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.  

Rick Bayless Restaurants

Rick Bayless has become one of the biggest chefs in Chicago, with his restaurant group Frontera. Known for his PBS series Mexico: One Plate at a Time, Chef Bayless delivers the best in Mexican-American cuisine. 

Xoco
Hot Spot
Near North Side, Chicago
$$, Outdoor Seating, Mexican
11 Recommendations
Frontera Grill
Hot Spot
Near North Side, Chicago
$$$, Happy Hour, Outdoor Seating, Mexican, Reservations, Full Bar
13 Recommendations

Lula Cafe

Twenty years is a long time for a restaurant to remain relevant: not young enough to be a new kid on the block, not old enough to be an institution. Lula Café in Logan Square has managed to keep our experts and Chicagoans coming back brunch after brunch, dinner after dinner, by keeping the classics that work, while reserving room for what is au courant. Recognized as some of the founding champions of the farm-to-table movement in Chicago, its brunch menu features savory crepes, housemade pastry, and breakfast muffaleta. For dinner, our experts say you can’t go wrong with the risotto, housemade pasta, or six-course vegetarian tasting menu, all of which showcase the best of what local farms have to offer that week.   

Breakfast
dish
Logan Square, Chicago
$$, Modern, American, Breakfast, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Full Bar, Café
Lula Café
Hot Spot
Logan Square, Chicago
$$, Modern, American, Breakfast, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Full Bar, Café
19 Recommendations

The Aviary

The Aviary is the stuff of molecular-mixology legend. Part magic show part fever dream, an evening here is sure to have you feeling, as the old song goes: “bewitched, bothered and bewildered.” Not wanting to give away the visual or experiential surprise, our experts say to “just go with your gut” when it comes to ordering cocktails and have your cameras at the ready. For those Ron Swanson types in your group who prefer less hocus pocus, more straight ahead whiskey, The Office downstairs offers a speakeasy vibe and a menu focused on classic cocktails. 

The Aviary
Hot Spot
Fulton Market, Chicago
$$$$, Outdoor Seating, Reservations, Full Bar, Cocktail
24 Recommendations
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