Chicago is home to over forty James Beard Award-winning restaurants and chefs and has a prosperous and successful culinary scene that can rival many US cities. So, when it comes to dining out, perhaps no city in the US is more passionate than Chicago. However, note that accolades alone do not define the best restaurants and dining establishments in Chicago.
The top restaurants in Chicago come in all sizes and shapes, from Michelin-starred heavyweights and pizza joints to some of the best cheap eats that the windy city has to offer. And the best thing is that the cuisines are just as varied, and every corner of the world is represented through Mexican, Korean, Italian, Mediterranean, and even Indian fare.
For an excellent meal and the best views of the city, you should go to River Roast Steakhouse. The restaurant is right on the river inside the notable Reid Murdoch building. You will love the Hogan’s charcuterie with chef’s selection housemade and local charcuterie. And from there, you can choose from a rack of pork, a whole chicken, big fish (fire-roasted or crispy), roast beef, or the popular ‘Sunday Supper’ prime rib.
Talented chef Rick Bayless along with his wife Deann considerably changed the landscape of modern Chicago restaurants by opening their authentic and outstanding Mexican eatery in 1987 in River North. Today, food lovers are still craving Frontera Grill‘s amazing regional Oaxacan cuisine, which includes carne asada, wood-grilled shrimp tostadas, and even tacos.
You will like the fact that tortillas are carefully handmade with organic and sumptuous heirloom corn right from Mexico. You can pair your heaping and yummy platter with an excellent margarita.
With 2 Michelin stars to its name, it is no secret that Oriole is one of the finest dining establishments not only in Chicago but also in the US. And you might be forgiven for not knowing it as you approach the restaurant’s unassuming location down an alley-like street in the city’s West Loop. However, when you go inside, you will be introduced to a world of splendor by Owner and Executive Chef Noah Sandoval.
Courses can include Golden Osetra caviar with saffron and dill, Japanese Milk Bread with yummy kombu butter, delicious Nichol’s farm carrots with seaweed hollandaise, and furikake, and prawns with black lime. This intimate and stylish restaurant can serve just 28 diners per sitting, and this ensures the best standards in the kitchen.
Note that the bare-brick walls of the restaurant pay homage to the building’s rich industrial heritage, and its open kitchen ensures a surprisingly chic and vibrant atmosphere and ambiance for a restaurant of this size.
For almost forty years, foodies, neighbors, and even celebrities have been flocking to The Rosebud, an iconic restaurant well known for its food and the people behind it. While owner Alex Dana has opened several Rosebud restaurants in Chicago as well as its suburbs, there is no doubt that only the original Taylor Street location has a unique history.
Did you know that server Vita Pascua has been with this restaurant since the beginning? The best thing about the restaurant is that all of its sauces are homemade, and each dish is prepared with a lot of care and experience.
Girl & the Goat
This fantastic restaurant is definitely your go-to if you are into adventurous dining. The restaurant is owned by the experienced Chicago chef Stephanie Izard. Note that creative and delicious food combinations and amazing Chicago craft brews are served in a cozy and comfy loft space with exposed wood and brick beams. Did you know that Girl & The Goat is among the hardest tables to secure in Chicago? However, if you go a little early, you may snag a walk-in seat.
You can share the green and fresh garlic pierogies with yummy smoked tomato-rhubarb relish and charred scallion sour cream, and indulge in the delicious bacon-tamarind sauced escargot ravioli.
Boka has managed to rack up a trophy case worth of prestigious awards in its fifteen-plus years on Halsted Street. And this includes one long-standing Michelin star as well as a couple of Jean Banchet Awards. And you will love Chef Lee Wolen’s impeccable and innovative techniques on almost everything from grilled octopus and dry-aged beef tartare to delicious ricotta dumplings. You can sit comfortably in any one of three rooms, and each contains beautiful art and shimmering mirrored light fixtures.
The solarium is a semi-outdoor area, and it has an amazing living wall of ferns and moss, making it one of the most Instagrammable restaurants in the city. And it would be a shame if you leave without having something sweet and savory from pastry chef Meg Galus, who tends to whip up dreamy, sugar-filled confections which will have you floating out of this restaurant on a cloud.