8 Michelin-Starred Chicago Restaurants to Try

  • Bruce Glazer
  • 05/3/21

Chicago is a cultural hub, a musical hot-spot, and now one of the most important food cities in the world. With exceptionally rated restaurants scattered throughout its numerous neighborhoods, Chicago residents and visitors alike can experience one-of-a-kind cuisines in what has become nothing short of a fine-dining mecca.

The Michelin Guide, which acts as the gold standard for restaurant critiques around the world, has awarded 25 of Chicago’s excellent restaurants one, two, and three-star ratings. Take a look at these prestigious award winners to satiate your cravings for an out-of-this-world dining experience today.  

Alinea

Grant Achatz is one of the most applauded and recognized American chefs in the world. His approach to molecular gastronomy put his name at the top of many culinary lists from a young age. Additionally, he has won numerous awards, including Food and Wine’s Best New Chef Award and Best Chef in the United States, and was recognized as the Who’s Who Inductee from the James Beard Foundation.

He opened Alinea in Chicago in 2005, hoping to create a cutting-edge restaurant that would change the idea of what New American Cuisine could be. Now, the restaurant offers guests three separate dining areas; The Kitchen Table, The Gallery, and The Salon. Each section provides a unique experience priced between $210 and $395 per person for a tasting menu of the chef’s selection. Here you can expect to find fun and inspiring dishes, such as edible apple balloons filled with helium, a new take on peanut butter and jelly, his iconic potato truffle explosion, and even a clear pumpkin pie.

Not only is Alinea Achatz’s flagship restaurant, but it is also the only eatery in Chicago to win the coveted Michelin three-star award, and one of only 14 to have earned this honor in the entire country.   

Oriole

Having worked his way up from dishwasher to world-renowned chef, Noah Sandoval has become a leader in New American cuisine. After working for chefs like David Shannon and Marcus Samuelsson, he set out on his own, winning numerous titles and accolades that allowed him to open Oriole here in Chicago in 2016. The restaurant itself is an intimate, 28-seat setting where Chef Sandoval serves his guests a one-of-a-kind tasting menu for $215 per person.

The open kitchen concept allows guests to have a much more immersive experience, allowing everyone to feel like they’ve become a part of the meal itself. While the menu is constantly changing to provide guests with the best possible experience, some highlights you may expect to see include Japanese wagyu, beautifully prepared oysters, lamb belly, and some of the most delicious sourdough bread you’ve ever had.

Smyth

Husband and wife team John and Karen Shields present this unique culinary experience as a journey through their own adventures in Smyth County, Virginia, which greatly influence their own culinary perceptions and ideas about food.

Opening in 2016, their seasonally inspired restaurant concept soon garnered the attention it deserved, winning numerous awards including Best New Restaurant from Chicago Magazine, the Rising Star Award from Elite Traveler, Restaurant of the Year from Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence. In 2020, they were awarded two stars from the Michelin Guide.

During the unique multi-course tasting menu that takes between two and three hours to complete, guests can expect dishes ranging from chilled lobster claw to a beef fat braised doughnut and many other exquisite delights that depend on what the chefs procure from their vendors. 

BOKA

BOKA restaurant has been a Chicago staple for over a decade, serving guests an exceptional take on American cuisine using only locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, ensuring every guest has the highest-quality experience possible. The combination of their excellent dishes and unparalleled service has made them one of the most beloved restaurants in the area, and guests flock to their doors from around the world.

Chef Lee Wolen began his career as a sous chef at Moto and Butter in Chicago. However, it wasn’t long before his passion called him to Europe to work in renowned restaurants such as Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and El Bulli. After these experiences, Chef Wolen returned to the U.S. to work at Eleven Madison Park. However, he quickly returned to his Midwestern roots, settling down in Chicago in 2012 and joining the team at BOKA in 2014.

Since 2014, the restaurant has won special recognition, including James Beard Nominations for Outstanding Service, Restaurant of the Year Award from Jean Banchet, Top New Chef from Food and Wine, and their Michelin star rating. 

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Restaurant in Lincoln Square has gained significant renown throughout the culinary world due to Chef Iliana Regan’s exceptional dedication to her craft. A self-taught chef, Regan entered the culinary world at the young age of 15, and since then, she’s done everything in her power to turn the industry on its head. Growing up foraging, farming, and homesteading, she brings these traditions and techniques to her professional kitchen, offering guests a one-of-a-kind experience where they can taste her seasonally inspired menus.  

At Elizabeth, you’ll find yourself indulging in dishes such as warm spring onion vichyssoise, shio kombu sourdough, Lyonnaise salad, and a yuzu meringue pie that will leave you stunned. Chef Regan’s appreciation for local ingredients and produce can be seen on every plate, and you’ll be sure to leave more in love with the environment around you than you ever thought possible. 

North Pond

Built in what was once a shelter for ice skaters in 1912, this beautiful restaurant is now a stunning setting for one of the most comforting culinary experiences in all of Chicago. North Pond Restaurant offers guests a unique experience through Chef Cesar Murillo’s dedication to local agriculture with dishes that highlight locally sourced ingredients true to the seasons.

While the restaurant focuses on New American cuisine, you can definitely feel the global influences Chef Murillo brings to the table. As an immigrant who moved to the U.S. from Chihuahua, Mexico at the age of four, Murillo has worked his way through every position in the kitchen, allowing him to fully understand every aspect of every dish he creates. You can expect to find a love of nature and everything local in every dish he serves, from their chestnut veloute to their pork belly lechon.

Elske

If you’re looking for a fine dining experience in Chicago, chances are you’ve come across Elske. Quickly becoming one of the most popular reservations in the area, this restaurant has been serving guests world-class cuisine since it opened in 2016. Chefs Anna and David Posey have dedicated themselves to creating a mashup of formal fine dining and relaxing comfort cuisine—a truly unique experience for their guests.

Their clean and straightforward aesthetic harkens back to their appreciation for Denmark and shows in both the restaurant’s appearance and the composition of its dishes. These chefs allow their ingredients to shine in the best possible way with dishes such as charred fruit and vegetable tea, cured fluke with crispy rice, and caramelized cod with endives.

In addition to their Michelin star rating, Elske has also been named Bon Appetit’s No. 2 Best New Restaurant in America, Eater’s Best New Restaurant, and James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes Finalist in both 2018 and 2019. 

Temporis

Located in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood, Temporis Restaurant has been garnering more and more attention every year since it opened. Offering guests a 10-course tasting menu of progressive American cuisine, this is a culinary experience like no other. Not only is the restaurant one of the most intimate in the city, with only 20 seats, it also serves guests ingredients sourced as locally as possible, with as much as possible coming from their very own hydroponic garden. Even their bread is made in-house from a three-year-old starter that has been delighting guests since the beginning.

At $155 per person, their tasting menu offers a variety of seasonal dishes, which may include a variety of canapes, foie gras, venison, Japanese wagyu, and an array of different desserts, all of which will delight your taste buds.


Chicago has become one of the premier culinary cities in the United States—more than 20 Michelin-rated restaurants call the city home. With various restaurants as diverse and vibrant as the city itself, it was only a matter of time before it gained the global recognition it deserved. There can be no doubt that Chicago residents have some of the most delicious dining options right outside their doors. If you’re looking to move closer to some of these world-renowned restaurants, contact Chicago’s premier real estate agent Bruce Glazer today so we can help you find the ideal home. 

 

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