The 10 Best Restaurants In Chicago

AlineaA concoction served at Alinea

Photo: Lara Kastner /

Chicago is a foodie town and Chicagoans are discerning eaters who value food highly.This means that the quality of the restaurants is incredibly high. It’s hard to have a bad meal in the Windy City, but which restaurants offer truly exceptional dining experiences?

That’s where the editors at Zagat come in. They recently released their list of the 10 Best Restaurants in Chicago.

Of course Alinea—widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in the country and even the world—made the list, but there’s also a no-frills sushi bar serving the freshest silkiest fish, an authentic Italian trattoria and a romantic French restaurant.

#10 Schwa

#9 MK

868 North Franklin St.

Chef Michael Kornick serves thoughtful New American dishes that reflect the seasons. But it's the luscious desserts (like 'you put the lime in the coconut,' a mixture of coconut panna cotta and mango lime compote) and comprehensive wine list that really steal the show.

The dining room is divided into two spaces: a bustling loft-like area and a more intimate mezzanine area.

#8 Green Zebra

1460 West Chicago Ave.

Green Zebra is hands-down the best vegetarian spot in town, serving incredibly creative and high-quality dishes in beautiful presentations.

Service is impeccable, the setting is sophisticated, and there's a good wine list.

#7 Avec

615 West Randolph St.

This playful, young West Loop restaurant serves a range of creative small plates and fresh Mediterranean dishes by chef Koren Grieveson.

The scene is hip and lively, and the restaurant set-up is cozy, with seating at communal tables.

Beware that there's a no reservations policy, which could mean long waits.

#6 Takashi

952 North Damen Ave.

Chef-owner Takashi Yagihashi prepares elegant and complex New American and New French dishes at this Bucktown gem.

The dining room is sophisticated yet cozy, and the service is impeccable.

#5 Les Nomades

222 East Ontario St.

At this authentic French restaurant located in a charming Streeterville townhouse, expect to find refined yet classic French fare, a remarkable wine list and attentive service.

This is definitely a 'special occasion' restaurant.

#4 Riccardo Trattoria

2119 North Clark St.

Many consider this small Lincoln Park restaurant the best Italian place in Chicago. Riccardo Trattoria serves upscale versions of traditional Italian dishes and makes almost everything fresh and in-house.

The food is excellent, the setting is casual and the menu is surprisingly affordable--all of which combines to make it tough to get a coveted reservation here.

#3 Next

#2 Katsu

2651 West Peterson Ave.

Katsu serves incredibly authentic Japanese fare and the freshest sushi in the city in a serene minimalist setting. Chef-owner Katsu Imamura takes the freshest, highest-quality ingredients to create beautifully prepared elegant Japanese dishes.

#1 Alinea

1723 North Halsted St.

No surprise here: Alinea continually wins accolades from the highest culinary authorities around the world (it has three Michelin stars and was ranked #7 in the World's 50 Best Restaurants List).

Chef Grant Achatz is like a mad culinary genius in the kitchen, creating playful, magical and wholly original gastronomic concoctions.

It's not cheap, but Alinea is a culinary Mecca for serious foodies who appreciate 'awe-inspiring' food, impeccable service and the sleek modern environment.

What about the best restaurants in the rest of the country?

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