1729 N. Halsted St. 312-337-6070
With Steppenwolf and The Royal George Theatre just down the street, this dining room makes a stunning setting for a pre-theater dinner or date. Former Charlie Trotter's chef Giuseppe Tentori changes the contemporary American menu every couple of weeks, but you can always count on your meal being prepared with locally sourced, seasonal produce.
2610 N. Cannon Drive 773-477-5845
A tucked-away location on the grounds of Lincoln Park plus an all-season patio set this American restaurant apart from the neighborhood's other fine-dining destinations. In the kitchen is Bruce Sherman, who scored a James Beard award in the Best Chef Great Lakes category last year.
1723 N. Halsted St. 312-867-0110
Chef/owner Grant Achatz's world-famous wonderland of molecular gastronomy should be on every foodie's bucket list. The tasting menu is presented with avant-garde serveware and utensils so novel that some diners are tempted to steal them (don't you dare). Tickets—released periodically at alinearestaurant.com—for dinner for four may exceed your monthly rent, but many would call this experience priceless.
2300 N. Lincoln Park West 773-868-0002
This sophisticated seafood-centric restaurant inside the Belden-Stratford building drips with indulgence from start to finish. Choose from the five-course prix fixe dinner or go all-out with the 12-course tasting menu.
980 N. Michigan Ave. 312-280-2750
Indulgent, fine-dining Italian is the name of the game at one of downtown's loveliest dining rooms opened by chef Tony Mantuano and lead by Sarah Grueneberg, runner-up on "Top Chef: Texas."
800 N. Michigan Ave. 7th floor 312-239-4030
Though less formal than its former incarnation, Nomi, this seventh-floor restaurant still is celebration-worthy with a menu of maki, seafood and farm-fresh meats and vegetables. The real stunners, though, are the views of the Chicago Water Tower from the restaurant's floor-to-ceiling windows.
120 E. Delaware Place 312-799-4900
Allium may be inside the plush Four Seasons hotel—and yes, it has a fountain in the dining room—but chef Kevin Hickey's food remains playful and never stuffy. Case in point: It's the only place in town to wash down a $14 gourmet Chicago-style hot dog with a misobutterscotch milkshake.