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Chicago’s Michelin Star List Adds Three New Restaurants

The tire company has released its first star list since the beginning of the pandemic

A fancy fish dish on toast
Porto earned a Michelin star.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Michelin Guide released its prestigious Chicago star list Thursday morning, the travel guide’s first updated ranking since the pandemic. It consists of 24 restaurants, including three new ones: Ever in Fulton Market (two stars), the Bar and the Dining Room at Moody Tongue on the Near South Side (two stars), and Porto in West Town (one star).

The stars focus on fine dining, mostly upscale restaurants with tasting menus that skew pricey. Michelin has another ranking, the Bib Gourmand list, that focuses on more casual restaurants.

The tire company began awarding stars to Chicago restaurants in 2011, and the guide is also in other major markets, including New York, Washington, D.C., and LA. Michelin last announced stars for Chicago in September 2019, and that list contained 25 restaurants. Since then, a trio of starred Chicago restaurants have closed: Band of Bohemia, Blackbird, and Everest.

Chefs from around the world covet the stars, embracing the notion that the 95-year-old rankings represent the pinnacle of culinary achievement. However, the COVID-19 pandemic led many municipalities to shut down indoor dining for long stretches of time. That complicated the jobs of Michelin inspectors, anonymous agents who visit and evaluate restaurants, and pushed Michelin to develop pandemic policies. For example, restaurants that have remained closed through the pandemic won’t have their stars removed. In Chicago, Entente (one star) in River North and Acadia (two stars) in South Loop kept their status.

Ever chef Curtis Duffy is back in the Michelin game.
Garrett Sweet/Eater Chicago

Alinea in Lincoln Park remains Chicago’s only three-starred restaurant. The full three stars is a rare honor that’s been bestowed on about 130 restaurants worldwide. There was speculation that Smyth (two stars) in Fulton Market would join chef Grant Achatz’s restaurant, but that didn’t happen. In a rare move, Michelin did award two stars to a pair of new restaurants during their first year of eligibility: Ever and Moody Tongue.

For Curtis Duffy, this is a return. The Ever chef is a perennial Michelin favorite thanks to his work at Grace, a West Loop restaurant that closed at the end of 2017 with a full three stars. Duffy and former Grace general manager Michael Muser plotted a comeback after their departure, and after a noncompete agreement with Grace’s owner (a clause that barred them from opening another restaurant in Chicago) expired, they announced Ever. The restaurant opened in July 2020, a $5 million project a mile west of Grace on Fulton Market, with a goal to earn a Michelin star. Of course, the opening wasn’t what Duffy and Muser envisioned, with customers required to wear masks and extra safety precautions like pared-down offerings.

Still, Michelin inspectors wrote about Ever, “Chef Curtis Duffy and Michael Muser have triumphantly returned, and now preside over a bespoke room where the chef’s vision of fine dining enchants palates with complex flavors, stirring textures, and visual fireworks.”

A large black marble bar in the middle of a room
Moody Tongue earned two stars.
Jordan Balderas [Official Photo]

Meanwhile, near McCormick Place, Moody Tongue effectively replaces Band of Bohemia as Chicago’s only Michelin-starred brewpub. Moody Tongue relocated from Pilsen, not only moving its brewing operations but also adding a full-service restaurant with a tasting menu. The brewery also brought over Jared Wentworth, a chef who presided over Longman & Eagle in Logan Square during its Michelin-starred days.

Porto shows that Chicago can deliver premier seafood offerings, according to Michelin. This lively and intimate restaurant on the corner of Chicago and Ashland gives the Midwest a taste of the Spanish coast. It’s also a restaurant meant to be enjoyed in person, as the interaction with chef and customer is integral.

“Young chef Marcos Campos’ style is anchored by his Spanish heritage and explores the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal through its conservas, seafood, and specialty rice dishes,” Michelin writes.

There was one removal: Kikko, the omakase sushi counter in West Loop, in the basement of all-world cocktail lounge Kumiko. Chef Mariya Russell became the first Black woman to preside over a Michelin-starred kitchen after inspectors awarded Kikko a star in 2019. Russell left Kikko in June 2020, and while the restaurant has shifted to Japanese comfort food — think curry and dumplings — inspectors decided to make a change.

A Michelin spokesperson says this about the decision: “Although the cocktail lounge, Kumiko, is open, the omakase counter, Kikko, has been closed since the departure of its chef last year.”

The granite bar with boxes of fish above it.
Porto earned a star.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

The future of two restaurants on this year’s list remains murky. Chef Brian Fisher’s Entente remains in limbo in River North, with ownership still trying to figure out if they’ll reopen. And the reputation of Acadia in South Loop, a two-starred restaurant, has been tarnished by workers alleging a toxic environment. Chef and owner Ryan McCaskey remains in court as a defamation lawsuit filed against him by a former employee continues. McCaskey has kept the restaurant closed since last year but says he wants to reopen eventually.

Check out this year’s full list of Chicago’s Michelin-starred restaurants below.

Chicago 2021 Michelin Stars

*Denotes new for 2021

Three Stars

Alinea

Two Stars

Acadia

Ever*

Moody Tongue*

Oriole

Smyth

One Star

Boka

EL Ideas

Elizabeth

Elske

Entente

Goosefoot

Mako

Next

North Pond

Omakase Yume

Parachute

Porto*

Schwa

Sepia

Spiaggia

Temporis

Topolobampo

Yugen

Perennial

1800 North Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614 Visit Website

Elske

1350 West Randolph Street, , IL 60607 (312) 733-1314 Visit Website

Parachute

3472 North Elston Avenue, , IL 60618 (872) 204-7138 Visit Website

Schwa Restaurant

1466 North Ashland Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 252-1466 Visit Website

Smyth

177 North Ada Street, , IL 60607 (773) 913-3773 Visit Website

Goosefoot

2656 W Lawrence Ave, , IL 60625 (773) 942-7547 Visit Website

Everest

425 South Financial Place, , IL 60605 (312) 663-8920 Visit Website

Band of Bohemia

4710 North Ravenswood Avenue, , IL 60640 (773) 271-4710 Visit Website

Grace

652 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60661 (817) 877-3388

Acadia

1639 South Wabash Avenue, , IL 60616 (312) 360-9500 Visit Website

Mako

731 West Lake Street, , IL 60661 (312) 988-0687 Visit Website

OMAKASE YUME

651 West Washington Boulevard, , IL 60661 (312) 265-1610 Visit Website

Alinea

1723 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 Visit Website

Oriole

661 West Walnut Street, , IL 60661 (312) 877-5339 Visit Website

Two

1132 W Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60642 (312) 624-8363 Visit Website

Yugen

652 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL Visit Website

Next

953 West Fulton Market, , IL 60607 Visit Website

Spiaggia

980 North Michigan Avenue, , IL 60611 (312) 280-2750 Visit Website

Entente

700 North Sedgwick Street, , IL 60654 (312) 285-2247 Visit Website

Sepia

123 North Jefferson Street, , IL 60661 (312) 441-1920 Visit Website

Boka

1729 North Halsted Street, , IL 60614 (312) 337-6070 Visit Website

Longman & Eagle

2657 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 773 276 7110 Visit Website

Topolobampo

445 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 312-661-1434

Moody Tongue Brewery

2136 S Peoria St, Chicago, IL 60608 Visit Website

North Pond

, , IL 60614

Ever

1330 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607 Visit Website

Temporis

933 North Ashland Avenue, , IL 60622 (773) 697-4961 Visit Website

Elizabeth

4835 North Western Avenue, , IL 60625 Visit Website

EL ideas

2419 West 14th Street, , IL 60608 (312) 226-8144 Visit Website

Blackbird

614 North 2nd Street, , PA 19123 (267) 324-5224 Visit Website

Porto

1600 West Chicago Avenue, , IL 60622 (312) 600-6336 Visit Website

Kumiko

630 West Lake Street, , IL 60661 (312) 285-2912 Visit Website

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