Dining guide to three Chicago restaurants that value design as much as food and wine
There is no shortage of good food and wine in the Windy City. Obviously. What separates a few from the pack (in our minds, anyway), are restaurants that put interior design on a near equal perch to the food and beverage programs. It’s not hard to find that careful design of menu and decor in Chicago.
Here are three of our favorites:
Looking directly out at the famous Bean, Remington’s offers the classic steak and seafood house with an eye toward modern. Considered by many to be the face of this touristy zone’s efforts to move from a mecca for chain eateries to locally driven, luxury concepts, Chef Todd Stein’s menu delivers the classics with perfection. It includes a fresh raw bar and a Spaetzle Mac N’ Cheese that is a must order.
The wide-open windows at the front offer a view of the Bean and the bustling activity. Inside, a beautiful glass-enclosed private wine room — designed by architect Mark Knauer — tells guests Remington’s takes its wine list as seriously as the food and decor.
123 N Jefferson St.
Rustic, warm, and inviting are just a few words to describe Sepia, a contemporary restaurant set up in an old 1890’s print shop. The atmosphere is complete with custom tile Art Nouveau floors, hand-crafted mill-work, and vintage stemware tied together by a refined culinary and beverage program. With a modern twist, chef Andrew Zimmerman provides seasonal menus showcasing quality and pure ingredients, supporting local artisan farmers as often as possible. In partnership with the inventive, modern menu, somm Jennifer Wagoner hosts a creative a 600-bottle wine list — displayed in contemporary fashion on a floor-to-ceiling wine wall — that features a wide variety of boutique winemakers with an emphasis on food-driven offerings.
980 N. Michigan Ave.
This James Beard award-winning restaurant was already on the hot list for diners in the know. Now it’s home to Top Chef Season 15 winner Joe Flamm who’s newfound fame is making tables even harder to come by. He works alongside renowned beverage director Rachael Lowe and chef/partner Tony Mantuano to set the standard for modern Italian dining in the city. The menu features classic Italian dishes from risotto to bucatini with an elevated touch. The wine list that is a regular on the Wine Spectator excellence list is displayed in glorious, label-forward fashion in a modern walk-in wine cellar that compliments an airy, open feel of the entire restaurant.
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