The 27 Best Restaurants in Chicago This November

Chicago’s critics name the places on the city’s A list right now.

Tamal de huitlacoche at Topolobampo   Photo: Arthur Mullen

Acadia

    

1639 S. Wabash. South Loop. 312-360-9500.
Contemporary. Ryan McCaskey, the Saigon-born chef, pulls out all the stops with lobster, truffles, and other luxurious foodstuffs. Seven-course tasting menu ($125). Serious wine program.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$$$

Alinea

    

1723 N. Halsted. Lincoln Park. 312-867-0110.
Progressive American. Revelatory bites from Grant Achatz come served on boughs, pillows, or the table itself. Tasting menus, $210 to $265; wine pairing menus offered.
D Wed–Sun. Wheelchair accessible. $$$$

Blackbird

    

619 W. Randolph. West Loop. 312-715-0708.
Contemporary. Some of David Posey’s dishes riff on familiar flavor patterns, but others take you to the far reaches of the flavor universe, such as butternut squash soup with roe, char, peaches, and stout foam.
L Mon–Fri, D Mon–Sat. Wheelchair accessible, outdoor dining, high noise level. $$$$

Boka

    

1729 N. Halsted. Lincoln Park. 312-337-6070.
Progressive American. Giuseppe Tentori fuses an idiosyncratic mix of underutilized ingredients (veal breast), sweet accents (spicebush), and sharp tones (juniper). Wine list is outstanding; ditto the service and chic decor.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $$$$

Cafe Spiaggia

    

980 N. Michigan. Gold Coast. 312-280-2750.
Italian. The small but interesting menu at Spiaggia’s sibling changes daily, and everything is executed with real mastery. Tony Mantuano’s pastas and seafood are quietly, memorably dazzling. Impressive wines and cheeses.
L & D daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$$$

Everest

    

440 S. LaSalle. South Loop. 312-663-8920.
French. Jean Joho’s nuanced multicourse menus ($94, $120, $165) deliver at the highest levels, as in the megasmooth foie gras with buttery croutons, bedded on rich pineapple. Assured service and an extraordinary wine list.
D Tue–Sat. a (free valet) Wheelchair accessible. $$$$

Goosefoot

    

2656 W. Lawrence. Lincoln Square. 773-942-7547.
Contemporary American. At Chris Nugent’s 34-seat BYO, every dish of the nine-course $115 prix fixe menu is beautiful without being too fussy, from chestnut soup with white alba mushrooms to a chocolate ganache enfolding hazelnut nougatine. Servers are charming.
D Wed–Sat. Free dinner parking, wheelchair accessible, BYO (up to $5 corkage). $$$$

Grace

    

652 W. Randolph. West Loop. 312-234-9494.
Contemporary. Curtis Duffy’s meticulous tasting menus (10 to 12 courses, $185), crafted in a glassed-in kitchen, overflow with jaw-dropping ideas and flavors. Smart details like bread pairings also set the experience apart. Service is not quite four-star. Yet.
D Tue–Sat. Wheelchair accessible. $$$$

Graham Elliot

    

217 W. Huron. River North. 312-624-9975.
Contemporary. The celeb chef’s namesake restaurant serves tasting-menu-only special-occasion cuisine. Elliot applies the same precision to every dish, but the more adventurous preps truly soar. Solid wine pairings, well poured.
D Tue–Sat. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$$

Les Nomades

    

222 E. Ontario. Streeterville. 312-649-9010.
French. The gilded vibe at this throwback extends to Roland Liccioni’s set menus, which burst with sumptuous flavors, especially in the Kobe beef filet with trumpet royale mushrooms. Notable wine list and affable staff. Three courses, $65 (before 5:30 p.m.); four and five courses, $115 and $130.
D Tue–Sat. BYO (up to $5 corkage) (Thu only). $$$$

The Lobby at the Peninsula

    

The Peninsula, 108 E. Superior. Gold Coast. 312-337-2888.
Contemporary. Lee Wolen has a way with divergent textures and tastes. How ingenious to combine almond-crusted foie gras torchon with a potent grapefruit sauce. A string duo plays familiar pop songs from a balcony while prompt and amiable servers take extraspecial care of diners.
B, L & D daily. Tea service daily. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$$$

L2O

    

Belden-Stratford, 2300 N. Lincoln Park West. Lincoln Park. 773-868-0002.
Contemporary seafood. Matthew Kirkley’s takes on fish and mollusks are admirable and delicious, if a bit fussy. But you will never tire of the mini rosemary croissants. Excellent wines. Prix fixe menus from $140 to $198.
D Thu–Mon. Wheelchair accessible. $$$$

Moto

    

945 W. Fulton Market. West Loop. 312-491-0058.
Contemporary. Expect the molecular gastronomical thrill of global ingredients engineered with high-tech lab gizmos from Homaro Cantu. His Kentucky-fried pasta with grated black truffles tastes as though it’s from a wonderful alternate universe. Rare wines apt for the 13-course menu ($175).
D Tue–Sat. Wheelchair accessible. $$$$

Naha

    

500 N. Clark. River North. 312-321-6242.
Contemporary. Carrie Nahabedian’s enthusiasm for seasonal ingredients never wanes, as in an autumnal Bartlett pear tarte Tatin with foie gras. Worldly wines, including many by-the-glass choices.
L Mon–Fri, D Mon–Sat. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $$$$

Next

    

953 W. Fulton Market. West Loop. 312-226-0858.
Contemporary. Grant Achatz’s stunner changes its identity three times a year. Dave Beran’s sixth menu, a Kyoto kaiseki, featured one of Next’s finest hours, the “Japanese maple forest”: shrimp, bottarga, and more, hidden in a daikon radish “lantern.” Through December 31, Next emulates a Bocuse d’Or cooking competition. For tickets, go to Next’s website far in advance. And pray.
D Wed–Sun. Wheelchair accessible. $$$$

North Pond

    

2610 N. Cannon. Lincoln Park. 773-477-5845.
Contemporary American. Locally sourced products, seasonal menus, and housemade charcuterie remain the hallmarks of Bruce Sherman’s romantic Arts and Crafts hideaway. Fabulous wine list and some of the best ice creams in town.
D Tue–Sun. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$$$

The Publican

    

837 W. Fulton Market. West Loop. 312-733-9555.
Contemporary American. Don’t be lulled into porky bliss by all the salty-sour-sausagey delights. Paul Kahan’s beer hall rivals most restaurants—with or without white tablecloths. Farm chicken, sausage, and fries, for example, mix exquisitely, and desserts evince top talent.
D nightly. Br Sat, Sun. Wheelchair accessible, outdoor dining, high noise level, will seat past 11 p.m. (Fri, Sat) $$

Schwa

    

1466 N. Ashland. Wicker Park. 773-252-1466.
Contemporary. Michael Carlson turns out brilliant food at this most unlikely BYO, where the kitchen staff are also the waiters. Don’t be surprised if candied sweetbreads and parsnip custard show up in dessert. Nine courses, $115. Securing a reservation can be trying.
D Tue–Sat. BYO (up to $5 corkage), high noise level. $$$$

Sepia

    

123 N. Jefferson. West Loop. 312-441-1920.
Contemporary American. Andrew Zimmerman amazes palates with his evolving menu in this 19th-century print shop setting. Charcuterie includes brilliant duck mousse and the best bologna you’ve ever tasted. Cindy Schuman’s desserts, such as almond blancmange, keep pace, as do the tremendous wines and cocktails. Fine waitstaff.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $$$$

Shanghai Terrace

    

The Peninsula, 108 E. Superior. Gold Coast. 312-573-6744.
Pan-Asian. Far from the typical oversize, unfocused hotel restaurant, this elegant re-creation of a 1930s Shanghai supper club honors classical Cantonese cooking. Splurge on delicacies such as abalone and bird’s nest soup.
L Mon–Fri, D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $$$$

Sixteen

    

Trump International Hotel & Tower, 401 N. Wabash. River North. 312-588-8030.
Contemporary. Thomas Lents impresses with seasonal savoir-faire and general artistry that never veers into preciousness. The view, of course, is also amazing. Tasting menus are 4, 8, or 16 courses ($110, $150, $210). Serious wine program.
B daily, L Mon–Sat, D nightly. Br Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$$$

Spiaggia

    

980 N. Michigan. Gold Coast. 312-280-2750.
Italian. In a soaring space with perfect service, Tony Mantuano and Sarah Grueneberg take the finest delicacies—from Savini black truffles to Venetian clams—and fashion magnificent fare.
D nightly. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$$$

Takashi

    

1952 N. Damen. Bucktown. 773-772-6170.
Contemporary French/Japanese. Takashi Yagihashi is as adept at cooking the classics (clay-pot chicken) as he is at coaxing the most delicate flavors into coexistence: Think scallops and soba gnocchi in Parmesan foam. A harmonious meal from start to finish.
D Tue–Sun. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly, outdoor dining. $$$$

Tallgrass

    

1006 S. State, Lockport. 815-838-5566.
Contemporary. The refined but vibrant cooking of Robert Burcenski is worth the trip. Sophisticated choices fill the three- to seven-course menus ($48 to $88). Stellar desserts and cheeses and a fine wine list.
D Wed–Sun. Wheelchair accessible. $$$$

Topolobampo

    

445 N. Clark. River North. 312-661-1434.
Mexican. Update: Rick Bayless forages in remote nooks of Mexico to bring incomparable new dishes to the most ambitious of his three restaurants on this busy corner, such as a wonderful Baja-inspired olive-wood-smoked quail coated in sunflower seeds and chilies. Yet there are always classics, too. Smooth service; intriguing wines and tequilas.
L Tue–Fri, D Tue–Sat. Wheelchair accessible, child friendly. $$$$

Tru

    

676 N. St. Clair. Streeterville. 312-202-0001.
Contemporary American. In a space with a Warhol and a Richter, Anthony Martin’s platings parallel that level of artistry. Consider river salmon accompanied by the river: rocks, water, and dry ice. Smart wine pairings. Multicourse menus, $115 and $158.
D Mon–Sat. Wheelchair accessible. $$$$

Vie

    

4471 Lawn, Western Springs. 708-246-2082.
Contemporary American. No one has mastered canning and pickling like Paul Virant. From lamb bacon on mint-infused peas to wood-fired lobster tails with braised pasta, Vie is a festival of rural Midwestern flavors.
D Mon–Sat. Free dinner parking, wheelchair accessible, outdoor dining, child friendly, BYO (up to $5 corkage (Tue only, for parties of 1–5) $$$$

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