The 2016 Chicago
Michelin Guide's Big Winners
Photo by Edsel Little
he Michelin Guide is a prestigious publication that reviews the best restaurants around the world. Each year, worthy restaurants are awarded one star ("a very good restaurant in its category"), two stars ("excellent cuisine, worth a detour"), or three stars ("exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey"). The selection process behind the Michelin Guide is very rigorous, discerning and selective. Restaurants are judged by the quality of their food, the preparation and flavors, the chef's personality as revealed through his or her cuisine, value for money and consistency over time and across the entire menu. Being selected is considered an incredible accomplishment.
This year, twenty-two restaurants in Chicago have made the coveted list and have been reviewed and awarded stars by the guide's inspectors. Only two restaurants have the exclusive honor of being awarded three stars: Alinea and Grace. Three other restaurants have been awarded two stars: 42 Grams, Sixteen and Acadia, which improved upon its score of one star from last year. Seventeen places have received the one star rating: Blackbird, Boka, Dusek's, EL Ideas, Elizabeth, Everst, Goosefoot, Longman & Eagle, Moto, NAHA, North Pond, Parachute, Schwa, Sepia, Spiagga, Topolobampo and Tru.
With brilliant chefs, creative menus and delicious food, all these restaurants stand out above all the others and are considered stars in the culinary scene. Are you curious what these places have to offer? Are you trying to decide which of these restaurants to go to? Read on to find out our assessment of these places to learn more!
Alinea is a very decorated restaurant. In fact, it is universally considered to be one of the top 10 restaurants in the world. It has won numerous awards and has received the highest rating of three stars from the Michelin Guide -- only one of two restaurants in Chicago that have received that prestigious honor. This restaurant is very innovative and is known for its deconstructions of classic flavors. The food combinations are very original and result in dynamite flavor.
Grace is a progressive American restaurant that delivers top-notch food with stunning flavors and presentations. It is only one of two restaurants in Chicago to have received the highest rating of three stars from the Michelin Guide, a prestigious honor. Grace offers two tasting menus: Flora, which focuses on vegetables; and Fauna, which highlights meat and seafood. The presentation and quality of the dishes are truly amazing. Each dish is almost like a work of art. They are colorful and whimsical to the eye and full of rich flavors that tantalize the taste buds. This place is expensive, but definitely worth the experience.
Acadia is a contemporary American restaurant that offers outstanding food and drinks. The food is incredible and world-class. The deconstructed lobster pot pie tastes exquisite. The lobster roll is also a thing of beauty. For those who are in the mood for something more casual, they also provide their own rendition of a burger, which is sublime.
There is a lot to like at 42 Grams. The food is exceptional. From the taste to the presentation, everything is just phenomenal. The food will leave your taste buds and stomach fully satisfied. The atmosphere is also unique in that you have the opportunity to watch the chef preparing the food right in front of you. This place is highly acclaimed and it is easy to see why.
Dining at Sixteen is almost a larger-than-life experience. Situated on the 16th floor of Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, this restaurant boasts some of the best views of the city; the views of the city through the floor-to-ceiling windows are breathtaking. The American cuisine is brilliantly crafted, where fresh, seasonal ingredients are transformed into works of art. This is fine dining at its finest.
Blackbird is a very hip and trendy restaurant that is located in the West Loop. It is one of Chicago's more popular restaurants. This place has a very sleek and minimalist interior, which is certainly not matched by the food: the fresh contemporary American cuisine is rich and saucy and full of flavor. The food pairings such as the grilled California sturgeon and braised oxtail or the seared loin of venison with pickled damson plums are absolutely delicious. The food here is always consistently great. It is easy to understand why this place is so popular.
There are many reasons why Boka in Lincoln Park is worth visiting. This New American restaurant serves dishes that are delicious, imaginative and served with care. The food here is incredible, but the Short Rib Ravioli really shines. It's so delicate, moist and full of flavor. The Duck Ragout with Saffron Bigoli Pasta is also quite good. Dining at Boka is a great experience. The atmosphere and venue itself is so sleek and stylish. The dining room is really glamorous.
Dusek's offers some of the best breakfast in town. Many people love the Dutch Baby. This popular dish is a delicate souffle pancake that features an indulgent fruit filling that is just scrumptious. With great options on the menu and very reasonable prices, Dusek's is a place that you will want to visit.
EL Ideas is an experimental restaurant where the chef has reinvented fine dining. The New American restaurant has really original and imaginative food. The atmosphere and environment is also really unique and intimate. Here you can even observe the chef while he is at work since the kitchen has an open format.
Elizabeth has a lot going for it. The food here is amazingly delicious. It is well prepared and the ingredients are nice and fresh. The food is also beautifully presented. The Fairy Tale Dinner series is really unique in that the menu is inspired by a theme or idea and each dish tries to tell a story. Eating here will never get old -- the menu is known to change.
Dining at Everest is always a wonderful experience. This restaurant is located on the 40th floor of Chicago's Stock Exchange and features stunning views of the Chicago skyline. The exceptional views of the city are bested only by the excellent and upscale French cuisine that Everest provides. Entrees of beef, seafood, veal and other meat are prepared to perfection. Although expensive, the meal and luxurious atmosphere make the dining experience well worth it.
Goosefoot is a New American restaurant that offers a high-end multicourse menu that is very impressive due to its creative preparations, divine flavors and elegant presentation. The atmosphere is very intimate and the decor inside is very chic. The great food along with the refined service really completes this fine dining experience.
Longman & Eagle is a popular eatery that is known for its tasty food and inviting atmosphere. There is a heavy emphasis on high quality local ingredients and the dishes taste really fresh. The brunch offerings are especially outstanding. They also have a great cocktail menu that is full of contemporary and classic drinks. There are often long lines here, but the wait is worth it.
Dining at Moto is a real treat and experience. The atmosphere here is very modern and futuristic, with minimalist surroundings; the emphasis and focus is all on the food. The chef has really redefined contemporary cuisine. In fact, many describe him as a mad scientist in the kitchen. The food has been highly praised for its post-modern fusing of science and cuisine, and also pushing the envelope on the sensory experience.
NAHA offers innovative and contemporary American cuisine that includes touches of Mediterranean influences. The food is beautifully crafted and well-made. The flavors are very diverse and clean and masterfully put together to form a magical combination. There is a lot to like about this place.
North Pond is a New American restaurant that offers amazing food in a beautiful setting. The menus are constantly changing; the chef creates seasonal menus and uses local organic produce to ensure that the ingredients are fresh and at their peak. It is hard to go wrong here since the cuisine is both creative and delicious. The desserts are also extremely tasty. The chocolate waffle with a hazelnut semi-freddo, sour cream mousse topped with blood orange syrup is just divine. Although it is expensive here, it is well worth it.
Parachute offers what they describe as American-Korean food where they have reinvented familiar dishes such as Peking duck, tagliatelle bolognese and bouillabaisse by introducing the use of Korean flavors and ingredients. The results are absolutely delicious. Most people just love the bing bread. It is bread that is deconstructed like a baked potato and comes loaded with potato flavor that is served with sour-cream butter. It tastes so good that it can be addicting. This place is definitely a must try.
Schwa is a highly acclaimed restaurant that has a reputation for excellence. It is so popular that many people claim that reservations are nearly impossible to arrange. If you are in the select few who can actually make arrangements to dine here, you are in for a treat. This place serves spectacular contemporary American cuisine. The food is simply amazing. Everything is meticulously prepared. The dishes are full of rich flavors. The presentation of the food is also really impressive. Although it is expensive, Schwa provides a singular dining experience.
Sepia has imaginative New American dishes that are both refined and delicious. The environment is very charming, comfortable and sophisticated. Many people love Sepia for its exceptional dining experience, exquisite tasting food and tasty cocktails. It is easy to understand why this place is so highly acclaimed.
Many people feel that Spiaggia features the best Italian food in town. People rave over the tasting menu, which is hard to beat. The delectable desserts are hard to resist. There is also a bar that offers the perfect wines, amazing cocktails and organic limoncello. The atmosphere here is also very nice. Everything is top-notch.
Topolobampo provides some of the best Mexican food that the city has to offer. The restaurant is sleek, elegant and upscale. Many people enjoy coming here. The only criticism that people tend to have is that the prices are quite expensive. Although that may be the case, it is still cheaper than having to go all the way to Mexico. The quality of the food is excellent and it is indeed authentic.
Tru offers progressive French cuisine at its finest. Tru's dishes are truly works of art, full of creativity and artistic presentation. The dishes also happen to be delicious. The combinations of flavors and textures are incredible and the ingredients are fresh and simple. The desserts are also spectacular. The Chocolate Bar dessert with its chocolate ganache ribbon is so decadent and delicious. This restaurant is expensive, but it is well worth it when you want to celebrate a special occasion or when you just want to treat yourself.