Chicago is one of the cities on the cutting edge of cuisine. These restaurants are sometimes art, sometimes science, sometimes food; always interesting, beautiful and very expensive. Definitely not suitable for a quick weekday night dinner, but worth the reservations made weeks in advance. Challenge yourself!
The prettiest presentations I have ever seen. One dish is a whole salmon stream contained on a plate, complete with flowing water, mist and rocks. The caviar is more beautiful than ever with the addition of a giant piece of tiered coral.
Possibly the most interesting food in town. Lasers, liquid nitrogen, edible menus - can you tell Chef Cantu gets grants from NASA?
The all-miracle berry restaurant from mad scientist/chef Homaro Cantu. Start "tripping" on the fruit that makes sour foods taste sweet, and learn what that does to a whole range of dishes.
Thank goodness for the BYOB fine dining trend. Goosefoot, everyone's pick for a best new restaurant in 2011 despite its anonymous location in a Lawrence Avenue storefront, was a huge shot in the arm to Lincoln Square's fine dining scene. Make reservations FAR in advance.
El was the best meal I had in 2011. They only take a very few reservations every night, but that means the atmosphere (and the interactions with the chefs) can't be beat.
The finest of fine dining in Lincoln Square, but without the pretension. Chef Iliana Regan's forage-based restaurant will blow your mind.
Molecular cocktails so complicated your head will spin.
This place is an under-appreciated gem - and one of the few places you can get this level of food at affordable prices. Make sure to ask for the kitchen counter, where the chef will prepare a meal just for you.