A Michelin Star is given to chefs who have achieved exceptional results in the kitchen. For this award, they consider many factors such as ingredient quality, the harmony of tastes and methods, personalization reflected in the food, and, perhaps most significantly, consistency throughout time and across the whole menu. Chicagoans are very fortunate when it comes to eating out as they will not need to find options in other cities.
After a decade of growth, the city is home to 24 Michelin-starred kitchens, ranging from one of Chicago’s top Mexican restaurants to the newest venture from former Grace chef Curtis Duffy. One of Chicago’s most upscale breweries was even included on the list. And dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant does not necessitate spending your whole salary on a dinner, and there are several reasonably priced alternatives on the menu this year. High-quality cookery deserving of a pit stop, outstanding cuisine meritorious of a diversion, and superb cuisine worthy of a memorable trip are represented by one star, two stars, and three stars. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most popular Chicago restaurants that have been awarded Michelin stars.
Moody Tongue outgrew its Pilsen digs and relocated west to a vast 28,600-square-foot building that allows the brewery to expand its operations. The new headquarters include an on-site brewery and production facilities and two distinct dining experiences overseen by chief chef Jared Wentworth. Guests may dine on a 12-course tasting menu in the premium Dining Room or on an à la carte menu in the Bar. Naturally, both rooms will be brimming with Brewmaster Jared Rouben’s food-friendly beers, including popular pours like Sliced Nectarine IPA and Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison, as well as more experimental offerings like the Scotch Barrel Aged Peated Scotch Ale.
Oriole is presented by Noah Sandoval, Genie Kwon, and Aaron McManus, three industry veterans. The rear alley entrance is relatively inconspicuous, as though the establishment is aware that it is worth looking out. And that is not incorrect; this is a superb dining establishment that gets everything right from the outset. The apartment itself is stunning—exposed brick creates a pleasant atmosphere, while massive wooden columns serve as a reminder that you’re in one of the city’s trendiest areas. Each table is draped with pristine white tablecloths and nicely folded napkins. When that napkin is securely on your lap, the first decision you’ll make is whether or not to order the $125 cocktail pairing with the $190 tasting menu. The last decision you’ll make is whether you want tea or coffee after it’s all done, and if you do come, be sure to savor it!
Gourmets will enjoy a whole sensory experience at Chef Grant Achatz‘s three-Michelin-starred establishment (the only one of its type in Chicago). The Lincoln Park institution received a significant remodeling in 2016, transforming its dark, seductive decor into an airy, timeless environment. Every dish on Alinea’s tasting menus is a theatrical masterpiece presented with impeccable service, despite the cost of between $205 and $395 per person. Lots of dry ice, unusual fruits, and funky serving utensils are in store for you. Enjoy one of Achatz’s distinctive “helium-taffy” balloons to round off the evening, which will ensure that everyone in the dining room is smiling and laughing at your expense.
EL Ideas, which bills itself as “the most improbable of Michelin-starred restaurants,” is located in Douglas Park and provides scheduled, group-based seatings Tuesday through Saturday. The staff at this establishment strives to eliminate the stuffiness from the fine-dining experience while also removing the barrier between customers and cooks via the use of an open floor design. Consider it akin to attending a dinner party at a new friend’s house—but imagine that friend serving you ten or more dishes and charging you $155 for a seat.
In this compact 30-seat Lincoln Square hotspot, owners Chris and Nina Nugent combine traditional French methods with contemporary, fun accents to create a dining experience that is both delicious and memorable. Guests may enjoy a multi-course meal for $145 per person (it is worth mentioning that they allow guests to bring their own alcohol and that there is no corkage fee). It lasts around three hours in duration. Expect crazily imaginative platings as well as very seasonal ingredients such as summer truffle, English peas, Meyer lemon, and fennel, among other things.
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