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Best dinner (food) in Chicago

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I know this question might be impossible to answer, but I'm going to pose it anyway. Which restaurant had the best food you've had in Chicago/suburbs? I'm not concerned with ambience, only with how good the food tasted in your mouth.

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  1. Alinea, then L20. But I'm an out-of-towner who only comes to Chicago once or rarely twice a year, so I've only dined at those two (Alinea 4x, L20 3x) and Grace (1x), so I don't have much breadth of experience.

    1. In my opinion based on pure taste of the food alone and nothing else, Goosefoot would receive my vote. Grace would come in second. I also love Chef Wolen's cooking (formerly of the Lobby, but now at Boka when they reopen next month). Many other great places in Chicago, but those would be my top three right now just basing on taste and not ambiance/service/value etc.

      1. That's a really tough question to answer. There are so many really wonderful restaurants in town - and in every price range.

        What's best is totally subjective. Everything that was mentioned is excellent. But really hard to choose a "best."

        1. it's pretty much a tie between

          Sol de Mexico, 3018 North Cicero


          Da Rae Jung, 5220 North Lincoln

          1. 1. Schwa
            2. The pastries at Bad Wolf Coffee
            3. Goosefoot
            4. Senza
            5. The Lobby(last year when Lee Wolen was the chef)

            1. San Soo Gab San.


              Tac Quick

              Shikara - One meal was just insane. Never had better Indian food since that one meal. Been there a few times since, and they've never recaptured the magic for me.

              Frontera Grill

              1. There are a ton of choices. In the last year I would have to say Spiaggia or L2O. I haven't been to Alinea in the last year or so but it is one of the better restaurants in the country.

                Tru should be in the running but our last visit was a bit disappointing from a service standpoint. We've been there many, many times and they were really pushing the caviar service and a separate duck preparation-which was a first. Wine service used to be the best in the city and now it certainly is not.

                The Lobby is great but as mentioned the Chef left so I don't know how it will be going forward. Grace is also a contender. And I've had some great meals at Blackbird.

                1 Reply
                1. re: HoosierFoodie

                  I ate at The Lobby yesterday. The food was phenomenal. No drastic changes but some great tweeks. I don't know if they have new full time chef but somebody with great skill is putting their own perspective on the food. We were in love with the Eleven Madison Park take on roasted chicken served under Chef Wolin. It was still listed on the website so we went hoping to get it before it was off the menu. The restaurant still does a roasted chicken for two but it is markedly different in several ways and differently wonderful. Chef Wolin had a 30 minute wait time for the chicken which was presented whole in all of it's burnished glory. It was then returned to the kitchen, carved then plated. Shortly after delivering the roasted breast a small pot of dark meat in gravy, sometimes with mushrooms, sometimes not was delivered. The meat was stuffed under the skin with buttery brioche and usually accompanied by prunes and seasonal vegetables.
                  Under whomever is cooking now it is a more expensive option and deservedly so since it now includes sautéed foie gras and black truffles. They call it chicken two ways for two. It came, to us, as two courses. The first being the dark meat which was served "pot pie" style. You need to forget what you know about pot pies however because the dark meat is entombed in crispy puffed pastry served with a delicious gravy/jus reduction and the most amazing slightly sweet picked cauliflower and gastrique painted on the bottom of the plate. It was also served with thumbnail sized pieces of fresh, sautéed foie gras. This was amazing! The pickling vinegar used for the cauliflower and the gastrique was the same I think, my guess quince vinegar. The roasted breast was also delicious and moist with crispy skin but is had truffles stuffed under the skin and no brioche. The skin wasn't quite as crispy as under Chef Wolin and I did miss the brioche which made a fancy savory bread pudding but otherwise it was pretty amazing in its own right.

                  Our starters were also pretty amazing. I had the potato/ricotta gnocchi. It is different from the gnocchi I tried under Chef Wolin and different from most potato based gnocchi I have tried, almost a cross between a gnocchi and a gnudi. Quite delicious! I didn't taste my SO's potato leek soup with lightly smoked Article Char but he was devouring it so covetously that I feared intruding.

                  Ate at Tru last week and did the full "experience". We normally do the shorter menu but decided to go all out this time. Very glad we did! Some dishes were absolutely delectable. I still don't get their desserts though. Every time I eat there I hope that the desserts will hit me like Gail Gand's desserts did back in her day as pastry chef but so far I feel like the pastry chef and I are from different planets. Nothing strikes my fancy but my SO liked them a lot (he ate most of mine)