If you’re a diner who likes to try a little bit of everything, then a tasting menu is the perfect way to get a sense of a restaurant and all of its offerings. Tasting menus abound in Chicago, but the five below have won awards and acclaim for their bites of food, no matter how big or small. Reservations are recommended for all.
See our previous Best Tasting Menus In Chicago here.
1723 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60614
Ever since Alinea opened in Lincoln Park in 2005, it has been the place to go for a gastronomical and unusual meal. Dishes are deconstructed and the taste buds are delighted by molecular gastronomy bites created by famed chef Grant Achatz and his creative team. The extensive tasting menu of 18 courses is $210.
619 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60661
With Paul Kahan recently winning the James Beard award for outstanding chef (along with David Chang) in 2013, Blackbird is not to be missed. The modern, fine-dining restaurant features local ingredients, and that’s why the tasting menu changes on a monthly basis. Prices vary depending on the dishes, but you can be sure to enjoy quietly innovative dishes such as foie gras torchon and sturgeon and chicken wings, for example. Blackbird also offers a prix-fixe lunch menu for about $22 per person that includes three courses — an appetizer, entree and dessert.
2419 W. 14th St.
Chicago, IL 60618
Head down one of Chicago’s back alleys and discover chef Phillip Foss’ contemporary food in a surprisingly laid-back atmosphere. Foss has redefined fine dining and only offers a tasting menu priced at $145 per person
(plus tax). With more than 10 courses – depending on the monthly menu – enjoy everything from ossetra (popcorn with heart of palm and avocado), to grouse with rapini, angelica and lamb’s quarter. Even better, this wonderful restaurant is BYOB. Not sure what wine or beer to bring? Just call ahead and El Ideas can recommend what will best pair with the food menu.
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1941 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622
Discover the inside workings of the kitchen at this Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant in Wicker Park. Pull up a chair at the “kitchen counter” to peer into the exposed kitchen and get a taste of what new dishes chef Bryan Moscatello has been cooking up, as well as a couple bites from its in-house butchery program. The menus rotate weekly, but will always feature six courses for $89. There is also a three-course cheese menu for $25 and a three-course sweets menu for $26.
1952 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
For one of the most unique tasting menus in Chicago, head to chef Takashi’s namesake restaurant, where he serves French-American fare. He sources his ingredients from all over the world, including Japan and Australia, as well as local producers with sustainable seafood whenever he can. On Sunday nights, visit this stellar Wicker Park gem for a Japanese Kaiseki dinner and choose between either the seven-course menu for $73 (plus $45 for beverage pairings) or the 11-course menu for $100 (plus $55 for beverage pairings). The rest of the week, you can “sample” the fare — from beef tataki to sauteed Maine scallops and soba gnocchi — with the six-course Omakase tasting menu.
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Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she’s scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.