Chicago’s cuisine stellar cuisine scene got a further endorsement from the bods at Michelin, as they dished out a whopping 25 stars across the city’s eateries for the 2018 season. Here are our top picks of the bunch – bon appetit!
It seems only fair to start with Alinea whose three Michelin-starred status makes it one of only 15 such restaurants in the US, and it’s constantly named as one of the world’s best places to dine. Prepare to book an elegant perch way in advance and expect to flex the AmEx, but rest assured Grant Achatz’s magical combination of theatre and gastronomy via ever-changing, molecular sets is worth every cent.
Joining the Michelin-starred brigade for the first time is Entente, a glass-fronted, atmospheric eatery steered by acclaimed chef Brian Fisher. Pairing freshly prepared comfort food with Japanese-influenced dishes, the well-crafted, forward-leaning menu is all about attention to detail – highlights include octopus with black garlic, grapefruit and vanilla, Hudson Valley foie gras with mushroom and chicory and scallops with celery root chawanmushi and Granny Smith apples. With only ten options, it’d be rude not to try them all.
Continuing the minimalist trend is two Michelin-starred Acadia, a chic grey-on-grey dining room offering one only one option; a seven-course tasting experience (although there is a bar menu serving smaller bites). The offering changes seasonally, but expect to tuck into dishes such as Isle au Haut scallop with beluga lentils and citrus lace; Chinese duck, caviar and truffle currant jus and Wagyu beef colatte with mushroom conserva. Much of the fare follows a Maine-centric theme, with nods to Asia. Choice suddenly looks overrated.
If nabbing two Michelin stars in the first year sounds unlikely, think again at atmospheric Oriole, which managed to do just that. A modish raw-beam and exposed brick-wall interior backdrops a complex, contemporary tasting menu, which puts the emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce. We’re dreaming of the Alaskan king crab with aguachile, the Spanish mackerel with Asian pear and the Berkshire pork rib with raita. Booking recommended.
With two Michelin stars already in the awards cabinet, Smyth, helmed by culinary power couple John (chef) and Karen (pastry chef) Shields, is one of the swankiest places in town to dine à deux. Sample epicurean wizardry, like Dungeness crab and foie gras with scrambled kani miso or caramelised lamb belly with soured cream. As part of the Peninsula Hotel’s 2018 ‘Keys to the City’ programme, guests who book the eight-course tasting menu at Smyth through the hotel’s concierge will receive pre-dinner nibbles plus exclusive table-side cocktail creations. That’s date night sorted.
Alinea / 1723 N Halsted St / Lincoln Park / +1 312 867 0110 / dinner Wed-Sun / alinearestaurant.com
Entente / 3056 N Lincoln Ave / Lakeview / +1 872 206 8553 / 5pm-9.30pm Tue-Thu, until 10pm Fri-Sat / ententechicago.com
Acadia / 1639 S Wabash Ave / South Loop / +1 312 360 9500 / 5.30pm-9pm Wed-Thu, from 5pm Sun, 5pm-11pm Fri-Sat / acadiachicago.com
Oriole / 661 W Walnut St / West Loop / +1 312 887 5339 / 5.30pm-9.30pm Tue-Sat / oriolechicago.com
Smyth / 177 North Ada Street / +1 733 913 3773 / dinner Tue-Sat / www.smythandtheloyalist.com