The Ultimate Guide to Tasting Menus in Chicago, IL

As a food expert and a Chicago native, I have had the pleasure of exploring the city's vibrant food scene and trying out some of the best restaurants it has to offer. And when it comes to truly elevated dining experiences, tasting menus are my go-to choice. These multi-course meals not only allow you to sample a variety of dishes and flavors, but also showcase the chef's creativity and skill.

What is a Tasting Menu?

A tasting menu is a set menu offered by a restaurant that typically consists of several small courses, each highlighting a different dish or flavor. These menus are often designed by the chef and can change frequently, depending on the availability of ingredients and the chef's inspiration. Tasting menus are a great way to experience a wide range of flavors and dishes in one sitting.

They also allow chefs to showcase their skills and creativity, as they have more freedom to experiment with different ingredients and techniques.

Top Restaurants in Chicago Offering Tasting Menus

If you're looking to indulge in a tasting menu experience in Chicago, here are some of the top restaurants to consider:


Alinea is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant that has been consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world. Chef Grant Achatz's tasting menu is an ever-evolving experience, with each course being a work of art. The menu features innovative dishes that push the boundaries of traditional cuisine, making it a must-try for any food enthusiast.


Smyth is another three-Michelin-starred restaurant that offers an intimate and personalized dining experience. The tasting menu changes frequently, but always features locally sourced ingredients and creative dishes that highlight the chef's expertise.

The restaurant also has a sister bar, The Loyalist, which offers a more casual tasting menu experience.


Next is a unique restaurant that changes its menu and theme every few months. The tasting menu is designed to transport diners to a different time or place, with dishes inspired by different cultures and cuisines. This ever-changing concept makes Next a popular spot for foodies looking for a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

EL Ideas

EL Ideas is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a more casual and interactive tasting menu experience. The menu is designed to be shared among the diners, with each course being presented by the chef and explained in detail.

The dishes are creative and playful, showcasing the chef's passion for food and experimentation.


Roister is a casual yet upscale restaurant that offers a unique tasting menu experience. The menu features dishes that are cooked over an open hearth, adding a smoky and charred flavor to each dish. The tasting menu changes frequently, but always features creative and delicious dishes that highlight the chef's expertise.

Other Notable Tasting Menus in Chicago

In addition to the top restaurants mentioned above, there are many other notable tasting menus in Chicago worth trying:
  • Temporis: This intimate restaurant offers a seasonal tasting menu that highlights local ingredients and creative dishes.
  • Boka: Boka's tasting menu features modern American cuisine with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients.
  • Ever: This new addition to Chicago's dining scene offers a tasting menu that showcases the chef's passion for sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.
  • Band of Bohemia: This Michelin-starred restaurant offers a tasting menu that pairs each course with a unique beer, making it a must-visit for beer lovers.

Final Thoughts

Tasting menus are a great way to experience the best of what Chicago's food scene has to offer. From three-Michelin-starred restaurants to more casual and interactive experiences, there is something for every palate and budget.

So next time you're in Chicago, be sure to add a tasting menu to your dining itinerary for a truly unforgettable experience.