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Fine Dining Restaurants in Chicago

With 22 Michelin-starred restaurants and multiple James Beard awards, Chicago's fine dining restaurants draw in locals and visitors from all over. And while their food has received national acclaim, many of these spots remain approachable even for the newest fine diners. Here's just a taste of some of the shining stars of the city's scorching hot culinary scene.

Acadia

Servers readying Acadia restaurant for service in Chicago

With a second star in his Michelin pocket, Chef Ryan McCaskey has proven there's a place for serene chic in the South Loop. But serene doesn't trump the chef's sense of humor. He admits to dancing to the restaurant's cool Indie soundtrack in the kitchen and expresses his love of junk food via riffs on ramen and "Fritos" on your plate. His "pot roast" is not exactly what your mother would have made, either. With five and ten-course tasting menus inspired by the natural landscape, atmosphere and tastes of the Northeastern United States and Maine in particular, Acadia is a restorative pause from the craziness of, say, a long week at nearby McCormick Place Convention Center. Comfort food, reinvented.

Alinea 

Close up of award-winning food at Alinea restaurant in Chicago

It's hard to think of an honor that Alinea hasn't won. With three Michelin stars and six James Beard nods for its chef, Alinea is one of the most recognized restaurants in the world. It's also one of the best, earning an annual spot on the list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants. Alinea's avant-garde dishes showcase the most cutting-edge molecular gastronomy techniques, while never failing to taste amazing. The multi-course tasting menu is considered the experience of a lifetime for many fine dining foodies.

Brindille

Close up of Steak dish at Brindille restaurant in Chicago

The seared foie will make you swoon. But Chef Carrie Nahabedian's love and respect for French foodways shine through every succulent bite at her "passion project" place, Brindille, in River North where the monthly "Taste of France" five-course menu will have you seeing life through rose-colored glasses. Which isn't difficult, considering the Chef's cousin and business partner, Michael, has fashioned a sexy, award-winning interior where dark and light play off each other like a Dutch Master's painting. Definitely a nice Instagramming backdrop. The wine list contains one of the best ranges of French wines in Chicago; both deep and broad. And if dinner doesn't sate your appetite, reserve a cooking class with the Chef on Saturday mornings, followed by lunch.

Everest

Two person place setting on table overlooking Chicago at Everest restaurant

The city's second-oldest fine-dining restaurant, Everest is perched on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange. Diners can choose from a seven-course tasting menu (which includes a vegetarian option) or a three- or four-course prix fixe menu, all featuring Chef Joho's world-renowned French cuisine made with the finest seasonal bounty. Everest's stunning selection of more than 1,600 wines all come from the famed Alsace region of France, making it one of the greatest offerings of Alsace wines in the world.

Maple & Ash

Tomahawk steak from Maple & Ash Chicago in Chicago

It was big news in Chicago fine dining when Maple & Ash opened as a swanky, badass 21st-century version of the venerable Chicago steakhouse. In the Gold Coast neighborhood off Mag Mile, it makes sense that Maple & Ash trades in superlatives. Think pink sequined cowboy hats for ladies who order the rib-in steak, caviar "bumps" and champagne super soakers. Plus 650 wines ... by the glass. Downstairs, there's a clubby feel for lunch and libations while upstairs it's a sexy "vampire den,"  in the evenings, according to sommelier Belinda Chang, who heads up the wine and spirits program. Chang also admits that  "our goal is to make guests cry because they don't want to leave."

North Pond

Exterior of North Pond Restaurant in Chicago

Maybe it's because Chef Bruce Sherman is a Chicago boy (who happened to study at the prestigious Ecole Ferrandi in Paris), or maybe it's because his staff is just so darn sweet, but dinner at North Pond always feels like going home. If home happens to be a cozy former boat house with a Michelin star on the wall in Chicago's Lincoln Park, that is. The short stroll through the park to North Pond gives a hungry diner time to anticipate Sherman's generous cuisine, where America meets France in the least pretentious way. Warm up by the fireplace in the winter, enjoy the birdsong in summer and appreciate the glowing oak of the Prairie-style decor all year round. With a thoughtful menu that changes with the seasons.

Oriole

Bowl of soup at Oriole restaurant in Chicago

Granted, it's not that easy to spot the entrance to Oriole, on the alley side ground floor of a defunct glue factory in the West Loop. But once you realize your GPS is correct, and you see the discreet sign on the black-painted brick, you're in for a treat. First, there's the cinematic entrance to the den-like restaurant via a former freight elevator door. With only 28 seats and an open kitchen, the feeling is intimate. And every detail, from the soft lighting that shines perfectly on each table to the creamy paper lanterns floating from the ceiling, is a zen-like poem of understatement. Because here, the focus is on Chef Noah Sandoval's multi-course tasting menu; an exquisite experience that unfolds in perfect harmony as an ode to American cuisine in all its culturally diverse facets, textures, and tastes.

Sepia

Private dining space with round table at Sepia restaurant in Chicago

In a late 19th-century former print shop, Sepia has the, well, sepia-toned feel of a classic. The upscale spot still shines after more than a decade in business. Filled with hand-crafted millwork, burnished brass and vintage stemware make an ideal setting for an intimate meal between friends or business colleagues. Chef Andrew Zimmerman's inventive seasonal menu draws on mostly organic ingredients and Sommelier Arthur Han is a gem of a guide to the restaurant's unique wine list. There's also a quick daily lunch option called the "pinto box" — a riff on the traditional Japanese bento box — for dine in or take out.

Spiaggia

Multiple plates of food at Spiaggia restaurant in Chicago

A dignified, sleek retreat high above the hustle and bustle of Michigan Avenue, Spiaggia has been a national beacon for fine Italian cuisine since 1984.  Today, three Spiaggia dining options satisfy most any appetite. There's the bar menu in the lounge for a quick bite, the a la carte menu in the Cafe for elevated homestyle Italian favorites and the refined tasting menu in the stylish, airy dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows over the city. Plus, you might recognize executive chef Joe Flamm as the winner of Top Chef Season 15.