It's Whale Week on Eater Chicago and we're kicking things off with our Whale Watching Guide. You'll find the city's whales, or wealthiest elite, at the following places known for their decadence. Exclusive, expensive and extravagant, these are some of the finest restaurants in the country that spare no costs. So if you've ever wondered how the other half lives, take a look at where society's top percentile like to dine and drink.Read More
Guide: Where to Whale Watch in Chicago
The best of the best, there’s no doubt you’ll find many of the city’s high-rollers here. Grant Achatz’s restaurant specializing in molecular gastronomy is one of the world’s finest and tables are hard to come by, especially with the recent switch over to a ticketing system. With people willing to wait months for an opportunity to dine, the reservations list can read like a who’s who of Chicago moguls.
2. Les Nomades
One of the city’s finest French spots, Les Nomades continues to pull in the wealthy. You’ll find plenty of the old money crowd here in their best attires (jackets required) and service that harkens back to the days of true formal dining. Take a look around the dining room and you’ll definitely feel a part of the one percent.
The tasting menus are luxurious but it’s the caviar collection that really shines at Tru. A true display of wealth if there ever was one, the caviar is presented on abalone shells nestled in stunning coral. Suffice to say, the frequent flyers here are those who can afford to drop hundreds of dollars on fish roe.
Tony Mantuano’s Italian restaurant draws in the rich with grand dinner and tasting menus alongside an extensive collection of wine. If that’s not exquisite enough, add as much black truffle as the heart desires to any dish for a true whale of a meal. After all, the whales most certainly do.
Holder of two Michelin Stars, this Lincoln Park restaurant inside the Belden-Stratford Hotel brings in the whales with its seafood tasting menus. It’s go big or go home here so don’t get sticker shock when looking at the menu. The rest of the dining room won’t.
If its location inside the Trump Hotel didn’t give it away, Sixteen is where the city’s rich as well as traveling executives dine. The view of downtown is unmatched but expect to spend a pretty dime for the experience. Although if you have $70 to drop on brunch, chances are you’re not too concerned with costs.
Blackbird’s stellar reputation brings in crowds of all backgrounds on a nightly basis but it’s no secret that most of the clientele trends toward the high end. You’ll rub elbows, literally, with tables full of Chicago’s richest. And if you stop in for lunch during the day, you’ll undoubtedly be witness to many business meetings.
8. Mastro's Steakhouse
No list would be complete without a steakhouse and Mastro’s is as extravagant as they come. The wet-aged steaks will satisfy any wealthy carnivore and it’s not unreasonable to see diners spend $4,000 on a meal.
9. The Office
Hidden beneath The Aviary and Next, The Office is an exclusive old-time speakeasy that’s off-limits to the public. The small space is intimate with leather couches and the menu features classic cocktails and food items such as caviar and an ice cream sundae large enough to feed a group. If you can get in, you’ll likely find yourself in some fancy company.
10. Pump Room
The Pump Room has seen many celebrities and local titans pass through during its storied history and the new, revamped edition is no different. When night falls, the hanging orb lamps inside shine bright and reveal a clientele base that includes the rich and the famous and the typical Gold Coast veterans.