Everest For years, Everest has lived up to its name, becoming the pinnacle of high-end French dining in the Windy City. Atop the Chicago Stock Exchange, it is still the height of elegance, with views of the rooftops that made the city famous. Chef Jean Joho’s seasonal menu—though often-changing—features carefully executed French specialties like boneless rabbit with horseradish, frog legs and black cod. But the real specialty is the sense of elegance you feel just from having dined at this level. 440 S LaSalle St (312-663-8920). El: Brown, Orange, Pink, Purple (rush hrs) to LaSalle. Dinner (closed Sun, Mon). Average degustation: $110.
NoMI Ryan LaRoche (Tru, DeLaCosta) replaced Andrew Zimmerman (who’s now leading the kitchen at Sepia) as the chef de cuisine collaborating with exec chef Christophe David in this stunning—if a bit chilly—dining room. The chefs wrap crab so neatly in thin slivers of gorgeous beets that it resembles a maki roll, and cook meats expertly, such as the lamb, given a Moroccan treatment, which was as tender as brioche. End on a high note with pastry chef Frederic Moreau’s fantastic, slightly molecular versions of crème brûlée and mille-feuille. 800 N Michigan Ave (312-239-4030). El: Red to Chicago. Bus: 3, 10, 26, 66, 125, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 151. Breakfast, brunch (Sat, Sun), lunch (Mon–Fri), dinner. Average main course: $42.
Shanghai Terrace Normally we don’t condone paying through the nose for Chinese food when Chinatown options abound, but this gorgeous fourth-floor terrace, brimming with fresh flowers and offering a view of the historic Water Tower, is hard to beat. And elevated takes on five-spiced duck, drunken baby chicken and wok-baked lobster mostly surpass expectations. The Peninsula Chicago, 108 E Superior St (312-573-6744). El: Red to Chicago. Bus: 3, 10, 26, 29, 66, 143, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 151, 157. Lunch, dinner (closed Sun). Average main course: $20.
Sixteen The stately dining room on the 16th floor of the Trump Tower is indeed impressive, but the close-up view of architectural gems like the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower and the supremely polished, doting staff come with a price. Chef Frank Brunacci’s artistically presented food includes dishes like fresh pasta and escargots in cream sauce with truffles and lamb loin cooked sous vide and plated with trumpet mushrooms, salsify and harissa. For those looking to impress a client or a date with a fine-dining experience, this spot is for you. 401 N Wabash Ave (312-588-8030). El: Red to Grand. Bus: 29, 36, 65. Breakfast, brunch (Sun), lunch (Mon–Fri), dinner. Average main course: $42.
The Tasting Room We don’t blame you if you’ve been heading to the Tasting Room just to take advantage of its stellar wine list. But if you’re ignoring the food, you’re ignoring half of what makes this place worth trekking this far west on Randolph. “Small plates” like a rabbit-sausage-stuffed arancini are often not that small at all, making for good stomach padding. Because ultimately you’re still here mainly for the wine, right? Well, that and the stunning view of the Loop. 1415 W Randolph St (312-942-1313). El: Green, Pink to Ashland. Bus: 9. Dinner (closed Sun). Average small plate: $10.