Best Splurge-Worthy Dinners in Chicago

By Devan Grimsrud |

© A. D. Sanford

Whether you’re a local looking to save up and celebrate, or a couple on a romantic weekend getaway – these are the restaurants in Chicago that are worth a serious splurge.


Founded by chef Grant Achatz, one of the leaders of the molecular gastronomy movement, and Nick Kokonas of the Alinea Group, Next is one of the hottest restaurants in Chicago. Executive chef Dave Beran executes an eclectic range of dishes for a menu that changes every couple of months – think themes like modern Chinese, vegan, even a taste of Thailand. They also don’t do traditional reservations here, so you’ll have to book a ticket for your meal and pay up front on the Next website.

953 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607


Rick Bayless’ Topolobampo has been around since 1989 and serves a mixture of contemporary Mexican dishes in a classy, art-heavy atmosphere with a focus on spectacular service. The dishes are distinguished on the oft-changing menu by categories like ‘Fresh’, ‘Soulful’, ‘Bold’, and ‘Vibrant’. Create your own tasting menu of three or five dishes, or go all-in for the chef’s selection of seven balanced tasting plates.

445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654

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42 Grams

Where are the most sought after seats in Chicago? 42 Grams in Uptown. Executive chef and owner Jake Bickelhaupt cut his teeth at some of the top restaurants in Chicago – Alinea, Charlie Trotter’s and Schwa – before opening this place with his wife Alexa in 2014. With a ticketing system à la the Alinea group, each 15-course dinner service caters to only 18 people, from a 10-seat communal table and 8-seat chef’s counter. Each dish is inventive, and Alexa’s engaging descriptions are playful and extremely helpful in understanding every plate.

4662 N Broadway St, Chicago, IL 60640


Shimmering chandeliers emanate warmth, coating the dining room of Chef Andrew Zimmerman’s restaurant in a shade, well, sepia. The James Beard Award nominated chef creates contemporary New American dishes like crisp fried confit potatoes with herb salt, and perfectly cooked duck breast with apricot, marcona almond, Japanese maitake mushrooms and miso. The menu changes often, but always strives to utilize as many local, seasonal ingredients as possible and every dish is crafted with clean, strong flavor profiles and elegant presentations. Dessert here is a must and don’t forget to check out the extensive wine list curated to pair perfectly with the changing dinner menu.

123 N Jefferson St, Chicago, IL 60661

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The Publican

Equipped with warm peachy-beige walls, long communal tables, and a grid of globe lighting, The Publican is a pork, shellfish and beer-focused restaurant in the Fulton Market neighborhood. While its weekend brunch is popular, with reservations packing the entry-way before they even open – dinner is a truly unique experience. Executive Chef Paul Kahan and Chef de Cuisine Cosmo Goss have curated a menu that exudes comfort and approachability. Smoked pork shank with spicy tomato, braised chickpeas and kale? Sign us up.

837 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607