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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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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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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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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 [...]

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Recommended by: Daniel Humm (Chef, Eleven Madison Park), Dana Cowin (Editor-in-Chief, Food & Wine), Gillian Jacobs (Actress)

The second Chicago restaurant of Grant Achatz’s culinary genius delivers an ever-changing menu; every few months Achatz completely reinvents the menu’s cuisine, jumping from different time periods and parts of the world. Unlike traditional restaurants, he doles out reservations in a unique ticket format, which adds to the feeling of occasion at this unique dining [...]

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Publican Quality Meats

Recommended by: Andrea Cavaliere (Chef, Soho House), Jonathan Waxman (Chef/Owner, Barbuto), Marc Vetri (Chef/Owner, Vetri Ristorante), Chris Cosentino (Winner, Top Chef Masters), Andrew Carmellini (Chef/Owner, The Dutch), Gillian Jacobs (Actress)

Simultaneously a butcher shop, neighborhood café, bakery, and gourmet market, this Paul Kahan space delivers house-made charcuterie, gourmet cheeses, freshly baked breads, soups, sandwiches, and other upscale retail offerings. Whether stocking up for a party or just coming in for a bite to eat, Pelican Quality Meats truly offers it all. www.publicanqualitymeats.com