From an upscale morning fare that captivates taste buds to a beloved diner that serves up American classics with speed and precision, Chicago’s restaurant scene offers a variety of flavors and experiences. The city’s Italian culinary craft shines through in pasta creations that are as visually stunning as they are delicious, complemented by a local institution that serves no-fuss, hearty meals resonating with historic charm.
676 Restaurant & Bar
An upscale breakfast venue where mornings begin with dishes like house-smoked salmon and prosciutto Benedict, the establishment is noteworthy for its posh atmosphere and meticulous service that has been compared to Michelin-level attentiveness. Patrons consistently commend the cuisine and service, feeling they can rely on both for a pleasant meal. The venue’s style is reminiscent of classic elegance, though some guests feel the décor could be refreshed to match the contemporary quality of the food.
676 Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 – Location on the Map
In instances where guests have awaited service upon arrival, experiences have varied. While a delay at the hostess stand has been noted, the general consensus aligns with a sentiment of satisfaction for the meals consumed within the establishment. Notably, nearby alternatives like Quartino are sometimes chosen by guests seeking immediate accommodation.
A staple item, the eponymously named burger, along with the Chicken Calzone and Pepperoni Pizza, stands out with patrons describing their choices as delicious, emphasizing the quality and flavor profile of the food. The service staff, often called out by name, is lauded for their personalized attention, ensuring that glasses stay filled and that meals are served promptly. The culinary offerings are praised for not just their taste but also for how they are presented, making them a feast for both the palate and the eyes.
The menu, while modest in size, receives acclaim for its gourmet selections, including steaks described as “top-notch.” The eating establishment has shown adaptability by introducing inventive twists to traditional fare, as demonstrated by the salmon BLT sandwich and the creatively topped deviled eggs. These are seen as a welcome deviation from typical luncheon delicacies, providing a premium midday option conveniently located within downtown.
With a respectable city view and an agreeable musical backdrop, this spot offers a conducive setting for a variety of occasions, including special events and group gatherings. Prices are perceived as befitting the quality of the offerings with an automatic 20% gratuity being the sole detractor for some. In balancing critiques and commendations, it stands as a suitable choice for those seeking an upscale but approachable culinary venue and is particularly noted for its generous servings and perfectly cooked salmon.
Cherry Circle Room
Enter into a space that evokes the bygone era of gentleman’s clubs and sophisticated social spots of the early 20th century, where the old-world charm is met with culinary finesse. At this well-thought-out spot, nestled within the walls of the Chicago Athletic Association, patrons find themselves surrounded by dark wooden panels and leather booths that beckon visitors to relax in comfort and style. The bar, adorned with an array of carefully chosen decorations, complements the warm and inviting space, creating an ambiance that’s both elegant and approachable.
The menu presents a blend of timeless American classics and inventive dishes that have consistently garnered appreciation. For those with a penchant for southern comfort foods, the fried chicken accompanied by a side of creamy macaroni and cheese has become a local favorite, claimed by many to be unparalleled in taste. Seafood lovers are treated to dishes like the Whole Fried Sea Bass, and the side of fried Brussels Sprouts offers a delightful crispy crunch that pairs well with any main course.
Brunch at this establishment is more than just a meal; it’s a foray into culinary delight, complete with hash browns that might just redefine expectations and elevate the simple potato to new heights. The attention to detail doesn’t end with the food. The service stands out as attentive and informative, ensuring that every visit is as seamless as it is satisfying.
Despite some feedback on the pricing, with certain menu items such as the ribeye steak being noted for its hefty cost despite its tantalizing flavors, the consensus leans towards a quality that matches the asking price. Patrons often find that the top-notch cocktails are worth the splurge, mixed with expertise and presented with the same level of care as the food.
Yet, not everything is about indulgence in rich fare, as there are plenty of options for those seeking lighter or vegetarian meals. However, families with children may want to note that the atmosphere caters more to adults seeking a quiet respite or a romantic evening. The mood is set low and slow, with dim lighting and soft music underscoring the sophisticated surroundings, though some patrons suggest a slight adjustment in brightness could be welcome, especially during the earlier hours.
Special occasions such as anniversaries are met with thoughtful touches, from complimentary champagne toasts to impeccable service aimed at making the celebration memorable. While there may be moments where the experience doesn’t hit every mark, such as an underwhelming seafood tower, the intention to dazzle is always present. The eatery shows an understanding that the essence of a good meal extends beyond taste, encompassing an interaction between atmosphere, service, and the joy of gathering at a well-set table.
12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603 – Location on the Map
Eleven City Diner
A visit to the well-known breakfast spot in the city is like stepping into a time capsule that transports guests straight to a classic New York deli. The atmosphere, reminiscent of old-school establishments, complements the busy yet engaging environment. A candy shop display adds a nostalgic touch, evoking memories of visits to the corner store for those classic sweets.
Patrons often find themselves seated at the bar, which becomes a focal point of the atmosphere. It’s a place where one can imbibe in a Mexican scramble, which, despite its fair share of critique, is part of a broader, enjoyable morning ritual. For those with a sweet tooth, there’s the option to sip on a delightful milkshake, concocted with the intent of elevating the morning’s start.
The menu’s variety is a draw, offering a selection that ranges from heart-warming challah French toast to a wholesome avocado bagel. Notably, the on-site made root beer garners positive attention for its original taste and the generous offer of bottomless refills. The quality service matches the food, described as both friendly and expedient.
It’s a place where the staff is celebrated for their hard work and dedication. Service at the bar is a particular highlight, with tales of customers feeling like honored guests, thanks to the staff’s warm and attentive nature.
One should be cautioned, the popularity of this breakfast locale means that peak times can usher in a bustling crowd. It’s recommended to brace for a lively scene, as the term ‘Mad House’ has been affectionately coined for the Sunday rush. But, even with a premium pricing that reflects the quality on offer, guests find a way to justify the vibrant encounter with indulgent treats like the must-have fries or a piled-high corn beef.
Local patrons, as well as visitors eager to immerse themselves in the city’s local flavors, rave about the smoked brisket sandwich and a variety of omelettes that never seem to disappoint. The spirit and authenticity of the venue are unmistakable; it’s more than just a place to eat, it’s where locals and travelers alike soak in the ambiance and leave with a story to tell.
Another draw is the all-day breakfast, for those whose cravings don’t adhere to traditional morning hours. A Ruben sandwich, coupled with seasoned fries, or a refreshing grape float can suffice for late risers. The deli and sweet counter are also not to be overlooked, rounding out a visit with a little something to take away.
1112 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605 – Location on the Map
The Lobby American Restaurant
Frequented by those staying at the renowned Peninsula Hotel and visitors alike, this elegant eatery has made a name for itself through its exceptional offerings and impeccable service. Guests frequently relish in the sumptuous breakfast spread that graces tables daily, with particular acclaim directed towards the weekend brunch buffet, which boasts an array of finely crafted dishes. Not just the quality of the food but the atmosphere as well is consistently noted, with diners finding themselves immersed in a setting that pairs luxury with a comfortable serenity.
Those seeking morning picks-me-up speak highly of the classic and innovative breakfast fare served here. A standout selection, the reimagined Huevos Rancheros, receives nods for its delectability, embodying the fusion of global influences that are peppered throughout the menu. Seasonal and international twists keep the menu fresh and inviting, with diverse options like shakshuka and breakfast fried rice tempting the adventurous palate, alongside more familiar yet refined choices such as brioche-stuffed French toast or a classic eggs benedict.
In the afternoons, guests can indulge in a specially curated afternoon tea. The establishment accommodates the whole family, simultaneously catering to a younger crowd while ensuring a friendly ambiance. Luxe selections like a beautifully prepared tandoori chicken breast or indulgent lobster benedict with truffle shavings over a croissant celebrate the restaurant’s commitment to excellence with a nod to sophisticated tastes.
This locale is not merely a place for dining, but a feast for the senses. The refined decor, marked by art deco inspirations, chandeliers, high ceilings, and stately columns is frequently lauded. The attentive adjustment of ceiling high curtains to ease sunlight into the space illustrates a meticulous attention to detail that diners appreciate. The carefully spaced seating arrangements, pristine table settings, and impressive window views contribute to an ambience that patrons have noted as ideal for significant life celebrations — with some already envisioning their own wedding receptions amongst this opulence.
Patrons leave not only with sated appetites but with memories of a service marked by professionalism and warmth. The staff’s finesse and approachability is often mentioned, providing an experience that, while undeniably upscale, remains accessible and inviting. While admittedly, the price point reciprocates the quality offered, it seems guests leave feeling that the encounter — culinary and atmospheric — justifies the expenditure. It’s recommended for those looking to treat someone special to a remarkable outing that rises to the occasion, whatever that may be.
108 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611 – Location on the Map
Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio
Located at the heart of the bustling city, Monteverde Restaurant & Pastificio stands out as a noteworthy destination for Italian cuisine aficionados. A first glance inside this locale reveals an energetic atmosphere, often brimming to capacity, which speaks to its popularity and the anticipation of the flavors awaiting to be savored.
1020 W Madison St, Chicago, IL 60607 – Location on the Map
The art of pasta making is central to this establishment. Observing fresh tortellini being crafted by skilled hands behind the counter is akin to watching an artiste at work, enhancing the overall ambiance. The menu encourages communal dining, offering a variety of dishes meant for sharing, which fulfills both a gourmand’s desire for variety and a sense of kinship among diners.
While the menu isn’t shy about displaying its culinary prowess, the patrons fondly note that the aesthetics of each dish are matched by their rich flavors. Signature pastas emerge as stars of the menu. Among them, the sweet corn agnolotti dazzles with its interplay of corn, truffle, chanterelle mushrooms, and goat cheese, creating a symphony of taste in every forkful. Simultaneously, the spaghetti al pomodoro charms with its simplicity, highlighting the superiority of fresh pasta.
For the dessert connoisseurs, the selection is both substantial in portion and exceptional in taste. The tiramisu, in particular, earns accolades for its generous size and indulgent quality, captivating not only the shared table but also neighboring patrons with its delightful presentation.
Guests also commend the attentive staff, who manage to keep pace with the high energy and full tables, ensuring a seamless flow from the moment dishes arrive to when satisfied diners lean back, replete. The thoughtful service complements an impressive array of crafted cocktails, although admittedly, some find particular drinks to miss the mark. Nevertheless, a reservation at this establishment comes highly advised, as the coveted tables fill quickly.
While the portion sizes are considered large, a consensus among customers is that the visual and gustatory pleasure derived from each dish overshadows any concerns about quantity. It’s not an everyday eatery in terms of expense, but many conclude that the culinary expertise presented validates the price points.
Whether celebrating a special occasion or simply in pursuit of delightful Italian fare, the locale beckons guests with an assurance of exceptional food and undoubtedly ranks as a top Italian restaurant choice for both visitors and locals alike in the city.
For those seeking a quintessential American diner feel in the heart of Hyde Park, there’s a notable spot known for its no-nonsense menu, sizable portions, and a swift cafeteria-style service that efficiently caters to a diverse clientele. The charm of the establishment lies in its straightforward, diner-ish dishes that hold a flavor of authenticity, just like the hearty biscuit with a unique taste reminiscent of cornbread sans corn. Breakfast is particularly noteworthy here, with options such as the Greek omelet earning nods of approval from those who’ve tasted it.
1518 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615 – Location on the Map
The efficiency of this restaurant’s service is akin to an assembly line, where friendly cooks greet and serve customers in quick succession—a system that leaves guests impressed with both the pace and the personable nature of the interactions. This establishment’s commitment to fair pricing only adds to its appeal, making it a place where an array of patrons, from different walks of life, feel welcome and satisfied. Notably, it is a cash-only locale, yet with an ATM conveniently located on-site, ensuring everyone has access to the tasty offerings.
Mainstays such as sandwiches, omelets, and steak are done exceptionally well here, but that’s not all that packs people into the restaurant, especially on bustling weekends. A macaroni and cheese that echoes home-style cooking, or a piece of well-prepared whitefish are just two examples of the expansive menu capable of bringing nostalgia and contentment to the table with every plate served. For those looking for a culinary keepsake, the delicious baked tilapia, coupled with sides like canned yams, provides just the right mix of traditional flavors and comfort.
The atmosphere of the restaurant may evoke a bygone era, reminiscent of old school cafeterias, but with a clear difference: the food far surpasses anything typically found in such an institutional setting, ensuring each bite is savored. Even the renowned, such as former President Obama and celebrities like Anthony Bourdain, have found solace and satisfaction here, confirming its status as a cherished local institution. Its fame, however, never overshadows its mission to offer a solid, satisfying meal without theatrics or unnecessary embellishments.
The diner’s heartwarming ambiance complements the culinary experience—simple furniture, the hum of conversation, and the buzz of activity coalesce to create a homely environment that’s both welcoming and authentically American. For those venturing to this quarter of the city, it stands as an essential stop, likely to draw repeat visits for its reliably good fare and the warmth that only a storied establishment like this can extend.
In the bustling culinary scene of the city, one establishment has drawn considerable attention for its approach to classic dishes with a touch of elegance that remains approachable. The atmosphere leans toward a sophisticated yet relaxed café, providing an ambiance that belies the reasonable price point. Classic comfort foods get a delightful twist here, such as the onion dip accompanied by homemade chips, a combination that pleases with its thick, ridge-cut chips and savory dip with just the right amount of saltiness. Vegetables emerge as an unexpected star, with the shaved brussels sprout appetizer showcasing a refreshing take on the hearty green.
Pasta is a mainstay, with inventive renditions of gnocchi satisfying those in search of something both savory and herbaceous—albeit slightly softer than traditional offerings. Each dish presents a carefully considered spectrum of flavor, evident in delicacies such as a remarkable pork collar dish that has garnered acclaim for its tender and rich taste, complemented perfectly by a smooth puree.
The culinary team takes admirable strides in accommodating diverse palates, with separate menus for vegetarian and gluten-free options. Their commitment to service is delineated by an included service charge, reflective of the attentive and knowledgeable staff that significantly elevates the overall quality of the affair.
Those with adventurous tastes might be intrigued by the beef tongue or revel in the earthy richness of a mushroom ragu paired with pappardelle—a dish that captures the essence of the season. Meanwhile, the agnolotti dishes receive praise for their delicate balance of flavors, attesting to the chefs’ virtuosity in pasta making.
While the majority relish in the culinary offerings, some dishes may polarize with their boldness, such as a zucchini salad with a potent vinegar presence or a squash pasta that veers toward the saltier side. Yet, these are the exceptions in an otherwise lauded lineup, with cocktails like a mushroom margarita laying claim to their own fanbase for their innovative and delicious concoctions.
This eatery, which readily accommodates both intimate date nights and congenial gatherings, has recently unveiled a new space. It is described as both inviting and stylish without pretension, reinforcing a focus on quality food and impeccable service. On occasion, patrons might find themselves enthralled by the sight of pasta being crafted on-site, an authentic touch that brings a slice of Italy right to the heart of the city and underscores the establishment’s dedication to culinary craftsmanship.
Oriole Fine Dining Restaurant
In the bustling heart of the city, Oriole stands out as a refined establishment, catering to those with an appreciation for culinary artistry. The restaurant’s wine pairing receives particular acclaim for its variety, incorporating unique beverages beyond the traditional vino selections, though some guests suggest a bolder venture into the realm of chocolate desserts could elevate the overall menu.
661 W Walnut St, Chicago, IL 60661 – Location on the Map
Critiques have been voiced regarding the menu’s conservative approach, with some feeling that the dishes, albeit exquisitely executed, lack the element of awe that aficionados might expect at this echelon. In comparison to its competitors, this has influenced some guests’ likelihood of a return visit.
However, many have lauded the establishment for its meticulous attention to dietary preferences, such as accommodating shellfish allergies, while offering an exceptional selection of non-alcoholic pairings for those who eschew alcohol but still seek a curated accompaniment to their meal. The accolades for service are consistent, with an emphasis on the knowledgeable and cordial staff contributing to an enjoyable and educational culinary venture.
Guests recount an immersive journey through a succession of atmospheres within the restaurant, from an initial welcoming area to the final seating in the main room. The progression through these spaces adds a dramatic flair to the meal, complementing the succession of dishes. Standout courses and drink selections garner mention, including the reserve drink pairing which, despite the price, is heralded as a worthy indulgence.
The ambiance and decor receive their share of praise as well, creating a warm and inviting setting that complements the expertise evident in the cuisine. Ceremonial touches such as welcoming tea, the transition from bar to dining room, and engaging conversations with the staff craft a memorable occasion for diners looking for an exceptional outing in the city.
The restaurant’s approach to flavor and texture is frequently described as spectacular, with some specialties being talked about long after the plates are cleared. Even classic ingredients like foie gras are given a new life here, turning skeptics into enthusiasts. To the culinary explorer seeking an extensive roster, this place is often listed as a must-visit for an unforgettable encounter with gourmet finesse.
For those marking special occasions, the personal touches provided by the staff, from handwritten cards to attentive conversation, have not gone unnoticed. A sense of being a valued guest pervades the atmosphere, enhancing the celebratory nature of the evening. Overall, while opinions on the menu and taste journey may vary slightly, the consensus is clear: this establishment is dedicated to delivering sophisticated and crafted tastes that encompass both the innovation and tradition of fine gastronomy.