Chicago may not always receive the same level hype of its coastal sister cities like New York and Los Angeles. But the Windy City is filled with wonderful places to dine. From iconic hotdogs, deep dish pizza, under-the-radar taquerieas, and gravy-dipped Italian beef sandwiches to buzzy hotspots and Michelin-starred fine dining (think: Grant Achatz, Noah Sandoval, Rick Bayless), there is no shortage of exceptional dining opportunities. Each month, Departures will check in with Chi-town to mine the most exciting new restaurants, chef collaborations, pop-ups, and other culinary events happening across the city. Check back regularly to stay up to date!
The Windy City just added five new Michelin-starred restaurants to its dining scene. Four of the five are Japanese-inspired eateries including Omakase Yume, Mako, Kikko, and Yugen. Rounding out the pack was Next—the Grant Achatz’s restaurant in Fulton Market, which changes drastically four times a year. With 25 restaurants on the list in total, including Achatz’ first restaurant Alinea (the sole restaurant in Chicago boasting 3 stars), now is a particularly good time to dine out in Chitown.
This month, the Gold Coast will welcome a globally-inspired restaurant and high-end lounge by Josh Carl and Joseph De Vito. The seafood-influenced menu (drunken PEI mussels, Alaskan king crab with chili oil, truffle tuna sashimi) also offers elevated takes on pub food. Expect barbecue bao sandwiches alongside chicken wings with chipotle aioli and ginger-soy beef dumplings. Accompanying the food and drinks, the 200-seat, multi-room space offers live music. 1009 N. Rush St.; 312-660-3111
Fresh pasta is paramount at this recently opened Wicker Park eatery. The sfoglinas (pasta makers) roll pasta behind a large storefront window, giving passersby a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the process. Inside, the aesthetic skews retro glamour with a vintage Vespa suspended from the ceiling and a 1930s-era food scale.
The kitchen, helmed by Executive Chef Duncan Biddulph (The Publican, Rootstock Wine & Beer Bar), turns out a delightful selection of house-rolled pasta like agnolotti filled with sweet potato and mozzarella, bucatini with lobster and fresh tomatoes, and tortelli with burrata, sage, and toasted hazelnuts. There’s even a zucchini noodle dish, turned sumptuous with a rich meat ragu. A sampling of vegetable sides—a bright fennel and orange salad, Ligurian tomatoes with burrata—round out the menu. 1746 W. Division
Windy city dumpling fans have reason to rejoice this month. The Loop just welcomed Jiao, a casual sister-restaurant to the beloved dumpling palace, Qing Xiang Yuan Dumplings. The menu includes old favorites and new dishes—tender dough parcels encasing fillings like truffle and beef, coriander lamb, and pork with cabbage, among others. In addition to dumplings, a variety of appetizers like shredded seaweed with chili and white radish and carrot salad round out the menu.
Despite the restaurant’s laid back vibe, the space’s design is elegant and refined with plenty of elements that evoke traditional Chinese landscapes. The ordering system, meanwhile, is streamlined—utilizing proprietary software that promises dumpling arrival within five minutes of ordering.18 S. Wabash Ave.