As a (nearly) lifelong Chicagoan, good food is a way of life, and not at all difficult to find, especially in a sprawling metropolitan area of 10 million people, However, the rest of the country has really taken notice of the local dining scene realistically only within the past 10 years. The huge variety of dining options within Chicagoland, and more significantly, the exceptional quality and unique nature of what Chicago has to offer has genuinely exploded since molecular gastronomy first became widely known. Now, the venerable Conde Nast Traveler magazine has ranked Chicago as the best restaurant city in America. No joke.
While New York City may have many more restaurants, in terms of sheer quantity, and Las Vegas may have more in terms if dining spectacle, the ranking of Chicago as #1 is really based on the quality of the food, as well as amount of experimentation and nuance involved in creating so many unique dishes. Another aspect of the Chicago dining experience that is advantageous over it’s coastal rivals, is that in most cases, restaurant experiences can be far more affordable than in NYC, Miami, or Las Vegas. Sure, haute dining experiences like Alinea may be the exception to that rule, there are many options on Conde Nast’s list that are quite affordable (and that we at TF can attest to – the Publican is hands down simply OUTSTANDING).
Head over to the link to see which of the 19 restaurants on the list speak to you, and plan early, since many of the selections may have serious wait-lists.