Between its coveted real estate and proximity to the city’s shopping epicenter, Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood is brewing with upscale dining and drinking options to get excited about. Here, a look at its best places to dine and drink.
Whether you’re fêting a birthday, an anniversary, or a job promotion, this Michelin-starred eatery is just the place to celebrate in style and indulge in some of the most luxurious Italian fare the Windy City has to offer. Once you're seated in the dining room, dive into decadent plates like risotto with sea urchin or opah served with speck, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes. 980 N. Michigan Ave., 312-280-2750
After closing its original Gold Coast location, this rapidly expanding local chain has reopened on bustling State Street, offering the neighborhood a much-needed, healthy, and fast-casual option. Pick up a lox and bagel sandwich for breakfast on the run, or nosh on a caprese-inspired Wicker Park sandwich (roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spinach, and basil pesto on a demi baguette) up at the bar. 1127 N. State St., 312-265-1888
Conveniently perched at the heart of Chicago’s upscale shopping district is this seasonal European concept, which features a light and sunny dining space prime for refueling after a grueling day of retail therapy. To really settle in, go for a specialty cocktail such as the vodka-based Rossellini with fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, while you nosh on an assortment of crostini, to-die-for truffle mushroom croquettes, paella del mar, and more. 104 E. Oak St., 312-445-0060
Southern charm and casual elegance ooze from every nook and cranny of chef/partner Lee Ann Whippen’s unique barbecue resto. Dedicated fans know that no visit is complete without a piping hot order of the bruleed Pitmaster mac 'n' cheese tossed with American Kobe Brisket Burnt Ends. Despite the heartiness of that, we suggest you save room for the award-winning baby back ribs, too. Wash it all down with a bourbon flight, and you're good to go.
Southern charm and casual elegance ooze from every nook and cranny of chef/partner Lee Ann Whippen’s unique barbecue restaurant. No visit is complete without a piping hot order of the bruleed Pitmaster mac ‘n’ cheese tossed with American Kobe brisket burnt ends, but save room for the award-winning competition baby back ribs, too, and wash it all down with a bourbon flight. 1160 N. Dearborn St., 312-642-1160
Globetrot sans passport at this Texas-born concept, where the distance from Israel to Cuba is no greater than a single bite thanks to an arsenal of globally inspired tacos. Experience the flavors of India through the spicy tikka chicken taco with buttered cilantro basmati rice and raita crema; head to the Deep South by way of the remoulade-slathered shrimp and grits number; or keep it classic with the grilled flank steak option gussied up with Mexican-leaning accoutrements. 1110 N. State St., 312-763-2654
Resurrected in the fall of 2011, this historic 1930s supper-club-turned-modern-American-restaurant artfully balances its illustrious past (everyone from Frank Sinatra and Paul Newman to Mick Jagger and Elizabeth Taylor dined here) with a fresh, farm-to-table menu designed by James Beard award winner Jean-George Vongerichten. Expect offerings like sweet pea soup with parmesan foam and sourdough croutons, spice-encrusted red snapper, and more. 1301 N. State Pkwy., 312-787-3700
Take in extraordinary views of Chicago’s world-class skyline 96 stories up while sipping on specialty cocktails at this lounge sitting atop the John Hancock Center. The decidedly more casual offshoot of the Signature Room offers an extensive beverage menu organized by spirit, as well as a selection of zero-proof cocktails so good you won’t even miss the booze. Soak up your sips with Angus sliders drizzled with foie gras butter and Jamaican jerk chicken wings coated in mango barbecue sauce. 875 N. Michigan Ave., 96th Fl., 312-787-9596
Perhaps the most highly anticipated opening of 2013, this Italian seafood joint from One Off Hospitality (of Dove’s Luncheonette, The Publican, and avec) has remained in-demand with hard-to-snag reservations in the area. And with menu highlights like the Madai snapper crudo, swordfish involtini, and lobster lasagnette, it’s easy to see why. 1015 N. Rush St., 312-994-7100