The Top Ten Restaurants For Dining in Chicago

How does one choose the best restaurants worthy of your time and money in a city? Should it based solely on food or do ambiance, price and location come into play? Choosing the top 10 best restaurants in Chicago isn’t for the faint of heart, but neither are our winters.

These 10 places promise a stellar experience and a taste of Chicago that you just can't miss.

Fine dining is often done right but in some spots in Chicago, it’s a downright experience. Reservations at places like Alinea, goosefoot and L2O can take months to secure but once you’re in, expect a three to four hour experience that involves all of your senses at these Michelin-star standouts.

In the west loop area, also known as some as Restaurant Row since it’s full of great restaurants, Blackbird, Grace and Maude’s Liquor Bar are particularly known for their inventive dishes and outstanding drink menus.

A little more casual but just as outstanding are Sable Kitchen and Bar, Trencherman and Longman and Eagle. In addition to great dinner menus, each serves up a decadent brunch and one even offers a place to stay for the night (true story).

One’s best restaurant, admittedly, may not be another’s best. And, we’ll admit, there are dozens more we wanted to include because there really are some great restaurants in Chicago. These 10 are among the best restaurants in Chicago and I'd be happy to dine in any of them on any given day or night. Bon appetit!

Maudes Liquor Bar
Photo courtesy of Maudes liquor bar

Like many other restaurants along what seems to be restaurant row in the West Loop, Maude's Liquor Bar has a very industrial and trendy feel to it from the outside. Don't let the outdoors fool you. Once you enter through the dark colored doors,...  Read More

Lincoln Park

The warm and rustic décor in Balena complement the earthy meals you'll enjoy at this Italian outpost best known for its rich pasta dishes and pizza like you've never had before. The restaurant isn't tiny. Although it has high ceilings, the...  Read More

What was once a Russian bath house is now Trencherman which pays homage to the building's history by incorporating some of its old features into its industrial chic decor (you'll find some of the white subway tiles along one wall). These days...  Read More

Best known for its extensive whiskey selection (148 selections currently available), the bar and restaurant offers an ever-changing menu with an emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients. Chef Jared Wentworth keeps things fresh but fun with...  Read More

Adjacent to Kimpton's Hotel Palomar Chicago in a quiet, darker setting sits Sable Kitchen & Bar. Sable is a gastro-lounge that pairs seasonally-inspired New American cuisine presented by Chicago veteran and Bravo's Top Chef alum, Chef...  Read More

The West Loop's Randolph Street is something of a restaurant row, anchored by Blackbird from local hero Paul Kahan. His food is modern and upscale but deeply committed to local sources and truly seasonal in its changes. The place has the feel of...  Read More

Albany Park

Are you sure this is the right way? That's what you'll be asking yourself all the way to the front door. On a busy street in a very residential neighborhood sits goosefoot, one of Chicago's recent shining stars on the dining scene. The husband...  Read More

The alinea, or paragraph mark, signals the start of a new idea. The restaurant Alinea aims at nothing short of revolutionizing dinner. Chef Grant Achatz, who trained with the likes of Thomas Keller at The French Laundry, merges art and science,...  Read More

Wine bottles line the wooden walls, intimate tufted banquette seating inspire conversation and the open floor plan with the action centering around the kitchen counter makes it feel like you're at a dinner party in a chef's home. Such is the...  Read More


Meet Megy Karydes

Megy Karydes has spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and most of her life in Chicago. While she’s traveled extensively internationally, visiting each of the 50 states is on her...  More About Megy