The 11 Best Restaurants in Chicago

27th July 2019 // By Alex Martin

With a consistent dedication to using local, seasonal ingredients, this refined list of the best restaurants in Chicago guarantees a unique, delectable and eclectic dining experience.

With impressive skyline views, artistic flair and relentlessly innovative chefs, the difficulty in Chicago is not in finding a world-class restaurant, but choosing between them. The city has 22 Michelin-starred restaurants, including three two-star restaurants and one with three stars.

From the world-class Alinea to the ultra-modern Smyth & The Loyalist, Chicago’s fine dining establishments are sure to find favor with discerning gourmands.


The highest-ranking North American restaurant and the six-time winner of Elite Traveler’s Top 100 Restaurants, Alinea’s reputation speaks for itself. The annual poll – decided by Elite Traveler’s jet-set readership – has consistently seen Grant Achatz’s three-Michelin-star restaurant in either first or second place. This remarkable popularity is down to Achatz’s hypermodern and emotional approach to dining, which is respected the world over.

The Alinea group now boasts a number of outlets (including Next, another restaurant on this list) but it is at this original outpost that Achatz brings all of his ingenious skills together. The team of creative staff and innovative collaborators produce a forward-thinking, deconstructed cuisine worthy of its three-star status. The Gallery menu, a 16-to-18 course experience is an ingenious journey through cutting-edge molecular gastronomy and classic fine dining.

Guests can also choose to dine out on The Salon Menu. Served in the three salons on the second floor, this 10-to-12 course menu is marketed as a more approachable experience butis no less innovative. Finally, the restaurant’s newest experience is The Kitchen Table, where guests are treated to the most immersive and intimate gastronomic experiences in the world.


Tel: +1 312 867 0110

Smyth + The Loyalist

John and Karen Urie Shields/ ©GALDONES PHOTOGRAPHY

John and Karen Urie Shields cut their culinary teeth on a tour of Chicago’s best restaurants, working in the kitchens of Alinea, Tru and Carlie Trotter’s. In 2008, they faced a crossroads: open their own Trotter restaurant in Las Vegas or head out to Smyth, a small county in Virginia. As you can probably guess, they chose the latter and spent five years honing their skills with locally grown ingredients. It eventually led to Smyth + The Loyalist, a dual concept serving farm-to-table fine dining on the first floor and a bar just below.

The restaurant itself is housed in an unassuming industrial building, but go up the stairs and you will find a décor that is comfortable and inviting. Although the restaurant has earned two Michelin stars and is unmistakably a fine dining establishment, it remains welcoming while the menu itself is approachable.

Menu items are described in an understated tone, such as the “milk chocolate”, which is actually a spectacular umami-bomb. There are three taster menus to choose from, ranging from the entry-level Classic to the luxurious Omaha. The latter is a scarcely-imaginable 19-course journey inspired by the couple’s time in Virginia.


Tel: +1 773 913 3774