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Best Restaurants In Downtown Chicago

In the game of Word Association, perhaps no other word brings about so many different replies than "Chicago." Whereas one person may say "blue-collar," another may say "refined." Ask someone else and they may say "skyscrapers," and another still, "musical." The choices of words to be associated with the city of Chicago are indeed endless, but eventually, someone will hit the nail on the head with the answer of "restaurants." With thousands of contenders vying for the city's top restaurant, Chicago is proud of its culinary wizardry. From purveyors of the city's famous deep-dish pizzas and award-winning hot dogs to some of today's leading chefs in the world of fine dining, nobody does food like Chicago! Need some proof? Here are the five best restaurants in downtown Chicago.

Downtown Chicago's Five Best Restaurants

* Charlie Trotter's
Named after the head chef, Charlie Trotter's Restaurant, located on W. Armitage, offers some of the leading French and Asian-inspired cuisine in the country, if not the world. With a menu that changes daily to represent the freshest of ingredients, Charlie Trotter's is always a surprise. But what's not a surprise is the quality of the food. A dinner there can be considered as much a part of the Chicago nightlife as anything else. As gourmet as one can get, Charlie Trotter's has received numerous awards and accolades since opening 20 years ago, and shows no signs of slowing down. With another restaurant planned for Chicago's upcoming luxury hotel, The Elysian, Chef Trotter will no doubt have another award-winning dining venue on his plate.

* Tru
It's hard to have a Chicago restaurant and not be inspired by the city itself, and that's exactly what Tru is. The gorgeous dining room offers nicely spaced tables, yet lends an air of intimacy not commonly found in fine dining restaurants. The colorful and jazzy artworks which adorn the walls compliment the ubiquitous black velvet chairs and white silk table linens. As far as the food goes, the Prixe Fixe is $95 and includes three courses of sublime sustenance.

* Alinea
Alinea has only been open for business since 2005, but with a James Beard nomination and the honor of being placed at the top of Gourmet Magazine's "The Best 50 Restaurants in the United States" list, it has certainly made some noise in the culinary world, and rightfully so. With a $135 Tasting Menu and a $195 Tasting Tour, Alinea will impress you with its tantalizing tastes and amaze you with its culinary architecture. If you travel to the city by plane, consider a Chicago car rental to get you around town for your dining needs.

* Everest
Like the mountain itself, this French restaurant towers above the culinary world with its impressive and enlightening cuisine. Set on the 40th floor of the John Hancock Building, Everest looks out over the landscape of Chicago like it's the best restaurant in the world, and some may agree that it is. World-famous Chef Joho offers an inspired degustation menu and vegetarian degustation menus, each with seven-courses. Or, if the guest prefers, they can choose from the pre-fixed three or four course menus. Finish it all off with one of Chef Joho's new wave desserts!

* Spiaggia
Chicago's only 4-Star Italian restaurant is the perfect combination of fine dining lavishness and the rustic wholesomeness of Italy's cuisine. With an outstanding wine list and lofty dining room, Spiaggia is the recipient of many culinary awards and honors. For an unparalleled Italian experience with a dash of refinement thrown in, head over to North Michigan Avenue and try one of Spiaggia's two seven-course Prix Fixe menus or choose from their a la carte dinner menu. Either way, you simply can't go wrong; if Chicago travel is on your horizon, make sure to stop by Spiaggia.

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