10 reasons why Chicago is the best restaurant city in the US

What makes a restaurant in an unequaled restaurant city one of the best? It's a delicate formula of fresh food, innovative presentations, cutting edge ideas, interesting combinations plus price, ambience and service. 

These 10 places promise a stellar experience and a distinctive taste of Chicago. 

At most of the listed Chicago spots, it’s more than a meal but rather a downright experience. Reservations at places like Elizabeth, Alinea or Oriole can take a while to secure but expect a multi-hour session that involves all of your senses at these James Beard award-winning and Michelin-star standouts.

A stop at Fat Rice is like a whirlwind taste voyage to China and Portugal, if you can wrap your brain and taste buds around that. 

Taste, of course, is subjective and if there were a list of the 50 best in Chicago, we would probably hit on many of your choices. Let's call these 10 among the best restaurants in Chicago, so if you're in the market for an inevitably impressive dining experience, make your reservation. 



The 40-seat neighborhood restaurant that serves Korean American cuisine is the invention of husband-wife chef team, Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim. Kim's food is the example by which other chefs should approach fusion a la bibim bop with smoked...  Read More



Michelin starred 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, Elizabeth is quite the culinary queen, Called "The Queen of Midwestern Cuisine," Iliana Regan is a self-taught chef who has been at it since age 15 and not by way of Brooklyn or some other hip...  Read More



Marilyn Monroe was known for her sexy beauty but it took awhile for the world to realize that she was also talented. Marchesa is drop dead gorgeous, unlike anything Chicagoans have seen in its colorful opulence so it may take a moment to...  Read More



Nominated for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018, Chef Paul Fehribach's respect for Southern heirloom cooking is apparent on every plate emerging from Big Jones' kitchen. And many are ordering the...  Read More



How does Chef/Partner Tony Mantuano continue to crank out the most ethereal pasta, sophisticated antipasti and jaw dropping second courses after all these years? He cooks from the head and the heart and is smart to partner with like-minded...  Read More



Get ready for a dreamy night of artful food and drink in Oriole's serene dining room where there will be just 28 of you lucky ducks nibbling a thought-provoking menu. Why lucky? It's probably a happy special occasion; your kid decided against...  Read More



Earning two Michelin stars in less than two years, the combo tasting menu restaurant (Smyth) and downstairs tavern (The Loyalist) make up a fever dream Chicagoans are happy to have. Executive Chef John B. Shields, a veteran of Charlie Trotter's...  Read More



Fat Rice introduced Chicagoans to the unique spice blends of Portuguese speaking areas of Macau, the autonomous region in southern China. Not only can't you get these flavors anywhere else in town, Chef Abraham Conlon and co-owner Adrienne Lo...  Read More



The alinea, or paragraph mark, signals the start of a new train of thought. The restaurant Alinea has been revolutionizing dinner since 2005 and it's the only restaurant in Chicago to retain three-star Michelin status. Chef Grant Achatz'...  Read More

Lincoln Park


Boka is like the kid in high school who was not only the quarterback and star of the musicals but you couldn't hate him because he was also a great guy. Boka does it all and excellently. Four consecutive Michelin Stars, Best New Chef and Pastry...  Read More


Meet Jacky Runice

Born in Bucktown when bulletproof was a home safety choice and not a coffee order, Jacky Runice has been knocking around Chicago as a professional print, online and broadcast journalist and...  More About Jacky