First-Ever Michelin Guide Chicago Showcases Chicago As A World-Class Dining Destination

After two years of rigorous research by Michelin’s team of anonymous inspectors, the company today introduced the MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011, showcasing the finest restaurants and hotels in Chicago. Chicago joins New York and San Francisco as the only American cities with an annual Michelin Guide. The MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011 goes on sale Nov. 18 at $18.99.

The first edition of the Chicago MICHELIN Guide offers a selection of 342 restaurants and 39 hotels in various price and comfort categories. MICHELIN inspectors included 42 different types of cuisine.

Michelin has done as much to enhance mobility as any company in the world. The company patented the pneumatic, or air-filled, automobile tire in the late 1800s. This was a milestone moment in mobility; it permitted automobile owners to travel at great length in a single journey. Then, in an effort to prompt travelers to enjoy their newfound mobility, the company created guides – and detailed maps – to steer travelers on their way. More than 1 million copies are sold each year.

Inclusion in the MICHELIN guide is a sign of excellence. Though restaurants with Michelin stars tend to capture the most attention, they only represent 10 percent of the guide’s content. Restaurants are listed alphabetically by neighborhood and indexed by cuisine and by category.

On Nov. 10, Michelin announced the Bib Gourmand restaurants in the Chicago selection. Bib Gourmands are defined as “Inspector’s Favorites for Good Value,” and denote high-quality restaurants that serve two courses and either dessert or wine (minus tax and gratuity) for less than $40. Forty-six Chicago restaurants earned the Bib Gourmand designation. Bib Gourmand restaurants are identified in the guide by a red symbol depicting the head of Bibendum, the Michelin Man. There are also 109 under $25 restaurants selected in the selection.

Two Chicago restaurants earned three stars in the MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011: Alinea and L2O. Three stars are a global emblem of exceptional dining; only 93 restaurants worldwide currently hold three Michelin stars. Three restaurants earned two stars: Avenues, Charlie Trotter’s and Ria. Eighteen restaurants earned a single star. The full list of star recipients appears below.

MICHELIN stars are the highest honor the guide can bestow. Having a star means that not only is a restaurant among the best in its city, but also in the world. It is a mark of consistent culinary excellence across all categories and it is based only on the quality of the food.

The star ratings are as follows:

  • One star  indicates “a very good restaurant in its category,” a place offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard.
  • Two stars  denote “excellent cooking, worth a detour,” skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality.
  • Three stars reward  “exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.” One always eats extremely well here, often superbly. Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.

“Michelin is showing the world what Chicago residents already know – this is one of the finest cities in the world to eat,” said Jean-Luc Naret, director of the MICHELIN Guides. “Chicago is the beneficiary of a truly innovative spirit among chefs, who are willing to push culinary limits at all levels. The chefs in Chicago are among the world’s most creative.”

Starred restaurants and Bib Gourmands are only two of the multiple categories within the MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2011.

  • Breakfast Specialists” highlight Chicago restaurants with standout breakfast preparations. Chicago is the only city where the inspectors considered breakfast as a meal type. And, they were so impressed by the offerings; they wanted to highlight some of their favorites in a list found at the back of the guide 19 Chicago restaurants were featured in this list.
  • Foodie-focused neighborhood introductions covering local specialty spots, food-related sights, and food and wine events reflect the city’s passionate community of culinary enthusiasts.

The MICHELIN guide offers a broad selection of hotels and restaurants in each price and comfort category, taking into account the local environment. This rating is unique to Michelin and consistent worldwide. It is expressed in two ways:

  • A comfort rating: levels of comfort are rated using one to five couverts, the forks and spoons, for restaurants and one to five pavilions for hotels. Those symbols only judge the comfort of the establishment. Red couverts or red pavilions are for especially pleasant establishments.
  • Special distinctions for certain establishments: these include stars for the very best restaurants (to). The stars judge only what’s on the plate, criteria such as the quality of products, the balance of flavors, the technical skill of cooking, the “personality” of the cuisine, the value for money and the consistency of what it offers to its customers both throughout the menu and the year.

Thanks to the rigorous MICHELIN Guide selection process, the MICHELIN Guide has become an international benchmark in gourmet dining. 26 MICHELIN Guides cover 23 countries and three continents, and feature more than 45,000 addresses. The selection is made by anonymous, professional inspectors who are Michelin employees. Inspectors pay all their bills in full. To find out more about the MICHELIN guide inspectors and the history of the MICHELIN Guide, visit

Michelin inspectors also share insider secrets on Twitter at @MichelinGuideCH.

The MICHELIN Guide New York 2011, the city’s sixth edition, was introduced Oct. 6. The fifth edition of the MICHELIN Guide San Francisco, Bay Area & Wine Country 2011 was introduced on October 26.

2011 MICHELIN guide CHICAGO Starred Restaurants

Three Michelin stars  mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey

One always eats here extremely well, sometimes superbly.  Distinctive dishes are precisely executed, using superlative ingredients.


Two Michelin stars  mean excellent cuisine, worth a detour

Skillfully and carefully crafted dishes of outstanding quality

Charlie Trotter’s

One Michelin star means a very good restaurant in its category

A place offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard

Crofton on Wells
graham elliot
Longman & Eagle