Chicago is an iconic Midwestern metropolis with one of the greatest restaurant scenes in the nation.
Along with world-famous sports facilities, architecture, and museums, Chicago’s restaurants are one of its primary tourist attractions.
Chicago has more James Beard Award-winning restaurants than nearly every other city, and many of them have reservation waitlists for over six months.
Fine dining requires the highest standard of quality, service, and atmosphere for which customers are willing to pay a premium price.
I was privileged to be a customer at the most expensive restaurants in Chicago during my latest trip to the Windy City.
I have listed them below for you to explore and learn why they’re well worth their price.
1723 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60614
One of the only restaurants to receive three Michelin stars both in the city and the world, Alinea is a multi-faceted dining experience designed to stimulate all your senses.
Located in an exquisite multi-room dining space in Lincoln Park, Alinea has received a James beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant.
Elite Traveler, Gourmet, and Business Insider have voted Alinea the Best Restaurant in the World.
Every dining room in Alinea has its own menu and dining experience, all of them are multi-course dinners that last over two hours.
The entire time, the servers delighting your senses with culinary works of art that are as stunning to look at as they are to touch and taste.
My favorite course was the Anjou Pear onion with brie and a smoking cinnamon stick.
534 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
Owned and founded by Chicago native and James Beard Award-winning chef Carrie Nahabedian, Brindille is a fine-dining French restaurant modeled off her favorite Parisian restaurants.
Brindille has one of the most romantic atmospheres in Chicago and has been a Near Northside favorite since 2013. It has received Michelin stars every year since its opening.
I chose the main dish inspired by famed celebrity Chef Julia Child.
It was the whole roasted Dover Sole with leeks, peas, sugar snaps, capers, toasted hazelnuts, strawberry vinegar, and grapefruit-infused butter.
661 W Walnut St, Chicago, IL 60661
Opening in the West Loop neighborhood in 2016, Oriole is a New American bistro that has received two Michelin stars every year since its opening.
Oriole also received a Jean Banchet Award for the restaurant of the year.
Head Chef and owner Noah Sandoval is a James Beard Award nominee, creating an ever-changing menu to enjoy in a modern dining space evoking the stylings of Frank Lloyd Wright.
The multi-course menu draws from global flavors, from Asia to Italy.
My favorite dish was the spiny lobster shumai with red Kuri squash and ginger.
85 E Wacker Dr 22nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60601
While there are plenty of architecture tours along the Chicago River, the LH Rooftop gives you a birds-eye view of Chicago’s epic skyline as well as Lake Michigan while you savor a five-star meal.
Located on the roof of the elegant London House Hotel, LH Rooftop was voted the number 2 rooftop restaurant in the nation.
It has a full cocktail bar and indoor seating enclosed in windows for the same sensational views during inclement weather.
They offer brunch, lunch, and dinner. The New American menu is creative and colorful, combining regional American food with global flavors.
I loved their Bulgogi Beef Nachos, featuring bulgogi beef, do Chua, scallion, miso cream, pickled Fresnos, and sesame seeds over wonton chips.
8 W Maple St, Chicago, IL 60610
Located a block from Oak Street Beach in Near Northside, Maple & Ash is a fashionable, contemporary American steakhouse.
The innovative menu at Maple & Ash revolves around wood-fired cooking methods, hence the name.
They put wood-fired, modern twists on traditional steakhouse classics in an equally modern and stylish atmosphere.
One of their signature menu items is the fire-roasted seafood tower, a unique take on the cold-boiled classic.
Also unique to Maple & Ash, the seafood tower comes in different sizes and variations.
I loved the freshness and smokiness of the roasted seafood tower that served as a delicious precursor to my A5 Wagyu filet with black truffle and shoestring fries.
953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
Next Restaurant is a fine dining New American restaurant by Chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas who create menus with themes rooted in local history and culture.
Located in West Loop, Next Restaurant is an ultra-modern dining space with impressive and vibrant modern art pieces adding a pop of color to the sedate décor.
The creativity, presentation, and unparalleled taste of its prix fixe menus have earned Next Restaurant a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in America and Michelin stars three years running.
The themed menus are both a lesson in history and a highly entertaining and artistic endeavor.
For instance, when I went the theme was the 1893 World’s Fair, so they served each course atop a theme-park-inspired platter.
My favorite was the Ferris wheel of appetizers, each bite-sized morsel placed in its own separate carriage.
875 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Located on the 95th floor of the iconic Hancock Center Building in Streeterville, The Signature Room on 95th is as famous for its panoramic views as it is for its award-winning food and cocktails.
The restaurant is enclosed by floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning panoramic views of Chicago that you can enjoy year-round.
The elegant dining room has silver-plated chairs, white tablecloths, and gorgeous floral arrangements.
They’re a sought-after setting for weddings, proposals, and date nights.
The 96th floor is home to their famous cocktail lounge, so you can enjoy a happy hour before heading down to the 95th floor for more epic cocktails and a classy steak dinner.
I recommend their spice braised short ribs with corn grits and roasted shallots.
4156 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
A pioneer in fine-dining Thai cuisine, Arun’s Thai Restaurant began as a humble Thai restaurant headed by Thai-native and University of Chicago Doctoral Candidate Arun Sampanthavivat.
Sampanthavivat’s beautifully plated Thai dishes impressed the critics, winning Zagat’s highest rating during the late 90s.
Its success with critics and growing popularity launched a change of venue to a beautiful dining space in Albany Park with an interior covered in colorful paintings of Thai history and mythology by Sampanthavivat and his brother.
The surroundings now match the impeccable dishes at Arun’s Thai Restaurant.
You can choose between a prix fixe Chef’s choice menu or an a la carte menu.
I have never had a more delicious roasted duck red curry in my life.
2419 W 14th St, Chicago, IL 60608
Featured in the Chicago Tribune, Atlantic Magazine, and on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, EL ideas is an unpretentious, alternative New American bistro in an off-the-beaten-path Tri-Taylor space.
In my opinion, EL Ideas is one of the most creative restaurants and best-kept secrets in Chicago.
They are a concept-driven restaurant that creates playful plates of art.
Each plate has a few bites of dishes that are as visually stunning as they are delicious.
A favorite dish at EL is their contemporary and artistic take on French fries and Ice Cream, with a rainbow of potato, leeks, and vanilla drizzles.
It simultaneously deconstructs and reimagines the two classic American dishes.
60 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab is a fine dining seafood and steakhouse in an extravagant dining space inside River North’s North Bridge Shops luxury shopping mall a few blocks from Navy Pier.
Founded in the late 20s by Jennie and Joe Weiss in Miami, Joe’s has since expanded to include locations across the U.S.
They are a family-friendly establishment with a kids’ menu and a vegetarian menu.
That said, they’re famous for their incredible stone crabs, sourced from the Gulf of Mexico.
The all-day menu is a family-style shareable menu.
I highly recommend the seared sea scallops and the Chilean sea bass with miso glaze.
222 E Ontario St, Chicago, IL 60611
From owner and famed pastry Chef Mary Beth Liccioni and her partner and Executive Chef Roland Liccioni, Les Nomades is a formal and romantic contemporary French bistro located a block from the Magnificent Mile in River North.
It has received the AAA Five Diamond Award and Wine Spectator called the wine list one of the greatest in the world.
A nod to both owners’ and collaborators’ many travels and nomadic heritage, Les Nomades offers a stunning menu of classic French cuisine with Avant guard presentation.
I started with the fricassee of escargot with leeks and celery root in a garlic red wine sauce.
For the main dish, I went with an utterly rich Roasted Peking duck in a mandarin glaze with lentils and Rouennaise sauce.
800 Michigan Avenue Seventh Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Located in a multi-room dining space on the 7th floor of the Park Hyatt Chicago Hotel, NoMI Kitchen is a contemporary New American fusion restaurant led by Executive Chef Terrence Zubieta.
The cocktail lounge, outdoor garden, and main dining room offer modern and elegant décor with wonderful views of downtown Chicago, Lake Michigan, and the Water Tower.
Chef Zubieta sources his ingredients from local purveyors and uses his French culinary training to put a global spin on New American cuisine.
There are different menus for each dining space. I went for an extravagant weekend brunch.
I started with a savory blue crab corn fritter, followed by a sweet plate of French Toast with blueberry confiture, cinnamon-sugar streusel, and orange zest.
4471 Lawn Ave, Western Springs, IL 60558
From James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Virant, Vie Restaurant is a Michelin-starred and Jean Banchet Award Nominated farm-to-table restaurant in Western Springs.
Chef Virant’s colorful New American cuisine revolves around local and seasonal ingredients and classic preservation cooking techniques.
The modern black and white décor act as an elegant blank slate for its vibrant and elaborate dishes.
A traditional preservation technique that Chef Virant has clearly mastered is aging and curing beef.
The 21-day dry-aged beef burger with butterkase, bacon, dill pickles, and dijonnaise was the thing dreams are made of.
It may have been the most straightforward dish on the menu, but it was also the most perfect.
2656 W Lawrence Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Winner of a Michelin star and a AAA Four Diamond Award, Goosefoot is a fine dining BYOB restaurant owned by Chef duo Chris and Nina Nugent.
Located in an artsy and refined dining space in Lincoln Park, Goosefoot is a sophisticated farm-to-table restaurant with impeccable service and a menu that displays the owners’ passion for food as an art form.
They offer a 12-course prix fixe seasonal menu that they don’t share with you until you arrive.
I brought along a bottle of my favorite red wine and enjoyed a wonderful meal of salads, fish, meat, desserts, and my personal favorite, a cheese course.
933 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Meaning “time” in Latin, Temporis is a contemporary American bistro that showcases the temporal aspects of different cooking methods in an imaginative menu.
The twenty-seat restaurant in West Town is ultra-modern with an onsite hydroponic garden from which they source various ingredients.
They have received Michelin Stars since 2018.
They create a seasonal, multi-course tasting menu that takes inspiration from whatever is growing in their garden.
My two favorite dishes from the 10-course meal I had were the White Asparagus with rhubarb, brioche, and egg yolk, and the Lamb Shoulder with sour orange, black garlic, and mint.
When you’re looking for a unique and luxurious experience to celebrate an important life event, you’re probably prepared to spend a small fortune.
The most expensive restaurants in Chicago are well worth the expense, bestowing a memorable meal and dining experience.
Check out some of Chicago’s nicest distilleries as well when you’re in the mood for a few drinks!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment and we’ll check it out!