Move over, Alinea. There’s a new wave of Chicago restaurants that are making the astronomically expensive, long-winded tasting-menu experience more approachable and affordable, offering foodies a multi-course hit list of elevated dishes for less than $100 a person. Ranging from the hottest fine dining restaurants Chicago has to offer to a standout stall inside one of the best food halls in Chicago, these coursed-out menus don't skimp on presentation or ingredients, so you can eat like a queen without breaking the bank. And since there’s room in the budget, go ahead and ask to see the wine list—better yet, the bottle list.
Chicago tasting menus under $100
Some of the best chefs in Chicago flock to this sweet French hideout in Humboldt Park to feast on duck frites and steak tartare. To fully experience what all the fuss is about, plan your visit on a Wednesday night, when you can select three plates from the list of black-board specials for under $50—that's one helluva deal. Though the menu options are always changing, expect super seasonal ingredients and expertly executed fare, like the beloved uni soft scramble.
Owners Thai and Danielle Dang welcome you into their fold with a family-style Vietnamese feast that includes some of the restaurant’s Day One favorites, like bright, jerky-studded papaya salad and supple grilled baby octopus in a spicy fish sauce. There’s a vegetarian option, too, the highlight of which is a belly-warming yellow curry that’s loaded with tender root vegetables.
Chicago’s speediest omakase will have you in and out in 45 minutes flat, though you’ll never feel rushed during the 10-course excursion, which features pristine pillows of warm rice topped with cold cuts of marinated salmon, blue eel and fatty bluefin. Feel like drinking? The $15 three-pour sake pairing is a no-brainer.
It feels pretty badass to leave your dining fate in the capable hands of an all-star chef like Soo Ahn—just be sure to tell your server if you have any life-threatening allergies. At this Michelin-starred brewpub, the vegetarian prix fixe menu registers five courses and showcases several fascinating dishes that haven’t yet debuted on the regular lineup, like braised celery root with oyster mushrooms and black garlic. For an extra $20, you can tack on brewer Michael Carroll’s beer pairings while still flying under the $100 mark.
There are so many hits on this West Loop darling's menu that choosing favorites can quickly overwhelm. Monkfish or branzino? Ham or chicken? Let the kitchen crew decide your destiny with the affordable chef's menu, which is served as a multi-course, family-style feast that's chock-full of hearty, simply prepared farmhouse fare. Heads up: Because this is a shareable meal, your server will request full buy-in from your crew, so plant the seed early on.
A tasting menu at a food hall? On Friday and Saturday nights, chef Zubair Mohajir ditches the grab-and-go lunchtime routine and invites guests on a culinary journey through southern Asia. The five-part roster includes his coveted, drool-inducing THC fried-chicken sando, which is spiced with masala and garnished with pickled papaya, ’shrooms and sweet honey. (No, the dish won’t get you stoned, but it is stoner-approved.)
The couple behind Avondale hot spot Parachute flipped the script with their latest concept: a four-course, prix fixe dinner menu that changes nightly, depending on what ingredients are available that day. There’s no telling what might manifest on the plate in front of you, but expect produce-centric cooking, chef-y compositions and hints of traditional Asian flavors.
In 2019, local restaurant critics unanimously agreed—something they never do!—that this refined Korean eatery is a star. Here, chef David Park and partner Jennifer Tran serve a showstopping progression of seven dishes that tell of childhood memories and family recipes. Served with yuzu gastrique and pearls of crème fraîche, the salmon tartare is almost too pretty to eat, but you’ll most definitely dig right in anyway.
The name of this Michelin-starred West Loop darling translates to “love” in Danish, and that’s exactly how we feel about the set upscale menu that doesn’t break the bank. Husband-and-wife powerhouse David and Anna Posey pamper guests with a parade of seasonal delights, including fried artichokes with egg-yolk jam and a dessert of warm mushroom custard with apple-cider–maple-sugar cake. Why not enjoy a parting cocktail on the patio in front of the roaring fire?
What we appreciate most about this Michelin-praised West Loop restaurant is that you can tailor your dining experience depending on your budget with three unique tasting menus to choose from: Omaha ($235), Smyth ($155–$175) and Classic ($95). The latter isn't a lesser experience by any stretch of the imagination, with a whopping seven courses that include Day One favorites like the pillowy brioche doughnut with Marmite butter.