Chicago is known for its amazing food culture, which includes everything from informal cafes to fine dining venues. If you’re a foodie visiting the Windy City, you’re in for a real treat. To help you navigate your way through the myriad of restaurants in Chicago, we have compiled a list of 15 best restaurants in Chicago that are sure to pamper your buds.
Chicago’s food culture is a flavor melting pot that draws inspiration from civilizations all over the world. Chicago takes its cuisine seriously, from deep-dish pizza to gourmet hot dogs.
With so many places to pick from, deciding where to eat can be difficult. To help you make the most of your culinary adventure, we’ve compiled a list of the best restaurants in Chicago that will not disappoint.
Top-Rated Restaurants in Chicago
There are many top-rated eateries in Chicago that have received excellent ratings from both locals and visitors. These restaurants are well-known for their delicious food, excellent service, and welcoming atmosphere. Let’s take a deeper look at some of the best restaurants in Chicago.
If you have ever lived in or visited Chicago, then seeing Alinea at the top of our top-rated restaurants in Chicago won’t take you by surprise.
Alinea is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant recognized for its avant-garde and inventive food. Alinea provides a really remarkable dining experience with its magnificent presentation and innovative flavor combinations.
It is one of only a few restaurants in the United States that have received the coveted Michelin 3-Star rating. The progressive multi-course menu features surprising and unique moments found nowhere else. The restaurant has a limited number of showings per night, so a reservation is required.
2. The Girl and the Goat
Girl and the Goat is one of Chicago’s most popular hot spots, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. It is a contemporary café, led by famous chef Stephanie Izard, and is recognized for its inventive small meals that highlight bold flavors and fresh ingredients.
Stephanie Izard takes on New American cuisine and blends Eastern and Western ideas into playful, inventive meals. The rustic-chic setting of the restaurant adds to its charm, making it one of the best restaurants in Chicago.
This Michelin-starred Italian restaurant features authentic Italian cuisine and an amazing environment that provides a refined dining experience.
Spiaggia is a must-visit for Italian food connoisseurs, serving everything from homemade pasta to delicious seafood dishes, hence its addition to our list of top-rated restaurants in Chicago.
It just celebrated its 37th anniversary, and food critics unanimously hailed it as one of the finest Italian dining restaurants in Chicago and America.
Spiaggia, which was nominated for Outstanding Service in the United States by the James Beard Foundation in 2005, is led by Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano’s superb interpretation of authentic Italian food.
Another Michelin-starred restaurant, Oriole serves a multi-course menu highlighting the best of modern American cuisine. Oriole guarantees a memorable dining experience with its sleek and stylish atmosphere.
If Oriole were a person rather than a restaurant, it would be a well-dressed date that arrived at your door with a nice bottle of wine and a thoughtful present for your dog. In fact, if it weren’t for her menu, you’d assume Oriole was out of your league.
Starting with how the host greets you outside the restaurant as you walk up, it becomes clear that Oriole is really into you. This may seem simple, but it conveys the impression that they are genuinely pleased to have you here. So Oriole makes our list of top-rated restaurants in Chicago.
Next on our list of top-rated restaurants in Chicago is Next. Next is a unique concept restaurant by renowned chef Grant Achatz. Next offers a rotating menu that changes seasonally and is inspired by different culinary traditions from across the world. It’s a culinary adventure that promises to amaze and delight.
At Next, celebrity chef Grant Achatz of the Alinea Group faces a self-imposed challenge of constant reinvention. Every few months, a new theme is explored at Next, with previous menus including ‘Hollywood,’ ‘Ancient Rome,’ and ‘World’s 50 Best’.
Along with the distinct menus, each theme features distinctive dinnerware, decor, uniforms, silverware, and even music.
This is dining as theater, and tickets are available on Tock, a site founded by Achatz and partner Nick Kokonas. Season tickets, like those for the opera or athletic events, can be purchased in advance to ensure a seat for each culinary performance.
Grace boasts three Michelin stars for its superb dining experience, thanks to its exquisite ambiance and refined cuisine. The restaurant’s modern American cuisine is noted for its innovative flavor combinations and beautiful presentation.
Grace’s distinct menu, which includes special weekly additions, offers the finest of what the local area has to offer.
Grace is passionate about acquiring the freshest ingredients from local suppliers and farmers, combining them with traditional flavors, and recreating classic recipes to create excellent cuisine.
It strives to provide the most delectable enjoyment for the most discriminating palate. When you eat at Grace, you experience the difference; you experience Grace.
Roister Makes it to our list of top-rated restaurants in Chicago. If Alinea is a luxurious couture, then Roister is the streetwear version from the same designer.
Roister is Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas’ latest project. The restaurant is a departure from the duo’s other famed fine dining establishments, serving a rustic-yet-refined menu in a casual, raucous setting.
It is a relaxed yet refined restaurant that serves a playful spin on classic American meals. Roister promises a pleasant dining experience, from its open kitchen to its community dining tables.
Monteverde is a popular Italian restaurant well-known for its handmade pasta and rustic Italian meals. The pleasant atmosphere and genuine friendliness make it a local and visitor favorite.
While Chicago is not short on excellent Italian eateries, Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio is a pleasant addition. This delightful hub, located in the West Loop, is bursting with fantastic energy, great service, and out-of-this-world culinary pleasures.
Chef Sarah Grueneberg, winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes, a finalist in the contest for the top, and executive Chef at Spiaggia, has established quite a name for herself with Monteverde, which she opened with friend and business partner Meg Sahs.
Sepia has long been a go-to spot for diners in the windy city. The restaurant, housed in a refurbished print shop from the 1890s, is a modern spin on a more classic American era.
The menu features a variety of skillfully prepared dishes made using ingredients sourced from local farmers and suppliers. Sepia provides the feel of a luxury restaurant, seamlessly blending polished, rustic, and contemporary.
The bespoke tile, Art nouveau floor, hand-crafted millwork to vintage stemware are all examples of Sepia’s attention to detail, both in the room and in the dish. The room’s casual elegance is the ideal complement to the creative American food.
Sepia’s product-driven menu highlights the quality and purity of the ingredients, allowing both the ingredients and Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s love for what he does to shine.
Their traditional seasonal menu features clean natural foods that are organic and/or sustainable, securing Sepia a place on our list of top-rated restaurants in Chicago.
Smyth -A Michelin-starred restaurant that focuses on locally sourced ingredients and offers a unique farm-to-table dining experience with a modern twist.
Two Michelin-starred Smyth offers a distinct approach to fine dining with three multi-course tasting menus that push customers out of their comfort zones with Asian-leaning flavors, innovative ingredients, and intriguing combinations.
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11. The Publican
The Publican’s varied menu is inspired by basic farmer fare and served in a location reminiscent of a European beer hall. The restaurant has a network of merchants that provides it with hand-selected, sustainably grown fish, seafood, and pork.
The cuisine features superb ingredients designed to highlight the richness of farmers and fishermen.
The daily rotating menu represents the best seasonal and local ingredients available, ranging from seafood stew and classic Belgian-style mussels to housemade charcuterie and terrines.
Other standouts include country ribs, beef heart tartare, and The Publican’s famous Farm Chicken, as well as a careful assortment of fresh and pickled veggies.
An extensive foreign beer list curated by partners Eduard Seitan, Donnie Madia, and Terry Alexander accompanies the menu’s rustic meals. So yes! The Publican makes our list of top-rated restaurants in Chicago.
12. RPM Italian
A new River North restaurant from Chicago’s own reality TV pair, Bill and Giuliana Rancic, has all the glitz and glamour of a nice reality TV show. They teamed up with R.J., Jerrod, and Molly Melman for their first adventure into the dining industry.
For a dining experience unlike any other, the RPM brand focuses on acquiring the best quality ingredients and offering visitors customers exceptional service. RPM Italian and RPM Steak are both located in Chicago’s River North district.
13. GT Fish & Oyster
GT Fish & Oyster (named after Michelin-starred chef, Giuseppe Tentori) has transformed Chicago dining with its unique take on seafood, combining an ever-changing menu of classic and unusual fish dishes.
Knowledgeable staff will walk you through the East and West Coast oyster list, as well as provide thorough information about the shared plates, which include squid-ink gnocchi with Szechuan peppercorns, Maine lobster, apricot-shallot chutney, and lots more.
For those who prefer something less daring, there are always fish and chips or salmon fishcakes.
The service is excellent, and the tapas-style tiny meals keep the taste buds stimulated. There’s also duck, pork, and beef for those who can’t do without meat. That said GT Fish & Oyster goes into our list of top-rated restaurants in Chicago.
14. Chicago Sweatlodge
This amazing restaurant, reminiscent of a Russian sweat lodge, features a variety of pools, saunas, lounges, and pampering services. Guests pay $25 for a day’s admission at Chicago Sweatlodge, which is open from morning to night.
Fresh, tasty meals inspired by Eastern European and Mexican cuisine are served at the restaurant. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, try Chicago Sweatlodge which by the way is one of the best restaurants in Chicago.
This restaurant offers a wide range of seasonal and traditional beers, wine pairings, and creative cocktails.
This restaurant’s customers appreciate unusual shared dinners as well as other contemporary food including wild animals. Small dishes, soups, oysters, salads, sandwiches, and breakfast items are all on the menu.
The delicious cuisines found at the Frontier are worth every hype, making Frontier one of the best restaurants in Chicago.
A day in Chicago isn’t complete without a delicious lunch. Whether you’re just passing through or live in the city, Chicago’s food will have you yearning for more.
From one-of-a-kind dishes to intriguing atmospheres, Chicago features a diverse range of restaurants. Because it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the options, we’ve compiled a list of the best of the best in the culinary industry to help you decide.
When next you have a need for a delicious meal, try any of these places and you will understand why they are the best restaurants in Chicago.