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18

Everest

Roasted Maine lobster Photo: Jeff Marini

Whether you consider it a relic, a civic treasure, or a mixture of both, there’s no denying that Everest is the last of its breed. Despite small efforts to lighten it up over its 32 years—goodbye, animal-print walls and leopard-spot carpet—Jean Joho’s grand love letter to Alsace on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange will forever feel adamantly rooted in the ’80s. The traditions surrounding the place have solidified into lore—the multiple elevator rides, the wall of windows flaunting a twinkling cityscape view, the unabashedly Alsatian-focused wine list. So have the intricate foie gras preparations, the impeccable soufflés, and now-mythical creations such as the shirred eggs with osetra caviar in the shell, or the roasted Maine lobster in a mix of Gewürztraminer butter and ginger. The Zen-calm, unflappable servers still somehow manage to bring a sense of fun to the room’s hushed reverence. Everest may be among the oldest restaurants in this guide, but it stands as proof that there is still a place in Chicago for this lofty brand of special-occasion dining.

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