It’s safe to say that we all value a high-quality, top-notch meal, but tasting menus involving numerous courses and bells and whistles can certainly put a dent in your wallet.
This selection of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city of Chicago offer incredible experiences while being modestly-priced.
Small Plates Price Range: $7-$22
Entrée Price Range: $25-$28
What Our Inspectors Say: "Husband-and-wife chef team Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim have put their little corner of Avondale on Chicago’s culinary map with this hip and homey bistro. Young foodies fill the space every night, whether seated at tables lining the wooden banquette or perched along colorful stools dotting the double-sided counter that faces the open kitchen. Though there’s a distinctive Korean thread running through the menu, Parachute is a creative, open-ended endeavor at heart. Impeccably sourced ingredients from local purveyors lay the framework, but the team’s brilliant application of cutting-edge techniques takes the fare to inventive heights. Baked potato bing bread, a signature flatbread carb-bomb, is stuffed with melted scallions and bacon bits, topped with sesame and served with sour cream-butter. The regularly re-written menu has also been known to feature tender braised pork shoulder with a fermented black bean- and dried shrimp-sauce, which is then paired with ripe figs and grilled pearl onion petals. Desserts make a stellar finish. Order the patbingsu—it arrives in a glass bowl layered with condensed milk ice cream, mochi rice cakes, concord grape shaved ice, Adzuki beans and toasted rice."
Dinner Snacks & Small Plates Price Range: $6-$25
Entrée Price Range: $15-$32
Tuesday Prix Fixe: $29 for 3 Courses
What Our Inspectors Say: "On the one hand, Dusek’s is simply a great gastropub, serving food that is as tasty and down-to earth as one of their wood fire-roasted pretzels, tucked with gooey cheese and wickedly hot beer mustard. On the other hand, this is just the place to meet friends or grab a bite before heading to a concert at Thalia Music Hall, located next door. The fact that this spot is named for the man who founded the original venue back in 1892 shows the importance of this connection—those in-the-know are usually headed here before or after a show. The front room feels more like a tavern; the back is a dining room warmed by the wood-burning ovens. Yet both share that same friendly ambience and superb service."
Starters Price Range: $12-$25
Entrée Price Range: $33-$41
What Our Inspectors Say: "So much more than a working brewery with a talented kitchen, Band of Bohemia is in fact a truly inspired gastropub that produces its own utterly unique creations both in the glass and on the plate. Located in a repurposed brick building across from the Metra tracks, the look is understandably industrial, with an expansive layout that unwinds into a series of seating options, inviting bar and an open kitchen with another small bar set against pretty blue tiles. Curved, high-backed booths lend intimacy to counter the room’s sheer size. Stainless steel tanks displayed in the back hold the culinary-minded handiwork of their head brewer. On tap, expect a handful of rotating beers, including the thoughtful Pear Fenugreek Wheat featuring notes of pear, maple and a crisp finish. The kitchen's boundless small and large plates defy expectations with delicious success."
Entrée Price Range: $15-$34
What Our Inspectors Say: "With its striking glass façade and moody interior, this lovely sanctum makes quite an impression along North Lincoln Avenue. Entente’s talented team is to thank for its creative American culinary vision and the contemporary menu—designed for sharing and well worth exploring with friends—is unabashedly authentic and interesting. The space is composed of two dining rooms: one up front with dark floors and ceilings, and another in the back with a full view of the bustling kitchen. A bar area featuring a high wall adorned with backlit wood boxes (which shelve the spirits) offers yet another spot to sample the delicious food. Each dish delivers a remarkable mouthful, and most of the kitchen’s creations are rich as well as unexpected (imagine green garbanzo hummus, paired with savory falafel, grilled apricots and pillowy flatbread tucked with fruit and nuts)."
À la Carte Menu Price Range: $7-$25
Tasting Menu Price: $90
What Our Inspectors Say: "A vivid blue neon sign marks the entry to stylish Elske, a hip and sophisticated offering brought to you by husband-and-wife chef duo, David and Anna Posey. He worked at Blackbird; she at The Publican—and what they do together in this restaurant (the name means “love” in Danish) is pure culinary magic. The spacious setting is equal parts minimal-cool and perfectly cozy, with concrete floors, exposed brick walls and open ductwork. A lovely outdoor area offers an open-air campfire with two long benches and complimentary lap furs, designed for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail or two. Inside, communal tables abound and counter seats line a gleaming open kitchen, where the cooks serve dishes directly to customers. The chefs' deeply creative menu offers seasonal, responsibly sourced dishes rendered with impeccable skill-the flavors carefully woven together to produce irresistible profiles."
Hero image courtesy of Elske.