Chicago restaurants honored with 2022 Michelin stars; Alinea retains top status
Michelin stars are a coveted honor—the highest in the culinary industry—for restaurants around the world.
Twenty-three Chicago restaurants are among the list of Michelin-starred eateries for 2022, it was announced Tuesday.
The Michelin stars are a coveted honor—the highest in the culinary industry—for restaurants around the world in the 36 countries currently part of the Michelin Guide roster. Michelin stars, which are based on a restaurant’s cuisine, must be “earned” each year as they can also be rescinded and restaurants removed from related city guides. “Inspectors,” as Michelin Guide refers to its anonymous reviewers, visit restaurants and rate each one based on quality of products, mastery of flavor/cooking techniques, personality of the chef, value for money, and consistency.
This year’s Chicago list is again topped by Alinea, the Grant Achatz restaurant (1723 N. Halsted St.) that retains its three-star award—the highest number of stars possible—for the 12th consecutive year. It is the only Michelin three-starred restaurant in the city.
“The Michelin Guide defines a restaurant at the 3-star level as one offering cuisine that is exceptional and worth a special journey. The team at Alinea offers a 3-star dining experience that features great product treated with technical excellence and bearing a distinct, fully realized personality,” said the Michelin Guide chief inspector for the U.S. via email.
Four Chicago restaurants joined the guide for the first time this year, each receiving one star.
Here are the new one Michelin star restaurants for 2022, with excerpts of inspector notes on each:
Claudia (1952 N. Damen Ave., contemporary cuisine): “In this special place, you can enjoy an intensely creative prix-fixe. The bento box—featuring the likes of a scallop cracker with preserved egg yolk, squid ink madeleines, yellowfin tuna nigiri stuffed with foie gras, and a caviar-topped potato beignet—sets the stage for an exquisite and memorable meal.”
Esmé (2200 N. Clark St., contemporary cuisine): “The minimalist, well-lit space evokes an art gallery, complete with a high-concept tasting that’s aimed at blurring the boundaries between art and dining. The multi-course meal features a variety of creative and unexpected dishes, each offered on custom pieces made by local artists.”
Galit (2429 N. Lincoln Ave., Middle Eastern cuisine): “Chef Zach Engel’s prix-fixe allows diners to make their own selections from a range of options. Even familiar dishes offer surprising depth, like creamy hummus or crackling-crisp falafel with mango labneh.”
Kasama (1001 N. Winchester, Filipino cuisine): Chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon have branched out on their own with this restaurant, with a dinner tasting menu that is ambitious, clever and distinct, mixing Filipino traditions with contemporary notes.”
The pandemic, apparently did not greatly interfere with the guide’s reviewing process over the course of 2021, despite the fact that Chicago’s restaurants found themselves still dealing with the economic fallout from nearly two years of shutdowns, cutbacks, and in many cases closures.
“Since the beginning of the global pandemic, inspectors have been sensitive to each market in the U.S. and are in close contact with restaurants to stay informed on openings/closures, menu changes, etc. Chefs have inspired us with their adaptability, resilience, and creativity during the pandemic,” the chief inspector said.
The following restaurants retained two Michelin stars for 2022 (“excellent cuisine, worth a detour”):
- Ever, 1340 W. Fulton Market
- Moody Tongue, 2515 S. Wabash Ave.
- Oriole, 661 W. Walnut St.
- Smyth, 177 N. Ada St.
The following restaurants retained one Michelin star for 2022 (“high quality cooking, worth a stop”):
- Boka, 1729 N. Halsted St.
- EL Ideas, 2419 W. 14th St.
- Elizabeth, 4835 N. Western Ave.
- Elske, 1350 W. Randolph Ave.
- Goosefoot, 2656 W. Lawrence Ave.
- Mako, 731 W. Lake St.
- Next, 953 W. Fulton Market
- North Pond, 2610 N. Cannon Dr.
- Omakase Yume, 651 W. Washington Blvd.
- Porto, 1600 W. Chicago Ave.
- Schwa, 1466 N. Ashland Ave.
- Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson St.
- Temporis, 933 N. Ashland Ave.
- Topolobampo, 445 N. Clark St.
In addition, seven Chicago restaurants were added to Michelin’s “Bib Gourmand” list this year, which recognizes area restaurants serving “great food at reasonable prices,” generally two courses and a beverage for $40 or less, in most cases. The seven join a list of 55 restaurants enjoying Bib Gourmand status in the city.
This year’s seven new Chicago Bib Gourmand restaurants include:
- Apolonia, 2201 S. Michigan Ave.
- Bloom Plant Based Kitchen, 1559 N. Milwaukee Ave.
- Dear Margaret, 2965 N. Lincoln Ave.
- Lardon, 2200 N. California Ave.
- Sochi Saigonese Kitchen, 1358 W. Belmont Ave.
- Superkhana International, 3059 W. Diversey Ave.
- Tortello Pastificio, 1746 W. Division St.
The list of Chicago restaurants that retained their Bib Gourmand status for 2022 includes:
- avec, 615 W. Randolph St.
- Birrieria Zaragoza, 4852 S. Pulaski Rd.
- Cabra, 200 N. Green St.
- Chef’s Special Cocktail Bar, 2165 N. Western Ave.
- Chilam Balam, 3023 N. Broadway
- Ciccio Mio, 226 W. Kinzie St.
- Cira, 200 N. Green St.
- Daisies, 2523 N. Milwaukee Ave.
- DeCOLORES, 1626 S. Halsted St.
- Dos Urban Cantina, 2829 W. Armitage Ave.
- etta, 1840 W. North Ave.
- Flat & Point, 3524 W. Fullerton Ave.
- Frontera Grill, 445 N. Clark St.
- Funkenhausen, 1709 W. Chicago Ave.
- Ghin Khao, 2128 W. Cermak Rd.
- Giant, 3209 W. Armitage Ave.
- Gilt Bar, 230 W. Kinzie St.
- Girl & The Goat, 809 W. Randolph St.
- GT Fish & Oyster, 531 N. Wells St.
- HaiSous, 1800 S. Carpenter Ave.
- Herb, 5424 N. Broadway
- Ina Mae, 1415 N. Wood St.
- Joe’s Imports, 813 W. Fulton Market
- Kie-Gol-Lanee, 5004 N. Sheridan Rd.
- La Josie, 740 W. Randolph St.
- Longman & Eagle, 2657 N. Kedzie Ave.
- Lula Café, 2537 N. Kedzie Ave.
- Mama Delia, 1721 W. Division St.
- Mango Pickle, 5842 N. Broadway
- Marisol, 205 E. Pearson St.
- mfk., 432 W. Diversey Pkwy.
- Mi Tocaya, 2800 W. Logan Blvd.
- Mott St., 1401 N. Ashland Ave.
- Munno Pizzeria & Bistro, 4656 N. Clark St.
- Nella Pizza e Pasta, 1125 E. 55th St.
- Perilla, 401 N. Milwaukee Ave.
- Pizzeria Bebu, 1521 N. Fremont St.
- Pleasant House Pub, 2119 S. Halsted Ave.
- Proxi, 565 W. Randolph St.
- Smoque BBQ, 3800 N. Pulaski Rd.
- Sol de Mexico, 3018 N. Cicero Ave.
- Soule, 1931 W. Chicago Ave.
- Table, Donkey and Stick, 2728 W. Armitage Ave.
- The Duck Inn, 2701 S. Eleanor St.
- The Purple Pig, 444 N. Michigan Ave.
- Tzuco, 720 N. State St.
- Vajra, 1329 W. Chicago Ave.
- Virtue, 1462 E. 53rd St.
Also revealed Tuesday were two special Michelin awards:
- Sommelier of the Year: presented to Bonhomme Group wine director Colin Hofer, for his work at Porto Restaurant (1600 W. Chicago Ave.)
- Exceptional Cocktails Award: presented to Julia Momosé, mixologist at Kumiko (630 W. Lake St.)