Chicago has iconic architecture and world-class art and entertainment. It is also known for its phenomenal food scene. Whether you are in the artsy River North, the exclusive Lincoln Park, or the luxurious Gold Coast, there is plenty of fine dining experiences in the city. So, where are the best places to eat in Chicago? To keep you informed, The Gillman Group has compiled a list of the hottest new restaurants in Chicago.
After three years, the former hotspot 312 Chicago has reopened its doors, and Chicagoans could not be happier. Before closing, the restaurant was a favorite among politicians at City Hall and theatergoers from nearby Cadillac Palace.
The decor has been slightly refreshed, adding cream club chairs and new lighting and flooring. A talented chef has taken over the reins, and his innovative twist on classic Italian dishes has already caused a stir. 312 Chicago has been a staple in the city for over 20 years, yet somehow the Italian eatery has made everything old seem new again.
In the beautiful Gold Coast, a stone’s throw from the River North, lies Alpana. Striking wallpaper and photos adorn the walls. Splashes of color, metal trellises, dangling foliage, and a fun feather chandelier combine to give the eatery an eclectic vibe that feels like you have been invited to an exclusive soiree.
Alpana, named after its owner Alpana Singh, focuses on wine and food pairings. The menu features some Asian and Mediterranean-inspired dishes but encompasses a range of flavors to suit a variety of palates. Wine aficionados will appreciate the exciting selection.
An unassuming brick vintage townhouse in River North is home to what is sure to be one of the finest dining experiences in all of Chicago. The charming restaurant has a hip bar on the lower level and a cozy dining spot on the upper floor.
Influenced by the steak houses of the seaside city of San Sebastian, Spain, Asador Bastian serves prime cuts of meat and select seafood fare. The menu is a tour of the rich delicacies found in the Basque Country.
The trendy Atelier Restaurant has an intimate setting with only a handful of tables. The sparse, rustic decor lets you focus on the meal and its presentation. The space in Lincoln Square was once filled by the highly acclaimed restaurant Elizabeth, meaning Atelier has some big shoes to fill.
Chef Christian Hunter is up for the task. He offers a seasonal tasting menu of 10 courses that is a feast for the eyes and the palate. The changing menu is filled with farm-fresh delights and international flavors and capped with a scrumptious dessert.
The elegant Indienne is in the active River North section of town. Indienne is in a converted loft space with a sleek modern feel that is still warm and inviting. It has an interesting tasting menu that blends Indian and French cuisine.
Ordering a la carte is also an option. Walk-ins are encouraged to stroll to the bar area to enjoy appetizers in a more casual setting. Chef and co-owner Sujan Sarkar hopes to infuse fun and interactivity into dining. He wants Indienne to be more than just a place to enjoy great food. He wants it to be an experience.
Le Select is a new project affiliated with the Boka Restaurant Group. The chic French brasserie is in a massive two-level space. Arches, mirrors, and bubble-like chandeliers hover around the restaurant area. A hip cocktail lounge called Bar 54 is on the upper floor.
Acclaimed chef Daniel Rose has brought his award-winning expertise to Le Select. Expect delicious French fare, impeccable service, and great ambiance at this new addition to the Chicago food scene.
The M Room
The Japanese restaurant Roka Akor and the famed Scotch whiskey distiller Macallan came together to create The M Room. The result is a restaurant with a whiskey-inspired tasting menu that offers a distinctive, enjoyable dining experience. Although able to seat 45 people, the restaurant feels intimate and enticing. The sleek space has cool mood lighting and a lounge vibe.
Obelix is a darling French restaurant in the River North. Although cozy, Obelix has an open, airy feel thanks to a wall of windows that allow light to stream in. Large checker pattern tile and small tables with white linen give the restaurant its French bistro feel.
Chef Nathan Kim manages to offer classic French fare while providing inventive fusion dishes that add twists to old classics. Obelix is perfect for a date night or when you want to treat yourself.
With Oriole, attention to detail is everything. Guests are greeted outside and shown their way into the restaurant, where a cocktail awaits them. The inside has an industrial feel with polished concrete floors, wood ceilings and beams, and aged brick walls.
Chef Noah Sandoval presents a 13-course tasting menu that is perfectly timed and oh-so-savory. Of course, exquisite dining does come with a price. For many, Oriole is a place just for very special occasions.
Sushi By Scratch
Tucked away lies a door to a fantastic food journey. Chef Phillip Frankland Lee has opened Sushi by Scratch, a hot new speakeasy serving Omakase. The fish is flown in from Tokyo, Japan, but there is more to this unique experience. Guests start by using a code to enter a door inside an existing restaurant. Stairs lead them to a dimly lit lounge area where they are served a welcome cocktail while waiting for the main event, the chef’s tasting menu.
For this truly unique dining experience, you have to reserve a spot a month in advance. The reservations go fast, and only a few are admitted per session. The entire affair has such a cool, exclusive vibe. It is quickly becoming the hottest seat in town.
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