1723 N. Halsted Street (Willow St.)
Alinea should charge you just to tour the place, to soak up the atmosphere and pick up some smart decorating tips. This is kaiseki-dining Western-style from chef Grant Achatz. Choose from eight, 12 or 24 courses that are elegantly presented and joyfully consumed. Pastry chef Alelx Stupak transforms caramel into a powder, which turns right back into caramel once chewed. Be prepared to spend several hours and quite a few bucks. Alinea was named Gourmet magazine's Number One restaurant in 2006. Matthew Upchuch of Virtuoso says it's one of the best restaurants he's ever dined at. That's quite a statement!
615 W Randolph St
Avec is a real treat. Avec adds a little bit of European flavor to Chicago with an eclectic, artsy crowd and a wine list only featuring European wines. The menu focuses on small and large sharing plates of rustic, Mediterranean "peasant foods," with many dishes cooked in a wood-burning oven and served in cast-iron pots. Avec doesn't take reservations, so it's a good idea to get there early in the evening
945 West Fulton Market
Featured in GQ and on The Food Network, Moto is a journey as well as a destination. Be sure to travel to the Meatpacking District, which is following the path of New York’s Meatpacking District in becoming haute restaurant central. Chef Homaro Cantu, regarded as one of the world’s finest young culinary minds, will make the journey out here well worth it. Reserve well in advance for culinary experimentation at its finest.
3868 North Lincoln Avenue
When you take a California surfer girl restaurant owner and place her in Chicago you get lots of Asian seasonings and tropical infusions. Artichoke fritters with soy lime sauce and white truffle honey and lobster shitake pot stickers are among the unusual but solid offerings.
59 West Hubbard Street
Chef Jean Joho creates delicious Alsatian food. Go to their bar between 5:00 and 10:00 PM on Tuesday nights and he will send out freshly baked tartes flambÈs all night. Try the famous shrimp-in-a-bag or the phyllo dough stuffed with shrimp, wild mushrooms and leeks in lobster cream sauce. Reservations accepted.
816 W. Armitage Ave.
The restaurant is recognized by a variety of prestigious national and international institutions. In 1995 Charlie Trotter's was inducted into the esteemed Relais & Chateaux and in 1998 was accepted as a member by Traditions & Qualité . It has also received Five Stars from the Mobil Travel Guide (one of only two Five Star restaurants in Chicago).
Gino’s East of Chicago
633 North Wells Street
Even though this restaurant seats 500, guests will have to wait in line without reservations. This world-famous, Chicago-style, deep dish pizza makes others taste like pure imitators. Enjoy the dark booths and graffiti covered walls, or have a pizza shipped frozen to your doorstep.
1647 North Milwaukee Avenue
Tel. 773. 342.2340
A serious restaurant where most all the ingredients come from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan or Wisconsin. The chefs and owners are Allie and Rob Levitt and their motto is "Midwestern farmers, Mediterranean flavors". Judging by their increasingly devoted following they must be doing something right. They don't have a liquor license but there is no corkage fee.