If you have been following our Instagram for a while, you know that we love fine dining, and that I (María) have made my way through pretty much every single Michelin restaurant in Chicago. I always get asked what my favorite Michelin Star restaurant is in Chicago, so here is a list of what I consider to be my favorites – those that I keep going again and again!
- Smyth, Two Michelin Stars
Top of my list is Smyth. I have been here around 4 or 5 times in the past year and a half, and it has always remained perfectly consistent with the food, service, and ambience. The restaurant is led by chefs John Shields and Karen Urie Shields, and it offers one tasting menu ($265), which subtly changes during the year. This tasting menu is one of the most delicate, elegant, and well-thought out, menus I’ve had, focusing mainly on seafood and vegetables (usually with only one meat course). Personally, I love when tasting menus are not overpowered by meat dishes, and have the perfect balance of dishes. For the tasting menu you also have the option of wine pairing, or going à la carte with the beverages. The space is very simple yet elegant, with a lounge area, a main dining room, and two open kitchens.
Smyth has a sister restaurant downstairs, The Loyalist, with one of the best burgers in Chicago – amazing speakeasy style restaurant, don’t forget to check it out!
- Kasama, One Michelin Star
Kasama, a modern Filipino restaurant, started as a bakery (best one in Chicago), and in late 2021 it began offering a tasting menu for dinner. Only a few months after, Kasama earned a Michelin star thanks to this menu ($215), making it the first ever Filipino restaurant to get a Michelin star. Since they started offering the tasting menu service, I have been a couple of times, and let me tell you that I was blown away by how amazing the food was. Every single dish was so special, unique and full of different flavors and textures. Beverage pairing (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) is also available. Chefs Genie Kwon and Timothy Flores are doing an amazing job, and can’t wait to see how this menu evolves to new dishes and concepts – excited for what will come next!
- Omakase Yume, One Michelin Star
The best Omakase you will find in Chicago is at Omakase Yume by chef Sangtae Park. This Omakase spot has a six seater sushi counter, with a very elegant and friendly décor. A traditional 16-course Omakase ($185), with some fun innovations along the way – and the option of adding some extra nigiris at the end if you want more. Plan in advance if you want to go, as reservations are very hard to get due to the limited capacity.
- Oriole, Two Michelin Star
Another of my favorite restaurants in Chicago is Oriole, a two Michelin star restaurant that offers an overall amazing dining experience. Let’s begin with the beautiful space, which has different areas: the tasting menu starts at the bar with some cocktails and small bites, then you go through to the open kitchen where you’ll enjoy another drink and dish, and finally you’ll arrive to the main dining room to enjoy the rest of the meal. The food is absolutely incredible, with a very delicate, fun, and delicious tasting menu, which varies lightly throughout the year.
Also, don’t miss their nightcap service (separate from their tasting menu reservations), which I find to be super fun and very enjoyable: experience their cocktails and their famous ham sandwich, and the incredible chocolate cookie – reservations are available from 10pm onwards!
- Boka, One Michelin Star
Boka, by chef Lee Wolen, is my go-to place when family is visiting. The space is very nice, specially their indoor patio, which has lots of natural light, and their outdoor space, which is perfect for the summer. This restaurant offers both a tasting menu and à la carte option, which are both super recommendable. If you go à la carte don’t miss their ricotta gnocchis, their dry aged beef tartare, and the most delicious roasted chicken (seriously the best one I’ve ever had).
Special mention to Alinea, Three Michelin Stars, by chef Grant Achatz. This tasting menu, and restaurant, is one of a kind, with very fun, innovative, and creative dishes, and an overall incredible dining experience. Although I really enjoyed it, I believe is a restaurant were one visit was enough, and not a restaurant were I would go to three or four times a year, in contrast to the other Michelin star restaurants I have mentioned above. If you are planning on going, watch beforehand the show Chef’s Table on Netflix, season 2, episode 1, where it talks about Grant Achatz and Alinea.
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