The Required: Chicago

The Required: Chicago

A definitive guide to Chicago's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, other food and beverage pros.

July 31, 2019
The Required: Chicago

The Required: Chicago

A definitive guide to Chicago's tried and trues, as chosen by over 5000+ of the nation's top chefs, sommeliers, bartenders, other food and beverage pros.

July 31, 2019

Chicago houses some of the best restaurants in the world, so it's overdue for an edition of The Required, our guide to the best restaurants chosen by our expert community. That's 5000+ food and beverage pros weighing in on to take you to their favorite spots.

Read on to plan your next trip—or just be sure you've checked all the best boxes on your home turf.  

Monteverde

Italian American cuisine and Chicago have had a storied love affair spanning the 20th century and continuing into the 21st. Located in the West Loop, Monteverde has become one of the required places for rustic, seasonally forward, handmade pasta and regional Italian dishes in the city. Critically acclaimed and award-winning Executive Chef Sarah Grueneberg (who you may remember from Top Chef Season 8), keeps her menu simple and delicious. Our experts say dishes like Wok-Fried Tagliatelli Arrabiatta, and Skate Schnitzel with Tri-Color Polenta and Bee Pollen are not to be missed. The cocktail program features crisp concoctions of imported Amari and Vermouth, and the wine list showcases a carefully curated selection of both Italian and domestically sourced varietals. Monteverde’s atmosphere is good for a lunch meeting with clients or a proper place to impress your date without making it look like you’re trying too hard. Reservations are recommended. 

Monteverde
Hot Spot
Near West Side, Chicago
$$, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Full Bar, Italian
15 Recommendations

Paul Kahan Restaurants

With decades of notoriety and numerous successful openings, it's safe to say Paul Kahan is one of the best chefs Chicago has to offer. With an ongoing philosophy to deliver seasonal and delicious dishes, Chef Kahan's restaurants (avec, the Publican, and Blackbird) stand out from the rest.    

avec Reservations: avec Resy

the Publican Reservations: the Publican Resy

Blackbird Reservations: Blackbird OpenTable

Avec
Hot Spot
West Loop Gate, Chicago
$$$, Outdoor Seating, Wine Bar, Full Bar, New American
22 Recommendations
The Publican
Hot Spot
Fulton Market, Chicago
$$$, Outdoor Seating, Modern, Breakfast, New American, Gastropub
22 Recommendations
Blackbird
Hot Spot
West Loop Gate, Chicago
$$$$, Outdoor Seating, Modern, Full Bar, New American
8 Recommendations
Big Star
Hot Spot
Wicker Park, Chicago
$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Full Bar, Tacos, Whisky Bar
21 Recommendations

Fat Rice

Executive Chef Abraham Conlon’s Portuguese heritage and upbringing in Lowell, MA, which had a strong South East Asian community when he was a kid, has strongly informed his culinary sensibilities. At James Beard award-winning Fat Rice, the menu pays homage to both Conlon’s childhood and the corollaries he discovered in studying the Portuguese speaking provinces of Asia. Fat Rice pays homage in particular to Macau, China, which was a hub of the spice trade during the “age of discovery,” and arguably one of the first hot spots for fusion cuisine, some 300+ years ago. The not-to-be-missed namesake dish Arroz Gordo with Linguiça, Curried Chicken, Wood Roasted Beef and Chili Prawns is a perfect example of the marriage of Portuguese and Asian cuisines. Our experts also say that the Minchi Mosa– minced turmeric pork with puffed saifun noodles is a “ think about it for days and come back for more” dish. Don’t forget to stop into the  bakery, helmed by partner Adrienne Lo, which boasts unusually delicious goodies like Macau Rice Treats with Salted Seaweed and Fish Sauce Caramel along with favorites like Pastel de Nata (custard tarts). Located in Logan Square, the vibe at Fat Rice is down to earth and casual, but due to its popularity and limited seating, we recommend arranging reservations in advance and showing up early to have “mad delicious” cocktails at the adjacent “Ladies Room” bar. 

Fat Rice
Hot Spot
Logan Square, Chicago
$$$, Happy Hour, Full Bar, Asian
20 Recommendations
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