Best New American Restaurants in Chicago

July 25, 2016
by Zagat Staff

Presenting Chicago's must-try spots for New American cuisine.

American · Ravenswood · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

Intense, refined " flavors shine in chef Chris Nugent’s " brilliantly executed " cooking at this New American " treasure " in Ravenswood, where multicourse tasting menus offer a " wonderful gourmet experience " that " takes the whole evening "; the " cozy " setting " isn’t stuffy at all ", thanks in part to " impeccable ", " welcoming " service, and though it’s pricey, a BYOB policy (you can choose a bottle from their shop next door) adds " value.
Blackbird Restaurant
American · West Loop · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

“Both sophisticated and hip,” this “memorable” West Loop “fine-dining staple” from Paul Kahan and company puts out “thoughtful, precise” New American dishes “bursting with flavor” alongside a “well-rounded wine list” and “unique” cocktails; if the “small,” “minimalist” setting can be “noisy,” that’s just part of its “terrific energy,” and the “bargain” prix-fixe lunch special only adds to its appeal.
American · West Loop · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.6

Expect a "phenomenal" "culinary adventure" at this "dazzling" West Loop New American, where chef Curtis Duffy "outdoes himself" with "stunning" tasting menus "displaying individuality in every dish" , complemented by a "wine selection beyond expectation" ; "gracious service" enhances the allure in the "elegant" surroundings with "well-spaced tables" , so while it’s "at the top of the price line" , it’s a "perfect" place "to celebrate a milestone.
Lula Cafe
Logan Square · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

“Serving farm-to-table cuisine before it became popular,” this Logan Square “mainstay” is a “gold mine” for “exquisite,” “creative” New American fare (including an “amazing” vegetarian tasting menu) and “wonderful” cocktails; a “well-informed” staff works the “stylish” yet “laid-back” room where you “never feel rushed” – even when there are “huge lines” for the “fantastic,” no-reservations weekend brunch.
American · River North · $$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

Michael Kornick’s "timeless" New American in River North "remains one of the elite" "fine-dining" destinations by pairing "sophisticated" , "outstanding" cooking – including "fantastic" tasting menus and "heavenly desserts" – with a "deep and interesting wine list" ; "refined" yet "comfortable" surroundings and "excellent" service ensure it’s "always a pleasure" , especially "when you want to celebrate.
Ada Street
Brunch · Pulaski Park · $$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

Off-the-beaten-path " in Pulaski Park, this " hole-in-the-wall hot spot " from Michael Kornick and David Morton (DMK Burger) serves " excellent " New American–Mediterranean sharing plates that combine " familiar ingredients " in " inspired " ways, along with " specially crafted drinks " and a " well-curated wine list "; a " maze-like hallway " leads to the " cool ", " romantic " interior, where the " warm " staff instills a " laid-back " vibe, and the " beautiful" patio is popular in summer.