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Our City Guides is from the point of view of the people we interview. A restaurant cannot be listed in our guides unless it is recommended by one of the tastemakers we’ve featured. We don’t want you to see the restaurant world through our eyes, but rather through the eyes of your favorite tastemakers in every industry. Why us? Why not them?

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Alinea

Recommended by: Daniel Humm (Chef, Eleven Madison Park), Dana Cowin (Editor-in-Chief, Food & Wine), Chrissy Teigen (Model), Gillian Jacobs (Actress), Danica Patrick (NASCAR Driver)

Ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world and with three Michelin stars next to its name, Alinea expertly delivers out of this world preparations and deconstructions of classic flavors. Head Chef Grant Achatz prepares his whimsically daring tasting menu using expert techniques and artistically plated dishes, creating an ultimately unforgettable experience. “I [...]

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Au Cheval

Recommended by: Andrew Carmellini (Chef/Owner, The Dutch)

Delicious, elevated diner and bar fare are served in this upscale, bustling restaurant.  The menu’s burger has developed a sort of cult following, but everything on the menu is well executed and worth noting. With high quality ingredients and flavorful combinations dominating the menu, it’s no wonder this inviting spot is always busy.  www.auchevalchicago.com

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Avec

Recommended by: Jonathan Waxman (Chef/Owner, Barbuto), Chris Cosentino (Winner, Top Chef Masters), Jamie Rosen (Beauty Director, Town and Country), Erin Heatherton (Model)

The rustic menu at this wine-focused restaurant delivers James Beard Award winning Midwestern takes on Mediterranean classics. The menu is comprised of small and large plates, and an accessible wine list featuring many small producers of southwestern Europe. The tiny spot’s communal seating adds to its lively, social atmosphere. “Every time I go to Chicago [...]

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Bavette’s Bar and Boeuf

Recommended by: Fabio Viviani (Finalist, Top Chef)

This trendy steakhouse serves high-end New American and Euro-inspired fare expertly prepared in a luxurious setting. Fabulous cuts of prime dry-aged beef and stiff martinis are served in a dimly lit room with beautiful chandeliers and cushy leather booths, creating a romantic, seductive ambiance.  Make a Reservation. www.bavetteschicago.com

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Belly Q

Recommended by: Anne Burrell (Chef/Host, Worst Cooks In America)

Reinvented Asian barbeque is the culinary theme at this trendy, modern spot. The spacious restaurant offers built-in hibachi table grills, a full bar lounge, a dining room, and karaoke room all decorated in natural yet luxurious décor. Using seasonal and local ingredients, Executive Chef serves up flavorful meats and hot pots, as well as delicious [...]

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Big Star

Recommended by: Gillian Jacobs (Actress)

This Texan taqueria is a local lunchtime and late night favorite for Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Focusing on tacos, tequila, and whiskey drinks, it is easy to see why. There’s a vintage feel to the restaurant, as it operates out of a deserted gas station from the 40s, but keeps it current with brightly strung [...]

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Birrieria Zaragoza

Recommended by: Brad Farmerie (Chef, Saxon & Parole)

This no frills, counter-service only restaurant goes through over twenty young goats in a weekend, serving up birria, a regional Jalisciense variant of barbacoa that is slow-cooked in a pit. Birria is the speciality of this family-run restaurant, which offers savory Mexican meat dishes in a warm and inviting atmosphere. www.birrieriazaragoza.com

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Blackbird

Recommended by: Jonathan Waxman (Chef/Owner, Barbuto), Chris Cosentino (Winner, Top Chef Masters), Giada de Laurentiis (Chef, TV Personality)

Helmed by Executive Chef Paul Kahan, 2013 recipient of the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award, this modern American restaurant redefines traditional fare with the use of expert culinary skill and local, farm-fresh ingredients. Although the space is austerely decorated, the atmosphere is lively and inviting. Make a Reservation. “Every time I go to Chicago I [...]

Frontera

Recommended by: Kelli O’Hara (Singer/Actress)

Richly flavored, colorful Mexican fare from Top Chef Masters champion Rick Bayless is served at Frontera Grill, a popular midscale restaurant that’s been around since 1987, and to this day has a line trailing out the door. Menu classics include a killer guacamole, smoked chicken taquitos, quesedillas, and a chocolate pecan pie with Kahlua whipped cream, all of [...]

Gibsons

Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

Recommended by: Anne Burrell (Chef/Host, Worst Cooks In America), Shanola Hampton (Actress)

This steakhouse is a Chicago staple serving delicious aged meats, superb seafood, stiff drinks, and huge desserts. Always busy, the accommodating staff bustle around the lively space constantly attending to the filled-tables. Make a Reservation “I love Gibsons always for a big fat steak, if you’re a steak person.” – Anne Burrell (Worst Cooks In America) www.gibsonssteakhouse.com

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Green Zebra

Recommended by: Giada de Laurentiis (Chef, TV Personality)

The Zen atmosphere in this restaurant matches perfectly with the creative vegetarian dishes it serves. The menu is seasonal and ever-changing in an effort to provide delicious dishes that focus on pure ingredients. The creativity of this spot extends to the specialty cocktail list as well. Make a reservation. www.greenzebrachicago.com

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GT Fish & Oyster

Recommended by: Matt Bean (Editor, Entertainment Weekly)

This seafood eatery specializes in all fruits of the sea, and even has an oyster bar. Named after Michelin starred chef, Giuseppe Tentori, Tentori designed a menu that consists of both traditional seafood dishes, as well as some new, inventive ones. The inviting space and warm atmosphere make this the perfect spot to relax over a plate of [...]

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La Pasadita Ukrainian Village

Recommended by: Brad Farmerie (Chef, Saxon & Parole), Bryan Petroff (Co-Founder/Co-Owner, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck)

This no fuss, family-run taqueria serves up over 3,500 mouthwatering tacos daily to adoring fans. With a line that usually extends outside the restaurant, customers order simply made tacos comprised of fresh ingredients, tender meats, and soft tortillas. Their chorizo tacos are part of Bryan Petroff’s (Co-Founder/Co-Owner, Big Gay Ice Cream Truck) ideal food day. [...]