Monday, July 9th, 2018
Chicago has terrific dining options scattered far and wide. But the compact and posh Gold Coast puts some of the city’s greatest gustatory charms at its residents’ doorsteps.
Here are five favorites for fine dining on the Gold Coast:
La Storia Ristorante: Handcrafted pasta in the southern Sardinian style is featured at this intimate and clubby relative newcomer to the neighborhood. After opening in late 2015, La Storia quickly made its mark and was Michelin-rated within two years. Also a feature is the locale: La Storia occupies a pair of converted single-family homes — one built in 1896, the other in 1918 — on Dearborn Street. Additionally, the space contains a mural by noted political caricaturist Edward Sorel, who has 41 New Yorker covers to his credit.
Spiaggia: The southern gatekeeper to the Gold Coast — at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Oak Street — Spiaggia has one Michelin star and two winners of Bravo’s “Top Chef” in executive chef Joe Flamm (Season 15) and chef-partner Tony Mantuano (Season 2). Mantuano has spent 30 years creating modern takes on Italian fine dining classics, which are paired with one of the deepest wine lists in the city, some 700 bottles strong.
Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse: Opening in 1989, Gibsons occupies the Rush Street space that was once home to Chicago celebrity mecca Mister Kelly’s. While the nightclub featured talents ranging from Bob Newhart to Barbara Streisand, you’re more apt to see local and visiting pro athletes at Gibsons. Steak is the star, and every cut served is USDA Gibsons Prime Angus — the restaurant bills itself as the first in the country to be awarded its own USDA Prime certification. Little wonder it is known as Chicago’s highest-grossing independent restaurant, with nearly $25 million in sales in 2016.
Booth One: The current incarnation of the Pump Room occupies the space of what was perhaps Chicago’s most famous celebrity jaunt, in the Ambassador Chicago hotel (formerly the Ambassador East). The Pump Room reserved its Booth One for only the most celebrated celebrities, while Booth One promises everyone gets the A-list treatment. Classic American dishes and cocktails bring a bit of a Don Draper vibe to a place where every meal feels like an event.
Le Colonial: A two-story rowhouse leaves the Rush Street craziness at the door for an immersive experience in Vietnamese dining straight out of Southeast Asia’s elegantly formal 1920s French Colonial tradition. Le Colonial’s first-floor, white-linen tablecloth dining room features traditional Vietnamese dishes. On the second floor, there’s a bar, lounge and all-season terrace overlooking Rush Street.