Top Ranked Restaurants in Chicago

Chicago restaurants are world famous for being top notch in style and taste. From classic American cuisine to posh Asian fare to deep-dish pizzas, Chicago has it all. Many restaurants have epic views, such as the legendary The Signature Room at the 95th or are children friendly like the super fun Rainforest Cafe. Whatever your taste buds desire, you will find it here at one of these best Chicago restaurants.

Use this Chicago restaurant guide to find the best Chicago restaurants in town.

1. The signature room

restaurateur guide 1

Neighborhood: Gold Coast

Address: 875 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611


Perched on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Center, the Signature Room has what must be the city’s best view, with two-story windows all around. Prices generally match the altitude, but the food isn’t quite so lofty: fine-dining standards such as steak, lobster tail, and rack of lamb as well as buffets at lunch and brunch, the last a lavish if dear spread with omelets, crepe and pasta stations, and hand-carved roasted meats.

2. Alinea

restaurateur guide 2

Neighborhood: Lincoln Park

Address: 1723 N Halsted, Chicago, Illinois, 60614


Located in Lincoln Park, Alinea is a truly modern restaurant. Divided into four distinct rooms to allow patrons privacy and an uninterrupted dining experience, the contemporary décor features special lighting allowing for the color of the walls to change and create different moods. But that’s just where the magic begins. Alinea’s ground-breaking tasting menus typically comprise 15 to 19 courses and take diners on an unapologetically mind-blowing journey. The kitchen uses modernist techniques to astonishing effect with artistic plating and plenty of table theatre.

3. Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse

 restaurateur guide 3

Neighborhood: Gold Coast

Address: 1028 N Rush St Chicago, IL 60611


A “martini and red meat haven”, this “iconic” Gold Coast “staple” and its suburban offshoots “always come through” with “juicy”, “top-notch” steaks, “excellent” seafood and “rich” sides the “size of your head” all set down by a “professional” crew; an “old Chicago vibe” and “vibrant”, “see-and-be-seen” atmosphere are further reasons to “empty those pockets and splurge.”

4. Giordano’s

 restaurateur guide 4

Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile

Address: 1028 North Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611


Over 40 years, hundreds of critics announced Giordano’s as Chicago’s “best” stuffed pizza! The rest is history you can still taste today, along with their other great starters, fresh salads, outstanding pastas and unique sandwiches.

5. The Purple Pig

 restaurateur guide 5

Neighborhood: Magnificent Mile

Address: 500 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611


“Bring an empty stomach” and “adventurous” taste buds to this “high-energy” Mag Mile gastropub where Jimmy Bannos Jr.’s “interesting” Mediterranean menu features some of the “most delicious”, “addictive” small plates around (“must-try” pig ears, “decadent” bone marrow); communal seats “may not be for everyone” and a no-reservations policy means waits can be “long”, but fans swear it “delivers every time.”

How to Start A Restaurant in Chicago

Chicago is a world-class city with a rich and diverse array of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries. The city’s restaurants are also a leading job creator, responsible for nearly 10 percent of the jobs in Chicago. Over 60 new restaurants are opened monthly, and each one adds to the diversity, vitality, and vibrancy of the city’s neighborhoods. If you are applying to become part of Chicago’s fast-growing restaurant community, the follow five instructions are the most important things you need to care about.

1. Develop a business plan and determine legal entity

Before meeting with a BACP (Business Affairs and Consumer Protection) consultant, you should develop a business plan and determine your legal entity (i.e., Limited Partnership (LP), Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), Corporation, or Not-for-Profit Corporation (NFP)).

2. Prepare for Initial Consultation with BACP Business Consultant

  • Schedule an appointment with a BACP consultant by either calling 312-74-Gobiz or visiting
  • Fill out the Restaurant Start-up worksheet. Additional copies are available at and BACP
  • Obtain a Chicago Food Service Sanitation Certificate

3. Get zoning and location Approval

  • Before taking out a business loan, signing a lease, or applying for a business license, ensure that the site where you intend to operate is in an appropriately zoned area and that it complies with the Chicago Municipal Code.
  • If your establishment’s occupancy will be more than 100 or you will be applying for a liquor license, submit an application for occupancy capacity signs for zoning approval

4. Obtain Building Permits– If construction or alterations are necessary 

  • Once zoning has approved your architectural plans and location, the Department of Buildings will review your architectural plans.

5. Complete License Application

  • Once zoning has approved your plans and location, submit your completed application for a retail food establishment license to BACP either online or in-person.
  • If applying for a liquor license, begin your liquor license application. The liquor license application can only be completed in-person.
  • If applying for a Public Place of Amusement (PPA) license, begin your PPA license application. The term PPA includes but is not limited to bowling alleys, businesses with 2+ pool tables, nightclubs and dance clubs, and karaoke. PPA licenses application can only be completed in-person.

Five Things to Consider When Buying Restaurant Equipment in Chicago

Restaurant equipment covers everything from refrigerators to dining tables, from cooking equipment to commercial ovens. Deciding what type of restaurant equipment to purchase can be overwhelming for a new restaurant owner. Read on for tips to make buying restaurant equipment easier.

1. New Restaurant Equipment isn’t Always Better.

A new restaurant doesn’t necessarily require all new equipment. You can purchase quality used restaurant equipment for pennies on the dollar. Tables, chairs, dishes, utensils are all fine to buy second-hand. Bigger pieces of restaurant equipment, such as stoves, ovens, refrigeration units can often be found for good deals, used. Find more about the used restaurant equipment.

2. Choosing The Right Flatware For Your Restaurants

Giving your customers a sturdy knife and fork will make all the difference when they dig into a juicy steak. And when you invest in commercial silverware, you make a statement about your restaurant and the total dining experience you want to offer your guests. Read more about restaurant flatware.

3. Consider your Space

Considering your space and arranging all the equipment properly is vital for the efficient functioning of your kitchen. A good kitchen plan is where all your equipment fits in and is easily accessible to the kitchen staff when needed. Therefore, don’t overbuy equipment.

4. Prioritize the things you need

This brings us to what you need. Some equipment is indispensable. Other items can be purchased later, on or can even be leased. Once you know your budget you can list all the equipment you want on a sliding scale of necessity. The importance of equipment is determined by how often a specific item will be used. You should consider whether the kitchen could survive without a particular piece for a day or several days. Naturally, the more crucial a piece is, the more you should opt for quality. Shopping small kitchen pieces online is an easy as well as economical way to save your time and money. However, go to a showroom and get a real idea about how to play your kitchen around is also a good idea. Gator Chef presents two showrooms with a variety of items on sale from brand-name manufacturers.

5. Don’t miss out huge warehouse sale

Due to the heavy competition, restaurant equipment stores in Chicagoland always give up huge discount on their merchandise stuff such as refrigerators, cooking equipment, baking supplies and glassware. Come visit our showroom to receive a special discounted price on certain products! Click to know more about our monthly specials for showroom items.


Article Name
The Essential Guide to Chicago Restaurateurs
Thinking of starting a new restaurant in Chicago? This article outlines some top ranked restaurants, an instruction for restaurant starters with plentiful information about kitchen equipment choosing and purchasing.
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