As 2010 comes to a close and having lived in the Windy City just over a year, I thought a list of the top 3 places to dine was a fitting way to ring in New Year.
Number 1 on the list has to be Alinea. This restaurant made the list for the top 50 restaurants in the world. It was the highest ranked in the U.S. Michelin Guide for Chicago also came out for the first time this year, giving Alinea its highest honor of three stars. There is only one menu now and at 20 courses for $195- I still consider that a deal of the century. The food and experience are something everyone should experience once in their lifetime. Thanks Mom for a great birthday memory!!!
Number 2 is Nightwood. This place sits on the edge of Little Italy on a nondescript street where most people wouldn’t want to stop at. Inside awaits some genius food from a menu that changes daily. The chef thinks local, simple, and consistent. Pasta is made fresh daily, desserts offer up unique combinations, and there is a wine bar downstairs that needs to be visited. Inside is casual but hip – even offering up a counter that overlooks the chefs cooking. This restaurant was listed on the new Michelin Bib Gourmand list as well.
Number 3 is Urban Belly.
Urban Belly is home to one of the best ramen noodle dishes I have ever had. I ordered up duck dumplings, the Urbanbelly Ramen, and the seasonal kimchi. It was enough food to feed a small village, but was ever so happy to have left overs. Inside are 4 huge tables that encourage communal dining- the place is very low key because the food is the star here. Urban Belly also made the Bib Gourmand list. I went for lunch there a few months ago and am still thinking about that meal.
And honorable mention goes to The Golden Steer.
The Golden Steer is a steakhouse in Forest Park. They have been in business since 1969 and think the building and inside decor is still from that era. It is old school all the way and I love every bit of it. The quaint cocktail lounge area is the way to go. Sit up at the bar, dive into a steak, and listen as the Mayor and locals chat it up. It is unlike no other place I have experienced and gives me a smile every time I go in. (picture is from their website)
2010 was a great year- it was a shedding off of the old and bringing in the new. There are many things to blessed for. Since 2011 is right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about the direction of this blog. A lot of the restaurants on the Bid Gourmand are new to me; figured I’d try them out and report back. Also, I heard back from a few of you that said you are enjoying the vegetarian recipes, so plan on keeping up with that as well.
And the best line of the year comes from both my nieces. They have really been into cooking lately. When they were both asked how a dish tasted, in unison they both said, “Needs more salt.” Yes, a little tear came to my eye!!!
Happy New Year everyone!