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Nov 7, 2012 09:57 AM

Michelin 2013 Bib Gourmand

Where's nsxtasy with this breaking news?!

2013 Bib Gourmands Chicago (* denotes new addition)

Ada Street *
Ann Sather
Antique Taco *
Au Cheval *
Balena *
Belly Shack
The Bristol
Ceres’ Table
Chilam Balam *
City Tavern *
De Cero
De Colores
Frontera Grill
Gemini Bistro
Gilt Bar
Girl & the Goat
Green Zebra
GT Fish & Oyster
Han 202
Jam *
Jin Thai
Kabul House
Kai Zan *
Lao Hunan *
Lao Sze Chuan
La Petite Folie
Los Nopales
Maison *
Marion Street Cheese Market *
Maude’s Liquor Bar
Mixteco Grill
Opart Thai
Owen & Engine
Paramount Room
The Publican
The Pump Room *
Purple Pig
Raj Darbar
Riccardo Trattoria
The Savoy *
Slurping Turtle *
Smoque BBQ
Sol de Mexico
Spacca Napoli
The Storefront Company *
Twin Anchors
Untitled *
Urban Belly
Urban Union *
West Town Tavern
Wood *
Xni-Pec de Yucatan

Removed from list

La Creperie
Lula Café
M. Henry
Cocina Mestiza
Perennial Virant
Taste of Peru
Thai Village


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  1. Interesting Perennial Virant was removed; wonder if they are going to be receiving a Michelin Star. I am also surprised Mexique was removed; while I do not think they are a Michelin Star candidate, I think they are excellent and well deserving of Bib Gourmand. I was really hoping that Socca would be granted Bib Gourmand status (they are one of my favorite venues in the city). Finally I was hoping Ann Sathers would be removed; I cannot for the life of me understand how that ever made the list! There have to be at least 250 better restaurants in Chicago in the Bib Gourmand price range.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Gonzo70

      I'm surprised by Hopleaf's removal. All they did in the last year was expand and make it easier to get a seat.

      Some noted on twitter that it's near impossible to spend less than $40 at some of these places, and I'm inclined to agree.

      1. re: aburkavage

        Good points; I went to Hopleaf a few months ago and had a great time (aside from being carded; I thought one of the few perks of middle age is no longer needing to show ID when entering a bar)! The food was excellent and can't beat the beverage selection there. I also agree that some venues are going to cost over $40 unless you have a miniscule appetite or leave hungry.

        1. re: aburkavage

          Yes, it surprises me when places that seem to be perfect for the list get removed. Designation with a star is a possibility for some, and I wouldn't rule it out for Mexique as well as Perennial Virant. But Hopleaf, Lula, and M. Henry don't seem likely to be moved up - they have the funkiness that seems to be perfect for the Bib Gourmand - and are still as good as ever. Go figure.

          When the list of star winners is announced, we'll see which if any of those dropped shows up there.

          Is that $40 figure an officially-stated threshold for listing/delisting?

          Thanks for posting.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            "Bib Gourmand restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included), and are often of most value to a city’s residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants."


            In general, I'm confused by the list, especially given Michelin's own requirements as noted above. It seems to be a mix of places that either: (1) fit squarely into the "Bib Gourmand" category (LSC, Chilam Balam, Kai Zan, etc.); or (2) don't technically fit into the category, but are just shy of gaining 1-star status (Balena, Browntwout, Publican, etc.).

            To me, the Bib Gourmand designation seems more like a catch-all than it's own distinction.

            Didn't mean to call you out before - I was just joshing with you!

            1. re: aburkavage

              Thanks. And yes, I agree with you, some of the choices don't fit the category, so they seem like a consolation prize for those that didn't quite make the one-star group. Also, some of them (e.g. G&TG, GT Fish) are places that specialize in small plates; while they may make the $40 cutoff, the "courses" don't necessarily include the traditional entree. Similarly, breakfast specialty places (e.g. Jam) may make the $40 cutoff but aren't open for dinner, so the "courses" again don't have a traditional dinner entree.

              1. re: aburkavage

       suggest that Publican or avec shouldn't get a star makes the Michelin Chicago list puzzling to me. They are every bit as good as places such as Spotted Pig, Breslin, Casa Mono, or Public in New York - all 1* spots.

                Of the US Michelin lists Chicago is always the one that leaves me scratching my head.


                1. re: uhockey

                  It happens every year after these lists are released - we'll discuss what restaurants SHOULD be in what category ad nauseam. The reality is that Michelin's guide is simply incomplete and, in some cases, deficient. While I hope visitors (or even natives) take the guide with a grain of salt, I feel badly for the restaurants that unfortunately live and die by it.

                  1. re: aburkavage

                    what about yusho? could they be getting a star?

                    1. re: streaksinthesky

                      Good question. In no particular order, I'll be curious to see where Yusho, Trencherman, Goosefoot, El Ideas, and L2O end up.

                      1. re: aburkavage

                        2 stars for l2o and 1 for goosefoot is my guess.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. I will be curious to see what becomes of Schwa, no doubt is the food up to snuff (which is supposed to be the only thing Michelin judges) but its almost impossible to overlook an inebriated server. IMO Goosefoot and El Ideas 1 star L2O 2 stars, is there a possibility Tru jumps to two stars, I haven't heard anyone speculating this but, maybe?

            4 Replies
            1. re: hoso

              Based on experience, Schwa is enough above the other *-Michelin in CHI (and the rest of the US) to warrant a bump up.

              Based on observation, the new incarnations of L2O and Sixteen deserve multiple stars.

              1. re: ramenbound

                Maybe Michelin wanted to review Schwa but the restaurant cancelled their reservation at the last minute, like they've done to so many other diners. :)

              2. re: hoso

                I would like to see Tru be awarded a second star. I hit most of Chicago's Michelin starred venues this past year and Tru was one of the best (Boka was the only 1 star I liked better). I feel that Tru is significantly better than most of the other 1 star venues in Chicago.

                1. re: Gonzo70

                  I agree. I think TRU is definitely worth two stars, and you could make a pretty good case for three.

              3. Phil Vettel speculates in today's Tribune about which restaurants will receive stars.

                Link (subscription required):

                3 Replies
                1. re: nsxtasy

                  I would be shocked for Perennial to not get a star. Astonishing that Lula Cafe kicked off bib gourmand list. Sprout would also be a well deserved star winner.

                  1. re: hoso

                    ...clearly my experience at Sprout was an anomaly. What a terrible visit.


                    1. re: uhockey

                      I read your review of Sprout. I have been a couple of times (for dinner, they no longer serve brunch) and have really enjoyed the food, but did also feel as though service is not up to snuff - more so on my second visit than my first. While I did not experience bad service, it was just not good enough IMHO to be Michelin worthy; the food and ambiance are there (or at least on the bubble) but they need to up the service before I feel they deserve a star.