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  3. 15 restaurants that define Chicago

15 restaurants that define Chicago

Una foto de Red logo
por Kristine Hansen and Sarah Freeman
Última actualización: 15 de diciembre de 2023

The Windy City has long prided itself on its groundbreaking restaurant scene. But in recent years, the rest of the country has noticed as well. Chicago’s best restaurants have routinely scooped up MICHELIN stars and launched the careers of star chefs such as Rick Bayless and Stephanie Izard.

An opulent Gold Coast restaurant shakes up long-standing steakhouse traditions. An acclaimed Peruvian chef brings Andean bounty to River North. An unassuming Ukrainian Village spot recently became the world’s first MICHELIN-starred Filipino restaurant.

There’s never been a better time to celebrate the iconic spots that have shaped Chicago’s restaurant scene into the juggernaut it is today. Read on for a guide to 15 spots that are essential to the city.

Una foto del restaurante Boka
4.8
4.8 (6865)
De $31 a $50
Americana contemporánea
Lincoln Park
Acerca del restaurante

Boka’s approachable, seasonally driven New American menu scored the restaurant a MICHELIN star, three stars from The Chicago Tribune, and James Beard Awards nominations, solidifying it as one of Chicago’s most exciting restaurants. Renowned chef Lee Wolen has a knack for taking seemingly simple preparations and adding depth, texture, and an unexpected flavor or two. For instance, foie gras toast is served with cranberry, cinnamon, and satsuma, while Wolen’s signature roasted chicken gets the gourmet treatment with Jerusalem artichoke, maitake, and sherry. These dishes are served in Boka’s beautifully designed dining rooms, each of which feels like its own little world with living green walls and oversized circular banquettes.


Reseña destacada
LeonardoBVIP
Comieron en 25 mar 2024
Muy buen lugar, ampliamente recomendable para una cena familiar
Una foto del restaurante Parachute
4.5
4.5 (1718)
De $31 a $50
Coreana
Avondale
Acerca del restaurante

This small but mighty restaurant punches far above its weight, serving up Korean American mash-ups that earned it a MICHELIN star, a spot on Bon Appétit’s Best New Restaurant list, and a James Beard Award. When Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim reopened Parachute after a short hiatus in 2022, they vowed to dig deeper into Korean food with dishes designed for sharing, such as seafood pancakes and rice and fish cakes in gochujang sauce. Parachute’s second chapter also expanded its spirits list, allowing diners to enjoy specialties such as chungju (clear rice wine), plus off-beat wines.


Reseña destacada
Tussanee
Comieron en 6 jul 2018
So delicious!
Una foto del restaurante Café Ba-Ba-Reeba
4.8
4.8 (8959)
Hasta $30
Tapas / Botanas
Lincoln Park
Acerca del restaurante

Long before the small plates concept dominated almost every new restaurant, Café Ba-Ba-Reeba (part of the venerated Lettuce Entertain You Group, which includes other Chicago stalwarts such as Shaw’s Crab House and RPM Italian) served tapas to the denizens of Lincoln Park. In fact, when the restaurant opened in 1985, it introduced Chicagoans to paella, patatas bravas, and other highlights of Spanish cuisine. Today, tourists and locals still flock to the restaurant to sample six different styles of sangria and snack on chorizo-wrapped dates and tortilla española. They also head over to fortify themselves on the weekend with a perennially packed tapas brunch, featuring items such as waffle-battered chicken on a stick with maple syrup and chorizo mac and cheese, or a twist on avocado toast spiked with Fresno chiles.


Reseña destacada
OpenTable Diner
Comieron en 11 ene 2024
Super delicioso Primera vez que pruebo el jamón ibérico y me encanto 10/10
Una foto del restaurante Maple & Ash
4.7
4.7 (4239)
De $31 a $50
Cortes de carne
Gold Coast/Streeterville
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In a city filled with steakhouses boasting decades of history, Maple and Ash represents the next generation of the genre. The sprawling restaurant puts opulence front and center, from its velvet dining chairs and soaring ceilings to the wine list, where the priciest bottle is $10,000. Cocktail fans might better appreciate the restaurant’s martini lounge, however. There are other luxuries available on the menu, created by acclaimed chef Danny Grant (of RIA fame) such as a wagyu beef carpaccio topped with king crab, truffle, and supreme caviar or the Eisenhower, a 40-ounce porterhouse that the kitchen cooks directly in coals left over from the wood-fired grills. Surf is strong here, too, such as wild striped bass and New Zealand king salmon. For those who would rather sit back and let the kitchen decide, there’s a $200 tasting menu, cheekily named the “I Don’t Give a F*@k” option.


Reseña destacada
SergioLVIP
Comieron en 19 dic 2023
Un gran lugar, con muy buen servicio. La comida deliciosa, vale mucho la pena.
Una foto del restaurante Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse - Chicago
4.8
4.8 (8240)
De $31 a $50
Cortes de carne
Gold Coast/Streeterville
Acerca del restaurante

To say Gibsons is popular would be an understatement—it’s one of the highest-grossing independent restaurants in all of Chicago. It’s also a local press darling and was depicted on FX’s The League. The restaurant’s prime location just off the Magnificent Mile (there are two other outposts in Rosemont and Oak Brook) and commitment to quality have fueled its reputation as a Chicago classic since it opened in 1989. Once you’re in the door, the dining room’s pressed-tin ceilings amplify laughter and conversations, fueling a boisterous atmosphere. But Gibsons owes its staying power to its steaks: The restaurant is the first in the country to have its own USDA certification, Gibsons Prime Angus beef. If you’ve got room for dessert, get the towering carrot cake or chocolate mousse pie, multi-layer creations the heights of which echo the city’s distinguished skyscrapers.


Reseña destacada
MONICAVIP
Comieron en 3 may 2024
La comida muy buena pero los meseros no fueron atentos ni amables.
Una foto del restaurante Tanta
4.7
4.7 (4879)
De $31 a $50
Peruana
River North (Chicago)
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Tanta owner and Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award winner Gastón Acurio is one of Peru’s most famous chefs, using his international restaurants as unofficial ambassadors for the country’s cuisine. The menu in Chicago highlights a full range of Peruvian food, showcasing ingredients from both its mountains and oceans and combining them with the techniques and ingredients brought to the country via generations of immigrants from Japan, Spain, China, and Italy. The result is an inimitable dining experience where Chicagoans flock to try dishes such as Chaufa Aeropuerto, a mixture of pork fried rice, shrimp omelet, vegetables, and a Japanese-influenced nikkei sauce that’s best enjoyed on the restaurant’s seasonal rooftop patio. Pair it with one of the innovative pisco drinks, such as Ainoko, a mix of pisco, sake, lychee, yuzu, lemon, and a togarashi lemon wheel.


Reseña destacada
OpenTable Diner
Comieron en 5 may 2024
La comida deliciosa,el ceviche de lo mejor, el churrasco de diez,los drinks súper El precio un poco alto pero vale la pena la comida súper rica
Una foto del restaurante Shaw's Crab House & Oyster Bar - Chicago
4.8
4.8 (13887)
más de $50
Pescados y Mariscos
River North (Chicago)
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Though the nearest shoreline is Lake Michigan, Chicagoans have ocean access via Shaw’s, the city’s top seafood destination since it opened in 1984 (another has since opened in Schaumburg). Shaw’s is renowned for its extensive oyster selection and relationships with fishermen all over the world. Head to the wood-paneled dining room to feast on blackened mahi mahi from Costa Rica or pan-seared Alaskan halibut. Snag a bar stool at the old-school oyster counter for a quick bite, where the well-versed shucker can talk you through the characteristics of each variety, popping open the bivalves right before your eyes.


Reseña destacada
OpenTable Diner
Comieron en 9 may 2024
Mas de lo que esperaba, realmente nos encanto todo, el ambiente muy americano, lo amamos y cuando volvamos a chicago volveremos a este restaurante
Una foto del restaurante Gene and Georgetti
4.7
4.7 (5683)
más de $50
Cortes de carne
River North (Chicago)
Acerca del restaurante

Chicago’s oldest steakhouse, established in 1941, has hosted celebrities ranging from Frank Sinatra to Will Ferrell, plus Lake Forest native Vince Vaughn, and cultivated a devoted following among locals. Gene & Georgetti has soldiered on even with other steakhouses popping up all over the city, pivoting gracefully to provide reliable service, decadent cuisine, and a glam ambiance. The menu remains close to what it was when the restaurant opened, and the kitchen dishes out beautifully marbled steaks, double-cut lamb chops, and red-sauce favorites including eggplant parmigiana. Seasonal specials such as white truffles are rolled out throughout the year. In its softly lit, red-carpeted room, it’s easy to lose track of time, order another bottle of wine, and linger.


Reseña destacada
Giorgio
Comieron en 23 sep 2023
Excelente servicio , los alimentos muy ricos . Pasamos una cena muy agradable
Una foto del restaurante Kumiko
4.7
4.7 (697)
más de $50
Restaurante Bar
West Loop
Acerca del restaurante

The team behind West Loop’s fine-dining sensation Oriole runs this modern cocktail bar that creative director, co-owner, and cocktail maven Julia Momosé (also a 2022 MICHELIN Exceptional Cocktails Award winner) describes as “a cocktail party with the world’s best hors d’oeuvres.” The restaurant’s Japanese-inflected drinks include the Moonrise Daiquiri, an unexpected mix of Bolivian cola bitters, green tea, lime, sake, and rum. Drinks are best paired with imaginative small plates such as Japanese fried chicken and Berkshire pork served with milk bread, cabbage, and fermented chile paste. The winning drinks and snacks combos landed Kumiko a spot on the Chicago Tribune’s 2019 list of best restaurants, a MICHELIN star, and a mention as one of Time’s 100 Greatest Places in 2019.


Una foto del restaurante Girl & the Goat
4.8
4.8 (14191)
Hasta $30
Americana contemporánea
West Loop
Acerca del restaurante

Stephanie Izard shot to fame when she won the fourth season of Bravo’s Top Chef. She then parlayed that attention into a series of successful Chicago restaurants with the Boka Restaurant Group. They upped the ante for casual but ambitious dining in Chicago, beginning with Girl & the Goat, which spawned two more Chicago eateries (Duck Duck Goat and Cabra), plus two cookbooks and a line of crunches, spices, and sauces. A James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2013 further cemented Izard in Chicago’s dining scene. As the name implies, Girl & the Goat offers a meat-heavy menu but one that brings in a chorus of textures, flavors, and inspirations. The namesake goat appears in empanada form with pickled kumquats, piparra peppers, and idiazabal, an unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque region. It also shows up as confit goat belly with pecans and pickled persimmons. The ingredient even makes its way onto the drinks menu in the form of goat fat-infused bourbon, the star component in the iconic Goat Fashioned.


Reseña destacada
LeonardoBVIP
Comieron en 27 mar 2024
Es vista obligada en Chicago y cada vez nos sorprenden más.
Una foto del restaurante Sepia
4.8
4.8 (5122)
más de $50
Americana contemporánea
West Loop
Acerca del restaurante

Chicago stalwart Sepia serves an ever-changing seasonal American menu folding in locally sourced ingredients from sustainable farmers. It’s an approach that earned the restaurant a MICHELIN star—on top of the constellation of star reviews since it opened in 2007. The splurgy tasting menu from lauded chef Andrew Zimmerman consists of four courses, ranging from dishes such as venison shabu-shabu (accented by hon-shimeji mushroom, chestnuts, and chile crisp) and ricotta cavatelli with Parmesan butter, pine nut, and crispy sourdough. Select the wine pairing option to try sommelier Alex Ring’s selections for the full package. And rest assured you’re in capable hands: the Jean Banchet Awards named Ring Chicago’s Best Sommelier in 2022.


Reseña destacada
JaviVVIP
Comieron en 19 oct 2022
Una experiencia, comida y servicio espectacular, el costo es lo que está fuera de proporción.
Una foto del restaurante Elske
4.8
4.8 (1067)
más de $50
Americana
West Loop
Acerca del restaurante

Chefs David and Anna Posey’s first solo venture–in Danish, “elske” means “to love”—takes the form of an airy West Loop restaurant complete with a cozy courtyard. The couple’s creative take on casual fine dining earned the space a MICHELIN star five years in a row, plus two James Beard Award nominations. The restaurant offers a nine-course set menu and a la carte menus. The former takes diners on a tour of Scandinavia via the restaurant’s now-famous duck liver tart with toasted buckwheat and salted ramps, roasted sablefish (with shrimp, cauliflower, and marigold), and toasted yeast ice cream with a chicory cruller. Enjoy a glass of glögg—red wine with mulling spices, aquavit, and almonds—in front of the outdoor fireplace after dinner. Executive pastry chef Anna Posey’s enchanting creations include dark-chocolate cake flavored with black olive and lavender.


Reseña destacada
SS27VIP
Comieron en 16 ene 2023
El lugar es bastante acogedor la variedad y creatividad de los alimentos es buena, las bebidas también están ok. La oportunidad de mejora es el tiempo de preparación de los alimentos que puede ser lento entre plato y plato.
Una foto del restaurante Rose Mary
4.8
4.8 (2883)
Hasta $30
Croata
West Loop
Acerca del restaurante

There are many perks that come with winning a season of Top Chef, and one of them is opening the restaurant of your dreams. Chef Joe Flamm did just that in 2021 when he opened Rose Mary in the West Loop. The restaurant tips a hat to his Italian heritage and his wife Hillary Flamm’s native country of Croatia with dishes such as gnocchi with beef cheek pašticada, a braised beef dish from the northwestern Balkan Peninsula. It’s this heartfelt blend of two comforting cuisines that earned Rose Mary its reputation as one of Chicago’s hottest new restaurants. Must-try vegetable-forward dishes include charred Brussels sprouts, coal-roasted beets, and burek soparnik, a traditional Croatian pie with Swiss chard and cheese.


Reseña destacada
CarlE
Comieron en 16 feb 2024
La comida excelente, muy buena atención desde la entrada , lugar muy bonito ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Una foto del restaurante Riccardo Trattoria
4.8
4.8 (2714)
Hasta $30
Italiana
Lincoln Park
Acerca del restaurante

This love letter to northern Italy is the brainchild of chef-owner Riccardo Michi, whose family has operated a restaurant in Milan since the 1940s. Riccardo Trattoria was conceived in 2006 and earned Bib Gourmand status from MICHELIN for three consecutive years. Specials of the day keep the menu fresh but it’s also packed with well-executed favorites including arancini, risotto, and odes to regions across Italy, such as Genovese-style pesto with trofie pasta and chicken breast Milanese.


Reseña destacada
ChristopherB
Comieron en 7 mar 2023
Delicious!!
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