From authentic Japanese dishes to decadent French cuisine, the best restaurants in Chicago offer some of the finest food in the nation. The Windy City's best restaurants feature food that will tempt almost any palate.
1. North Pond
2610 N. Cannon Dr., 60614 (773) 477-5845. Dinner hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 5:30 p.m. until close. Brunch is on Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Reservations can be made on the company website. Dress code is casual.
North Pond features local food prepared fresh, and the nature-inspired setting earns high marks from Frommer's. Tempt your palate with menu items like:
- Grilled king salmon with smoked purple potato
- Bourbon-cured duck breast with sour cherries and almonds
- Grilled chicken breast with red beet gnocchi
980 North Michigan Ave., 2nd Floor, 60611 (312) 280-2750. Open Sunday through Thursday at 6:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Reservations can be made on the website. Jackets are required for men.
- Hand-rolled gnocchi
- Pancetta-wrapped Guinea hen
- A variety of pasta dishes with seafood, meats, and vegetables
- Lemon olive oil cake with lavender
Reservations are recommended.
1723 N. Halsted St., 60614 (312) 867-0110. Alinea is open for dinner only, Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations are required, and the restaurant books up quickly, months in advance. Dress code is business casual.
Alinea is one of the most visited and celebrated restaurants in the city. This is largely due to the exquisite, cutting-edge modern menu that contains such standouts as:
- "Woolly Pig" featuring squid with orange and fennel
- Hollowed hearts of palm filled with purée with coffee sauce
- King crab with passion fruit
- Oyster leaf with mignonettes
The decor is equally lovely, punctuated by dark mahogany furniture and neutral color tones.
676 N. St. Claire St., 60611 (312) 202-0001. Open Monday through Thursday for dinner 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Reservations are encouraged. Dress code is smart casual.
Timeout Chicago includes this spot as one of their standout restaurants. The fine dining at TRU includes both fixed-price menu items as well as full-course "tasting tours." Some of the dishes you can savour include:
- Caramelized chestnut soup
- Truffled lobster
- Prime beef ribeye
- Jidori chicken and rosemary
The expansive dining room is able to house many. Artfully designed, the interior features artwork from the likes of Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter.
5. Morton's, The Steakhouse
1050 North State St., 6060 (312) 266-4820. Dining room hours are Monday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. and Sunday 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made on the website. Business dress is required.
Morton's, The Steakhouse specializes in all cuts of steak, but they also offer lighter fare including a variety of seafood and poultry dishes. Desserts are rich and satisfying. Menu items include:
- Pepper-crusted beef carpaccio
- Five peppercorn prime strip steak
- Shrimp Alexander
- Hot chocolate cake
You can also opt for a mixed grill plate, and accompany your main dish with a la carte side dishes. Style Chicago gives the restaurant solid reviews for food, atmosphere, and service.
702 W. Fulton Market St., 60661 (312) 850-5005. Please call for days and times of operation. Dress code is casual and reservations can be made online.
Carnivale is a trendy, vibrant restaurant that offers live entertainment and an affordable menu. When at Carnivale, dine on items like:
- Pork Adobo
- Peruvian-style chicken
- Daily chef's special fish dishes
- Grilled Angus skirt steak with chimichurri sauce
The food compliments the décor perfectly, as Carnivale is filled with bright, bold colors, open spaces and an overall lively setting. Epicurious.com lists this establishment as one of the best hot spots in Chicago.
7. MK Downtown
868 N. Franklin, 60610 (312) 482-9179. Open daily for dinner at 5:30 p.m. Reservations can be made on the restaurant's website.
This elegant, upscale restaurant receives rave reviews for menu items such as:
- Cumin scented carrot soup
- Pan seared walleye
- Veal porterhouse with jumbo asparagus
- Pommes frite with truffle oil
The décor is filled with intricate tiling and a plethora of graceful arches. All this while a grand piano plays gently in the background. Reservations are recommended, as is business attire.
600 W. Chicago Ave., 60610 (312) 822-9600. Open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner hours are as follows: Monday - Thursday 5:00 p.m. - 11: p.m., Friday - Saturday 5:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. and Sunday 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Reservations are available on the company website. Dress code is business casual.
Japonais is an upscale Japanese restaurant with elegant decor and atmosphere. Zagat puts this establishment among its top five Chicago waterside restaurants. Enjoy dishes such as:
- Kobe beef
- Honey-glazed Peking duck
- Moo shu pancakes
- Sushi, sashimi and nigiri
440 S. LaSalle St. 40th Floor, 60605 (312) 663-8920. Open Tuesday through Thursday for dinner from 5:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m, Friday for dinner from 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., and Saturday for dinner from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. Reservations are encouraged and can be made on the website. Dress code is business casual.
Everest has won the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award for restaurants each year since 1996. Menu items include the finest of French cuisine:
- Hazelnut crusted skate wing
- Dry aged New York steak with potato gnocchi
- Sea scallops with cabbage salad and caraway seed
The décor at Everest is elegant with modern tables and chairs, luxurious hardware and fixtures, and lovely views. They are available for private events every day of the week, and there is also an art gallery on site.
615 W. Randolph St., 60661 (312) 377-2002. Hours are Sunday through Thursday 3:00 p.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday 3:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. Reservations can be made on the website.
Avec serves up some of the best food in the Chicago area according to Food and Wine. Since the restaurant is actually a wine bar, you'll find a wide variety of wines to accompany your meal. Choose from delicious, Mediterranean-style dishes like:
- Short rib with red pepper
- Pan-roasted veal sweetbreads
- Octopus braised in olive oil
Smart casual dress is recommended.