The starred restaurants will be known only in two days, but meanwhile here is the Bib Gourmand list (via Fred, who’s actively tweeting lately): Michelin’s 46 Chicago places that will give you plenty of bang for your buck. I have tried already six very nice places from this list (and have had about another dozen on my priority to-check-out list); time permitting, I will be at some point back with detailed impressions. Meanwhile, here they are, in (weakly) descending order of my current (overall: food quality, ambiance, location) preference– highly recommended!
- The Girl and The Goat (been there twice; see blurry photo capturing happy diners Seb, Veronica, Eva, and Rob, with chef Stephanie Izard in the centre)
- Riccardo Trattoria (twice)
- Hopleaf (several times)
- Mixteco Grill
- The Purple Pig
I further think they are missing at least two important restaurants in the Bib Gourmand set, unless they actually plan to reward them with a Michelin star, which would not be that surprising: Sweets and Savories, and respectively Avec, both of which have a similar position as The Girl and The Goat in my ranking.
As for the Chicago Michelin stars, my bets are the following. First, my obvious choices: Alinea (my top ranked must-try-place in Chicago; number 7 in the 2010 San Pellegrino top 100– and the only Chicago eatery in there!– must translate in two or three stars); Moto (had a fabulous dinner there, just second to my two experiences at Copenhagen’s one and only Noma, on par with my very recent experience at NYC’s exquisite Per Se or Tokyo’s unforgettable Les Creations de Narisawa, and– I would venture to say– superior to my otherwise superb dinner at San Francisco’s Michael Mina); Spiaggia (best Italian I’ve tried as yet: must be starred). Other obvious favourites for one or more stars (all on my still-have-to-try Chicago list): Charlie Trotter’s, Tru, Topolobampo, Blackbird; finally, some further potential candidates, particularly for 1 star: Schwa, L2O, Takashi, Northpond, Sprout, Sepia, Michael, Les Nomades (plus, as stated above, places that impressed me earlier like Avec and Sweets and Savories, which do not appear in the Bib Gourmand set). Stay tuned, less than two days left!