Ready to dine out again? We’ve got some new spots to add to your Chicago restaurant bucket list, thanks to the release of the 2021 Michelin Guide star rankings. As usual, Michelin sent its anonymous inspectors to restaurants around the globe to rate the best dining experiences, though a recent New York Times interview with Michelin’s director of guides revealed that limitations due to the pandemic were taken into consideration this time around.
A total of 24 Chicago restaurants earned Michelin stars this year, down from 2020’s crop of 25 spots. Some of the restaurants that dropped off the list did so due to permanent closures over the past year, including Blackbird, Everest and Band of Bohemia. Many of the star-winners are still closed to the public, awaiting increases in capacity and a safer environment for staff before reopening—most notably, Entente (which closed indefinitely) and Elizabeth (currently offering takeout).
Newcomers to Chicago’s two-star rankings include Ever—the latest concept from chef Curtis Duffy, who formerly helmed the three-star fine dining institution Grace—and Moody Tongue, which opened a 28-seat fine dining restaurant overseen by executive chef Jared Wentworth after the brewery moved into its new South Loop home in 2019. There’s only a single entry that’s new to the one-star category: Porto, a West Town seafood restaurant and wine bar inspired by the cuisine served along the coasts of Galicia and Portugal.
As a quick refresher, here’s what the prestigious star ratings mean, according to the Michelin Guide: One star is “high quality cooking, worth a stop;” two stars indicate “excellent cuisine, worth a detour;” and the coveted three-star ranking marks “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” Take a look at the complete list of Chicago restaurants that earned 2021 Michelin Guide stars below.