Chicago is a relaxed town, and that attitude extends to the fine dining scene. Our best restaurants skip the pretension, focus on great flavors and experiences and even feature craft beer pairings along with wine. Many of Chicago’s top chefs, like Grant Achatz or Iliana Regan, prefer whimsical and experimental dishes over traditional fine dining fare. Candy balloons? Why not? (They’re at Alinea, by the way). Some are even BYOB restaurants or have great bar food, which lessens the sticker shock a bit. Take a look at our favorite elevated choices around town and make your reservation soon—tables at these spots book up fast.

Everest

For more than 30 years, Everest has lived up to its name for those looking for a lavish experience, and in the process it has become the pinnacle of high-end French dining in Chicago. Situated atop the Chicago Stock Exchange, it is still the height of elegance, with views of the rooftops that made the city famous. Chef Jean Joho’s $165 tasting menu is a lineup of carefully executed dishes such as seared foie gras, veal tenderloin and coconut soufflé, each given some sort of Alsatian flair or French accent. If you’re looking for fancy, you’ve found it.