Chicago restaurants awarded 2022 Michelin stars; Alinea keeps top status

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23 restaurants in Chicago are on the list of Michelin-starred restaurants for 2022, it was announced Tuesday.

Michelin Stars are a coveted award – the highest in the culinary industry – for restaurants around the world in the 36 countries that currently make up the Michelin Guide list. Michelin stars based on a restaurant’s cuisine must be ‘earned’ each year as they can also be debased and restaurants removed from relevant city guides. ‘Inspectors’, as the Michelin Guide calls its anonymous reviewers, visit restaurants and rate each one on the quality of produce, mastery of taste/cooking techniques, chef’s personality, value for money and consistency.

This year’s Chicago list is again led by Alinea, the Grant Achatz Restaurant (1723 N. Halsted St.), which retains its three-star rating — the highest number of stars possible — for the 12th consecutive year. It is the city’s only three-star Michelin restaurant.

“The Michelin Guide defines a 3-star restaurant as one that offers exceptional cuisine and is worth a special trip. The team at Alinea offers a 3-star dining experience with great products, treated with technical excellence and bearing a distinct, fully realized personality,” the Michelin Guide’s US Chief Inspector said via email.

Four Chicago restaurants joined the guide for the first time this year, each earning a star.

Here are the new one Michelin star restaurants for 2022, each with excerpts from inspector notes:

The bento box at Restaurant Claudia in Chicago.|

Claudia (1952 N. Damen Ave., Contemporary Cuisine): “In this special place you can enjoy a highly creative prix fixe. The bento box with scallop crackers with egg yolk, squid madeleines, foie gras stuffed yellowfin tuna nigiri and a caviar-topped potato fritter sets the stage for an exquisite and memorable meal.”

The canapé will be served at Esmé's.  |  Sandy Noto

The canapé is served at Esmé.|

esme (2200 N. Clark St., Contemporary Kitchen): “The minimalist, well-lit space is reminiscent of an art gallery, complete with a high-quality tasting that aims to blur the lines between art and food. The multi-course menu offers a variety of creative and unexpected dishes, each offered on bespoke creations by local artists.”

At Galit, contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine takes center stage.

Central to the Galit.| stands the modern Middle Eastern cuisine

Galit (2429 N. Lincoln Ave., Middle Eastern Cuisine): “Chef Zach Engel’s fixed price allows guests to make their own selection from a range of options. Even familiar dishes offer surprising depth, like creamy hummus or crispy falafel with mango labneh.”

Kasama (1001 N. Winchester, Filipino): Chefs Tim Flores and Genie Kwon have gone into business for themselves with this restaurant, with an ambitious, sophisticated and distinctive dinner tasting menu that blends Filipino traditions with contemporary touches.”

The pandemic didn’t appear to have significantly impacted the guide’s review process throughout 2021, though Chicago restaurants were still grappling with the economic fallout of nearly two years of closures, cutbacks and, in many cases, closures.

“Since the beginning of the global pandemic, inspectors have been paying attention to every market in the US and have been in close contact with restaurants to keep abreast of openings/closings, menu changes, etc. Chefs have inspired us with their adaptability, resilience and creativity during the pandemic,” said the chief inspector.

The following restaurants have received two Michelin stars for 2022 (“excellent cuisine, worth a detour”):

  • Always, 1340 W. Fulton Market
  • Moody Tongue, 2515 S. Wabash Ave.
  • Oriole, 661 W. Walnut St.
  • Smyth, 177 N. Ada St.

The following restaurants have retained a Michelin star for 2022 (“quality cuisine, 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 West Lake St.
  • Next 953 W. Fulton Market
  • North Pond, 2610 N. Cannon Dr.
  • Omakase Yume, 651 W Washington Blvd.
  • Porto, 1600 West Chicago Ave.
  • Schwa, 1466 N Ashland Ave.
  • Sepia, 123 N. Jefferson St.
  • Temporis, 933 N Ashland Ave.
  • Topolobampo, 445 N. Clark St.

Also this year, seven Chicago restaurants were named to Michelin’s “Bib Gourmand” list, which recognizes area restaurants that serve “great food at reasonable prices,” typically two courses and a drink for $40 or less , in most cases. The seven join a list of 55 restaurants that enjoy bib-gourmand status in the city.

This year’s seven new Chicago Bib Gourmand restaurants include:

The Aguacate (Avocado, Smoked Tempeh Corn Salad, Sunflower Romesco, Crispy Plantain, Sesame Seeds) is served at the Bloom Plant Based Kitchen.  |  Lori_Sapio

The Aguacate (Avocado, Smoked Tempeh Corn Salad, Sunflower Romesco, Crispy Plantain, Sesame Seeds) is served at Bloom Plant Based Kitchen|

  • 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 Cuisine, 1358 W. Belmont Ave.
  • Superkhana International, 3059 West Diversey Ave.
  • Tortello Pastificio, 1746 W. Division St.
The pasta at Tortello Pastificio.

The Pasta at Tortello Pastificio.|

The list of Chicago restaurants that have 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 Signature Cocktail Bar, 2165 N. Western Ave.
  • Chilam Balam, 3023 N Broadway
  • Ciccio Mio, 226 W. Kinzie St.
  • Cira, 200 N. Green St.
  • Daisy, 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 West Chicago Ave.
  • GhinKhao, 2128 West Cermak Rd.
  • Giant, 3209 W. Armitage Ave.
  • Gilded 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 Cafe, 2537 N. Kedzie Ave.
  • Mama Delia, 1721 W. Division St.
  • Mango Cucumber, 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 Grill, 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 Crimson Pig, 444 N. Michigan Ave.
  • Tzuco, 720 N. State St.
  • Vajra, 1329 West Chicago Ave.
  • Virtue, 1462 E. 53rd St.

Also announced on Tuesday were two special Michelin awards:

  • Sommelier of the Year: Presented to Colin Hofer, Bonhomme Group Wine Director, for his work at Porto Restaurant (1600 W. Chicago Ave.)
  • Award for exceptional cocktails: presented to Julia Momosé, mixologist at Kumiko (630 W. Lake St.)
Cocktails are served at Kumiko.

Cocktails are served at Kumiko.

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