It’s multicourse and pricey, but the food is divine—and you can wear jeans.
661 W. Walnut St., 312-877-5339
2. Duck Duck Goat
Admit it: You are intensely curious about goat fried rice.
857 W. Fulton Market, 312-902-3825
The Alinea Group goes casual. Still, for reservations, you know the drill.
CRITIC’S NOTES: The name, I’m told, has something to do with revelry. And despite the grim chefs in Andrew Brochu’s open kitchen, there’s more merriment around the room than at your average house party. —Jeff Ruby
951 W. Fulton Market
4. Imperial Lamian
This place ain’t cheap, but it ain’t in Chinatown, either.
6 W. Hubbard St., 312-595-9440
5. Smack Shack
Where grownups brag about wearing a bib to eat seafood.
CRITIC’S NOTES: This place is so Minnesota. The seafood is cleaned and cracked for you and set on very tidy silver trays so that the juices fall through and don’t touch your fingers. —Peter Gianopulos
326 N. Morgan St., 312-973-1336
Can a 9,000-square-foot nightcrawler sprawled over four levels feel intimate? Yes, says partner Matt Menna.
CRITIC’S NOTES: Opening night at this multi-level bar and anti-steakhouse summed up what to expect, when a server playfully warned a guest holding a Bloody Mary oyster shooter: “Careful, there’s vodka in there,” and the guest replied, “Good.” That was my favorite moment. —Maggie Hennessy
1500 N. Wells St., 773-966-0404
7. Americano 2211
Cliché be damned: This charming café transports you directly to Europe.
CRITIC’S NOTES: There are few times in life when I haven’t felt compelled to ask for more bread. Seeing Americano’s spicy, soppable shakshuka arrive alongside four fat griddled slices from the house loaf wasn’t one of ’em. —MH
2211 W. North Ave., 773-360-8757
8. Millie’s Supper Club
Think Northwoods of Wisconsin with relish trays, prime rib, and grasshopper cocktails.
CRITIC’S NOTES: Deep storefront done up to with moose heads and beer labels and such. Beautiful long bar and plenty of people are hanging out. Check your rifle and hunting hat at the door. —Penny Pollack
2438 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-857-2000
9. Artango Steakhouse
“Dip” here could mean chimichurri sauce or a tango lesson.
4767 N. Lincoln Ave., 872-208-7441