pay $450-475 a head.
Brindille features in The Michelin Guide, where it’s cited as being one of the best French restaurants in Chicago. The chef’s love of French cuisine is evident in every single dish: creamy soup full of roasted chestnuts is served over wild mushrooms, compressed apple, and fluffy rice; perfectly-cooked Dover sole is served with crisps pommes-rissolees and pureed watercress. For dessert? Expect delights such as a baked-to-order almond clafoutis full to bursting with preserved cherries.
Inside Brindille, all is quiet and calm; there’s an intimate, peaceful atmosphere here that helps diners relax and fully savor their meals. The waiting staff is discreet yet attentive and professional and knowledgeable about the menu – it’s no surprise that this unassuming restaurant has been making culinary waves in the city.
This eatery started its life in a mall food court and has now grown to be one of the must-visit fine dining restaurants in Chicago. Now located in a sleek, contemporary space in the trendy West Town area of the city, the team at Jeong serves innovative and inventive Korean cuisine to its diners, delighting Chicago residents, visitors to the city, and restaurant critics alike.
As well as the food, guests can sample the extensive wine and cocktail menus, or can choose the wine pairing option, to receive the perfect beverage to accompany each individual dish.
Guests can opt for the seven-course tasting menu to fully explore the range and artistry of the chefs here or can choose instead from the a la carte menu, which offers such tempting delights as duck confit and sashimi. Previously a Rising Chef of the Year, Dave Park, along with co-owner Jennifer Tran, are still on an upwards trajectory.
Featured Image Credit: A Life Worth Eating